Early History of Aikido in Britain: Kenshiro Abbe (circa 1960)

Aikido was introduced to Britain by Sensei Kenshiro Abbe .

He was principally a Judo Master, but when he received a letter from O'Sensei, giving all overseas Instructors permission to teach Aikido, he took on a few select students to study this new art.

These first students were selected from those already well versed in Judo and were Ken Williams, his brother David Williams and Eric Dollimore. These would have started their training shortly after Kenshiro Abbe's arrival in 1955.

This all took place in Ken Williams Club, located in Hillingdon named the Abbe School of Budo. The Dojo was a small wooden building behind a pub called 'The Hut'.

The Dojo was also known by this name and still exists today with Aikido still being taught.

Sensei Ken Williams became the first British Aikido Dan grade under the direction of Sensei K. Abbe and became the Senior British instructor in the United Kingdom and National Coach.

His first assistant was Henry Ellis, who became Assistant National Coach, a position he held for 15 years.

The Abbe School of Budo was by then the foremost school of mixed Martial Arts in Great Britain, where under the direction of Sensei Abbe the following instructors taught:

Many instructors came to see and teach with Sensei Abbe, including:

(The grades above were what these instructors held at the time.)

The first UK students to be taught the new martial art of Aikido in order of rank are -