NOTABLE B.A.F. AIKIDO FIGURES
Over the many decades since Aikido came to the U.K. there have been many visiting instructors however we have acquired a number of senior figures over the years.
Mr. Ian McClarence (6th Dan, Honbu)
Chief B.A.F. Instructor for England
Mr. McClarence is the Chief Instructor for the B.A.F. in England and among it's most senior members, being one of the first two Shidoin to be promoted to Rokudan at the Kagami Biraki ceremony at Hombu in January 2008. Mr. McClarence has been studying Aikido for over 35years firstly training under Chiba Shihan with the Aikikai of Great Britain in the 1970s' until 1975.
Then training under Kanetsuka Shihan since 1975. Mr. McClarence is the head instructor at Seishinkan Dojo South Shields near Newcastle-upon-tyne.
As Principal Instructor for England Mr. McClarence has been instrumental in developing the Shidoin Course Programme which targets the preparation of students for grading examinations and to help the development of club instructors in line with B.A.F. Technical Direction.
He also undertakes Aikido courses around the U.K. and Ireland. His practice is both powerful and fluid coupled with a stable posture, he has a strong insistence on learning and practicing aikido basics and perfecting techniques. Along with the other senior Shidoin he has practiced many other related martial disciplines including sword (Iaido), kashima, aikiken, and practices such as zazen.
Mr. Don Morgan (6th Dan, Honbu Shihan)
Chief B.A.F. Instructor for Wales
Mr. Don Morgan is the Chief Instructor for the B.A.F. in Wales. Don has has dedicated himself to practicing the art of Aikido since 1973 and in that time he has trained with various Japanese Aikido masters affiliated to the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Other than the Port Talbot Club he also regularly teaches at the following clubs in Wales;
Swansea Institute of Higher Education, Townhill Campus, Swansea and the Aberystwyth University Dojo, Aberystwyth. Don was promoted to his 6th Dan at the Kagami Biraki ceremony at Hombu in January 2008.
Mr. Allan Rowley (6th Dan, Honbu)
Mr. Allan Rowley is currently retired from Aikido but remains one of the patrons of Kaishukan dojo. Sensei rowley was one of the longest serving members of the B.A.F. (Previously the Aikikai of Great Britain).
He was a Shidoin and a member of the national committee and the technical and grading committee under Kanetsuka Shihan. he not only qualified as a level three sports coach but also a coach tutor. With over forty years of experience in practicing and teaching Aikido mr. rowley had taught nationally and internationally (including: Ireland, Tenerife, Minorca, U.S.A. and Russia) and had a successfully brought adults and children alike from starting to very senior grades. He has a great deal of experience with teaching disabilities and the disadvantaged and has the philosophy that aikido should be for everybody.
Sensei rowley began his aikido life under Chiba Shihan when the B.A.F. was the "Aikikai of Great Britain", continuing through with his successor Kanetsuka Shihan.
Over these years he has trained under many prestigious aikido Shihans such as the current previous Doshu, Fujita Shihan, Osawa Shihan, Cottier Shihan to name but a few. Sensei had been a regular and integral part of Summer School taking regular classes, and was well known for his jo class which he has taught for over ten years.
In addition to being educated in the way of “Traditional Aikikai” Sensei rowley has been instructed in the use of traditional aikido weapons Bokken, Jo and Tanto in the forms of Aikiken, Aikijo and Tantodo.
He Also trained in the practices of kashima Shinto-ryu, Iaido, Zazen and other relaxation and meditative schools.
There have been Aikidoka who were influential in the development of British Aikido who have sadly died but leave their legacy to us.
Mr. Minoru Kanetsuka (8th dan, Hombu Shihan)(1939-2019)
Minoru Kanetsuka Shihan was Born in Tokyo in 1939, and took up Aikido while at university (1957-1961), under Gozo Shioda Shihan and Masatake Fujita Shihan. In 1964 he travelled to India and then to Nepal, where he spent 6 years during which he taught Aikido to bodyguards attached to the royal household. On leaving Nepal he spent some time in Calcutta, where he taught self-defence at a police training school.
In 1971 he moved to Britain, becoming the assistant of Kazuo Chiba Shihan, who was at that time the Technical Director of the Aikikai ofGreat Britain (later to be renamed the British Aikido Federation). When Chiba Sensei left Britain in 1976 Kanetsuka Sensei became the Technical Director of the British Aikido Federation, and as such was delegated responsibility from the Honbu Aikikai Foundation for developing Aikido in the U.K. His Dojo, Ryushinkan, is in London. Here was where his dojo wa based until his death in March 2019.
"There is no doubt that Kanetsuka Sensei's teaching is highly individual, though this individuality does not stem from a desire to depart from main-line Aikido so much as upon his insistence on mastering basic, orthodox Aikido principles. His emphasis is always on controlling one's partner (i.e. attacker, with the minimum of physical force, from the very first moment of contact to final submission.
For his sensitive Aikido he emphasized the need for a flexible body and over the years he had acquired a flexibility that is the envy of many students much younger than he".
Mr. Kenneth Cottier Shihan (7th dan, Hombu) (1933-2008)
Mr. Cottier started on his aikido career path in his late 20's in 1962 under the guidance of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. It was Abbe sensei who wrote him a recommendation to train in Tokyo, A few years later, at the Hombu Aikikai Dojo under Master Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido. Here he was an Uchi-Deshi up until the founders death.
In 1971 he was asked to bring Aikido to Hong Kong and founded the Hong Kong Aikido Association, of which he became President. For many years Mr. Cottier commuted between Hong Kong and the U.K. and to many other countries teaching Aikido. Notably he taught at B.A.F. summer schools and courses over the many years.
In his latter years he would visit Mr. Rowley dojo to celebrate his birthday and share his aikido. For many years he was a big influence for the U.K. and other countries alike serving in the International Aikido Federation (I.A.F.), his first appointment being as a member of the Senior Council and later of its Directing Committee.
In 1999 he returned to the U.K. permanently and became a Senior Member of the B.A.F. National Committee. In 2002 he received the honour of becoming a Shihan from Hombu. then In 2007 he was promoted to the rank of Nanadan by the Hombu Aikikai.
Unfortunately within a year of this Mr. Cottier lost his long battle against cancer and died in the summer of 2008.
Those who knew Mr. Cottier regarded him as a gentleman, a scholar and the greatest elder statesman of British Aikido.
He was always kind and patient to beginners expressing a great interest in training with them "saying it is a seniors responsibility to practice with beginners".
He delighted in practicing and teaching everybody regardless of their abilities. All who met him would say what an honour it was to train under him He is very dearly missed.