International Budo Council Founder
Abbe Kenshiro Docho Sensei
Abbe Sensei was born in Tokushima, Japan, the son of a schoolmaster, who was also a Kendo teacher. At the age of three, his father introduced him to Kendo. His father was tragically drowned two years later and his father's pupils took on the responsibility of teaching their late Master's son. This was interrupted by Abbe Sensei's attendance at primary school. At this school, the only Martial Art taught was Sumo wrestling.
Whilst at the school, Abbe Sensei learnt Sumo and became the school's champion of wrestling. In 1931, at the age of fourteen, Abbe Sensei began his Judo career. Only one year later he was graded to 2nd Dan. At sixteen he was champion of the high school league of Tokushima and was awarded 3rd Dan by the Butokukwai – the controlling body of Martial Arts in Japan at the time - the youngest person ever to have achieved this grade at the time. At this time, Abbe Sensei passed an examination to study at the Bu'Sen, Japans' "Special teachers training college", where he continued his study of Judo and Kendo, and was introduced to other Martial Arts.
By 1934, Abbe Sensei had achieved 5th Dan Judo. During this year he graduated first in his year from the Bu'Sen. He was immediately retained as an instructor, and was also engaged as Judo instructor to the Osaka police, and the Kyoto high school. Also in 1934, at eighteen, (again at the youngest age ever), he won the main trophy at the all Japan East / West tournament, and also the 5th Dan championship. At the imperial tournament, he was hailed as the youngest grand champion having won every honour and distinction it was possible to achieve.
It was during this period that he began to formulate his theory of Budo, KYU SHIN DO. Also, at this time he was selected for special training by Ueshiba Morihei (O sensei), the creator of Aikido. Aikido was at this time still secret, and only very special students were selected by Master Ueshiba. Abbe Sensei was to study for ten years under O sensei, and he became O sensei's senior student.
By 1938, at 23 (again the youngest age ever), Abbe Sensei was awarded 6th Dan Judo. He was called up for military service, and served in Manchuria. He was unable to continue his study of Judo at this time, but, as an officer, he was required to study Kendo. At his first grading, he overcame a 5th Dan, and was awarded 3rd Dan Kendo.
By 1945, Abbe Sensei was awarded 7th Dan Judo and 6th Dan Kendo by the Butokukwai. At the end of the second world war, the occupation forces disbanded the Butokukwai, and it became illegal to practice the Martial Arts.
In 1949, Martial Arts were again allowed to be taught, and Abbe Sensei gained the position of Chief instructor of the Kyoto police, and also of the Doshisha University Kyoto. By 1951, he was the editor of JUDO SHINBUN, the Japanese Judo magazine. He was also director of the Judo league, and chief referee of the All-Japan championships for the police, and was chief referee at the national championships.
In 1955, at the age of Forty, he came to Great Britain to introduce the Koku Sai Budo Shingi Kai (Translation : The international Budo Council), which he founded in the same year. He also launched his theory of KYU SHIN DO, and this became well known in the field of Martial Arts, which in Europe at that time consisted almost entirely of Judo alone. Abbe Sensei was the master who introduced Kendo, Aikido, Jukendo, Iaido, Yarido and Naginatodo to Europe.
By 1964 the IBC had members all over Europe, the USA, Australia, Africa and the Far East. During this year Abbe Sensei returned to Japan for the Olympics. His health was poor, due to a car accident in 1961, and progressively became worse, so he was prevented from returning to London for some years, during which time the IBC lay almost dormant, apart from Kendo.
When Abbe Sensei returned to the UK in 1969, he was dismayed at the way the IBC had run during his absence, and decided that, despite a huge membership, it was necessary to start again from scratch, virtually destroying the organisation.He found that the members wanted physical instruction only, and started from the basics, building a new spiritual growth for the organisation. Having re-built the organisation, he stepped aside, and put Otani Masutaro, whom he had graded 8th Dan, in his place. Abbe sensei taught for a while in Europe, returning to London from time to time. He returned to Japan, were he died, peacefully in 1989.