Women In The Martial Arts by Anita Wilson
By Bob Hubbard - Tue, 13 Nov 2007 16:20:24 GMT

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Women In The Martial Arts
By Anita Wilson

I was born in West London in 1963, my father was very involved
in the martial arts and a dan grade in Karate he was also a
dealer in ancient Japanese arms and armour, although my father
has an antiques shop in London's Bond Street, my home was more
like a samurai warriors dressing room, with original suits of
Japanese armour complete with very frighting face masks that
would frighten the life out of my friends when ever they came to
visit, there were also very many valuable swords yari and
naginata spears.

The Masters

My father would travel around the world searching for the best
quality weapons, what intrigued me the most as a child was all
these strange visitors that would come to my home, the famous
Otani family were regular visitors with Sensei Matsuro Otani 7th
dan Judo the UK National Coach, Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, Tomio
Otani Sensei the UK National Coach for Kendo, his visitors were
like the who's who of martial arts, as recently as two weeks ago
I was pleased to meet with Sensei Kazuo Chiba 8th dan when he
came to see my father.

Introduction to Aikido

As a child I did a little Karate with my father but nothing
serious until 1992 when I went to the local Aikido dojo in
Bracknell, Berkshire, UK. All those years with my father and his
Japanese weapons must have had a latent but profound effect on
me, as I watched Sensei Ellis teaching his Positive Style of
Traditional Aikido I knew there and then that this was the
martial art for me.

The Hard Training Begins

When I started Aikido I made a point of training with the men
and they treated me as one of them. With regular practice I
progressed. I had now developed the hard training bug and
started courses in physical training and amateur weight lifting,
after a few years of hard work I became a fully qualified
fitness instructor-personal trainer and amateur weight lifting
coach, the high light of all this effort was when Sensei Ellis
promoted me to assistant coach of the Ellis Schools of
Traditional Aikido (ESTA) two years later he promoted me to
first lady assistant to himself, there had never ever been a
lady assistant in all the long history of the ESTA, Sensei put
me on a three month trial and 8 year on I am still here.

In 1994 I received my coaching certificate from the British
Aikido Board (BAB) which is the governing body for Aikido in the
UK. Once I became assistant to Sensei Ellis I became involved in
assisting in teaching both men and women and also helping with
the children's classes.

The First Seminar

Sensei Ellis asked if I would like to take part in a very large
and important seminar in Liverpool in the North of England,
Sensei Ellis is not one of those teachers who has a pet uke
follow him around to fly all over the mat at a touch or a
glance, he prefers to try to involve all the students who attend
his seminars if possible, knowing this I felt very privileged
but nervous when Sensei told me there would be about 700
students from various martial arts, I think the phrase "Being
thrown in at the deep end" is applicable here.

On arrival at the venue I was amazed to see so many students
from so many countries, UK-France-Germany-Italy-India-Austria
are just some that I can recall. Sensei Ellis was asked to take
the first class of approximately 50 dan grades from various
martial arts. Sensei had me demonstrate 100 press-ups on the
backs of my wrists with fingers pointing both inwards and
outwards. When I had finished and was in the raised position
Sensei sat on my back (he did not warn me of this) and carried
on with his lecture. Sensei suggested that those who wanted to
should try this exercise. It was amazing to see all these black
belts struggling. Later I had a little crowd around me wanting
to inspect my wrists, I explained that this exercise is standard
for both seniors and juniors in our schools.

I was now feeling a little more confident when Sensei pointed
out that there were six young dan grades who had arrived late
and were respectfully waiting for permission to come onto the
mat. Sensei asked me to show them what we had been teaching so
far, they were all wearing black gi's and when I approached and
invited them on the mat, they scowled as if to say "hey, we have
not traveled all the way from London to be taught by a women" as
I showed the first technique "nikkyo" a wrist locking action,
the first guy tried to resist me, I applied the technique as
shown to me so many times by Sensei and almost put him through
the mat. I thought he would be upset with me, but as he got up
he asked "How did you do that?". He then wanted me to do the
technique on all the others, now I had their attention and they
were a great bunch of guy's. I really enjoyed teaching them. At
the end of the seminar, as we were leaving the hall to head for
the car park, these six guy's were waiting in a line and bowed
to me simultaneously with a smile and said to Sensei Ellis " You
have a strong lady assistant there ,sensei" Sensei replied "
That is why she is my assistant". That was my first seminar and
one that I will never forget.

I have been involved in many other seminars with my Sensei and
they were always good, but I was never so overawed as I was at
my first one, or so I thought. Then Sensei Ellis asked if I
would like to visit New Mexico in the USA for a seminar. The
seminar was to be held in Alamogordo NM, where Sensei's USA
representative in the US lives and works at the Space Museum.
Sensei visits New Mexico every year and we have another Ellis
dan grade in Texas, Al Montemar. I had always wanted to visit
the US and jumped at the opportunity. We made the trip into a
vacation for friends and family. We taught members of the USAF
and German Air Force at Holloman AFB, which included a guided
tour of the base and various fighter aircraft, including the
Stealth bomber. Sensei Rogers is an instructor who teaches
students from the USAF, Highway Patrol, police and some members
of the United States Marshals.

While in the US, I also visited the Grand Canyon and Phoenix. I
intend to move to Phoenix to live within the next two to three
years. Sensei Ellis has a book on aikido coming out next spring
in the US titled "Positive Aikido" which I am pleased to be
featured in, Sensei Rogers is a journalist by profession and has
worked on this book for the past two years and it will be
published in the US. There are several publishers interested in
the book so we are all very excited about this latest project. I
hope to be visiting the US again next year and I hope to be
there for the launching of the book.

For the martial artists out there I would like to add one more
comment about the proposed book. Where as most Aikido books
spend a great deal of time harmonizing with the planets and the
universe, there will be none of that in this book, Sensei always
tells students to come out of the clouds and get back on the
tatami because "This is where it all happens" and he also often
says " leave the dancing to Fred Astair" (who is Fred Astair?).

Anita Wilson
Assistant to Sensei Ellis
http://www.EllisAikido.org
http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido

About the Author: Anita Wilson a student/teacher of Aikido for
15 years, the first ever lady assistant to Sensei Henry Ellis a
direct student of the legendary master Kenshiro Abbe Sensei..
Anita is also a highly qualified personal fitness training
instructor, also a certified BALA weight training coach.

Source: http://www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=3962&ca=Sports


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