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June 7th 2008 - Otani Day

A Day to celebrate the the life of Otani Tomio Hanshi. To Be held at the Yodokan Honbu in Abercarn Wales.

July 12th 2008 - Tenshin Ryu Seminar
Tenshin Ryu Iaido and Iaijutsu seminar to be held in Croydon, London

October 18th 2008 - Budo Course

  2nd Anniversary of the Yodokan Association and Budo course to be held in Croydon, London.
arrow November 15th 2008 - Winter Budo Course
  To be held at Yodokan Honbu in Abercarn Wales. November 16th Waterfall Training.

arrow Fight Mag Website
  Sensei Mike Selvey regularly contributes articles. Free to access, a site for all things Martial Arts
Suppliers of Swords and equipment
For all martial arts goods.
Supplies of fantasy swords as well as Japanese Katana.
Japanese site for all things Iaido
Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK)
Official website of the DNBK International Division. Link removed by request
arrow Seishin Judo and Iaido
  Bruce Scrivens 5th Dan, website for Judo and Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido
arrow Aikido in Norwich
  Sensei Steve Fyffe 4th Dan Aikido and Cane master blind from birth studies aikido, cane and Tenshin Ryu Iaido
arrow Yamabushi Yodokan Website
  Website link for judo and Tenshin Ryu Iaido


Sometime in the late 1800's, the Otani clan met to decide their fate. The Meiji resoration had outlawed the wearing of two swords and the top knot, thereby the the days of the Samuari was drawing to an end.

During this meeting, led by Masutaro Otani's father ( Tomio's Grandfather ), an argument started and insults were thrown. One particular onslaught was directed at Masutaro's father by an uncle. The young Masutaro siezed a nearby sword and swung at his uncle. This lack of control was not looked at favourably by the clan members and resulted in Masutaro's father suffering a loss of face.

Within a year Masutaro left school and ran away from home, obtaining a job working on the trade ships. The work was menial but it enabled him to see the world. In 1917 he arrived in Ceylon. As with all Japanese children of the day he had recieved some instruction in Kendo and Judo at school, however in Ceylon he met up with Master Judoka Seizo Usui and began training in both Jujutsu and Judo.

Masutaro had always wished to visit England, a wish realised in the summer of 1919 when he arrived in Liverpool. He resumed his Judo training under Hikoichi Aida Sensei and subsequently, Yukio Tani Sensei. In 1926 he was appointed assistant instructor at the Budokwai in London.

Masutaro married Phillipa, an English girl, in 1938 and on the 8th September 1939 their first son was born, they named him Tomio. From an early age Tomio was taught the arts his father had mastered: he was a constant companion and student of Abbe Sensei, his fathers friend and teacher. Abbe Sensei taught Tomio the skills of Kendo, Aikido, Iaido, Kobudo, and the fundamental understanding of Kyu Shin Do.

Otani Tomio Sensei specialised in Kendo, Iaido and Aikido and in 1961 was graded 1st Dan by Abbe Sensei and was appointed national coach for Kendo. He was graded 2nd Dan Budo a year later. Otani Sensei never spoke of grades he had aquired, but sources say he was graded to 5th Dan Budo before Abbe Sensei returned to Japan.

Otani Sensei was in the Territorial Army ( Parachute Regiment ) and stories of him jumping from a plane with his Katana on his back are often spoken of by his students, friends and family.

From the early Seventies Otani Sensei worked seriously developing Abbe's work on Kyu Shin Do and establishing its place both in the Dojo and everyday life. During this period he trained only two or three students at a time at the house in Whyteleafe in Surrey that he shared with Yoga teacher Jane.

In 1976 Otani Sensei was asked by Tudor Box Sensei, a student of Masutaro Otani and Abbe Sensei, to present a demonstration of his art at the Judo school in Carshalton. Otani Sensei presented a display of Iaido which demonstrated an unrivalled purity, ease of movement, accuracy and power. Both Mike Selvey and Tudor Box started traing the following week with Otani Sensei.

Along with Martial Arts training, Otani Sensei taught the mental aspects of Kyushindo. Classes also contained discussion on eastern philosophy, religion and the human condition. Otani Sensei was also an accomplished artist, stategist and taught unusual aspects of Martial Arts such as Ho jo jutsu ( The art of binding an opponent during battle )

In early 1980 saw the opening of the Yamabushi Yodokan. the name reflected the Judo club that had been previously run: the name "Yodokan was added by Otani Sensei. The meaning can be expressed as "Y0", meaning essential, but also the pin which holds the Japanese fan together, "Do", the path or way and "Kan", meaning hall.

In 1981 the Yodokan found a full time Dojo above shops in Brockley, South London. The benefit of lengthened training sessions, allied to the superb facilities presented the makings of a first class Dojo. Sensei Box taught during the day and Mike Selvey during the evenings. Otani Sensei would be there to oversee training and instruct the advanced students.

At the begining of 1990 Otani Sensei's health started to deteriorate, he had suffered in the past with gastric problems that had culminated in surgery and with this reccurance, Stomache cancer was diagnosed. Sadly Otani Sensei died on the 6th June 1991, leaving behind hundreds of students with a variety of skills.

On a final note, in Greenwich Park stood the Queen Elizabeth Oak tree which Otani Sensei had an affinity with. This tree had been standing for 1500 years, on the same day Otani Sensei died the tree inexplicably fell over......



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