Aikido kanji
White Oak Aikido - Reading, Berkshire
offering classes in traditional Aikido since 1991

...the way of the warrior   ...the way of harmony
YMCA, Parkside Road, Reading, Berkshire RG30 2DD
Reading University London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX
Caversham Heights Methodist Church Hall, 74 Highmoor Road, Caversham, Reading RG4 7BG
Aikido kanji

Aikido History - Andy Allan Sensei

Some stories of those that went before - Allan Sensei

This was written by me (Simon Thackeray of White Oak Aikido and Reading University Aikido Clubs) without any intention to make any claims as to accuracy or it being any version of a 'complete and true' UK Aikido history. It is based on my own memories of events, written information that I have and my memory of what I have been told. Lots of Aikido people and lots of Aikido events have been omitted because this is only about people and events that interacted with my own development in Aikido and that of the White Oak and Reading University Aikido Clubs, so it is all very much written from my own perspective and only includes what I want to and what I remember right now as I write it. However, if you think anything is seriously inaccurate as opposed to being omitted, then please let me know! Explore Aikido history below, or more about martial arts in Berkshire at the White Oak Aikido dojo.

Below is a section on Andy Allan Sensei - you can use the following links to go to Haydn Foster Sensei, Hamish McFarlane, Ron Russell, Fiona Bain and some information on the history of Aikido at Reading University. Saito Sensei and Iwama Aikido were strong influences on me and my Aikido, particularly in the 1980s, so you can also see more about that here.

Andy Allan Sensei

Mr. Allan taught Aikido at The Hut on Wednesdays in the 1980s and also at the Busen in Twickenham on Fridays. He was a painter and decorator by trade.

He was awarded 5th dan in November 1987. As a member of dan grading panels, when Mr. Foster asked for any comments from the panel to the participants at the end of dan gradings, he would invariably decline.

As an Aikido teacher, he preferred to show moving technique and was not really keen on the basic form. He would say when teaching: "There's this way, or this way or there's the old way...". At the end of the session when bowing out, he would bow fast in both directions and just say: "Ta". He would often show an Aikido technique and say in his strong cockney accent: "It's just tiny enko, innit".

Taking ukemi for him, as I had the opportunity to do on several occasions, he would suddenly change the technique or direction into a different one, saying "Ah, you resisted", before I even had the sensation that I had done so - a genius at Henkawaza.

He taught at the Aikido Summer schools in Treforest, where he would be quietly subversive, coming around and showing different ways of doing the techniques that Mr. Foster was teaching. Once in his own session, after Mr. Foster had taught Shihonage in great technical detail, Andy Allan continued with Shihonage in the afternoon but with lots of variety and movement. Freed from 'technical constraint' we all went berserk. When Mr. Foster came to watch, he looked most unhappy and after showing some of us some technical points from the side of the mat, he left the dojo looking even more unhappy. It was rumoured that he almost packed his bags and went home because we had totally lost everything that he had been trying to teach that morning.

Andy Allan taught a number of Aikido courses at Reading University. This is a write up by Robert Maughan (Reading University Aikido Club Secretary) of one evening session he taught in 1986 (a joint session with Graham Paton Sensei's West Middlesex Hospital Aikido Club):

On Wednesday 12th November, the Reading University Aikido Club was visited by Mr. Allan. For those of you who do not know Mr. Allan, he is a 4th dan and has an excellent teaching style.

The evening was spent mostly studying defences against 13th form attacks, even the recent recruits such as myself were starting to get the idea. I must say, it was most refreshing to watch someone throw our usual Sensei around the room, rather than having him throw us around the room. The session was finished off with some very fast kokyu-nage practice and after picking ourselves up off the floor, we retreated to the nearest University bar. In the relative safety of St. David's bar, we sat and listened to Sensei's words of wisdom on Aikido and University beer.

All in all a very enjoyable and useful evening and I would advise anyone who is offered the opportunity to attend a practice run by Mr. Allan to do so. You will find it well worthwhile.

Also teaching Aikido then at The Hut were Stan Samples and Ron Knight who taught the beginners' session on Mondays after Mr. Foster's weapons session, and Doug Caves who taught the weapons session on Thursdays until he stopped practising and it was taken over by Julian Vowles. Doug Caves was particularly keen on having us do suburi with the heavy iron bars instead of the usual wooden bokken.

This is a video of Andy Allan Sensei at an Aikido course near London teaching Kaeshi Waza in 1988:


To find out more about getting involved in the martial art of Aikido in Reading:

Home page of
White Oak Aikido in Reading, Berkshire, UK
Info for Beginners at White Oak Aikido Club and at Reading University - some more details about the Aikido clubs and what to expect if you come along
Aikido Training Times and venues for the Aikido clubs at Reading YMCA, Caversham Heights Methodist Church Hall and at Reading University
Joining White Oak Aikido or Reading University Aikido Club.
or please Contact us if you have any questions about Aikido or the club.
...and here's some more pages about Aikido in the past.

Chi Gung (Qi Gong) classes in Basingstoke and Caversham, Reading.

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Andy Allan Sensei
                              teaching an Aikido pinning technique
Andy Allan Sensei teaching at the Aikido Summer School in Treforest circa 1982.

Allan & Foster in 4th Kumijo
                              sequence of three pictures
Allan Sensei performs the 4th Kumijo with Foster Sensei at the Aikido Summer School in Treforest circa 1982.

Allan & Foster practise
                              Aiki-jo
Allan Sensei and Foster Sensei show Aiki-jo at Aikido Summer School in Treforest circa 1982.

Allan Sensei and Foster Sensei
                              showing Aiki-jo
Allan Sensei and Foster Sensei show Aiki-jo at the Aikido Summer School in Treforest.
 
Andy Allan Sensei shows the 5th
                              Kumijo - a double picture showing both
                              sides of the movement
Andy Allan Sensei at the Treforest Aikido Summer School circa 1983 showing the 5th Kumijo at almost the same point from both sides.

Andy Allan Sensei