Is Hanshi Benfell 9th Dan an Uncle Albert ?
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Over the last few years I have bumped into a local martial artist who on face value I call an “Uncle Albert” of martial arts. He is pleasant person who can tell some good tales about his martial arts career. But these tales are now getting taller.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']To give you some idea as to the history of this person, I have copied from his web site the following information; [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Hanshi Benfell trained with Sensei Kenshiro Abbe, learning Judo, Jujitsu and Budo. At about the same time he trained with Sensei Otani learning Judo and Ju-Jitsu.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Hanshi Benfell was introduced to Shotokan Karate and often trained under Sensei Enoeda in Leicester and Coventry.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']so continued to train with Sensei Tatso Suzuki learning Wada-Ryu Karate[/FONT][FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'].[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Hanshi Benfell trained in Fu-Jaw-Pai Gung-Fu (Tiger Ripping Style), learning from Master Tom Carey, Grandmaster Bob Johnson and Master Ted Harris.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']His biggest influence however was Sensei Morio Higoanna from the Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Hanshi Benfell sought trophies and achievement (with much success)[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Name: [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']M. Benfell Hanshi[/FONT]
Grade: 9th Dan Karate; 8th Level Gung-Fu; 7th Dan Ju-Jitsu [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']9th Dan in To Te Jutsu into the World Head of Family by the Sokeship Council; recognition of his 9th Level Gung-Fu by the World Martial Arts Master Society; 9th Dan Kempo Karate by the World Nibuikai Budo Federation; Shaolin Kempo 8th Level; International Chinese Boxing Chuan Tao Kempo Federation 8th Level; 8th Level gold sash from the World & Hong Kong Federation of Chinese Martial Arts; etc. etc.![/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']With fellow instructors Hanshi Benfell became one of the founder members of the Gao-Shan-Pai-Wu-Shu Association. Although no longer an active instructor for Gao Shan, he set up the Ryukyu Association of Karate and Gung-Fu (of which he is Chairman) and practices and teaches in the Ryukyu School of Martial Arts in Nuneaton (as Chief Instructor). [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Hanshi Benfell and the Ryukyu Association of Karate and Gung-Fu are full members of the [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']All Japanese Budo Federation Koyoto Japan[/FONT] and the [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']European Ju-Jitsu Union. [/FONT]He is personally a member of the [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']World Head of Family Sokeship Council[/FONT]; [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']W.S.C.S.O[/FONT] Director for England; [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']W.S.C.S.O[/FONT] International Advisor for Karate and [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']B.K.J.J.F[/FONT] Technical Advisor for Karate and Gung-Fu.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Thursdays[/FONT] at the New Community Centre, Cedar Road, Camp Hill, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 9EB [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Seniors[/FONT]: 7.30pm to 9pm
My question is, is all of this true? I can see immediate inconstancies in his grades; 8th Level Gung-Fu on one line and then 9th Level Gung-Fu by the World Martial Arts Master Society on another line?
Could he really have trained with all these Japanese masters?
OK.. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of my time (over 5 years) researching the origins of aikido within the United Kingdom (the originator being Abbe Kenshiro in 1955) I have never once heard of the person you mention in your post or heard anyone else involved with Abbe, Otani or any of the other early pioneers of British based budo. Indeed I will be checking with people who were students of Abbe Kenshiro Otani M. to verify my suspicions, that Benfell may be using the name of Abbe Kenshiro and or Matsutaro Otani illegitimately.
I'll post back when I get some more info
Just looking at his website just sets off all sorts of red flags, this in particular:
Regardless of any possible connections with the Japanese instructors previously mentioned, the above is by far enough to want to keep me away from this sort of rubbish.
Chairman Hanshi Benfell ..//.. He is personally a member of the World Head of Family Sokeship Council; W.S.C.S.O Director for England
The system of TO TE appears to be entirely made up but claims to have connections with Okinawa.
Benfell claims to have started training with Abbe Kenshiro when he was 17 - which would be 1964, However Abbe Kenshiro returned to Japan in that same year and didn't return to the UK until 1969.
Benfell's lineage is already starting to look suspect.
Originally Posted by Simio de las Rocas
Wow! That starts a big hole in his lineage. Its good to see that someone knows Abbe Kenshiro history.
Nice one Dave.
Ok so, I've opened the door a little to what I know to be factual information about Abbe Kenshiro, perhaps its time for you to answer a couple of questions:
What brought you here?
What relationship do you have to Benfell or his organisation, are you a current or former student?
Ultimately why do you want to know the information about Benfell's lineage.
I am here is to seek the truth
The reason I am here is to seek the truth about his lineage.
I have known of him through communal and social events.
I have never been his student and I have nothing to do with his organisation.
Well... Whilst you've answered my questions, you really haven't answered them, have you.
What is your motive, your agenda. If this guy has nothing to do with you or anyone directly connected to you or perhaps your martial arts study, why do you feel the need to bring the subject to this forum ?
Don't get me wrong, one of the purposes of this site is to expose the Walter Mitty's of the martial arts community however; that isn't done on the whim of someone who posts here for the first time and doesn't fully explain why they want to solicit the help of members here, and potentially cause problems and/or hassle for whomever is investigated.
You need to do waaay better than a three line response.
My Agenda and motive are one and the same. If Benfells linage is factual then he should be heralded as one on the greatest martial artist since Abbe[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Kenshiro[/FONT] and the other pioneers that brought martial arts to the UK.
If however this were to go the opposite way, the martial arts community in general should be notified.
Why? Well some years ago I trained diligently under a sensei that had a fantastic linage, he and his organisation claimed to be associated with various Japanese sensei. These claims were later proved to be false!
While he lost his reputation, I and all of those who studied and registered with his organisation were tarred and feathered with the same brush, that stigma will stay for the rest of our lives! Do you know what that is like?
This too could happen to all students who train or join Benfell’s organisation, unless he authenticates his claims.
Let's be clear about one important thing... we are NOT the Budo police.
Even if - *IF* Benfell's lineage or credentials are shown to be questionable, you need to realise that many IF NOT ALL his students will not merely put down their support just because we, you anyone says so.
I've personally investigated 3 individuals and in all instances went as far as obtaining tangible evidence to prove my points - there's one constant in all cases both mine and many others (if you care to search this site) students of these FRAUDS do not, at the drop of a hat, walk away from their sensei, sifu [whatever] even when you present the proof.
My advice to you with respect, is to walk away let him get on with his own business, and you do the same.
While I agree that current students will probably pay you little interest, the biggest potential benefit of an investigation is on prospective future students. If you have solid research, and write an article explaining your findings, you might help someone avoid buying into a lie.
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