Koichi Tohei, 10th dan: “Pioneer of Aikido in the USA”

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“10th Dan Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo c. 1967” Koichi Tohei Sensei was one of the first Aikikai shihan to disseminate aikido in the USA. His first trip abroad was to Hawaii in 1953 where he remained for a year. He set up a large network of dojos in the islands, and visited […]

“10th Dan Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo c. 1967”

Koichi Tohei Sensei was one of the first Aikikai shihan to disseminate aikido in the USA. His first trip abroad was to Hawaii in 1953 where he remained for a year. He set up a large network of dojos in the islands, and visited made other times subsequently. Tohei Sensei’s first trip to the mainland USA took place in August 1965. He remained very active as the chief instructor of the Aikikai until his resignation in 1974. Tohei Sensei founded the Shinshin Toitsu Aikido at this time, and taught this style of aikido that combined ki aikido techniques and a ki pressure healing system called “Kiatsu” thereafter. He passed away in May 2011 at the age of 91.

This undated photo of Tohei Sensei was probably taken about 1967 during one of his instructional tours of the USA. Notable are his powerful physique and massive forearms.
Photo link courtesy of Sakura Mai.

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Koichi Tohei – 1974 Seminar, Part 1, Hi-res video
This downloadable video is the first part of surviving footage of a seminar conducted by Koichi Tohei in 1974 in San Francisco, California. This was near the period of time of his resignation as chief instructor from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Tohei Sensei was teaching a mixture of his style of aikido techniques together with the “Ki” exercises that comprised his curriculum. Though physically very powerful, Tohei Sensei emphasized a relaxed, circular form of movement where the intention was to blend with one’s partner and lead his mind. His approach to aikido can be clearly seen through a viewing of this rare video.

Koichi Tohei – 1974 Seminar, Part 2, Hi-res video
This downloadable video is the second and concluding part of footage of a seminar conducted by Koichi Tohei in 1974 in San Francisco, California. The hi-res video includes the remaining part of the seminar as well as an exciting demonstration performed on stage after the event. Tohei Sensei demonstrates ki principles through various exercises and basic techniques.

Koichi Tohei

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