Help us pin down the date and location of a Koichi Tohei Sensei seminar held in San Francisco in 1974

We are working hard on the preparation of a new DVD documenting the life and techniques of Koichi Tohei Sensei during the time of his association with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo where he served for many years as chief instructor.

One of the films comprising this documentary was apparently shot in the San Francisco Bay area in 1974. A seminar and public demonstration were conducted at unknown locations. It is possible that Hideki Shiohira Sensei who was affiliated with Tohei Sensei during that time frame was involved in this event. We know that Tohei Sensei was in Los Angeles during July of 1974 and it is likely that this event in Northern California was part of this tour to America. If any of you out there can shed light on the details of this seminar and demonstration, we would be very appreciative.

Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide any information you may have.


Stanley Pranin


  1. Bob Frager says:

    There were several classes/seminars that Tohei sensei gave I believe. The one in San Francisco was at Bob Tann’s dojo, actually in South San Francisco. Hideki Shiohira was there, having recently arrived from Japan. I clearly remember training with him in that class.

  2. …sorry. started in June ’74 so such elevated matters were above my level of consciousness. but didn’t Saito Sensei visit Oakland in about October ’74?

  3. Patrick Splitt says:

    I attended a 7 day course in the “Way of Coordination of Mind and Body and Shinshin Toitsu Aikido” given by Koichi Tohei in 1975. I think it was held at San Francisco State University, but I am not sure. I have an attendance certificate dated August 3rd 1975, that is signed by Hideki Shiohira. I can send you a scan of this document, if you wish.
    The thing that I still remember about the seminar was the contrast between the softness of the techniques he was teaching and the serious hurt he was giving some of his ukes. Many of these ukes were Aikido instructors who were undecided on whether to stay with Hombu or join The Ki Society. Tohei sensei was making a point of demonstrating that his Aikido REALLY worked.

  4. Bob & Patrick,

    Thanks very much for your input. When I first posted information about this old film, I uploaded a number of still shots. You’ll find them here:


    As you can see, it seems that the venue is some sort of hall or perhaps a Japanese cultural center with a stage. Does that ring a bell? The year is definitely 1974 as I got a call this morning from the videographer confirming this.

    Please have a look at these photos and see if this helps you recall something about the event. The final photo is of the public demonstration held in conjunction with the seminar. This may be at the San Francisco Veteran’s auditorium, but I’m not sure.


  5. Patrick Splitt says:

    I started practicing Aikido at the Aikido Institute in 1975. I’m afraid that I have no knowledge of what was going on in the Aikido world prior to that.

  6. Stan – I believe that this was Tohei’s ‘kick off’ tour for establishing the Ki Society.

    From what I understand Rod Kobyashi (Seidokan) was already in So. California. I do believe that Imaizumi was sent over before this ‘tour’ and followed Tohei around the US ending in NYC to establish the Ki Society headquarters in NY.

    I would suggest getting in touch with Imaizumi Sensei, perhaps through Marc Abrams if you do not have a direct number. (I can get you a phone number if you send me an email).

  7. Larry,

    Thank you very much for your input. That helps clarify things. I’ll try contacting Imaizumi Sensei through Marc. I believe Calvin Tabata was involved also.


  8. roy tempest says:

    If you are interested in Tohei Sensei and his influence in the U.K. Try to contact Mat Tennent Sensei. He has many photos and stories to tell. Roy.

  9. Don Stratton says:

    Tohei Sensei gave a week long seminar in Fullerton, California before this one in SF. We also had a weekend camp in Malibu in this same time period. I attended those two but not this one in SF.

    His seminar in 1975 was at the University of San Francisco, not SF State. This tour was definitely to promote the Ki society

    The tall uke in the photo is Ernie Pineda.

  10. Doug McCulloch says:

    Is that Ernie Pineda with Tohei Sensei!? We were with the Mission Rebels dojo along with Steve Sasaki, Ken Kubo, Leiko, Bob Habekoss, Doug Green and many others when that seminar took place. I have some photos from the seminar in a box somewhere if that would be helpful.

  11. Lizzy Lynn says:

    Stan, I attended that demonstration; I was training at San Francisco Aikikai, known as the Mission Rebels dojo. It might have been at USF but it also might have been at Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. Prior to that visit, he was in San Francisco at Shiohira Sensei’s request. Shiohira Sensei had recently left San Francisco Aikikai, and opened his dojo on Market Street. I attended a class with Tohei Sensei at the Market Street dojo. He signed my copy of This Is Aikido. The date in it is July 3, 1973.

  12. Bob Habekoss says:

    I went to a seminar with Tohei Sensei back in the summer of 1974 which I believe took place at Cal State University of Fullerton. During one of the classes we practiced Kiatsu healing techniques. I had a painful knee injury that was not improving. During the class I asked Tohei Sensei if he would Kiatsu my knee injury. He agreed to help me. We sat down on the mat and he placed his thumbs on my knee joint. As the Kiatsu began, I could actually feel the energy flowing into my knee. My injured knee improved soon after the Kiatsu therapy. The Kiatsu therapy really helped me and I am grateful for his help.

Speak Your Mind