As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog consisting of an overview of Koichi Tohei Sensei’s early years in aikido, I would like to address a subject that has long been shunned. It is an important point, historically speaking, because it marks a major fork in the evolution of postwar aikido. As with most things, there is a story behind the story.
I refer, of course, to Tohei Sensei’s resignation from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in May 1974. The impact of Tohei’s withdrawal from the Hombu Dojo was amplified by his sending of an open letter to a large number of aikido schools and instructors the world over explaining the reasons for his departure.
To my knowledge, the letter has never been published and cannot be found anywhere on the Internet. Why? Is this a conspiracy to keep today’s aikidoka ignorant of these major events of long ago? If it is a conspiracy we’re talking about, then both concerned parties–Tohei and the Aikikai–are participants and have adopted the same tact: virtual silence.