Jan
14

See rare photo and video clips of Koichi Tohei, 10th dan!

One of the most important Aikido instructors–a man known worldwide for his early efforts in disseminating the art–is Koichi Tohei, 10th dan. Tohei Sensei’s contributions to the art are legion: development of a technical curriculum based on ki principles, later known as Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido; publication of many of the first books in English on Aikido; personal training of several prominent athletes including homerun hitter, Sadaharu Oh, and sumo champion, Chiyonofuji; the first man to receive a 10th dan in Aikido, directly from the Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Click here to see a rare photo and action video of this great teacher!


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Comments

  1. I have read some great writings of his; it’s good to see him in motion. He had his own choice pertaining to what was best for his future and probably the future of Aikido, as every man has an equal right to make decisions from his circumstances. In 20/20 hindsight, it seems he did the Aikido world a favor by leaving Honbu. Had he stayed, who knows?

  2. …at some point i’m going to have to investigate how many of the extension exercises i got early in my training came from Tohei sensei. most, i suspect. then the question would be how many did i miss or simply misunderstand…

  3. Coming from my only Taichi bachground I do notice that Tohei Sensei maintains his centering even AFTER he does his throws. In other words he does not loose his balance after the throw. To me that is very important. I see that in Saito Sensei too. However as in the recent All Japan Aikido demo I can only see a handfull of Shihans having that centering after doing their techniques. We have so much to learn from Tohei Sensei.

  4. I respect this great Aikido master a lot. I am particularly interested to learn more about “Ki”.

  5. I have received my DVD and it brings back fond memories of my beginnings with Tohei Sensei. It’s very good to see the beginnings of the founding of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido and how it has grown. I am proud to still be teaching the principles and the new and more precise info from Tohei Sensei, and President Shinichi Tohei Sensei.

  6. I think he did more for Aikido than any other figure outside of O-Sensei. He is the true 1st Doshu, excellent feature. Thank you very much.

  7. Amazing. You wrote he was the true first Doshu, Eric B. When I was watching this video, I just began to wonder whether this was the real issue that caused the rift…blood is thick…but as we cannot change reality, we can only work on our perception of/ reaction to it, and I believe this rift is just a reminder that harmony is not easy to create and maintain, not for ANYBODY, at ANY level of mastery, so we have to keep trying hard!

  8. …am very sure that personalities had a lot to do with the rift. his style is attractive, but “showy”. after all these years of training would encourage anybody to compare with Saito sensei for balance/poise/economy of effort, and with Daito ryu for zanshin. am less impressed by that which is preserved on film than with “the legend”…

  9. I just can’t help but think he would not be able to do that with real determined attackers, such as MMA…. He would have been crushed, so therefore would have to resort to atemi pretty rapidly and early….
    It just isn’t real…. I’m not convinced.

  10. I think that most people lose sight of what aikido is and live in a fantasy world. Aikido is a martial discipline that has some aspects of self-defense, depending on whether or not the instructor puts emphasis on martial application. But the truth is that no one is going to be able to compete in an MMA type of event, just doing traditional aikido. They will need to do considerable cross training. But that’s true for any traditional martial art. Even BJJ practitioners must take kick-boxing and practice western wrestling take-downs in order to deal with serious hard-core martial artists.

    I think that most of the well known aikido instructors, the original students of O-sensei, paint a picture of aikido as the ultimate martial art. Freestyle practice for example is an exercise that is meant to bring fluidity and spontaneity to ones practice. To think that you are going to beat 5 trained and determined martial artists from other disciplines is absurd. I believe that is true for me, Tohei Sensei, and even O-sensei himself. In my opinion, most aikido instructors, especially those in the upper most echelons would have you believe that they posses the skills and power to take on anybody. While they may teach good things to practice that will add much to a persons life,their presentations are less than honest. In particular they don’t tell the students when they are doing an exercise as opposed to a martial technique. Then, the few times they are called on it, the usual answer is the veiled threat that they can’t show you the real power of aikido because someone would get hurt. I’ve even heard some of the 2nd and 3rd generation, Shihans from the aikikai claim that they could vanish and re-appear at the top of a staircase. They go on to say that every time they do something like that, it takes years off their life so unfortunately we won’t be seeing that demonstration.

    Aikido is a wonderful martial art with some effective self-defense aspects to it. Most important in my opinion is the sense of meditation and personal empowerment that good, traditional practice imparts. Unfortunately, people often get carried away and wind up going through a syndrome akin to the WWF professional wrestling fans.

  11. A truly excellent post by Bruce Bookman Sensei, coming from a place of hands on experience in several martial disciplines, and a lifetime of soul searching introspection, and daily training that very few “masters” dare to undertake.

    If I may, I would like to comment as follows.

    Aikido is truly a martial discipline painstakingly designed and defined by the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Its designated opponent, however, was never the person one faces on the outside. Rather, it was, is and always will be the one within the self, the one to correct, nurture and to develop into a true friend in time of need.

    A true martial artist would never be so foolish or deluded into believing or fantasizing that a single martial discipline or two would insure success in his world. He or she would wish to glean all that could be learned from as many disciplines available and possible. Otherwise, he would surely find himself one day with a knife at a gunfight.

    The inclusion of Aikido as a desirable component of his overall store of knowledge, applicability and inspiration may very well be based on a desire to ensure both personal accountability and social responsibility needs are properly addressed. After all, is it not true that we train in preparation to preserve peace and survivability, and not to promote and prolong conflict and chaos.

    Isn’t it time for responsible and enlightened students of Ueshiba Aiki to stop regarding Aikido, or any other traditional martial arts system, as a stand alone panacea for what ills us or the world? In any final analysis, Aikido is merely a word, a concept, a tool, when in combined usage with other applicable tools, allows us to think, believe and achieve what we most earnestly desire, and the ability to make it happen.

  12. Thank you, Takahashi Sensei for your response to my post and for what you added. Good things to think about!

  13. “Isn’t it time for responsible and enlightened students of Ueshiba Aiki to stop regarding Aikido, or any other traditional martial arts system, as a stand alone panacea for what ills us or the world? In any final analysis, Aikido is merely a word, a concept, a tool, when in combined usage with other applicable tools, that allows us to think, believe and achieve what we most earnestly desire, and the ability to make it happen”…This is true and it’s time for a change in thinking.

  14. As sensei since 1975, Peace Officer and ERT Commander, it has been in my view the combination from a mixed knowledge to prevail in actual deadly encounters. My Dojos for Aiki cross training suggest that growth of expanding potential is foremost if based on sound principles. We choose to use 100 principles to plug in to a codec of “adaptive statistical probabilities’ in order to successfully apply Aikido (with other skills) into an effective combination in order for the student to remain safe through counter attack tenkan/irimi, etc. Tohei Sensei was the first to consider the application of principles (initially KI) in order to begin this process of growth in Aiki. O-Sensei would have understood that positive growth is life, and with modifications and addenda (if substantiated) are not only honorable, but essential to life essence. We must applaud and honor Tohei for standing by his conviction that he only wished to help the students by allowing Aiki to grow and prosper by following many roads. Prosper and grow: it has.
    Thank you ———–Lundgren Shihan BC Canada

  15. Quote,
    “I think that most of the well known aikido instructors, the original students of O-sensei, paint a picture of aikido as the ultimate martial art. Freestyle practice for example is an exercise that is meant to bring fluidity and spontaneity to ones practice. To think that you are going to beat 5 trained and determined martial artists from other disciplines is absurd”.

    Thanks Bruce, It’s nice to know there are some rational thinkers out there.
    Tomiki Shihan as far as I’m aware made Ninnin dori (two people practice) all that was needed for multiple attack practice. To have more than two is as you say absurd, such is the collusion that has manifested this problem!!
    It’s all good practice for evasion tactics and escape. However, it does not work so well against “kettling” where all attackers come in together tightly, (now is the time to lash out and make a space!!) not allowing for an escape route which would happen in a real situ. It’s there where the damage is going to happen. The UK police use it to great effect to contain political demonstrations, and I’m sure similar methods are used elsewhere.
    It’s about time such things like this came out into the open to address the obvious (to me), that aikido has it’s uses, but is useless in self defence per se if one does not practice against fully resisting opponents or has experience in other martial art such as judo, boxing etc etc
    I will keep reiterating this till I’m blue in the face….
    All those aiki bunnies out there please get real…. It’s wake up time!!

  16. Samuel Coe says:

    I just love that in almost every video or photo I see of Koichi Tohei he is smiling!
    He always looks like he is enjoying himself which at the end of the day you should be enjoying yourself, if your not enjoying aikido why are you doing it? Sadly I don’t see many at my club smiling like that.

    Take care

  17. “Aikido the art of self Defense”is the title Tohei sensei first book…it’s more ART than real self defense…and you are now seeing UFC/MMA type of attacks on the street…so you need more than Aikido in your tool box.

  18. Cyril Landise says:

    In my opinion, Aikido can’t be “used” on anyone but yourself. It is a training method, or way, to learn the power of harmonious action. Boxers don’t “use” a jump rope in the ring, that doesn’t mean that jumping rope is not an effective way to train. These skills can then be taken into life to apply as desired.
    Besides, the best real-life Aikido “street stories”, to me, are when nothing happened.

  19. Sorry…but shit happens everyday…you will need more than Aikido in Real life “street stories”.

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