Today I was rummaging through some boxes containing miscellaneous stuff and ran across a beautiful poster that has been in storage since back in 1965. This flyer was an announcement of a large aikido demonstration given by Koichi Tohei Sensei, 9th dan, in downtown Los Angeles, in the Little Tokyo district.
I was a participant in the demonstration from the Los Angeles Aikikai and remember the event very well. Let me tell you what happened. On the day of the event, there was some kind of a mixup, and no tatami mats were brought to the Koyasan Temple, the venue for the demonstration. This meant that everyone had to take ukemi on the hard linoleum flooring!
Tohei Sensei gathered us together and told us that this mishap would be a good opportunity to train our ki, and that we should stay relaxed and not worry about getting hurt. I must confess that I was a bit apprehensive since I had never trained on a hard surface before. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that way, but as they say, the show must go on!
There were aikidoka from all over California and neighboring states who came to town for the event. Tohei Sensei had been in Los Angeles for several weeks and was conducting classes and examinations in various locations. Just prior to this demonstration, I took and passed my shodan test in front of him at the Los Angeles Aikikai. It was an exciting time for me in the early stages of my aikido career.
As he did always, Tohei Sensei held the audience captivated with his mixture of ki demonstrations, flashy techniques, and good humor. Fortunately, there are some films from that era here at Aikido Journal, so you can get an idea of what Tohei Sensei’s technique and aikido curriculum that heavily emphasized ki were like.
I don’t know how I managed to hang on to this poster for all these years. It was in very good condition, and I had three copies of it folded together. I have worked on it in Photoshop to clean up blemishes and improve upon the quality of this outstanding photo of Koichi Tohei. I know there are some collectors out there who like things like this poster, so I have uploaded a high-resolution copy that you can download to your computer. Please help yourself!
Free to download through December 17!
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