Comments from our Facebook fans concerning the omission of important historical figures from aikido history

koichi-tohei-c1995More here:

Kimbal Anderson: I truly admire your honesty and bravery in seeking to inform and document Aikido and in particular the story of Osensei. Thank you

Stanley Pranin: Much appreciated!

Kimbal Anderson: Gambatte Pranin Sensei..I listened to Aikido is so similar to my own desire to live the..aiki way..

William Perkins: Would you expect anything else given the history of Aikikai, look at how all of O Sensei’s deshi are treated after his passing. You know the list better than I.

Jamie Yugawa: It is extremely wrong for these major organizations to hide the history of these individuals due to different beliefs or not the mainstream ideas. The Aikikai’s handling of Koichi Tohei Sensei and Morihito Saito Sensei’s legacy are prime examples of this mentality. The truth is evident and the historical content is valid. It is unfortunate that the leaders in the organization don’t realize that.

Autrelle Holland: There is a certain book on Aikido, which, over various republished editions, gradually removed any mention of K. Tohei. Just move forward, and pretend this person didn’t teach me, or didn’t teach my teacher. That’s the Aikido way even now. It’s an opportunist’s game not for the gain of better technique but position in the power structure.

Stanley Pranin: All excellent comments. Thanks, guys!

Harun Itachi Haupt: It was the best place to train your aikido especially if you were in it for the long term. Now when thinking bout Iwama dojo the picture of the hombu style comes to mind. That was the best time in my life when Saito was still in control of the Aiki Jinja and Iwama Dojo

Martin Hunger: Many thanks for tell the truth again and again without getting tired to do so. Unfortunately there is still a great ignorance of even highranked teachers for even simple facts. A few weeks ago i met a 5th Dan Aikikai (with an own Dojo and a lot of students) who never heard about a Aiki Shrine located at a place called Iwama. Hard to believe, but true …

Stanley Pranin: Quite amazing!

Jennifer Smith: These types of omissions and revisionism happen on local levels as well. It is no service to aikido to hide our brightest lights under bushel baskets. Nor to allow ourselves to be hindered by such activity.

Warwick Kent: In 2009 Isoyama Sensei gave a talk at the Iwama Ibaraki Dojo for 45 min on the history of the place and didn’t mention Morihiro Saito Sensei once! Go figure….

Ki No Musubi Dojo: At the Aikikai Hombu Dojo didn’t care about this…because they are fully interested on presenting Aikido as a Sport under the GAISF’s Combat Games… Sad but true. Aikido as a sport. Saito Sensei once said: “Aikikai: Sportsu Renmei, demo BUDO wakaranai !!” Thanks again Stanley Pranin Sensei, Gambatte kudasai !!

Stanley Pranin: This is part of the culture of the Aikikai. Saito Sensei was the daisempai of Isoyama Sensei during the time the latter first began to practice at the Iwama Dojo.

David Eayrs: Not just Aikikai look how they treated Inoue Hanshi and Chida Shihan of the Yoshinkan

David Eayrs: Stanley, great will purchase soon.

Stanley Pranin: Much appreciated, David!

Nico Poppelier: Being raised (aikido-wise) in the Tohei branch of aikido, I wondered for a long time why his name wasn’t mentioned in the books about aikido I read (few were available in my first years of training). Thanks to Aikido Journal, plus a few other sources on internet, I managed to get a more complete picture.

David Eayrs: Nico, Tohei Hanshi was a great Master ,unfortunatly as Stanley Sensei has said many times,it is very easy to push the truth aside.when it suits politics but fact is fact,

David Eayrs: Stanley Sensei.keep up this great work and service that you have given to the Aikido world regardless of styles etc,I know sometimes very frustrating often without rewards,me 50 years teaching and studying Aikido ,results broke,pain,

Nico Poppelier @David: Although I never trained with Tohei sensei himself (which I would have loved) I have the great fortune of being able to train with one of Tohei’s uchi-deshi several times per year (since 1987 or so). Apart from that, I have trained, on occasion, with several others of Tohei’s students, including his son. I believe you when you say he was a great master.

Aikido Montreal: I had a big conflict with my first sensei and then with Tamura sensei in France about that. I just asked: ”What the presence of Tohei sensei have been changed if he was still an Aikikai member, and if we were still able to see him through seminaries?” We can’t imagine the explosion which followed according to that short question, and the conflict I was involved in until Tamura’s sensei death and René VDB death a year after. Thank you Stanley for the article.

Stanley Pranin: Very much appreciate the comments!

David Eayrs: I understand you well. Years ago I asked a question to the son of a great master which resulted in me being effectively banned from my Aikido in Crazy Japan

Bertil Bengtsson: What a bad show of disrespect by Aikikai towards Tohei – and Saito (another flagrant example)! Great and daring of you, Mr. Pranin, to put the record straight! Respect to you!

David Eayrs: Bertil, well said

Kevin Murphy: I have been following your work for 25+ yrs and it has been wonderful and very informative if I can get the extra money I really want to get this

William Perkins: Thanks again, Stanley for you insightful commentary. Politics always seem to be present in the Aikido and the martial world. I think the ego is a hard opponent in deed .

Stanley Pranin: Your many comments are very much appreciated!

Fran Adams: Amazing courage.

Alex Barahona: Maybe what O’Sensei did when he went to Iwama is not of any interest for aikido? Maybe Morihei Ueshiba was a old fool? And Aikikai can rewrite the whole story of aikido, and destroy everything in the near future with this combat games issue? I am glad I have never being part of Aikikai and allways pratice Iwama Style Aikido.

David Eayrs: When I began to study Yoshinkan Aikido in 1962 I was immersed in the concept of Love, Harmony and coordination.back in those days we thought that all Japanese teachers were like Gods. Over the years the greats like Saito Sensei.Shioda Sensei,Tohei Sensei and many more have given us the true meaning of O’Sensei’s Aikido the rest barrack room lawyers have decimated our Aikido. My beautiful wife Oksana said to me recently “I have followed you and believed in your Aikido for 15 years now, “I know that it’s words only there is no Harmony only conflict…”


  1. Tom Collings says:

    Yes, the Aiki Kai has tried to erase the enormous contributions of Morihiro Saito and Koichi Tohei, but let’s remember that large organizations are by nature generally corrupt and re-write history to benefit their own aims. Martial arts organizations are no exception. Yes, O’Sensei’s wonderful old Iwama Dojo has basically been closed and re-made in the Aiki Kai image – a mere historical relic, a hollow shell of what it once was.

    But – Be aware great aikido training is alive and well in Iwama – there are now THREE dojos in and around Iwama with high energy old style training of the Founder! Visiting students can choose to train with Hitohiro Saito, Nemoto, or Umezawa – all three are great Iwama sempai. A tough choice for sure!

    This summer I had wonderful training at the Genshin Dojo / Zendo of Masao Umezawa – Morihiro Saito’s son in law and a great teacher. So go! Train! Enjoy! and forget the Aiki Kai and all their shenanigans. Just train.

  2. Aside from on the Takemusu Aikido Kai websites, I never see any mention of Suzuki Toshinobu. I know that Takemusu Aikido Kai is a tiny branch, but is that the only reason?

    (Takemusu Aikido Kai isn’t the same as the Takemusu Aikido/Iwama Ryu branch, though Saito said there wan’t much difference and I, Iwama-Ryu trained and now practicing with Takemusu Aikido Kai, only see a few, small, differences.)

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