Monday, June 8, 2015

Koichi Tohei Technique Whitout Ki is not Aikido

Koichi Tohei Technique Whitout Ki is not Aikido

Interview 1965 blackbelt magazine

BB: How many times have you visited the United States?
Tohei Sensei: I've made five trips to Hawaii and two to California.

BB: Have you been to any other countries?
Tohei Sensei: No, but the Hombu (headquarters) has sent five instructors to Europe.

BB: Are you planning to visit other countries?
Tohei Sensei: No, I have too many students to teach in America.

BB: Is Aikido good for children?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, in Hawaii, the Aikikai teaches children from 8 years old up. They have about 300 children today.

BB: But don't you think it is too difficult for them to understand the ki?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, it is difficult, but they learn if the instructor can explain the coordination of the ki with the body.

BB: What is the best age to learn Aikido?
Tohei Sensei: I think about 8 years old.

BB: Don't you think that age is too young? Before they can really understand the ki, they'll be tired of the art.
Tohei Sensei: This depends on the teachings.

BB: To what extent?
Tohei Sensei: Some excellent university professors cannot teach children, only adults. Aikido instructors are the same. But it is a prerequisite that children have a superior instructor.

BB: Would you recommend Aikido for women?
Tohei Sensei: Yes.

BB: How about older people?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, for them also.

BB: Why aren't there more women and older people who practice Aikido? They seem to be enthusiastic at first but eventually fade out after taking a few falls.
Tohei Sensei: Because they are afraid to fall. One Aikido instructor realized this and started a special type of training for these people. His students just do exercises with the application of the ki under the Guidance of Police Lt. Shinichi Suzuki of Maui, Hawaii. They learned to flow the ki just as well as their counterparts who study the entire art.

BB: Do you think the main principle of Aikido is the ki?
Tohei Sensei: Yes.

BB: How many countries have Aikido dojos today?
Tohei Sensei: Aikido was taught in 18 countries five years ago, but I don't know the exact figures today-maybe 30 or 40 countries.

BB: Approximately how many person participate in Aikido today?
Tohei Sensei: About 100,000 I'd say.

BB: How many in Japan and Hawaii?
Tohei Sensei: Seventy to 80 thousand in Japan. About 1,500 in Hawaii.

BB: Is it easier to teach American beginners or Japanese?
Tohei Sensei: The Japanese seem to accept it more readily.

BB: In other words the Americans are more skeptical?
Tohei Sensei: Well, the Japanese are skeptical too, but they are easier to convince.


BB: Many readers want to know the differences, if any between the various Aikido groups, such as Hombu, Yoshinkai, Goshin, and others. Are there any differences?
Tohei Sensei: The techniques look alike but only Hombu applies the ki. Without the ki, this, to me, is not Aikido. If you use physical force to do the techniques, your movements will not be natural.

BB: Are there many police forces using Aikido?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, Hawaii police departments have been using Aikido for many years and so have the Japanese police departments.

BB: What about the Japanese Army and Navy?
Tohei Sensei: Every military camp in Japan has an Aikido organization.

BB: I notice that you have been giving many exhibitions to the police in New York, Sari Francisco, Los Angeles and the other large cities. What were their reactions?
Tohei Sensei: They were very receptive to Aikido, but the problem in New York was how to teach 27,000 policemen. I remained only a short time in that city. The only way to teach 27,000 policemen is to have an instructor in each department.

BB: Recently we noticed a pocketbook entitled The Power of Aikido by Claude St. Denise that sells for 95 cents. Any comment on the book?
Tohei Sensei: I've seen this book and frankly believe the author doesn't know the principles of Aikido because such statements as: "More powerful than karate and judo..." is contrary to Aikido's teaching. The mountain doesn't laugh at the river because it is lowly nor does the river laugh at the mountain because it cannot move. Each art has its own good points end philosophy and never should we criticize any of the other arts. Such a book as this will only give a misconception of Aikido and slow its growth. I personally do not know the author, Claude St. Denise.

BB: If a police department wants to see a demonstration of Aikido how much will they have to pay?
Tohei Sensei: Nothing, I'll do it free anytime.

BB: Do you think Aikido can be applied to your daily life?
Tohei Sensei: Certainly! The most important concept of Aikido training is to applying it to daily life. Aikido teaches you to relax and that alone is beneficial. I wrote a book recently entitled How to Apply Aikido Principles To Your Daily Life.

BB: Is that book written in Japanese or English?
Tohei Sensei: In Japanese, but an English translation should be out soon.

BB: Could you give us an idea as to the main theme of the book?
Tohei Sensei: This book explains the details of ki. The first book tells readers how they can understand ki, how they can develop it, and how they can apply it to their daily life in sleeping, waking, eating, walking, and thinking.

BB: Do you actually concentrate or keep your one point 24 hours a day or are you like most people in the United States and only do it in the dojo (school)?

Tohei Sensei: I definitely keep my one point at all times. If you do it only in the dojo, you cannot develop your ki because the training you receive in the dojo is too short. Only an hour or two a day is not enough. You must do it until it becomes a part of you and you do it naturally - unconsciously like breathing. Too many beginners do not really understand and keep concentrating on the one point (a point 2 inches below your navel) almost in a physical manner. They look at their expanded bellies and think they are doing it right. They do not understand they must concentrate, not intensively, but calmly.

BB: Why is it that while the demand for Aikido instructors in the United States has gone up considerably there still seems to be a lack of dojos?
Tohei Sensei: Because there aren't enough instructors. If Aikido was only a physical art, you could easily teach a person to become an instructor. But because Aikido stresses the ki, the training takes much longer. Until an instructor knows the art - physically and mentally - he can't do a good job. It would be like the blind leading the blind.

BB: Is it possible to study Aikido from a book for many of these people who do not have a dojo in their area?
Tohei Sensei: It is very difficult to understand the movements of Aikido from a book but you may be able to learn and apply the mental aspect of Aikido from a book. You must, of course, read the book thoroughly maybe four or five times, before you can really understand it. Then you must practice the movements and attempt to follow what you have read.

BB: In other words, you do recommend a person to study from a book if a dojo is not available?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, if a dojo is not available. But if one is, you should attend a good dojo because you'll be able to learn the finer points of the art which you may miss from a book.

BB: If I should read your book and misinterpret one of the techniques or exercises, and keep practicing it wrong, will that hinder my development later on when I join a dojo?
Tohei Sensei: No. When I visited Chicago a few months ago, four people from Ohio came to study under me and I was surprised because they knew the techniques quite well. When I inquired who taught them, they said that they had learned it from my book. One person would read while the others practiced the techniques. They didn't reveal any major faults in their movements. I'm glad that my book can help people who live in an area where a dojo is not accessible.

BB: Do you recommend any specific exercise for a student outside the dojo?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, a student should practice whatever he learned in the dojo. This will develop his technique much faster.

BB: Could you say how a student could be more conscious of the one point so he can develop his ki faster?
Tohei Sensei: I always teach in the dojo that you must apply your one point and keep applying it continuously until it becomes a habit. I even tell students to teach others so they can understand.

BB: Don't you think it is dangerous to concentrate on the one point while driving?
Tohei Sensei: Too many people misunderstand concentrating on the one point and nothing else. This is a misconception. Concentration of the one point means to keep your mind calm and after you receive that feeling to retain that feeling. Then you can drive your car or do anything else more safely and with better judgment.

BB: Will you return to the United States after this trip?
Tohei Sensei: Yes, I'll try to be back again in 1966 or 1967.

BB: Are you satisfied with the growth of Aikido in the United States?
Tohei Sensei: Actually, I'm flabbergasted by the growth of Aikido in the United States. I didn't think it would grow as fast as it has within the last four years.

 Black Belt Magazine, November 1965

Master Tohei is the chief instructor of the Hombu, Japan's Aikido headquarters and has been instrumental in introducing aikido to Hawaii and the United States. Black Belt interviewed him recently to find out more about the movement of Aikido in the United States and the rest of the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Students of Koichi Tohei

Students of Koichi Tohei

These are some ot the more know students of Koichi Tohei.

Both before and during his position as head instructor at the Hombu Dojo, Tohei instructed many notable aikidoka. Several of these have since made lasting impacts on aikido in general.

Among these are:

Koretoshi Maruyama, former Chief Instructor and President of Ki Society, who has since founded the independent Aikido Yuishinkai International style of aikido.

Koretosi Maruyama Sensei

Shizuo Imaizumi (今泉鎮雄), 7th Dan Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, who founded the independent Shin Budo Kai style of aikido.

Calvin Tabata, 8th Dan Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido,and founder of the NW Ki Federation. He holds an Okuden Ki rank, is a full Lecturer in the Ki Society, and is the Chief Instructor of the Personal Kiatsu School. He began his training in Hawaii and is a lifelong direct student of Ki Society founder Koichi Tohei sensei. Tabata sensei has been teaching in the Northwest since 1970. He established the Oregon Ki Society in 1974 and the Personal Kiatsu School in 1993.

Koichi Kashiwaya, 8th Dan Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, head Ki-Aikido instructor for the USA.

Ken Williams, Founder of the Ki-Aikido Federation of Great Britain.

Kenjiro Yoshigasaki, 8th dan Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, who was a pioneer in spreading Ki-aikido in Europe and has since founded the independent Ki no Kenkyukai Association Internationale organisation.

Kenjiro Yoshigasaki

Fumio Toyoda, 6th Dan, founder of the Aikido Association of America and Aikido Association International.

Roy Y. Suenaka, founder of Wadokai Aikido.

Shuji Maruyama, founder of Kokikai Aikido.

Steven Seagal, 7th Dan, American action movie actor, producer, writer, director and a Blues singer-songwriter.

stevan seagal
Steven Seagal
David E. Shaner, PhD, 7th Dan, Chief Instructor of the Eastern Ki Federation and chair of Furman University's philosophy department, where he specializes in Japanese philosophy and philosophy of science. Shaner is also principle of CONNECT, LLC and author of the recently released "The Seven Arts of Change: Leading Business Transformation That Lasts."

Kenji Ota, featured in a series of Panther Productions Ki-Aikido instructional videos, along with being a champion ballroom dancer and father of 5th Dan, Steve Ota.[2]

Roderick T. Kobayashi was a 20 year+ student of Master Tohei and was promoted to Rokudan (6th Dan) Aikikai in 1973. Rod then taught Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido world-wide until forming his own version of Aikido in 1981 which he named Seidokan Aikido.

Kochi Tohei

Koichi Tohei

Koichi Tohei (藤平光一 Tōhei Kōichi) (20 January 1920 – 19 May 2011) was a 10th Dan aikidoka and founder of the Ki Society and its style of aikido, officially Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (literally "aikido with mind and body unified"), but commonly known as Ki-Aikido.

Kochi Tohei 1962
koichi Tohei 1974
Koichi Tohei 1974

Death of Koichi Tohei

Death of Koichi Tohei

Koichi Tohei died at 9:14 AM, Japan time (GMT +9) on May 19, 2011, after two weeks of being admitted in hospital due to a discomfort in his chest which proved to be inflammation in the lungs. Wataru Hatakeyama, of the Ki Society Headquarters, informed that "he went to intensive-care unit (ICU) twice and came back to general ward each time with his strength of Ki, however, his heart got weak little by little this morning and he passed away.

Master Tohei 1920-2011

Koichi Tohei Post-war years

Koichi Tohei Post-war years

In 1953, Tohei was sent to Hawaii to introduce aikido there. From then on, Hawaii became a center for the diffusion of aikido in the United States and, later, of Tohei's particular style.

In 1969, Tohei was asked by Ueshiba to accept the new rank of 10th dan,[1] which Tohei accepted, after having previously refused the same offer. The top rank in aikido had been 8th dan, but the ranks were expanded by Ueshiba for practical as well as political reasons.

Creation of the Ki no Kenkyukai

The events leading up to the split between the main aikido organization, the Aikikai, and Koichi Tohei were fueled with the death of Morihei Ueshiba in 1969. His son Kisshomaru Ueshiba would inherit the title of Doshu. At the time of Ueshiba's death, Koichi Tohei was chief instructor of the Hombu Dojo, the headquarters of Aikikai, a title he would retain until his official split from Aikikai in 1974.

Kochi Tohei 1974
 One of the major causes of the conflict arose from Koichi Tohei's emphasis on his principle of ki in aikido. Tohei wanted aikido to focus on these principles, using exercises to both cultivate and test ki in the daily aikido practice. He had already started teaching his new ideas during his own training sessions at Hombu dojo, but the majority of the other instructors would not. There were some who agreed with Tohei's approach, but Tohei's actions were not welcomed by Kisshomaru and most of the senior instructors. They strongly encouraged him not to teach his principles and techniques in the Hombo Dojo. Tohei replied that he had the right to teach it outside Hombu Dojo, which he did.

But the tensions remained among the senior cadre of instructors, who still did not approve of Tohei's focus upon ki. These brewing tensions together with Tohei's general dissatisfaction with the situation culminated in 1971 when he created the Ki No Kenkyukai, with the purpose of promoting the development and cultivation of ki inside aikido, but outside the Aikikai "umbrella". The years of conflict would finally cement Tohei's decision to break away from the Aikikai and teach his own 'ki' style of aikido. So, on 1 May 1974, Koichi Tohei officially left the Aikikai organisation to concentrate on his newly created Ki-aikido and Ki-society.

On the 15th of May in 1974, Tohei sent a letter in English and Japanese to the majority of the dojos both in Japan and abroad, explaining his reasons for the breakaway and his plans involving Ki-aikido and the Ki-society. This breakup came as a shock to many aikidoka throughout the dojos of the world. Tohei was well regarded by many instructors and students. He was seen as the foremost sensei of Aikido after Ueshiba's death. This, in turn, led to several dojos breaking with the Aikikai and joining Tohei in his new style. Tohei's new objective was to coordinate all the dojos who joined him and incorporate them into the organisation of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido: "Aikido with Mind and Body Coordinated". This branch of aikido is still active today even though Tohei himself retired from the day-to-day business of the Ki-aikido section and then concentrated solely on the Ki-society and further personal development of ki.

Koichi Tohei 1995

Koichi Tohei War years

Koichi Tohei War years

Like so many other Japanese youths at the time, Tohei was drafted into the Imperial army in October 1942. He saw action in China and was stranded there at the end of the war until his repatriation in 1946. According to Chinese records, Tohei's tendency to treat captured Chinese soldiers well led to Chinese authorities avoiding his unit when they attacked[citation needed]. Tohei is said to have left China with more soldiers than he started with.

Koichi Tohei and aikido

Koichi Tohei and aikido

Koichi Tohei was born 1920 in Shitaya ward (下谷区), presently Taitō, in Tokyo. As a boy he was sickly and frail, leading his father to recommend Tohei for judo studies. He trained hard and his body prospered, but soon after he began his pre-college studies at Keio University, he developed a case of pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lung cavity which causes pains when breathing. This forced Tohei to take a year off.

Tohei was distressed at the thought of losing his newfound strength of body and his means of training it, so he decided to replace his judo studies with Zen meditation and misogi exercises. As with his judo studies, Tohei entered the training of the mind with fervor and soon excelled despite his serious health issues. After his recovery from pleurisy, of which the doctors could find no trace, Tohei became convinced that it was his efforts in training his mind and cultivating his ki that had helped him to heal and recover. This stimulated his later development of Kiatsu, a system of treating physical illness by pressing with the fingers and extending the ki into the ill persons body[citation needed]. Tohei describes this as "priming the pump" allowing the person to heal themselves.

After recovering from pleurisy he returned to judo, but Tohei wanted more than just physical training and did not think that judo was the right art for him to practise, although he did continue with studying judo until he started with aikido.

In 1940, when he was 19, Tohei's judo instructor, Shohei Mori, recommended that Tohei meet with the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.

According to Tohei himself[citation needed], when he first met with an aikido instructor and practised some techniques at the Ueshiba dojo, he had doubts about aikido and its value to him. That changed however, when Ueshiba entered the Dojo and started to perform his techniques on the instructors. Tohei was still not entirely convinced until Ueshiba asked Tohei to step unto the mat and try to grab him. Tohei's attempts were unsuccessful, and after this personal demonstration by Ueshiba, Tohei asked to enroll on the spot. Tohei would also continue to train his mind as well as his body with meditation, misogi and aikido.

Tohei trained with Ueshiba for six months before being sent as a representative (dairi) to teach at the Shumei Okawa school and the military police academy[citation needed]. This was before Tohei was ranked as either dan or kyu. Ueshiba would present Tohei with the rank of 5th dan after Tohei had begun his military service.

Kochi Tohei with O Sensei Ueshiba