Koichi Tohei, the Master of Ki

Koichi Tohei, the Master of Ki Aikido
Koichi Tohei, the Master of Ki Aikido

Koichi Tohei was born on January 20, 1920, in Shitaya, Tokyo.

Koichi Tohei was a sickly child. He learned Judo as a teenager, but took a heavy fall on his chest and missed a year’s school because of a lung infection.

Once back at school again he studied Zen and Misogi at Daitokuji in Kyoto.

In 1939 he started to learn Aiki Budo from Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, and later attained the highest-possible Aikido rank of 10th Dan.

In 1942, Koichi Tohei graduated from Keio University and and began training as an officer in the Japanese Army.

Two years later, aged just 23, he was sent to the battlefront in Central China.

Showered with bullets for the first time, Tohei Sensei learned to control his Ki by keeping his One Point, his mental center or core of balance, centered in the belly. He says this control of his emotions kept him alert and alive and saved the lives of his 80 men.

He quickly realized the same skill with Ki could be used for playing sport in the dojo, and also in everyday life.

In 1946 Koichi Tohei was demobilized from the Japanese Army and returned to Japan. Then, in 1953, he went to Hawaii, setting up a doo there where he taught Aikido and his personal principles of Ki. He was then 32 years old.

For the next 40 years, Koichi Tohei devoted his life to spreading Ki Aikido in the USA and in Europe.

When Aikido founder, Morihei Uyeshiba (O’Sensei) died in 1969, Koichi Tohei had a falling-out with the successors, the Ueshiba family. They founded the Aikikai organization and he left.

Two years later, in 1971, Koichi Tohei set up Ki Society International (Ki no Kenkyukai) to spread his theory of Ki to the world. His Ki-focused sytle of Aikido is known as Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido.

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