Banyu Hatten Aikido was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Master Koichi Tohei Sensei (10th Dan), founder of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, at the age of 91.
Master Koichi Tohei Sensei was born in Japan as a frail child, but through his willing desire to enhance his health, he maintained a positive mentality and outlook on life. He practiced breathing exercises on courses in Japanese temples, Judo, and later Aikido. He created a system of Aikido containing healing massage, and techniques taught to him directly by the founder of Aikido, Ōsensei Morihei Ueshiba. He was awarded 10th Dan in 1969, and was the emissary of Ōsensei in the initial world expansion of Aikido. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was considered one of the leading practitioners, and became Chief Instructor of the Aikikai, sharing the leadership with Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Ōsensei's son. However, after Ōsensei's death, when he wished to pursue an understanding of the power of Ki and to teach a form of Aikido involving the principle of Ki, his request was denied by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, as the leader of the Aikikai and the successor to Ōsensei. Master Koichi Tohei Sensei left the organisation to follow his own practice of Ki Aikido.
As an inspiration both himself and to Banyu Hatten Aikido, Geoff Flather Sensei had the following to say:
"I was first introduced to the thoughts and practice of Master Koichi Tohei Sensei over 30 years ago. I have always followed his principles, and find no reason to stop after his passing. I remember the joy with which they were first received by myself. His principles and teachings were intriguing to me, rather than those I had received previously, due to their ability to enhance not only my Aikido, but my understanding and life as a whole.
When he left to follow his own practice, a schism was created within the Aikikai and bitterness toward Master Koichi Tohei Sensei was felt. With his denouncement, his photographs were ordered to be removed from Aikikai dojos throughout the world. This was understandably accepted as a great insult to Master Koichi Tohei Sensei. This may now be an appropriate time for this demeanour to be corrected, allowing for a rejoining of the Aikido groups into a truer state of harmony and unity. The only acceptable person to do this would be the present head of the Ueshiba family, accepted leader of Aikido and the Aikikai association. This would truly be an act of unity within Aikido, an indication of a readiness to forget the politics and personality sleights. Although I may be naïve to suggest this, I feel the amount Aikido would gain from this positivity to be justification enough for this claim.
May we all live in harmony, openness and transparency, rather than in the clutches of insecurity, commerciality and ungratefulness."
For more information about Koichi Tohei Sensei or any of the other terms, the following links may prove useful: