Our Founder

soshu koichi toheiSoshu Koichi Tohei
Tohei-sensei was born in 1920 and grew up in an upper class Japanese family, in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo. He was sickly as a child and was introduced to Judo and Zen by his father to try to strengthen his constitution. Later he became involved in Ichikukai misogi training and studied with Dr. Nakamura Tempu, a man often described as the "Norman Vincent Peale" of Japan. These events and training shaped much of what was to develop in later life.

In 1939, he met O-sensei and was introduced to the art of Aikido. He expressed some amazement that despite his Judo training he was unable to deal with this much older man and quickly became a serious student of the Art. After training for a short time, he was called up to the army and spent time in action in China. During this time, he became aware of the importance of a calm mind and the unification of mind and body that were to shape much of his later training, and developed quite a reputation as a "lucky" officer who never lost a single man under his command even during the most fierce fighting.

After the war he returned to his role as uchi-deshi to O-sensei, becoming one of the strongest and most influential figures within the Aikido world. In 1953, he was sent by O-sensei to Hawaii, becoming the first teacher to introduce Aikido to the United States. Over the next decade or so, Tohei-sensei came to the US many times and was responsible for training many of the fine teachers in the U.S. today. It was during this period that his Aikido underwent a lot of change, since dealing with HUGE Americans was quite different to the conventional training in Japan.

Tohei-sensei rose to the position of Chief Instructor at the Aikikai Hombu dojo and was the only person awarded 10th Dan by O-sensei and issued with a formal scroll of rank. After O-sensei's death, Kisshomaru Ueshiba-sensei became the second Aikido Doshu, and Tohei-sensei continued to be the Chief Instructor. For the next few years things continued as before, but there were tensions building within the senior Aikido-ka.

Tohei-sensei had very clear ideas about the best way of teaching Aikido, ideas that were based largely on the principles of Body/Mind Unification taught by Dr. Nakmura Tempu. He proposed to introduce this system of teaching Ki within the Aikikai but met with much resistance from the more traditional of the senior teachers there. So, in 1971, while still the Chief Instructor of the Aikikai, Tohei-sensei founded the Ki no Kenkyukai, to teach the principles of Ki and Unification of Mind and Body, outside the Aikido framework. This position continued for a few more years until the rift between Tohei-sensei and the rest of the Aikikai became too big and he resigned. In 1974 he then founded Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido, to teach Aikido in accordance with the Ki principles.

Tohei Sensei died on may 19th 2011 at the age of 91. He will be greatly missed by all the countless people who's lives he enriched. Find out more here.

    shinichi tohei senseiShinichi Tohei Sensei
    Shinichi Tohei Sensei, the son of Master Koichi Tohei, was born on August 18, 1973 in Tokyo. He graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology, having majored in Bioscience.

    Shinichi Tohei Sensei is the President of Ki Society H.Q. and the Principal of Tohei Gakuen Ki-Aikido school.

    Shinichi Tohei Sensei is Ki no Kenkyukai's delegated teacher of Toitsudo and Ki-Aikido in Japan and overseas. He teaches at the Ki-Aikido club in Keio University and is a university P.E. lecturer.

    Shinichi Tohei Sensei now prepares as heir to Master Koichi Tohei, President of the International Ki Society.

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