Koichi Tohei - Aikido Knowledge Base - Aikido Glossary

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Koichi Tohei

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Koichi Tohei (藤平光一 ,Tōhei Kōichi?) (born January 1920) is 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.

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 chest (lung) cavity which causes great pains in the chest area with 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. Tohei describes this as "priming the pump" allowing the person to heal themselves.

After his fight with the pleurisy he returned to his judo studies, but they were not satisfactory for Tohei; he 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 years of age, Tohei's judo instructor, Shohei Mori, recommended that Tohei meet with the founder of aikido Morihei Ueshiba. At this point Tohei was dissatisfied with judo and set off to see the master of this new martial art he had heard of.

According to Tohei himself, 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. 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.

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Aikido is a modern Japanese Martial Art and is very different from disciplines such as Karate, Kick Boxing, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, MMA, BJJ, Kempo and Krav Maga where there is emphasis on kicking, punching or wrestling.

Aikido is an extremely efficient self defence (also as Self-Defence Women London) system utilising balance-taking and posture-breaking movements to achieve joint locks, pins and throws. It contains elements of Ju Jitsu, Kendo, Judo and other budo.

Aikido Classes are held every Tuesday and Wednesday evening at our Harrow dojo, and Thursday evening at our Pinner dojo in NW London. Pinner Aikido Club London is a part of the Kai Shin Kai International Traditional Aikido Association (KSK), which is a member of the British Aikido Board (BAB).

Aikido is essentially a non-violent Martial art system that encourages the avoidance of confrontation and harmony with an aggressor. The classes are well attended with Aikido students always on the mat and aimed at all levels, from beginner to advanced but everyone is welcome to come along regardless of fitness or experience.

Our Aikido students work at their own pace during the training sessions and no one is forced into doing anything they are not comfortable with.
Pinner Aikido Club in London can help you achieve self-defense skills, self-esteem, confidence, and fitness. Most of all though, our classes are fun.

You do not have to be competitive or naturally athletic to take part in the Aikido class. Learning Aikido is about self-improvement and self-confidence.

Regardless of your size, body type and current level of physical ability or disability. If you are looking for a healthier, more confident way of life, then the modern art of Aikido may well be for you.

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