Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei

Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei

Soshu Koichi Tohei Sensei was born on 20th January 1920 in Tokyo. He graduated from the Economics Department of Keio University.
When he was young, he suffered from pleurisy and he was very weak. Determined to strengthen both mind and body, he undertook intensive training in Zen meditation and Misogi breathing methods.
At the age of 19 he began the study of Aikido under the founder Morihei Ueshiba Sensei and ultimately achieved the highest level of 10th Dan. After the war, he studied mind and body unification from Tempu Nakamura Sensei.
From 1953, he traveled alone all around the world and spread Aikido, starting with the United States of America.
In 1971, he established the Ki society which focused on spreading of the Ki Principles and Shinshin Toitsu Aikido (Aikido with Mind and Body Coordinated) and started growing many instructors throughout the world.
He was well known for having taught Ki Principles and applications to a number of professionals, such as baseball players Mr. Tatsuro Hirooka and Mr. Sadaharu Oh.
In 2007, he let his son Shinichi Tohei succeed his teachings. Since then, he retired from the forefront of teaching and watched the development of ShinShin Toitsu Aikido.
On 19th May 2011, he passed away at the age of 91.
He was also the author of a number of best-selling books such as "Ki in Daily Life", " Kiatsu" and several other books.

TimeLine - The History Of The Founder Of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido

Year 1920

He was born in Tokyo on 20th January. He was very weak when he was young, and always needed medical care. To strengthen his body, his father taught him Judo. He became a black belt of Judo at the age of 15.

Year 1936

Soshu Koichi Tohei SenseiAt the age of 16, he enrolled in a preparatory course at Keio University. During Judo practice he suffered a strong hit to the chest resulting in a Pleurisy attack. He was advised by his doctor to take a leave of absence of one year from school and ordered to bed rest. During his confinement, he had an opportunity to reflect on himself and realized that not only physical health was important, but that the condition of his mind was also important and he found out that his mind seemed very weak. He decided that even though his body condition was getting worse, he could still strengthen the condition of his mind. He studied Zen under Mr. Josei Ohta, the Zen master at Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto and Misogi breathing method from Tetsuju Ogura Sensei who at that time was teaching at Ichikukai Dojo. It was truly a training that was rigorous, bordering on life and death. But even though the training was difficult, or maybe because of that, it helped cure him of his Pleurisy condition completely and it showed him how important it is to keep one's mind strong and how that affects the state of body.

Year 1940

At the age of 19, he was introduced to Morihei Ueshiba Sensei and started learning Aikido. (In 1969, he was awarded a 10th dan which is the highest level in Aikido.)

Year 1944

At 23 years old, soon after he graduated from Keio University, he was dispatched to Utsunomiya East 36th platoon. He became a second lieutenant and was sent to the Central China front. Showered with bullets, he realized through personal experience that true battle is very different from sports matches. He learned the importance of keeping mind calm and keeping one point on the battle field, where the briefest slackening of Ki could mean death. He recognized that he was a part of the Universe and that the Universe was him. Since then, he always had the idea of following the way of the Universe. Reaching the end of the War, after he was demobilized from Central China, he continued studies in Zen and misogi breathing method, and practiced Aikido again. He also met and studied with Tempu Nakamura Sensei. This lead him to master the Ki Principles and the concept of mind moves body. This changed his view of Aikido and this became the basis of his teachings.

Year 1953

Soshu Koichi Tohei SenseiAt the age of 33 years old, he went to the United States alone to spread the teachings of Aikido to the world. As there were no airplanes at that time, he had to sail by ship which took about a month to reach Hawaii. Not having any pupils (students), he started to spread the Ki Principles, and showed Aikido to Judo or Karate wrestlers who could take Ukemi for him. As a result, many students began to follow him. Since then, he was always committed to spreading Aikido to the United States. He became the Head Instructor of Aikikai, taught many students and grew many world level instructors.

Year 1969

Morihei Ueshiba Sensei passed away.

Year 1974

Soshu Koichi Tohei SenseiThe difference in understanding of Aikido became clear between him and the successor Mr. Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and finally he decided to resign the position of the Head Instructor and withdraw from the Aikikai Foundation. He founded ShinShin Toitsu Aikido in the same year in order to spread Aikido based on the Ki Principles. He presided over "Ki no Kenkyukai" as president. From this point he started to spread Shinshin Toitsu Aikido around the World. To focus on the learning of Ki Principles, he founded "Shinshin Toitsudo". He taught Ki principles not only to students of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido, but also to athletes, artists and companies. The story of his teaching famous baseball players such as Tatsuro Hirooka and Sadaharu Oh was well known.

Year 1980

He founded "Kiatsuho" which was based on using Ki principles as a healing method to maintain good health.

Year 1990

Soshu Koichi Tohei SenseiHe opened the Ki Society Headquarters with a Dojo that held 520 Tatami mats in Haga-gun, Tochigi, where his ancestor's house was. This was to be a place for all students of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido from all over the world to come together and practice. He also opened some seminars for the companies and professional athletes. In the same year he became the Soshu of ShinShin Toitsu Aikido.

Year 1997

His son, Shinichi Tohei, the future successor started the Uchideshi training.

Year 2007

Soshu Koichi Tohei SenseiSeeing that Shinichi Tohei was sufficiently developed in his Aikido training, Soshu made him the official successor of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido. From this point, he retired from the forefront of teaching and continued to watch the development of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido.

Year 2011, 19th of May

He passed away at the age of 91. His farewell ceremony was held at Tsukiji Honganji Temple. Over 1,200 people from around the World attended the ceremony to say their last goodbye.