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Marc Abrams
05-19-2011, 09:40 AM
Today, another giant in our world has passed. RIP to a man who spread Aikido to the US and was a world-wide representative of our art and teacher to many.

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/blog/

Marc Abrams

Mark Freeman
05-19-2011, 10:02 AM
Sad news indeed, RIP to a truly great teacher of our art.

AikiWeb System
05-19-2011, 10:11 AM
Posted 2011-05-19 07:26:39 by Craig Constantine


Dear Chief Instructors,

We regret to inform you that Koichi Tohei Sensei passed away at 9:14 this morning. He was 91 years old.

Two weeks ago, he had sense of discomfort on his chest and it was found that he had inflammation of the lungs, so he had been receiving treatment. He went to intensive-care unit (ICU) twice and came back to general ward each time with his strength of Ki, however, his heart got weak little by little this morning and passed away.

After discussion in his family and it was decided that the closed funeral will be held within his family including Shinichi Tohei Sensei and the formal funeral for all members will be held in Tokyo some weeks later for those who would like to be present.

The date and place of the formal funeral will be announced to all of you after decided.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience but would appreciate your kind understanding for the above.

Sincerely,

Wataru Hatakeyama
(sent on behalf of Shinichi Tohei Sensei)
Overseas Division
Ki Society H.Q.


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gregstec
05-19-2011, 10:20 AM
Sad news indeed, RIP to a truly great teacher of our art.

ditto...

Greg

dtpetzone
05-19-2011, 10:35 AM
To All ki aikido communities all over the world and to the family of the late Koichi Tohei sensei we the Ki Aikido Bicol Foundation Inc under Nestor Vibar sensei joins you in prayers to a great teacher of all times his teachings will live on and flow infinitely in our lives...

Dong Tan
Ki Aikido Bicol Foundation Inc
Philippines

crbateman
05-19-2011, 11:13 AM
This is indeed a dire tragedy in the Aikido world... :( The contributions this man has made will remain incalculable. I hope that old wounds can now be healed, and that his place in the fabric of the art can be recognized and respected, without any tinge of malice from either side of the issues. The time to heal is upon us.

philipsmith
05-19-2011, 01:02 PM
Sad to hear of the passing of a true pioneer.

Yet again the end of an era

PhillyKiAikido
05-19-2011, 01:26 PM
Let's work hard to let more and more Aikidokas get chances to know about and benefit from Koichi Tohei sensei's teachings while they're pursuing on their Aikido journey. I think that's the best we can do to repay this Aikido gaint and our role model(Shihan).

Mark Uttech
05-19-2011, 02:01 PM
Onegaishimasu, condolences all around!

In gassho,
Mark

aikishihan
05-19-2011, 02:01 PM
Was Koichi Tohei Sensei a true paradox?

On the one hand, his was a genius of huge social importance and impact, influencing cultures and challenging paradigms on an international scale with his seductive and romantic notions of enlightened mental discipline, along with naÔve and simplistic applications. Can one truly argue that Aikido’s current popularity was enhanced immeasurably by his contributions? No, one cannot.

On the other hand, those close to him witnessed a flawed and fallible human being, whose all consuming ambition to be The Doshu , served to blind him to the true value and significance of his mentors, his peers, and his loyal supporters. This then resulted in a tragic diminution of his rightful place in Japanese and martial arts history and prominence. It can, and has been debated that his potential heights and influences would have been exponentially more if not for his frequent episodes of petulant outbursts of childishness, his petty tantrums of spite, and his appalling lack of true vision of what the greater picture had in store for one of his gifts and accomplishments.

His was a gift for the ages. Tohei Sensei’s actual impact and proven value will be debated indefinitely, and sadly, without resolution or closure.

Yes, we indeed lost a great innovator and teacher. Let us choose to remember him kindly, for his moments of brilliance that thrilled us all.

Rest in peace, Tohei Sensei. You have finally made it home.

Gorgeous George
05-19-2011, 03:24 PM
It can, and has been debated that his potential heights and influences would have been exponentially more if not for his frequent episodes of petulant outbursts of childishness, his petty tantrums of spite, and his appalling lack of true vision of what the greater picture had in store for one of his gifts and accomplishments..

Is that what he was truly like? I was under the impression that he was quite the contrary...

RIP Koichi Tohei: I still feel uplifted whenever I read his writings about aikido in 'Co-ordination of the Mind and Body...': they were a massive influence on me, and I don't know if i'd be doing aikido if not for him.

David Yap
05-19-2011, 03:47 PM
My mother passed away 3 weeks ago. She wasn't the perfect mother and I wasn't a perfect son. I choose to remember the positive side of her and encourage my siblings to do the same.

I only know Koichi Tohei sensei from the aikido books I read in the late 70s and I only found out in 1993 that he was no longer in Aikikai when I started training Aikido. There are lot of positiveness from him/about him that I read and hope to remember his legacy in such light.

God bless his soul and may he rest in peace/aiki.

Shany
05-19-2011, 04:16 PM
:( one of my heroes .. RIP friend, your journey on earth shall continue in a new form of life!

SeiserL
05-19-2011, 05:16 PM
Osu,
Compassion and condolences.
A great man and a great loss.
Lets not lose what he passed on.
Rei, Domo Sensei.

Janet Rosen
05-19-2011, 05:19 PM
He was the mentor for the woman I chose as my teacher. Gayle spent time traveling with him around California when he came here and went to seminars with him in Hawai'i, and while she later left the Ki Society as his priorities changed, she never had a mean word to say about him.

afwen
05-19-2011, 09:11 PM
Tohei Sensei was my teacher's teacher's teacher. Arigatou gozaimashita, Sensei.

rulemaker
05-19-2011, 10:05 PM
Our deepest condolences to the family and students of Tohei Sensei.

Aikido Philippines

sakumeikan
05-20-2011, 04:58 AM
Dear all;
Although I never met Tohei Sensei I am indebted to this man.In times of stress I have referred to his book 'Aikido in Daily Life', and after reading Tohei Sensei profound words I feel much better in mind and body.
I do hope that politically Tohei Sensei is given his rightful place by Aikikai Foundation. I think over the years there has been a tendency to ignore the contribution to Aikido that Tohei Sensei made and his legacy should be remembered and respected by all.
May I be so bold to suggest that some type of contact could be made by Aikikai Foundation and the Ki Society to establish a relationship for the mutual understanding and benefit of current aikidoka and future generations?I am convinced that Ki Training has merit.Unfortunately I myself have had limited exposure to this aspect of Aikido.
May I join others in paying homage to the work and life of Tohei Sensei, may he rest in peace.My condolences go to his family and friends.
With respect, Joe.

Tony Wilden
05-20-2011, 05:42 AM
A true master leaves us. I hope aikido leaders can finally come together in harmony, and mourn this great loss!

sakumeikan
05-20-2011, 04:57 PM
Was Koichi Tohei Sensei a true paradox?

On the one hand, his was a genius of huge social importance and impact, influencing cultures and challenging paradigms on an international scale with his seductive and romantic notions of enlightened mental discipline, along with naÔve and simplistic applications. Can one truly argue that Aikidoís current popularity was enhanced immeasurably by his contributions? No, one cannot.

On the other hand, those close to him witnessed a flawed and fallible human being, whose all consuming ambition to be The Doshu , served to blind him to the true value and significance of his mentors, his peers, and his loyal supporters. This then resulted in a tragic diminution of his rightful place in Japanese and martial arts history and prominence. It can, and has been debated that his potential heights and influences would have been exponentially more if not for his frequent episodes of petulant outbursts of childishness, his petty tantrums of spite, and his appalling lack of true vision of what the greater picture had in store for one of his gifts and accomplishments.

His was a gift for the ages. Tohei Senseiís actual impact and proven value will be debated indefinitely, and sadly, without resolution or closure.

Yes, we indeed lost a great innovator and teacher. Let us choose to remember him kindly, for his moments of brilliance that thrilled us all.

Rest in peace, Tohei Sensei. You have finally made it home.
Dear Francis,
If indeed Tohei Sensei had moments of petty tantrums , out bursts of childishness he seems to me to be a mirror image of most men especially me.All joking aside it simply goes to prove that Tohei Sensei was human complete with human frailties.One can only surmise how modern aikido would have been had Tohei Sensei succeeded O Sensei as leader of the Aikido community.
One will never truly know whether Aikido would have been changed and developed in a different direction than at present.
In conclusion my own views are this, whatever Tohei Senseis
frailties were [assuming your statement concerning these alleged
frailties were true] these do not diminish the extraordinary talents of the man and his tremendous contribution to the art.Let us pay tribute to the positive influences of Tohei Sensei 's life rather than his negative side , after all , who amongst us is perfect??
Cheers, Joe.

RED
05-20-2011, 08:45 PM
I think it is inappropriate that any controversial discussion on Sensei should happen in this thread. IMHO of course.
Old Japanese proverb: "Never speak ill of the dead, even an enemy, for history is likely to disagree."

My condolences to his students and family. The Aikikai and Aikido at large owes a great deal to Tohei Sensei. His influence and contributions have helped to shape Aikido and its' practitioners. I think this is a real cause for mourning in the Aikikai.

aikishihan
05-20-2011, 08:56 PM
Dear Joe,

In rereading your eloquent and compassionate defense of Tohei
Sensei (one that is totally unnecessary as his major successes and accomplishments speak for themselves),I reread mine and find them quite similar. Perhaps the apparent disconnect with the usual platitudes and bonhomie spewed by those who had no direct, or even indirect contact with Tohei Sensei, encourages such individuals to take the easy way out and jump on the wagon of conformity and good manners and form, what. This too is human, and I can accept this as well as the criticism I anticipated when I wrote my post.

In all my dealings and writings on this, and other publications, I strive to be fair and balanced in my treatment of the subject matter. If I am conjecturing, I will admit to doing so. If not, you, and any other person reading and judging, may rest assured that, especially in this case, I speak from first hand, and repeated experiences with the man, and the consequences of his behavior and the aftermath.

I have no need nor desire to denigrate the singular and amazing accomplishments of Tohei Sensei, and believe that I do give due credit to his incomparable and distinct stamp on the direction and popularity of post war Aikido. Yet, if the desire to rush to judgment is felt strongly, then nothing less than complete and competent due diligence should be excercised in getting the facts straight, and the full impact of Tohei Sensei's influence be examined.

I realize that it is politically correct to eulogize compassionately and to wax eloquent about someone soon after their demise. I felt that it was my place to present a more sanguine and honest accounting of first hand experience amidst the torrent of well wishers who had no contact, direct or indirect with the man, and continue to place him on pedestals and into halls of honor. That is their choice. I made mine.

The Aikido world, and the Aikikai, owe Koichi Tohei Sensei a debt of ongaeshi that may never be repaid. I see no current attempt to try to do so. Nonetheless, we also owe him and his legacy careful scrutiny and honest research before worshipping or deifying him further.

in oneness,

Gorgeous George
05-20-2011, 10:33 PM
Francis: great post; thank you.

As I said previously: I was under the impression that he was a very peaceful, friendly, personable man - not that i'd heard many first-hand accounts of encounters with him.
What was your relationship with him?

sakumeikan
05-21-2011, 03:12 AM
Dear Joe,

In rereading your eloquent and compassionate defense of Tohei
Sensei (one that is totally unnecessary as his major successes and accomplishments speak for themselves),I reread mine and find them quite similar. Perhaps the apparent disconnect with the usual platitudes and bonhomie spewed by those who had no direct, or even indirect contact with Tohei Sensei, encourages such individuals to take the easy way out and jump on the wagon of conformity and good manners and form, what. This too is human, and I can accept this as well as the criticism I anticipated when I wrote my post.

In all my dealings and writings on this, and other publications, I strive to be fair and balanced in my treatment of the subject matter. If I am conjecturing, I will admit to doing so. If not, you, and any other person reading and judging, may rest assured that, especially in this case, I speak from first hand, and repeated experiences with the man, and the consequences of his behavior and the aftermath.

I have no need nor desire to denigrate the singular and amazing accomplishments of Tohei Sensei, and believe that I do give due credit to his incomparable and distinct stamp on the direction and popularity of post war Aikido. Yet, if the desire to rush to judgment is felt strongly, then nothing less than complete and competent due diligence should be excercised in getting the facts straight, and the full impact of Tohei Sensei's influence be examined.

I realize that it is politically correct to eulogize compassionately and to wax eloquent about someone soon after their demise. I felt that it was my place to present a more sanguine and honest accounting of first hand experience amidst the torrent of well wishers who had no contact, direct or indirect with the man, and continue to place him on pedestals and into halls of honor. That is their choice. I made mine.

The Aikido world, and the Aikikai, owe Koichi Tohei Sensei a debt of ongaeshi that may never be repaid. I see no current attempt to try to do so. Nonetheless, we also owe him and his legacy careful scrutiny and honest research before worshipping or deifying him further.

in oneness,
Dear Francis,
May I say that I do not place any credence on putting people on pedestals?To honour the works of any person be he/she a soldier , sailor , tinker .tailor is admirable if the person has achieved and
done deeds which have benefitted humanity.As I stated earlier I never met Tohei Sensei.I am sure you would agree that even the best person can have a darker side.I do not mind anyone from giving a honest appraisal warts and all of anybody.All I was saying [and by the way I was not criticising you in any way] I was simply stating Tohei Sensei [as you and I both agree}
that the aikido community including the Aikiikai Foundation were/are indebted to him.
As you also state we rarely focus on someones negative aspects particularly when they have just passed on.I do not think your comments were in any way malicious or you painted a negative picture of Tohei Sensei character wise.In my view Tohei Sensei
rather than being put on a pedestal and treated as a godlike figure, simply was like everyone else a mere human with frailties.I guess you could say we both agree that despite these flaws Tohei Sensei's legacy and achievements were extraordinary.
Yours Sincerely, Joe.

Marc Abrams
05-21-2011, 10:40 AM
Dear Joe,

In rereading your eloquent and compassionate defense of Tohei
Sensei (one that is totally unnecessary as his major successes and accomplishments speak for themselves),I reread mine and find them quite similar. Perhaps the apparent disconnect with the usual platitudes and bonhomie spewed by those who had no direct, or even indirect contact with Tohei Sensei, encourages such individuals to take the easy way out and jump on the wagon of conformity and good manners and form, what. This too is human, and I can accept this as well as the criticism I anticipated when I wrote my post.

In all my dealings and writings on this, and other publications, I strive to be fair and balanced in my treatment of the subject matter. If I am conjecturing, I will admit to doing so. If not, you, and any other person reading and judging, may rest assured that, especially in this case, I speak from first hand, and repeated experiences with the man, and the consequences of his behavior and the aftermath.

I have no need nor desire to denigrate the singular and amazing accomplishments of Tohei Sensei, and believe that I do give due credit to his incomparable and distinct stamp on the direction and popularity of post war Aikido. Yet, if the desire to rush to judgment is felt strongly, then nothing less than complete and competent due diligence should be excercised in getting the facts straight, and the full impact of Tohei Sensei's influence be examined.

I realize that it is politically correct to eulogize compassionately and to wax eloquent about someone soon after their demise. I felt that it was my place to present a more sanguine and honest accounting of first hand experience amidst the torrent of well wishers who had no contact, direct or indirect with the man, and continue to place him on pedestals and into halls of honor. That is their choice. I made mine.

The Aikido world, and the Aikikai, owe Koichi Tohei Sensei a debt of ongaeshi that may never be repaid. I see no current attempt to try to do so. Nonetheless, we also owe him and his legacy careful scrutiny and honest research before worshipping or deifying him further.

in oneness,

Francis:

I do not think that many people really turn a blind-eye to faults that Tohei Sensei had (we all share in that fault category for that matter). I was having a conversation with Imaizumi Sensei's wife last night and she talked about how the news of his passing flooded her with good and bad memories.....

A simple acknowledgement of the positive was for me, an act of respect. As you noted, the discord on both sides of the Ki Society and Aikikai divide will sadly not be mended by his passing. Maybe, allowing the sharing of positive notes might help easy all of the negativity so that future generations might endeavor to bridge the gaps created by strong individuals during turbulent times.

Regards,

marc abrams

Cady Goldfield
05-21-2011, 10:00 PM
My mother passed away 3 weeks ago. She wasn't the perfect mother and I wasn't a perfect son. I choose to remember the positive side of her and encourage my siblings to do the same.

I only know Koichi Tohei sensei from the aikido books I read in the late 70s and I only found out in 1993 that he was no longer in Aikikai when I started training Aikido. There are lot of positiveness from him/about him that I read and hope to remember his legacy in such light.

God bless his soul and may he rest in peace/aiki.

David,
My condolences on the loss of your mother.

SeiserL
05-22-2011, 06:03 AM
Nonetheless, we also owe him and his legacy careful scrutiny and honest research before worshipping or deifying him further.
Yes agreed.

A great man and a great character study.

We are all human.

Integration of this stuff into our identity and walking our talk in our everyday life is a lot harder that many think.

I remember sitting at the Aiki Expo watching some people. A very wise Sensei suggested we were above that. I had to admit I was not and went over for a look myself.

There will be stories to tell when we each pass away.

Diana Frese
05-22-2011, 06:04 AM
From me, too, my sympathy on the loss of your mother. My parents died in a car crash over sixteen years ago, in their eighties, and I still miss them. Although I read those same books as you, we argued anyway, but I know they and I loved each other a lot.

I became co guardian of one of my older brothers (the oldest is his other co guardian) who is in "Special Olympics." We argue too but we care about each other too. This past year I remembered one of Tohei Sensei's famous quotes and have been reminding my brother (and of course myself...) "Plus calls plus, minus calls minus"

Just sharing a quote, David, and thanks for writing a heartfelt post.

My family's and my sympathy to the Tohei family and to the students and friends, I am very happy that the teachings are still passed on through many Aikido groups today, officially and unofficially! It is indeed a great legacy. And it is a gift to the future that Tohei Sensei's son is continuing to develop it. Thank you, all of you.

Diana Frese
05-22-2011, 06:08 AM
(Dr. Seiser and I posted simultaneously ..... I'm a fan of his columns it's always good to think about what he has to say....)

kironin
05-22-2011, 01:15 PM
Francis:

I do not think that many people really turn a blind-eye to faults that Tohei Sensei had (we all share in that fault category for that matter). I was having a conversation with Imaizumi Sensei's wife last night and she talked about how the news of his passing flooded her with good and bad memories.....

A simple acknowledgment of the positive was for me, an act of respect. As you noted, the discord on both sides of the Ki Society and Aikikai divide will sadly not be mended by his passing. Maybe, allowing the sharing of positive notes might help easy all of the negativity so that future generations might endeavor to bridge the gaps created by strong individuals during turbulent times.

Regards,
marc abrams

Nice thoughts Marc, thank you.

It also sadly won't be mended by those who feel it's their place, duty, agenda, whatever to scratch old scars in public or focus on the feet of clay of a person who lived a remarkable life.

That great men or women often have difficult and complex stories is nothing new. Much the same can be said of O-sensei and in those terms, I believe Tohei Sensei is in good company along with other giants like Tempu Nakamura Sensei.

It's greatly appreciated those that have been respectful at a time when the Ki Society is mourning the loss of it's founder. Personally, a very sad time, because it causes me to reflect on many of his students I knew personally very well and who through them he had a huge impact on my life and who themselves are no longer here as well. As their uke, I became his uke. Their positive example was a reflection of his positive example. The memories they shared and confidences they gave I greatly appreciated and will remember in my view of his legacy. His teachings are at the center of my Aikido and will always remain so.

-
Every element of our physical and mental being came from the same fundamental particles. When we die we will go back to that source, to being those same fundamental particles. We are all connected in this way. We are very fortunate to be born as human beings, beings with a choice in how we deal with life and other people. We can choose to deal with life in a positive way. Everyone has problems; it is how we deal with those problems that make the difference in our lives. We can choose to be a positive guiding force and help other people. Plants and animals do not have this choice.
-
:ki:
Thank you, Sensei

David Yap
05-23-2011, 01:40 PM
David,
My condolences on the loss of your mother.

Thank you.

David Yap
05-23-2011, 01:51 PM
From me, too, my sympathy on the loss of your mother.

Thanks, Diana.

graham christian
05-25-2011, 10:30 PM
I wish to add my condolences to a great teacher. Also to his family and fiends and all who respected him.

I admire greatness and he truly fitted the bill. His legacy lives on and improves peoples lives. What better gift can a person leave.

I am actually shocked and saddened by anyone bringing character references into play at this time. Shame.

It opens a door for me to a personal view for those people, a truth I hold dear.

So called splits and rifts are a fallacy. Things created by ego and a lack of understanding a truth of life.

When a person reaches a level of 'mastery' it is the natural way for them to then form, build, create their own 'universe' version, way.
There is no betrayal or anything else, there is only the natural way.
Some are responsible enough and indeed lucky enough to be capable and able enough to do so.

Any organization should be proud to see such a person doing so.

I will not debate this issue, especially here on this thread, but only say that is part of my reason for respecting Tohei Sensei as a GREAT person who will be sorely missed.

Respect.G.