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Old 05-19-2011, 08:40 AM   #1
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Passing of Koichi Tohei Sensei

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
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:02 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: Passing of Koichi Tohei Sensei

Sad news indeed, RIP to a truly great teacher of our art.

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:11 AM   #3
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Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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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Old 05-19-2011, 09:20 AM   #4
gregstec
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Re: Passing of Koichi Tohei Sensei

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Sad news indeed, RIP to a truly great teacher of our art.
ditto...

Greg
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:35 AM   #5
dtpetzone
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:13 AM   #6
crbateman
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:02 PM   #7
philipsmith
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Sad to hear of the passing of a true pioneer.

Yet again the end of an era
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:26 PM   #8
PhillyKiAikido
 
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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).
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #9
Mark Uttech
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Onegaishimasu, condolences all around!

In gassho,
Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 05-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
aikishihan
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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 na´ve 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.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:24 PM   #11
Gorgeous George
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:47 PM   #12
David Yap
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:16 PM   #13
Shany
 
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

one of my heroes .. RIP friend, your journey on earth shall continue in a new form of life!

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:16 PM   #14
SeiserL
 
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Osu,
Compassion and condolences.
A great man and a great loss.
Lets not lose what he passed on.
Rei, Domo Sensei.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:19 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:11 PM   #16
afwen
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Tohei Sensei was my teacher's teacher's teacher. Arigatou gozaimashita, Sensei.

Life is like a long journey with a heavy load. --Tokugawa Ieyasu
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:05 PM   #17
rulemaker
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Our deepest condolences to the family and students of Tohei Sensei.

Aikido Philippines
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:58 AM   #18
sakumeikan
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:42 AM   #19
Tony Wilden
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

A true master leaves us. I hope aikido leaders can finally come together in harmony, and mourn this great loss!
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:57 PM   #20
sakumeikan
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
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 na´ve 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.
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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #21
RED
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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.

MM
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:56 PM   #22
aikishihan
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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,
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:33 PM   #23
Gorgeous George
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

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?
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:12 AM   #24
sakumeikan
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:40 AM   #25
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: Koichi Tohei Sensei has passed away

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
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
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