Koichi Tohei passed away May 19, 2011.
Tohei Sensei was a giant in the Aikido world…a direct student of Aikido’s founder Morihei Ueshiba, the head instructor of the headquarters dojo at the time of Ueshiba’s death, and later the founder of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. He was also Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei’s teacher, and so Tohei Sensei’s influence is very strong in our dojo.
I believe that martial arts, when it is done well and shared with others in the right spirit, has the power to dramatically improve people’s lives. By extension, that makes the world a better place (and we need all the help we can get on this front). People with power and influence – presidents, dictators, CEOs, celebrities, etc. – can impact people by the millions simply with the stroke of a pen or the words in a soundbite (and it’s infinitely easier to make things worse than it is to make things better). “Regular” folks mostly improve the world one person at a time.
Tohei Sensei is one of those rare people who did something particularly special and outstanding; who created for himself an opportunity to positively and profoundly impact countless people, and his influence will continue to be felt long after his passing.
Here’s some interesting video of Tohei Sensei. Lots more on Youtube as well.