Koichi Tohei Special ($59.95)
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This set consisting of two DVDs and a book at a 25% discount will bring you up to speed on the subject of Koichi Tohei, Aikido’s first 10th dan, and his role in the shaping of modern Aikido. These three publications from Aikido Journal are meticulously researched and contain information available nowhere else. You will greatly benefit from being informed as to the major personalities and approaches that have combined to make Aikido the unique martial art it is today!
Contents of Koichi Tohei Special
- Koichi Tohei: Aikido with Ki: the groundbreaking DVD that captures the highlights and techniques of Tohei Sensei’s early career. His technical virtuosity is legendary and on full display in this eye-opening DVD. Tohei Sensei’s imprint on today’s Aikido undeniable!
- Aikido Pioneers: Prewar Era: this collection of interviews conducted by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin features a lengthy interview with Koichi Tohei in which he discusses his beginnings in the art, his relationship with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, and his efforts in the postwar years to disseminate aikido. Captivating reading!
- Aikido Classics: Postwar Greats: this DVD contains an excellent section that shows Koichi Tohei conducting a class at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1962. Here he is in fine form at the old Aikikai in these scenes that are like entering a time capsule!
This DVD is a collection of precious historical films featuring aikido’s most famous figures. These are the teachers most responsible for the broad success of aikido following World War II. Beginning with the unbelievable art of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, each of these teachers developed his own unique approach and technical style and inspired legions of enthusiasts. The footage contained in this wonderful DVD represents some of the highest levels of aikido yet seen.
Morihei Ueshiba: Brief film clip of the Founder O-Sensei from c. 1954 displaying his incredibly dynamic technique. Appearing taking falls are Gozo Shioda, Koichi Tohei and Morihiro Saito. Technical mastery beyond description!
Morihei Ueshiba: Demonstration of O-Sensei at a Commemorative Demonstration of the Johoku Branch dojo in 1962. Also features Nobuyoshi Tamura, Seiichi Sugano, Mitsunari Kanai, and Terry Dobson.
Gozo Shioda: The founder of Yoshinkan Aikido gives an unforgettable demonstration for a film documentary shot in 1958. The top names of the early years of the Yoshinkan also appear including Kiyoyuki Terada, Shigeho Tanaka, Tadataka Matsuo, Kyoichi Inoue and Takashi Kushida. Full of fast-paced action!
Koichi Tohei: A class and demonstration by the then Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo for a team of American filmmakers in 1962. Tohei Sensei leads the class in “ki” exercises followed by an outstanding exhibition of free-style and randori techniques. He later went on to found his own style of aikido emphasizing his ki concepts. This is Koichi Tohei at his best!
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: The late Doshu’s technique is noted for its soft, circular movements, and numerous Aikikai shihan have been influenced by his approach. He is seen here conducting a class and also demonstrates graceful free-style and multiple-attack techniques. This 1962 film offers a rare inside look at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of the early 1960s. Lots of memorable action!
Morihiro Saito: This is the famous NHK film documentary shot on location in Iwama in 1973. Saito Sensei was the Chief Instructor of the Iwama Dojo and Guardian of the Aiki Shrine from 1969 until his passing in 2002. The power and precision of the art of Saito Sensei is captured on film in vivid detail. His mastery of empty-handed and weapon techniques is legendary. The final action scene is classic!
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) drew on his extensive martial arts experience as a young man, fusing this knowledge with his deeply-held religious beliefs, to create the modern self-defense art of Aikido.
During his long career, Ueshiba associated with some of prewar Japan’s most colorful characters, including famous jujutsu master Sokaku Takeda, the charismatic religious leader Onisaburo Deguchi, and numerous members of Japan’s military, political, and business elite. Here is the captivating story of the birth of aikido, based on the first-hand accounts of Ueshiba’s top students prior to World War II.
The interviews contained in Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era have been meticulously edited from hundreds of hours of conversations conducted over a 30-year period with those closest to the Founder. These early devotees of the art offer an insightful portrayal of the character of the Aikido Founder, and a detailed description of his teaching and activities, spanning nearly half a century. More than 100 photos, many published for the first time, add an important visual dimension to the testimonies of the interviewees. This is an essential volume for those desiring to discover the roots of Aikido, a true cultural treasure of Japan.
Historical Overview by Stanley Pranin - 20 interviews with the following Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era:
Noriaki (Yoichiro) Inoue - nephew of Morihei Ueshiba, and one of the most skilled of the Founder’s students who went on to create Shinei Taido following the war
Kenji Tomiki - began Daito-ryu aikijujutsu in 1925 under Morihei, later becoming Waseda University professor and Founder of Tomiki Aikido, the only form of the art to incorporate competition
Hisao Kamada - one of Morihei’s earliest students with an insider’s knowledge of the beginnings of aikido
Hajime Iwata - early disciple of Founder who taught Aiki Budo in Shanghai, China, and later rose to the rank of 9th dan
Minoru Mochizuki - judo champion sent to study with Morihei by Jigoro Kano of Kodokan Judo fame who later pioneered aikido in France and created Yoseikan Budo
Shigemi Yonekawa - one of the most skilled of the prewar uchideshi known for appearing with the Founder in the famous Noma Dojo photo series
Rinjiro Shirata - the pride of the Kobukan Dojo who, following World War II, taught aikido in the Tohoku region and was later awarded 9th dan
Gozo Shioda - dynamic early disciple of Morihei who took the lead in developing postwar aikido and established Yoshinkan Aikido
Yoshio Sugino - judo and Katori Shinto-ryu adept who enrolled at Kobukan Dojo, and later choreographed martial arts scenes for Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Yojimbo
Kiyoshi Nakakura - adopted son of Morihei Ueshiba, and one of Japan’s top swordsmen of the twentieth century
Takako Kunigoshi - one of the few female Aiki Budo practitioners, and skilled artist who created technical drawings for Budo Renshu
Zenzaburo Akazawa - from a family of Omoto believers, began Aiki Budo at 12 years old and served Morihei and his family during the prewar era
Tenryu - the famous sumo wrestler who rebeled against the feudalistic prewar Sumo Association, and who studied under Morihei after finding himself powerless against the Founder
Bansen Tanaka - prewar student of Morihei from Osaka who created a large aikido organization after the war, and was awarded 9th dan
Shigenobu Okumura - a student at famous Kenkoku University in Manchuria, who became one of the backbones of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo after the war, and rose to the rank of 9th dan
Minoru Hirai - General Affairs Director of Kobukan Dojo who had a key role in selecting the name “aikido,” and who would later found Korindo Aikido
Koichi Tohei - one of Morihei’s most famous students, pioneer of aikido in Hawaii and the USA, who attained the rank of 10th dan, and later founded Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido
Kisaburo Osawa - devoted early student of Founder who served as Dojo-cho of the postwar Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and rose to the rank of 9th dan
Kanshu Sunadomari - from a family of devout Omoto believers, trained at Kobukan Dojo during the war, and later pioneered aikido in Kyushu, reached the rank of 9th dan, and established Manseikan Aikido
Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba - Morihei’s son, administrator and leading figure of postwar aikido, prolific author, and the art’s Second Doshu
About the Author
Stanley Pranin is a 5th degree aikido black belt, and Editor-in-Chief of Aikido Journal, formerly known as Aiki News. An avid historian of Aikido, Pranin has lived in Japan for more than 20 years conducting research into the art, especially the life and work of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Aikido, and hundreds of articles written about every aspect of this Japanese martial art.
Breakthrough DVD featuring Aikido’s first 10th dan in his prime!
Koichi Tohei is one of the most important figures in the postwar development of aikido. He played a pivotal role in spreading the art in Japan and the USA from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s. Tohei traveled abroad on numerous occasions during his active years conducting seminars and demonstrations. He is also a prolific author, having published many works in Japanese and English. His publications had a strong influence both technically and philosophically on early aikido practitioners.
- Documentary: a presentation tracing the early life and aikido background of Koichi Tohei through his years as Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, through his establishment of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido in 1974. Many historical photos capture the highlights of Tohei Sensei’s stellar career and explain why his efforts and accomplishments have left such an indelible imprint on modern aikido.
- Warmups and preparatory exercises: this section presents the elaborate warmups and exercise system developed by Tohei Sensei as a prelude to training in aikido techniques. They emphasize stability, relaxation, and the proper use of ki.
- Techniques: a presentation of the technical curriculum taught by Tohei Sensei during the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s, during his tenure at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Tohei Sensei demonstrates most of his “50 Arts of Aikido” from a 1967 film.
- Seminar: nearly 40 minutes of rare film footage of a 1974 seminar conducted by Tohei Sensei in San Francisco. Scores of techniques from his curriculum are clearly demonstrated. This historical film has been digitally remastered for the highest possible image quality.
- Demonstrations: bonus footage of four demonstrations by Tohei Sensei: 1952 demonstration outdoors, also featuring Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Tadashi Abe; 1967 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration; 1968 Special Demonstration at Hombu Dojo; 1973 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration.
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