“Koichi Tohei was the only person to be officially awarded
the 10th dan by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.”
This is a rare photo of Koichi Tohei Sensei, 10th dan, teaching a group of military personnel in Hawaii. Here he seems perfectly at ease even while a large American applies a powerful bear hug from behind. Tohei Sensei had an uncanny ability to easily escape from such holds by maintaining his center and a perfectly relaxed state. No doubt he won over a number of converts among the military through his convincing demonstrations.
Tohei Sensei is credited with being the first to introduce aikido to Hawaii in 1953. Subsequently, he made many trips to the islands solidifying a large group of dojos and developing many instructors. Several of the senior Hawaii instructors relocated to California and helped with the early spread of the art on the west coast of the USA.
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