Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido
Shinshin Toitsu Aikido (shortened to “Ki Aikido”) was founded in 1974 by Koichi Tohei Sensei, a disciple of Morihei Ueshiba Sensei and Head Instructor of Aikikai for over twenty years. He gave his students many gifts, but perhaps the greatest of these was an experience-based pedagogy to teach the relationship between the mind, the body, and the universe (“Shinshin Toitsu”, aka “mind-body unification”). We use our understanding of these principles to bring strength, compassion, and peace in a divided and frightening world.
The fundamental principle of Ki Aikido is that the “mind moves the body”, meaning that whatever we think and feel, we bring into the world. When we feel conflict, we invite conflict to enter the world. When we feel peace, we invite peace. Through our training we gain a practical understanding of how to better ourselves and bring that into the world. We also learn the great power and freedom that attends a mind that is peacefully connected to the universe.
In the dojo, we spend most of our time practicing kumi waza, techniques with a partner that involve throws and joint locks. The practical outcome of Aikido techniques is to maintain ma-ai (a safe relationship with an attacker). We train to make a connection with our partner by respecting them rather than trying to control them. This connection makes techniques compelling, and as a result the martial “effectiveness” of our training is quite high. Although that is not necessarily the goal of our training, the self-defense benefits are real and important.
The kumi waza is only one element of our practice, although it is often what we focus on. Ki Aikido training involves five major elements:
- Aikido waza: consisting of kumi waza (paired techniques), hitori waza (solo exercises), kata (forms) with jo (staff) and bokken (sword), and Ki tests (which help us understand how our mind responds to anticipated conflict).
- Sokushin no gyo: A dynamic bell-ringing meditation.
- Kiatsu ho: A technique in which we learn to connect to a partner by touch.
- Ki breathing: A form of breathing meditation with movement.
- Ki Meditation: A seated mindfulness meditation.
Indiana Ki Aikido Dojo
Indiana Ki Aikido is a formally recognized member dojo of the Shinshin Toitsu Aikidokai, the international governing body of Ki Aikido, with its headquarters in Tochigi, Japan. In the United States, we are a member of the Eastern Ki Federation, headquartered in Greenville, SC. Dojo members are therefore welcome to practice in any Ki Society dojo worldwide and attend any seminars. We are fortunate to have a direct connection with the leaders of our practice.
David Shaner Sensei (hachidan: 8th degree blackbelt) is the Chief Instructor of the Eastern Ki Federation in the United States, the Advisor to the Eastern Europe/Russia Ki-Aikido Federation, and was an uchi deshi (live-in student) at Ki Society Headquarters in Haramachi, Shinjuku-ku, Japan. He has been teaching at Furman University since 1982 and holds an endowed chair emeritus as the herring Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies, as well as Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Shaner Sensei is the author, co-author, or series editor of over 40 books, and is the Principal of CONNECT, LLC. Shaner Sensei is based in Greenville, South Carolina.
Shinichi Tohei Sensei (10th dan) is the President (Kaichou) and Chief Instructor of Shinshin Touitsu Aikido Kai, with nearly 500 member dojo nationwide. Since childhood, he was guided and taught by his father, and the founder of Shinishin Touitsu Aikido, Koichi Tohei Sensei. Currently, he is engaged in an effort to spread the teachings of Shinshin Touitsu Aikido in Japan and Overseas. He also serves on the faculty of Keio University as a part-time instructor and as the master teacher of the Keio University Shinshin Touitsu Aikido Club.
Koichi Tohei Sensei, the founder of Shinshin Touitsu Aikido (Ki-Aikido), was awarded the highest rank (10th degree blackbelt) in Aikido by founder Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei) in 1969. After O-Sensei’s death, Tohei Sensei continued as Chief Instructor of the Aikikai. Through understanding the principles of mind and body unification (shin-shin touitsu), Tohei Sensei had very clear ideas about the best way of teaching Aikido. These ideas were largely influenced by Nakamura Tempu Sensei and Jetsuju Ogura Sensei, two formative teachers of our Founder (Soshu), Tohei Sensei. Tohei Sensei intriduced a system of teaching Ki, and in 1971 he founded the Ki no Kenkyukai (Ki Society, now called the Shinshin Touitsu Aikido Kai). Its purpose is to teach the principles of Ki and realization of mind and body oneness. Koichi Tohei Sensei passed away peacefully on the 19th of May, 2011. He was 91 years old.