Akira Tohei , was one of the most senior Aikido instructor in the United States and one of the technical directors of the United States Aikido Federation. Tohei Shihan practiced Aikido over 50 years and was a direct disciple of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba .
Akira Tohei Shihan was born August 20, 1929, in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. At the age of 15, he enlisted in the Japanese army of World War II and received training as a kamikaze pilot.
We are forever fortunate that the war ended just months before he was to fly his suicide mission. After the war ended, Japan was in chaos and Tohei Shihan was in limbo, searching for something to give more meaning to his life and to better serve his country.
He had heard about the relatively new art of Aikido, a martial art designed to provide discipline to one’s own spirit as well as self-defense without injury to the attacker.
In 1946 Tohei Shihan, intrigued and motivated, began his Aikido training under the then Chief Instructor of Hombu dojo, Koichi Tohei, and continued in 1956 under the direct instruction of O-Sensei and his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, at Aikido World Headquarters, Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan.
To be continued…