Thursday, August 03, 2006


The last week or so the major emphasis of the classes I have taught has been center. Technically that is a point about 2 inches below the navel that is referred to as "hara" or "tanden". Much of the practice of Aikido has gone into the practice of the techniques. And, while center itself is probably one of several foundational focuses, it is probably what everything else comes through when everything is integrated.

Nadeau sensei insists that at the Hombu Dojo of the 1960's the emphasis on center and energy flow was kept alive by Koichi Tohei sensei. Unfortunately, there was a split in the early 1970's when Tohei sensei left the Aikikai to found his own organization. A good question for today is: Has the aikido of today gone overmuch into just the training of technique? Another sub-question might be: Can the concept of center be acheived just through the practice of technique?

My own personal exposure to Tohei sensei is almost non-existent. I sat and watched a class held at a San Mateo gymnasium in early 1970. My first teachers, Robert Frager and Robert Nadeau, based a lot of their early energy awareness work on their experience with Tohei sensei. During my Japan period, surprisingly, the Tohei approach was emphasized at the Shingu dojo by Tojima sensei, who had studied Tohei sensei's approach through his books. More recently, Robert Koga has talked to me about Tohei sensei and his experiences with him.

More on this topic in future articles.


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