Tag Archives: hawaii

Koichi Tohei: Aikido Comes to Hawaii

Koichi Tohei demonstrates Sankyo in Hawaii
In "Morihei Ueshiba: Untranslatable Words" we explored one of Koichi Tohei’s experiences during the 1961 visit to Hawaii by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. For those that are interested, Koa Kimura’s photo journal of O-Sensei’s visit to Hawaii is available on the Aikido Hawaii website.Koichi Tohei originally visited Hawaii in 1953, at the invitation of the Hawaii branch of the Nishi Health System.
Between 1953 and the opening of the Honolulu Aiki Dojo in 1961 Aikido experienced an explosive growth in the Hawaiian islands – the Hawaii Aikido groups were even able to raise funds to send to Japan for the repair of the Aikikai hombu dojo, which had been damaged in the bombing of Tokyo during WWII.

Morihei Ueshiba: Untranslatable Words

Katsuzo Nishi – Founder of the Nishi Health System
In 1927 Katsuzo Nishi created a system of health exercises called the Nishi Health System (Nishi Shiki).
His theories are characterized by the idea that the human bone structure and positioning of the internal organs are basically the same as those evolved for the mammalian species that ambulate on four legs,  but human beings have adopted an upright two-legged life style that places unnatural structural strains on the human bone structure. This results in problems like obstruction of the flow of food through the intestines (constipation) due to the unnatural (vertical) positioning of the organs. As methods to compensate for these structural defects, Nishi conceived and encouraged the use of treatment through exercises such as the goldfish movement spinal column exercise and the lateral vibration exercise known as the “Haifuku Undo”.
It so happens that Nishi was himself a student of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, and the Nishikai (the organization formed around the Nishi Health System) was instrumental in inviting Koichi Tohei to Hawaii in 1953.In 1961 the students of Hawaii dedicated the opening of the "Honolulu Aiki Dojo", the first Aikido dojo constructed outside of Japan. Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei came from Japan, his one and only trip to the United States, to dedicate the opening of the dojo.