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Akira Tohei Shihan
(1929 - 1999)

Akira Tohei, 8th degree black belt, was a technical director of the United States Aikido Federation. Mr. Tohei began his practice of Aikido in 1946 and continued in 1956 under the direct instruction of Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba.

In 1963, Tohei sensei was asked by the Aikido Founder to accompany his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, on a tour of Aikido dojo (schools) throughout the United States. When the three-month journey ended in Hawaii, Kisshomaru Ueshiba returned to Tokyo. Tohei sensei was asked to stay and teach Aikido throughout the Hawaiian Islands for nine months. In 1964, he returned to Japan and joined the teaching staff at Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo). For the next eight years Tohei sensei, in addition to his teaching at the headquarters, was also an instructor at Asia University, Akita Economics University, Keio University, Nihon Women's University, the Ground Self-Defense Forces, and the Naval Self-Defense Forces.

In 1966, Aikido Headquarters awarded Tohei sensei the title of Shihan, "Master Instructor". In 1972, Aikido Headquarters dispatched Tohei sensei to America specifically to lead Aikido instruction in the Midwest United States and was headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Tohei sensei was promoted to 8th degree black belt in 1989. He taught Aikido classes until just before his death on July 2, 1999.

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