Tomiki Aikido is besides a competitive system, called Aikido Kyogi, also a way to study Budo. The influence of Kodokan Judo as a Budo system gives a flavour of structure and logic to the training system.
The original Tomiki Aikido contained many “bodywork” elements. The sources of these bodywork elements can be found in the old Bujutsu schools of Japan.
Budo Aikido training is a long-term vision, bodywork is an important item of the training.
There are many important persons in the history of Tomiki Aikido. For the Study Group Tomiki Aikido (Europe) 3 persons are milestones:
“Kenji Tomiki, Hideo Ohba and Senta Yamada”
Kenji Tomiki, Aikita Prefecture, 1900-1979
Tomiki began training under Morihei Ueshiba in 1926 in Ayabe and continued in the late 1920s and early 1930s in Tokyo. After becoming a junior high school teacher, Tomiki would spend his summer and winter vacations in Tokyo to train with Morihei Ueshiba. Since he was well-educated and a good calligrapher, Tomiki also helped with various administrative tasks at the Kobukan. For example, he edited the 1933 technical manual Budo Renshu.
Tomiki relocated to Shinkyo, Manchuria where he taught at the Daido Gakuin and Military Police Training Hall, and later Kenkoku University. He was awarded the first 8th dan by Morihei in 1940. Trapped in Manchuria at the end of World War II, Tomiki was imprisoned in the Soviet Union for three years before being repatriated in 1948.
In 1949, Tomiki joined the faculty of Waseda University where he taught judo and later aikido. He also taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the early to mid-1950s. Tomiki later devised a system of competitive aikido known variously as “Aikido Kyogi” and “Tomiki Aikido.” He continued to refine his system from his base at Waseda University until his death in 1979.
Kenji Tomiki performing “gedan ate” on Hideo Ohba
Hideo Ohba (27 April 1911-2 February 1986)
Started judo while at Kakunodate Middle School. In his final year he became captain of the judo club, and after graduation became a part-time judo teacher there. Met Kenji Tomiki in 1931 when he came to teach at the school. Was sent to China as a member of the Akita infantry during the Manchurian Incident in 1931. Returned to Japan in 1933 and became Tomiki’s assistant judo teacher. Trained regularly at the Kodokan and was promoted to 5th dan in 1935. Joined Tomiki at Kenkoku University in Manchuria in 1941 where he taught judo and aiki-bujutsu and studied kendo and naginata-do. In 1942 he was uke for Morihei Ueshiba at the Martial Arts Demonstration commemorating the tenth anniversary of the founding of Manchuria. The next year he received his 6th dan in what was then known as Tenshin-ryu Aiki Budo from Ueshiba. After his return to Japan in 1945, he taught judo to police in the Akita area until Tomiki called for his assistance in Tokyo in 1960. Instructed at the Waseda Aikido Club, the Aoyama Wrestling Center, the U. S. Armed Forces Base at Fuchu, and other locations in the Tokyo area.
Senta Yamada 1924-2010
Born in 1924 Fukuoka, South Japan. Practised judo at middle school and became black belt at the age of 16. He was awarded 6th dan after defeating 5 other 5th dans in contests. After the war, he studied aikido with Morihei Ueshiba in Tokyo and Wakayama prefecture. He became also a student of Kenji Tomiki at the Kodokan and Waseda University. Senta Yamada introduced Tomiki Aikido to the United Kingdom late 50-ties and early 60-ties.
Article by Prof. Fumiaki Shishida
Bodywork in Tomiki Aikido
Bodywork is not a martial art, it is an intuitive way of moving the body.
Most important is “the feeling” of the movement.
The potential of everybody is explored.