Kenji Tomiki

Kenji Tomiki
富木 謙治 Tomiki Kenji
Born (1900-03-15)March 15, 1900
Died December 25, 1979(1979-12-25) (aged 79)
Native name 富木 謙治 Tomiki Kenji
Nationality Japan Japanese
Style Judo and Aikido
Teacher(s) Jigoro Kano, Morihei Ueshiba
Rank 8th dan Judo
8th dan Aikido

Kenji Tomiki (富木 謙治 Tomiki Kenji, March 15, 1900 – December 25, 1979) was a Japanese aikido and judo teacher and the founder of competitive aikido (aikido kyogi) style.[1] The style is referred by several names including Tomiki Aikido, Shodokan Aikido and Sport Aikido.

Tomiki was one of the early students of the founder of aikido Morihei Ueshiba, beginning in 1926, and also of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo.[2] In 1928 he obtained 5th dan in judo and in the following year he represented Miyagi Prefecture in the first judo tournament held in front of the Emperorthis tournament became the All Japan Tournament the following year. From 1936 till the end of the second world war he lived in Manchukuo (Manchuria) where he taught aikibudo (an early name for aikido) to the Kanton army and the Imperial Household Agency. In 1938 he became an assistant professor at Kenkoku University in Manchukuo. He went on to be awarded the first 8th dan in aikido (1940) and an 8th dan in judo (1978).[3] After returning from a three-year internment by the Soviet Union, he taught both judo and aikido for many years at Waseda University. It was there that he formulated and expanded his theories concerning both kata based training methods and a particular form of free-style fighting which would put him at odds with much, but not all, of the aikido world.

It was this action on the part of Tomiki of attempting to convert aikido into a sport that led to a schism with the founder Morihei Ueshiba and the Aikikai around this time. Tomiki was urged by the Aikikai to adopt a different name for his art other than “aikido” if he intended to introduce such a system of competition. Convinced of the need to modernize aikido, he stood his ground and persisted in his efforts to evolve a viable form of competition.

In 1953, Tomiki along with 9 other martial art instructors were selected to tour US Air Force bases in the United States[4] and was thus the first aikido instructor to visit the US.

Tomiki is perhaps best known in the judo world for his influence in the developing of Kodokan Goshin Jutsu kata. His work Judo, published in 1956, is considered a classic.[5] The aikido appendix to the book is thought to be the earliest English language text on aikido.[6]

In 1967, Tomiki opened his Shodokan Dojo which he used as a testing ground for his theories on aikido and competition. In 1970, Tomiki retired from Waseda University and, in the same year, presided over the first All-Japan Student Aikido Tournament. The basic rules for the holding of aikido tournaments had been worked out by this time in what would become an ongoing experiment to develop a viable form of competitive aikido.[7]

In 1974, he founded the Japan Aikido Association (JAA)[8] from an earlier organization of the same name to promote his theories.

Tomiki set up a new dojo for the Shodokan in Osaka on March 28, 1976 with the support of Masaharu Uchiyama, Vice-Chairman of the J.A.A. This dojo was intended to function as the headquarters of the Japan Aikido Association and Tomiki served as its first director. The current head of the dojo and chief instructor of the Shodokan Aikido Federation is Tetsuro Nariyama.[9]

Professor Tomiki died on December 24, 1979 leaving his closest disciple, Hideo Ohba as head of the Japan Aikido Association (JAA).[8]


Additional reading

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