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Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei

[Kashiwaya, sensei] Kashiwaya Sensei was born in December 1949 in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. He began Aikido training in 1969 while he was a student at Risshou University. Upon meeting Tohei Sensei in 1970, he was struck by Tohei Sensei's words, "if the mind moves, the body follows". Thereafter he trained with him exclusively until completing his Business Management degree at the University in 1973.

At Tohei Sensei's request, Kashiwaya Sensei traveled to Seattle and assisted Hirata Yoshihiko Sensei, who had founded Seattle Ki Aikido in 1971 (Initially founded as Seattle Aikikai in 1969). In 1975, Kashiwaya Sensei returned to Japan and continued professional intensive training as uchideshi for Tohei Sensei. Upon completion of uchideshi training in 1977, Kashiwaya Sensei moved to Boulder, Colorado where he founded Rocky Mountain Ki Aikido. During this time he also founded The Midland Ki Federation with dojos in Denver, Kansas City, Lawrence KS, St. Louis and Austin TX. During this time Kashiwaya Sensei gave many public demonstrations and lectures for the Consul of Japan at Kansas City, Cherry Blossom Festival at Independence, MO, Japan week at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and elsewhere. He was made an Honorary Citizen of Kansas City, MO by the mayor, and taught professional athletes such as the defensive line for the Denver Broncos football team, and Alexi Grewal, the Gold Medalist for the Los Angeles Olympics in road race cycling.

In 1983, Tohei Sensei appointed Kashiwaya Sensei Chief Instructor for Ki Aikido USA. He currently acts in an advisory role between Ki Aikido International Headquarters in Japan and other USA Chief Instructors. In 1990, he relocated to Seattle where he frequently teaches. He travels extensively throughout the USA, in Canada and to Brazil to conduct seminars, workshops, and intensive training sessions.

Currently, Kashiwaya Sensei holds the rank of Hachidan (8th degree black belt) in Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido and Okuden in Ki Training. He has Ki Lecturer teaching certification from Ki Aikido International, and is a certified judge for the International Taigi Competition. In 1998, Kashiwaya Sensei was instrumental in setting up and organizing the First US Open Taigi Competition and Demonstration for the Western Region, which took place February 1, 1998 in Seattle, WA.

As the Chief Instructor for Midland Ki Federation, Kashiwaya Sensei guides the development and implementation of instructional programs, instructor training and certification, and grading, testing and evaluation for 25 member schools in the USA, Brazil and Canada. He teaches workshops in St. Louis two times each year. Usually, one workshop is in September or October and the other in April or May.