Personal History of Toyoda Shihan
Shihan Fumio Toyoda, born in Japan on November 8, 1947, held Black Belt degrees in both Aikido (6th Dan) and Judo. He began the study of Aikido at the age of 10 at the Chyushinkan in Japan. After earning his Shodan in Aikido at age 17, he was accepted as uchi deshi at the Ichi Kukai Dojo in Tokyo and began three years of rigorous training in Misogi and Zen.
While pursuing a law degree at Senshu University, Shihan Toyoda lived for three years as uchi deshi under the Zen master Keizan Roshi. After graduating from Senshu, he then lived for two years at the Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu Aikikai) , and ther began his career as a professional, full time Aikido instructor. During this period, he also taught at several leading Japanese universities, among them Daito Bunga University, Seiki University, and International Christian University.
Beginning in 1971, Toyoda Shihan taught for two years at the Ki No Kenkyukai (Ki Society) as Chief Instructor of Koichi Tohei Shin Toitsu Aikido. His teaching responsibilities took him to Korea and Hawaii where he presented Aikido seminars to instructors and beginners alike.
During his early years of traveling and teaching abroad, Toyoda Shihan recognized the growing need for more full time, qualified Aikido instruction, and made a personal commitment to spread the art and philosophy of Aikido beyond the shores of his native Japan.
This commitment led Toyoda Shihan, beginning in 1974, to personally spread the teachings of Aikido to Canada and more than 23 states in the U.S.
In 1974, Toyoda Shihan established the Chicago Ki-Aikido Society, the dojo that would later become the headquarters for the Aikido Association of America.
As Toyoda Shihan organized and taught in the United States, he became acutely aware of the deep political divisions existing within the Aikido world. He also noticed the rigid organizational control that Japan-based Aikido organizations exerted on local U.S. dojo. He observed unsatisified dojo, one by one, server their ties with Japan to pursue an independent and unsure future. Toyoda Shihan was convinced that this status was not conducive to the growth of Aikido in this country and could only retard the development and lessen the quality of Aikido in the U.S.
Toyoda Shihan's dream is now a reality. The AAA is an internationally recognized affiliation of more than 95 martial arts dojos in the U.S., open to anyone expressing a sincere desire to practice Aikido arts.