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Curtis Sensei

Christopher Curtis is the head instructor of Maui Ki Aikido as well as the Chief Instructor of the Hawaii Ki Federation.

Curtis Sensei was born in 1944 in Upland, California, and grew up on a ranch in Northern California. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Theatre Arts, he worked as an actor for several years in New York City. It was here that he had his first encounter with Aikido. In 1969 he received personal instruction from Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, a student of Koichi Tohei Sensei, while preparing for a role with the Open Theatre. This first exposure to Koichi Tohei Sensei’s teaching left a deep impression upon him. Even though he was experiencing a successful career in the New York theatre, he was very dissatisfied with the lack of depth in his personal life. At the age of 25, he “retired” from acting and play writing, and moved to the hills of California, where he lived alone and concentrated on meditation and self-development for several years.

In 1972, Curtis moved to Maui, Hawaii and there encountered Aikido once again. He began training in 1974, with his teacher, the late Shinichi Suzuki Sensei. As Suzuki Sensei’s otomo, Curtis accompanied Suzuki Sensei as he traveled to teach seminars in Japan, throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. Through the years he has trained with Koichi Tohei Sensei in Japan on many occasions, attending World Camp annually, as well as special training sessions.

In January, 2000 Curtis Sensei was appointed as Chief Instructor of the State of Hawaii by Tohei Sensei. Then in the fall of 2001, he was awarded the rank of “Okuden” by Tohei Sensei in Japan. Tohei Sensei has also recognized Curtis Sensei as an official Ki Lecturer. Curtis Sensei now teaches regularly at the Shunshinkan dojo on Maui, and continues to travel and teach Aikido and Ki Principles in Europe, throughout the United States, and Hawaii. At the specific request of the Ki Society Headquarters, Curtis Sensei is now acting as the official advisor for Ki Society dojos in the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.

Curtis Sensei is the author of two books, Ki-Aikido on Maui (2001) and Letting Go – Talks on Aikido (2008) which were both published by MAKS Publishing. Letting Go is featured in monthly “Ki Talks” and podcasts at the Shunshinkan dojo. The podcasts can be downloaded at Curtis Sensei’s blog.