Born in Yamaguchi, Japan, in 1947, Kenji Tokitsu learned the fundamentals of sumo in nursery school, like all Japanese children. He turned to martial arts at age 10, practicing kendo and karate. At age 12 he abandoned them for baseball and track and field. In 1962, at the age of 15, he returned to martial arts and began to practice karate, attending a dojo of the Shito Ryu school. Four years later, he enrolled at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, and joined the Shotokan school (the most internationally known style, created by Master Gichin Funakoshi). Member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), the Hitotsubashi dojo is historically renowned for its role in the evolution of karate. At that time, its oldest Master was Gima Shinkin (Makoto), Funakoshi’s partner during the famous 1922 demonstration in Japan.
In 1971, after graduation, he moved to Paris, to be a student and assistant of Master Taiji Kase. When he reached the French capital, Kenji Tokitsu was already a very promising 3rd dan, with a passion for the social sciences and sociology. He began university in Paris, and started a reflection on karate that led him to formulate his first criticisms on the Shotokan school in 1974, after 12 years of training. According to his way of thinking, too many athletes over the age of 35 suffer back and joint injuries due to over exertion. Karate had become a spectator sport, and its kata were distorted and made rigid in order to enhance the spectacle, with little remaining of its original characteristics.
To pursue these matters further, he returned to Japan and began to conduct research on the karate practiced by Funakoshi. After meeting the Master’s students, namely Master Shozan Kubota and Master Takagi Fusajiro, he noted the differences between their way of practicing and the methods taught to Shotokan students. He continued his research and went back to the most ancient roots of practice, studying the Shorin Ryu style of Okinawa.
Having abandoned Shotokan, he devoted himself entirely to his research. During his stays in Japan he discovered and began to practice taichi chuan with Master Yo Meiji of the Yang school (slow and wide movements, aimed at well-being) and Master Matsuda Ruyuchi of the Chen school (quick movements, more focused on combat, designed to create explosive energy). Tokitsu concentrated his studies on Chen taichi chuan and another style called Synthesis taichi chuan. The practice and study of taichi led him to take up the conception of the body as a liquid entity. This idea directly influenced the techniques and the way of approaching combat and positioned Tokitsu poles apart from the rigidity that predominated in karate. It is also during this period that Tokitsu began to study and practice kiko.
Since 1983, with the creation of his school in Paris, Shaolin mon-Karate do, Tokitsu has been structuring a method of unarmed combat that is in line with the roots of the karate tradition. The method is an original synthesis of Japanese and Chinese martial arts and re-proposes, in a new light, the ancient goal of the martial arts: the pursuit of efficiency that can last a lifetime, because it brings health and well-being. Over the years, he completed a second Master’s Degree in sociology and published various essays on the subject. « La voie du karaté. Pour une théorie des arts martiaux japonais » (The Way of Karate. For a theory of the Japanese martial arts) was published in France in 1979, followed in the 1980s by "Méthode des Arts Martiaux à mains nues" (Method of Unarmed Martial Arts).
In 1989 he returned to Japan to learn more about iai jutsu and kenjutsu with Master Tetsuzan Kuroda.
The Shaolin mon - Karate do School became a real laboratory, where Master Tokistu does reasearch and teaches a personal synthesis of practices which enable students, in combat as in life, to attain efficiency through a method that brings physical well-being and offers a journey of self training. Because of this, the school was renamed Shaolin mon-Jisei budo in 1996.
Also in the mid 90s, Master Tokitsu began a close collaboration with Professor Toshihiko Yayama, immunologist, head of the surgery and oriental medicine wards of the Kenritsu Byoin Kosekan Hospital of the Saga province in Japan.
Kiko became part of the basic disciplines taught at the school and, after a few years of applications and verifications, Yayama and Tokitsu devised a series of exercises, Jisei-kiko, designed to increase and maintain the functionality of all the joints in the body over time. Jisei-kiko not only brings well-being but also helps to increase the force of blows in combat. The method was officially presented during an international training course organized by Drs. Yayama and Tokitsu in Lausanne, Switzerland, in early 2001.
Since the end of 2001 Tokitsu has been focusing on spreading his method and the results of his research. During this period the school gained importance in Japan under the name Jiseido, “to create oneself by creating”. His research, his books and his method have aroused great interest in Japan, where Master Tokitsu returns, one week a month, to conduct training sessions in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.
Finally, in 2002 Kenji Tokitsu decided to relocate the his school’s headquarters in Italy, after approximately 30 years in Paris. In Milan, surrounded by his best students, he is beginning a new phase in his research, whose main goal is to formalize and spread his method.