Kenji Tomiki (March 15, 1900 – December 25, 1979) was a Japanese Aikido and Judo teacher and the founder of an Aikido style referred by several names including Tomiki Aikido, Shodokan Aikido and The Aikido of Kenji Tomiki.
When Kano originally designed his new system of judo, he strived to propagate the principles of lightness of touch, absence of strength, and throwing off the grab. In addition, Kano believed that judo should be a comprehensive art, not just a sport or a method of self-defense. While Kano believed the competitiveness of judo developed skills, he felt the techniques of aikido are what students should practice to refine such things as balance, movement, off the grip techniques, and footwork.
As such, he chose one of his senior students, Kenji Tomiki to train with Ueshiba and learn Aikido. Kenji Tomiki was a direct student of Kano, becoming a 5th dan in 1928 (highest rank awarded at that time) and an 8th Dan in 1978. At the same time, Tomiki became one of the first students of Ueshiba, reaching the rank of 8th Dan in 1940. Seeking to find a balance between the competitive emphasis of Judo and the movement of Aikido and blend both arts, Tomiki created both the Goshin Jutsu Kata (one of the official kata of Kodokan Judo) and added a competitive element into Aikido.
Tomiki joined the staff of Waseda University in 1948 and continued to train and teach in both aikido and judo. Over the years, he developed his own style of Aikido which utilized Aikido techniques in the open (long-reach) distance, and Judo techniques in a close (short, critical) distance and practiced both randori as well as organized formal competitions. In addition, Tomiki was a member of the Kodokan’s Special Direction Committee, and an official of the All Japan Judo Federation.
In 1970, Tomiki retired from Waseda University and in 1974, he founded the Japan Aikido Association (JAA from an earlier organization of the same name to promote his theories. Professor Tomiki died on December 24, 1979 leaving his closest disciple, Hideo Ohba as head of the Japan Aikido Association (JAA).