The art of Aikido traces its origin to Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, which is said to have been founded by Prince Teijun (850-880), the sixth son of the emperor Seiwa. Centuries later, certain elements of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu were still being passed down as the secret art of the Takeda house and were made known only to members and retainers of that family. Sokaku Takeda, a Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu expert, spent some time in Hokkaido where he met Morihei Ueshiba.
Due to his small stature as a child, Morihei Ueshiba was encouraged by his father to take up Sumo, swimming and martial arts. All of which he excelled at. As a young man he joined the army and served for several years with distinction. Bothered by the suffering during the Russo-Japan conflicts Morihei Ueshiba felt that there had to be a better way to resolve conflict. After the war, he returned home, married, raised a family and studied Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu under Mr Sokaku Takeda and received a certificate in that style.
Morihei Ueshiba make the acquaintance of Mr. Onisaburo Deguchi, of the Omoto religious sect and devotes himself to ascetic spiritual training. In 1922 he organized his own style of Aikijujutsu, which he called Aiki bujutsu. He later used it as a bases from which Aikido was developed. He strongly felt that the martial arts and the spiritual lessons he had learned made a good match. By following these two disciplines the Art of Peace was formed.
In 1927 the Founder or O-Sensei, moved to Tokyo with his family and began teaching Martial Arts With the support of many influential people, military commanders, politicians and even members of the royal family, Morihei Ueshiba starts to promoting the development of Aikido in Japan and abroad. The Japanese government bestowed the following honours to him for his efforts; the Medal with Purple Ribbon of Honor , the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. The Founder passes away on April 26, 1969 at the age of 86. He receives the award of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, and the rank of Sho-Goi (fifth rank in the imperial court) posthumously.
Kancho Sensei, Gozo Shioda
Ueshiba's most outstanding student was Gozo Shioda (1915-1994). It was he who contributed much to bring about the increased popularity that Aikido has enjoyed since the war. This was especially so in the immediate post was years when the son of O-Sensei ceased any Aikido activities for several years and later came to train with Shioda Sensei and Saito Sensei.
Shioda entered Ueshiba's dojo at the age of 18, and lived and practiced there for eight years. Because he stayed at the dojo longer than any other student, and at a time of Ueshiba's greatest health and vigor, Shioda learned to sense the ways of the Master's mind and spirit.
In recognition of Shioda's progress, Ueshiba was to award him 9th Dan, the highest rank given by Ueshiba to any of his student's, plus his "Master" instructor's license.
Gozo Shioda Sensei's style of Aikido is known as Yoshinkan, a name that he inherited from his father who owned a Kendo and Judo dojo by that name. Yo means cultivating; Shin means spirit of mind; and Kan means house; thus Yoshinkan is the house for the cultivation of spirit and mind.
During the mid and late 1950's, having established the post-war position of Aikido in Japan, Gozo Shioda Sensei assisted Kissamaru Ueshiba in re-establishing the Aikido program at Ueshiba's dojo in Tokyo. From the early 1960's onwards Gozo Shioda Sensei then principally applied himself to developing the teaching program and uchideshi system at his Yoshinkan School and at dojos (primarily police and company schools in Japan). During this time the Aikikai Honbu dojo of Kissamaru was active in fostering the growth of Aikido overseas.
Gozo Shioda Sensei was respected the world over for his attitude toward the Budo disciplines and for his belief in Wa (Harmony) as a way of life. He remained involved in the teaching activities at the Yoshinkan Honbu until the time of his death.