Aikido is a modern martial art derived from the Samurai fighting techniques of ancient Japan. Developed during the 1920's, the technical foundations of Aikido can be traced back to Aiki-jujutsu which evolved in early Japan.
Morehei Ueshiba (1883-1968) became a recognized master of Aiki-jujutsu and several other arts. He also believed in peace and in 1925, he organized a style of Aiki-jujutsu to assist his own spiritual and physical development. The result was modern Aikido.
Aikido is not a conventional fighting art or sport. Instead, it is a martial art which develops the ability to harmonize with opposing forces rather than combat them. Because of this, many circular and spherical movements are involved in Aikido to redirect opposing forces towards a less harmful destination.
Gozo Shioda (1915-1994) was Ueshiba Sensei’s top student, and in 1955, after receiving 9th Dan, Gozo Shioda Sensei formed the Aikido Yoshinkan Foundation. Shioda Sensei's style of Aikido is known as Yoshinkan, a name that he inherited from his father. "Yo" means cultivating, "Shin" means spirit or mind and "Kan" means house. Together the meaning is the “Place to cultivate ones spirit”
The world headquarters (Honbu Dojo) for Yoshinkan Aikido is located at the heart of Tokyo in Shinjuku and has over 1,000 students training every month. There are over 90 schools of Yoshinkan Aikido in Japan and the Yoshinkan style has become world recognized and is taught to the Tokyo Riot Police in Japan. Large numbers of Western students train at the Honbu, and to support overseas instructors, Shioda Sensei created an intensive 11-month International Instructor’s course in 1991.
In Yoshinkan Aikido, the emphasis is on the study of fundamental movements and solid basic techniques as well as gaining philosophical insight into the conduct of life and human relationships. Yoshinkan Aikido as a martial art is non-competitive and non-violent. Cooperation and harmony are more important than aggression. Timing and control are more important than strength. With the development of solid basics, Yoshinkan Aikido provides a very powerful means of self defence without undue aggression.The International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation (now AYF) was formed by Shioda Sensei in 1990 to promote the development of Yoshinkan Aikido worldwide. Gozo Shioda's official title is Soke which translates as founder and director. Soke Shioda passed away on July 17, 1994.