Yoshinkan Aikido was established by Gozo Shioda in the mid-1950s. The name “Yoshinkan” comes from the dojo originally built by his father, a physician, who wanted to improve both the physical and the spiritual health of local children. It literally means: “Hall for the Cultivation of Spirit.” The Yoshinkan style is currently the second largest aikido organization worldwide.
Yoshinkan Aikido is occasionally referred to as the hard style because of its exacting training methodology. This approach is the product of the pre-war period of Aikido’s development when Shioda was a direct student of the art’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba. It involves two partners practicing pre-arranged techniques in a precise manner. By practicing this way over and over again, the foundation of the techniques and the basic principles that underpin them are perfected. This has proven to be a very practical approach that allows students to acquire skill at a faster pace than other Aikido styles.
In Yoshinkan Aikido there are six fundamental training movements (called Basic Movements) and roughly 150 common defensive techniques (called Basic Techniques) which are practiced in depth. Mastering these basics equips students with the fundamental skills required to execute the remaining techniques, which are thought to total around 3000.
It is important to understand that Yoshinkan Aikido is not a sport. It is the cooperative and focussed development of both physical and mental dexterity. It involves incredibly powerful and practical self-defence techniques which can be performed by anyone regardless of size, gender or race. In this type of training there are no competitions and no feelings of winning or losing.
In today’s day and age, traditional Yoshinkan Aikido training also offers students a unique method of developing mental awareness, greater powers of concentration and increased capabilities for dealing with stressful situations.