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Symbol of the Yoshinkai
Yoshinkan Aikido
Also known as Aikido Yoshinkan Foundation (AYF), Yoshinkai, International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation (IYAF)
Date founded 1955
Country of origin Japan Japan
Founder Gozo Shioda
(塩田 剛三, Shioda Gōzō, 9 September 1915–17 July 1994)
Current head Yasuhisa Shioda
(born 15 November 1951)
Arts taught Aikido
Ancestor arts Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu
Ancestor schools Aiki Budo, Aikikai
Descendant schools Yoshokai, Renshinkai, Shudokan, Shinwakan
Practitioners Kiyoyuki Terada, Kyoichi Inoue, Takefumi Takeno, Tsutomu Chida, Tsuneo Ando
Official website yoshinkan.net

Aikido Yoshinkan (合気道 養神館 Aikidō Yōshinkan lit. "Aikido Cultivating the Spirit School") is a style of aikido founded by Gozo Shioda (1915–1994) after World War II. Yoshinkan Aikido is often called the "hard" style of aikido because the training methods are a product of the gruelling period that Shioda spent as a student of Morihei Ueshiba before the war. The Yoshinkan style is currently the second largest aikido organization worldwide.[1]


As a style of aikido, Yoshinkan is more akin to the pre-war aikibudo techniques taught by Morihei Ueshiba, and therefore also generally closer to aikijujutsu than those styles of aikido developed after the war. The unusual emphasis placed on correct form prior to practicing correct flow and timing further contributes to its image as a "hard" style.

Gozo Shioda created a structured method in which beginning students would learn the foundation techniques. Techniques are made up of elements such as the initiating attack, the applicable control and whether it is a pin or throw. They are further divided into two groups called ichi (first) and ni (second) techniques. Ichi techniques have a feeling of the energy moving away from tori, often with uke, pulling or blocking a strike. Ni techniques have a feeling of the energy coming towards tori. In an ichi technique, the Yoshinkan practitioner goes with the pull; and for a ni technique he diverts or pivots away from the push.

The current method of breaking the techniques into steps and the kihon dosa were developed in order to facilitate teaching beginners in a group. The kenshusei codified many of these methods in consultation with Gozo Shioda, especially Kyoichi Inoue and Takashi Kushida.[2][3][4]

To remove stiffness from techniques taught in this way, practitioners over the rank of shodan also practice timing and flow.[2][3]


Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 kihon waza (lit. "basic techniques"), which are practised repeatedly. Proficiency in these enable the student to master the remaining ones, which total some 3000 overall. The syllabus contains no weapons forms, although they are practised as an adjunct to the open hand techniques. Like many styles of aikido, Yoshinkan eschews competition; instead, it emphasizes self-defence applications. Yoshinkan aikido is one of the martial arts that has been taught to the Tokyo police.

Besides the usual attention to distance, timing and balance, the Yoshinkan style places particularly heavy emphasis on stance and basic movements. Yoshinkan’s distinctive stance, or kamae (lit. "posture" in Japanese), stresses the position of feet and hips. Yoshinkan aikido practitioners stand with hips and shoulders square to the front, the front foot pointing outward and the back foot pointing about 90 degrees to the front foot. Kamae is the foundation of all Yoshinkan aikido techniques and practitioners of Yoshinkan aikido strive to perfect their kamae so that their overall technique will be strengthened. Along with kamae there are 6 kihon dosa (lit. "basic movements") which are considered to be central for the 150 basic techniques. Yoshinkan aikido students practice these diligently to understand how to move their kamae around to put themselves in a strong position. Without proper form in one's basic movements one's aikido will not be as effective.

Senshusei course[edit]

Main article: Senshusei course

In 1990, Gozo Shioda founded the International Yoshinkai Aikido Federation (IYAF) to facilitate the learning of Yoshinkan aikido outside of Japan. Today, both the All Japan Yoshinkan Aikido Federation and the IYAF are now led by the current head of the style Yasuhisa Shioda, the founder's son. Under him, the Yoshinkan Honbu dojo, located in Shinjuku Tokyo, runs an annual 11-month intensive course called the Senshusei course derived from the course used to train the Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police. The book Angry White Pyjamas by Robert Twigger is based on the author's experiences during the course.

Former Yoshinkan Branches[edit]

Yoshokai aikido is an offshoot of Yoshinkan Aikido based in the United States founded by Takashi Kushida, a direct student of Gozo Shioda and a contemporary of Kyoichi Inoue.

Then-9th dan Kyoichi Inoue, shihan, resigned from the Yoshinkan in March 2006 following an internal dispute,[5] later establishing his own branch, Aikido Shinwakan (合氣道親和館).[6] Following Inoue-shihan's departure, Tsutomu Chida, 8th dan[7] and then-dojocho of Yoshinkan hombu dojo,[8] also broke away, establishing Aikido Renshinkai (合気道錬身会) in 2008.[9]

Current Events[edit]

As of June 14, 2012, Yasuhisa Shioda has left the position of Kancho of the Yoshinkan, leaving the school without a headmaster. The present dojo-cho is Chino-shihan.[10]


  1. ^ Morihei Ueshiba and Gozo Shioda, by Stanley Pranin; Aikido Journal Online 2011/12/06
  2. ^ a b http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=100
  3. ^ a b http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=313
  4. ^ http://www.misogikan.com/en/what-is-aikido/personalities/78-interview-with-hanshi-kyoichi-inoue
  5. ^ "Hanshi INOUE KYOICHI". Aikido Renshinkai Misogikan Dojo. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "合氣道親和館井上強一館長". Aikido Shinwakan. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Aikido, the Yoshinkan way". Fitness Japan. 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Multimedia > Video Clips > Tsutomu Chida Sensei". Aikiweb. 1999. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "千田務最高師範". Aikido Renshinkai (NPO法人 合気道錬身会). Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  10. ^ http://www.yoshinkan.net/cgi-bin/osirase_e/cgi/msgs.cgi?do=jwd&wn=1339762033

External links[edit]