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Aikido Styles

Ueshiba Morehei used many names to denote the martial art he was teaching at various times in his life evidenced from certificates that he issued to pre-war students.

One can speculate that he did this initially in an effort to seperate himself from the Daito-ryu school of Takeda Sokaku (from whom he received an assistant teachers certificate in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujitsu).

Pre-War Names: Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, Aikijujutsu, Aioi-ryu jujutsu, Ueshiba-ryu jujutsu, Aiki-budo, Tenshin-ryu Aiki-budo.
Postwar Names: Takemusu Aiki, Shobu Aiki, Aikido.

Almost all reknowned pre-war students of O Sensei were awarded 'Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu' styled master certificates before he adopted the Dan grade system. The term "Aikido" was reputedly coined by a member of a Dai-Nihon-Butokai committee in 1942 as a category of jujutsu based martial arts among which "Aiki-budo" was listed as but one.  It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who pulled the marketing master stroke of appropriating "Aikido" as the name under which the art of his father would eventually be promoted. 



aikikai Aikido

The largest aikido organisation is led by the direct decendants of the founder.

Numerous sub-organisations and teachers affiliate themselves with this umbrella organisation, which therefore encompasses a wide variety of aikido styles, training methods and technical differences. Prominent sub-organisations include numerous national Aikikai associations and federations the world over.
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Yoshinkan logo

Yōshinkan  (養神館  - Hall of Spirit Cultivation ) was founded by Gozo Shioda snother emminient prewar student of Morehei Ueshiba.

This style has a reputation for being the most rigidly precise and is closer to the pre-war aikibudo taught by Morihei Ueshiba. Students of Yoshinkan aikido practise basic movements as solo kata, and this style has been popular among the Japanese police. The international organisation associated with the Yoshinkan style of aikido is known as the Yoshinkai, and has active branches in many parts of the world.




yoseikan logo

This form was developed by Minoru Mochizuki, who was an early student of O Sensei and also of Jigoro Kano at the Kodokan.

This style includes elements of aiki-budo together with aspects of karate, judo and other arts. It is now carried on by his son, Hiroo Mochizuki, the creator of Yoseikan Budo.


Tomiki Aikido

Tomiki Shodokan Aikido - kenji tomiki

Sport AikidoShin Aikido, Shodokan Aikido

Founded by Kenji Tomiki this style introduced sparring and rule based competition in training into the Aikido syllabus.  Kenji Tomiki, an early student of O Sensei and the first of his students to be awarded 8th Dan, was also a student of Judo under Jigoro Kano, believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice as well as making it more appealing to younger generations and University adoption.

This latter view was the cause contention with the Aikikai hombu whose seniors believed that competition could be bad for the development of aikido training. There is evidence that O Sensei retained an interest in Tomiki's activities but that there was a difference of opinion within the Aikikai honbu (Tokyo) which resulted in Kenji having to leave Aikikai honbu and establish the Shodokan dojo and later the Japanese Aikido Association (JAA) to continue this research.
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Ki Society


Ki Society Aikido logo

The Ki Society, founded by former head-instructor of the Hombu dojo 10th dan Koichi Tohei, emphasises very soft flowing techniques and has a special program for the development of ki.

It also has a special system of ki-ranks alongside the traditional kyu and dan system. This style is called Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (or Ki-Aikido).  In a similar backstory, the hombu seniors felt that the Ki element of Koichi insight did not fit weel with them, causing another split.  
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Iwama Ryu


 (also refered to as Takemusu)  

Iwama Ryu emphasises the relation between weapon techniques and barehand techniques, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on weapons training.

ìwama ryu logo

Since the death of its founder Morihiro Saito, the Iwama style has been practiced by clubs within the Aikikai and an independent organisation headed by Hitohiro Saito. Saito sensei was a long time uchideshi of O Sensei, beginning in 1946 and staying with him through his death. Many consider that Saito sensei was the student who spent most time directly studying with O Sensei. Saito sensei said he was trying to preserve and teach the art exactly as the founder of aikido taught it to him.

Technically, Iwama-ryu seems to resemble the aikido O Sensei was teaching in the early 50s mainly in the Iwama dojo. The technical repertoire is fairly large. Iwama Ryu Aikido, currently headed by Saito Hitohiro, is a separate organisation from the Aikikai.

The Iwama Dojo is currently affiliated to the Aikikai and is not considered a separate style.

Many instructors who were deeply influenced by Saito Morihiro consider themselves Iwama Style, however.Takemusu (武産) was the concept developed by Morihei Ueshiba of how the ultimate martial art should be, how his aikido should be, an art which may harmonize all living beings and free techniques could be spontaneously executed. In his latest years, Ueshiba developed the more spiritual aspects of his art and even adopted the name Takemusu Tsunemori, under which he left many paintings and poems.


Shin'ei Taido


Founded by the late Noriaki Inoue, nephew of Morihei Ueshiba. Noriaki Inoue (井上 鑑昭 Inoue Noriaki, 1902-12-03, Tanabe – 1994-04-13, Kunitachi) was in his early years closely associated with the spiritual and technical development of aikido along with his uncle Morihei Ueshiba. Inoue is the founder of Shinwa Taidō, a martial art which he later renamed to Shin'ei Taidō.

He was the fourth child of Zenso Inoue, the patriarch of the wealthy Inoue family of Tanabe, and of Tame Ueshiba, the eldest sister of Morihei. Much of Noriaki's childhood was spent in the company of Ueshiba. He joined his uncle at Shirataki in a settlement expedition in the north of the island of Hokkaidō (1912–1919) and studied  Daito-ryu Aiki-Jutsu with him under Sokaku Takeda. He was also closely associated with the discovery by Ueshiba of the Omoto sect in Ayabe and his encounter with its spiritual leader Onisaburo Deguchi which had a decisive influence in Ueshiba's later philosophy.

Inoue then actively collaborated with his uncle into the spreading of aikibudō, the art derived from the daitō-ryū that Ueshiba was formulating. In 1927, the two men settled in Tokyo, teaching at various locations until the construction in 1931 of Ueshiba's first permanent dojo, the Kobukan. However, after the second Omoto incident (1935) when the military government suppressed the Omoto sect, a breach developed between Ueshiba and his nephew, the latter accusing the former of betraying the cause of the sect by not sharing the fate of its leaders, and the two eventually parted ways with mutual resentment. After the war, Inoue continued to teach in Tokyo independently from Ueshiba, instructing US Air Force officers. While the original aikibudō has now evolved into aikido under Ueshiba, Inoue kept teaching his art as such until 1956 when he changed its name into Shinwa Taidō and finally Shin'ei Taidō. He had little interaction with the Aikikai organization which followed the death of Ueshiba and continued teaching actively until his death. He considered himself a co-founder of aikido along with Ueshiba although that is disputed by the Ueshiba family. Inoue used various names throughout his life: Kitamatsumaru (1902), Yoichiro (1909), Yoshiharu (1920), Seisho(1940), Hoken (1948), Teruyoshi (1971), and finally Noriaki (1973).



Takashi Kushida - Yoshokai Aikido

Yoshokai logo

The Aikido Yoshokai Association of North America - AYANA (合氣道耀尚會) is an aikido organization founded in 1991 by former Yoshinkan-affiliated master Takashi Kushida. Its hombu dojo is the Genyokan (玄耀館) Dojo in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Yoshokai aikido, begun by then-hachidan Takashi Kushida, a direct student of Gozo Shioda and a contemporary of Kyoichi Inoue, is a remarkably centralised style of aikido, with test techniques yearly passed down with explanations from the home dojo. The syllabus contains a considerable amount of weapons study, and like Yoshinkan, Yoshokai includes many solo movements and exercises. Takashi Kushida sensei passed away on May 10, 2012. His son Akira Kushida Sensei (7th Dan) now teaches. 


Tendoryu Aikido


Headed by Kenji Shimizu. Kenji Shimizu (清水 健二 Shimizu Kenji), b. 1940, is the founder of the aikido style Tendo-ryu Aikido (天道流).

Tendo Ryu AikidoShimizu was born in 1940 in Fukuoka, Japan. He had been training judo since childhood and held a 4th dan in this art when he changed to aikido in 1963. He then became one of the last personal students of the aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. After Ueshiba died in 1969, Shimizu, then with a 7th dan in aikido, founded his own school in Tōkyō named Tendoryu (School of the Way of Heaven). Tendoryu Aikido is characterized by its large and clear movements, emphasizing naturalness and harmonic flow of motion. Since 1978, Shimizu has regularly held seminars in Germany and other European countries. A German Tendoryu Society was founded in 1993.

He received the 8th dan aikido from the Japanese Budo Federation in 1998 and has co-authored a book titled Zen and Aikido (ISBN 4-900586-13-7) with Shigeo Kamata. Shimizu received the 'Foreign Minister Award', an award from the Foreign Minister of Japan, on July 16, 2002 for his work spreading aikido abroad. Shimizu-sensei was the first Aikido and Budo artist to receive this award. In the same year he was invited to the autumn garden party at the imperial palace in Akasaka, Tōkyō.


Shin Budo Kai

Headed by Shizuo Imaizumi. Imaizumi Sensei began his Aikido career in April of 1959 while a student at Waseda University in Tokyo. Waseda was a 15-minute walk from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and saw an Aikido demonstration by Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido) and started studying Aikido. In 1965, with a rank of 3rd dan, Sensei Imaizumi became an apprentice to the teaching staff (shidoin) at the Hombu Dojo and his career as a professional Aikido instructor began. During this period he frequently took ukemi for O-Sensei during the early morning Aikido classes when O-Sensei would demonstrate and teach. After O-Sensei’s death in April of 1969, Imaizumi-Sensei was chosen to accompany Waka-Sensei  and his wife to enshrine the remains of O-Sensei at the Ueshiba family graveyard at Tanabe.

Imaizumi Sensei was an instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo until 1974 when he joined Koichi Tohei Sensei in his new organization, the Ki-no-kenkyukai (Ki Society; Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido). In July 1975, Imaizumi Sensei came to New York to found the New York Ki Society and assume the role of Chief Instructor for the Eastern Region and the US. In September of 1987, he resigned from the Ki Society. Shin-Budo Kai was founded in October 1988. Imaizumi sensei continues to follow the teachings he received from O-Sensei, while developing and offering his own perspectives on technique, form and philosophy.



Kokikai aikido, founded by Shuji Maruyama in 1986, focuses on minimalist but effective technique. It emphasises natural stances and ukemi that do not require high breakfalls, and deemphasises atemi and techniques that cause pain or undue discomfort to uke. As such, it is considered by some to be a "soft" style of aikido.



Headed by Rod Kobayashi. Tends to utilise movements which are very small and economical. Encourages students to discover an aikido which is truly their own, stresses the importance of doing away with the extraneous and focusing on that which works.


Nippon Kan

The school was founded in 1978 by Gaku Homma Sensei, who was a student of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, as well as other high-ranking instructors, at the Iwama Aiki Shrine in Japan. Homma Sensei was the last official uchideshi (live-in student) at the Aiki Shrine in Iwama and is the best testimonial to the Founder’s private life during the last years of his life. After the Founder’s death, Homma Sensei moved to the United States and opened his independent dojo; Nippon Kan. Homma Sensei is the creator of Nippon Kan’s unique teaching method that combines kenjutsu (sword techniques) and jojutsu (staff techniques) with taijitsu (open hand techniques).  



Headed by Luis Santos. The style of Steven Seagal. It is considered a "hard" style of aikido, focussing on the practical side of aikido and using techniques that in real world situations would be effective and sometimes brutal. 


Nihon Goshin Aikido

Headed by Richard Bowe. It is considered a "hard" style of aikido, combining techniques from Karate, Judo and Daito-Ryu Aikijutsu. There are roughly a dozen dojos in the United States and none left in Japan. Founded by Shoto Morita in Japan circa 1950. Derivative styles include Nihon Goshin Aikijutsu founded by Walter Kopitov in 2000.


Tenchin Budo Kai Aikido

Headed By Frank Ani Jr. This is a "hard" style Aikido, combining the basics of Tenshin and general Aikikai styles together. It also includes techniques from Aikijujutsu making it a very practical and street effective version of Aikido. Only a few qualified instructors teach this style of Aikido. This style is an independent style with no affiliations.


Eseikan Aikido

Mochidzuki Minoru - founder of this Aikido style, was one of the first students of Morihei Ueshiba. However, Jigoro Kano remained his main teacher. Kano wished to preserve the traditional martial arts of Japan and instructed Minoru Mochidzuki to study various martial arts in order to include them in the curriculum in his own Dojo "Kodokan". Besides Ueshiba Aiki-Jitsu and Kano’s judo Minoru Sensei studied Katori Shinto Ryu under Yadzaemon Hayashy, kendo under Shindo Hakudo Nakayama and jujutsu under the Takadzi Simidzu. With the diverse background of its founder, this style includes comprehensive technical training program with elements of Aiki-Budo Judo, Karate and other martial arts. Although there are not many Eseikan Dojos in Japan, there are many followers of this style in Europe, especially in France, due to efforts of his Mochidzuki’s son - Hyroo. Also there are scattered Eseykan Aikido schools in the United States and Canada.

Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF)

International Governing Body for Competitive Aikido

Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido

Ki Aikido

Shodokan Aikido*

The aikido of Kenji Tomiki

Aikikai Aikido Dublin Ireland

Traditional Aikido - Ueshiba Aikido

martial arts classes Aikido Dublin

martial arts Dublin Aikido