Sun, 20 Jul 2003

The many styles of aikido

As with other martial arts, there are several styles within aikido which derived from its developmental stages or as offshoots from the proponents who practiced it together with founder Morihei Ueshiba, honorifically called O Sensei, and his early students.


This is the name given to the art O Sensei was teaching early in its development. It is very close in style to previously existing jujitsu forms, such as Daito-ryu Aiki-jutsu. It is considered to be one of the harder forms of aikido.


This is the common name for the style headed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, O Sensei's son, as taught under the auspices of the International Aikido Federation. Most regard this school as the main line in aikido development. The aikido taught by Ueshiba- sensei is generally large and flowing, with an emphasis on a standard syllabus and little or no concern for weapons training.

Shin'ei Taido

Founded by Noriaki Inoue, who was a nephew of O Sensei and was orginially associated with the early Ueshiba dojo. He has claimed that the art is different to aikido but others consider it very similar to the aikido of the early period.

Tomiki-ryu Aikido

Founded by Kenji Tomiki, an early student of O Sensei and judo founder Jigoro Kano. Tomiki believed that a "rationalization" of aikido training, along the lines that Kano followed for judo, would make it more easily taught, particularly at Japanese universities. He also believed that introducing an element of competition would serve to sharpen and focus the practice since it was no longer tested in real combat. This latter view was the cause of a split with O Sensei, who firmly believed that there was no place for competition in aikido training.


This style was developed by Minoru Mochizuki, who was an early student of O Sensei and also of judo founder Jigoro Kano. This style includes elements of Aiki-Budo together with aspects of karate, judo and other arts.


A composite style developed by Minori Mochizuki. It includes elements of pre-war aiki-budo, judo, karate, old style ju-jutsu and kenjutsu. Mochizuki was an early student of O Sensei, sent by Jigoro Kano of the Kodokan in 1930 to study for a year as an uchi deshi (live-in apprentice). He later trained in Mongolia.


This style was taught by Gozo Shioda. Shioda-sensei studied with O Sensei from the mid-1930s. After World War II, he was invited to begin teaching and formed the organization known as the Yoshinkan. It is a harder style of aikido, generally concerned with practical efficiency and physically robust techniques. It is taught to many branches of the Japanese Police.