About Aikido Styles
There are many thousands of people worldwide practicing Aikido, each with their own ideas and opinions of what Aikido is. There are also many so called (Styles) of Aikido some so far removed from the teachings of the founder of Aikido O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, that in reality, are not Aikido at all.
People use the expressions (Hard Style) or (Soft Style) and other words to try and differentiate between the way Aikido is practiced but, which ever way people practice, the ultimate goal is to try and understand the teachings of O'Sensei.
Yoshinkan Aikido is often referred to as (Hard Style) when in fact it is the exact pre-war teaching of O'Sensei. The founder of the Yoshinkan School of Aikido, the late Gozo Shioda Sensei not only faithfully taught the pre-war Aikido of O'Sensei, but, perhaps more importantly, formulated a systematic method of instruction so that Aikido could be more easily understood and learnt.
As I understand Aikido, the first period of learning is the hardest, this is when you allow your partner to take a strong hold on you and when his posture is solid and stable, you must be able to break his balance in order to apply a technique.
This can only done if your posture is correct and you understand the true principles of Kihon Dosa. Only through this type of training can you learn how to direct your energy through one straight line and be effective.
Only after many years of study and real practice are you ready to move to the next level, which perhaps could be called (Flowing Aikido). This is when your partner takes a hold on you but just before he can consolidate his grip and posture, you move, break his balance, blend with his energy and apply technique.
Finally at the upper level of training we anticipate our partners’ movements without conscious thought, blending and harmonizing with his energy and leading to natural technique.
Finally some facts about the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido. The late Gozo Shioda Sensei entered the Kobukan dojo of O'Sensei on the 24th May 1932 and studied there until 1941 as a live in student. In 1952 he began teaching Aikido, following the lifting of the ban on martial arts by the MacArthur government. The Nippon Sogo Budo Yaitai, or Life Extension Society sponsored the first Post-War demonstration of Aikido in 1954. Shioda Sensei participated and was awarded the Grand Prize for the performance in front of an audience of fifteen thousand spectators.
In 1961 he was awarded 9th dan by O'Sensei to confirm his total mastery of Aikido and in 1984 was awarded the rank of 10th dan by the International Martial Federation along with the title of Meiijin or Grand Master, he was also later recognised by leaders of all Martial Arts and declared “MUDAN” (Beyond Rank) and was classified as a living cultural treasure of Japan. Since the 1950’s Yoshinkan Aikido has been taught to the Japanese Special Police Forces.
6th dan Yoshinkan Aikido