The Yoshinkan Style

Gozo Shioda sensei

Yoshinkan is a style of Aikido that was established by Gozo Shioda in the late 1950s. Shioda sensei was one of Morihei Ueshiba‘s principal students during the 1930s and immediately following the Second World War. The name Yoshinkan means “Hall for the Cultivation of Spirit”. This was the original name that Shioda sensei’s father had given to the family’s local dojo. The Yoshinkai is currently the second largest Aikido organization in the world.

Yoshinkan Aikido is sometimes referred to as the “hard” style by practitioners of other Aikido styles due to its exacting training methodology. This methodology reflects Shioda sensei’s own experience as a direct student of the art’s founder. It involves two partners practicing pre-arranged techniques in a precise manner. Repeated practice in this manner establishes the foundation of the techniques and allows students to learn the basic principles that operate within them. This is a very effective approach that allows students to acquire skill at a faster pace than other Aikido styles.

Yoshinkan Aikido involves six foundational training movements (called Basic Movements) and some 150 common defensive techniques (called Basic Techniques) that are trained in depth. Mastery of the basics familiarizes the student with the underlying principles of Aikido, and opens the door to the remaining techniques which are thought to number around 3000.

Repeated practice and understanding of the basics is essential to the development of effective Aikido technique. As Shioda sensei himself observed toward the end of his life, “People try to reach the highest levels without even paying their dues. That’s why it seems so much like a dance these days. You have to master the very basics solidly, with your body, and then proceed to develop to the higher levels.”

Yoshinkan Aikido is not a sport. There are no competitions and no feelings of winning or losing. It involves powerful and effective self-defence techniques that can be performed by anyone regardless of their size, gender, or age. Yoshinkan Aikido also offers students a unique method of developing mental awareness and the ability to more easily deal with stressful situations.