Aikido is a modern martial art derived from ancient Samurai fighting techniques. Developed during the 1920s, the technical foundations of Aikido can be traced back to aiki-jujutsu which evolved in early Japan.
Aiki-jujutsu techniques were practiced by Prince Tejin, son of the Emperor Seiwa (850-880 AD), and passed on to succeeding generations of the Minamoto family. During the following years, these techniques received considerable refinement to provide an effective form of hand-to-hand combat.
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1968) became a recognized master of Aiki-jujutsu and several other arts. He also believed in peace. In 1925, he organized a style of Aiki-jujutsu to assist his own spiritual and physical development. The result was modern Aikido.
Aikido is not a conventional fighting art or sport. Instead, it is a martial art which develops the ability to harmonize with opposing forces rather than combat them. Because of this, many circular and spherical movements are involved in Aikido to redirect opposing forces towards a less harmful destination.
One of Ueshiba's top students was Gozo Shioda. In 1955, after training for many years and receiving 9th dan, Gozo Shioda Sensei formed the Yoshinkan Aikido Foundation. Shioda Sensei's style of Aikido is known as Yoshinkan, a name that he inherited from his father. Yo means cultivating, Shin means spirit or mind and Kan means house.
The world headquarters (Honbu Dojo) for Yoshinkan Aikido is located in the heart of Tokyo in Shinjuku, and has over 1,000 students training every month. The Yoshinkan style has become world recognized and is taught to the Tokyo Riot Police, female police officers and other forces throughout Japan.
In Yoshinkan Aikido, the emphasis is on the study of fundamental movements and solid basic techniques as well as gaining philosophical insight into the conduct of life and human relationships. Yoshinkan Aikido as a martial art is non-competitive and non-violent. Cooperation and harmony are more important than aggression. Timing and control are more important than strength. With the development of solid basics, Yoshinkan Aikido provides a very powerful means of self defense without undue aggression.
In 1993, under the direction of Soke Gozo Shioda and Shihan Hitoshi Nakano, the Chudokai Aikido Federation was formed to promote the development of Yoshinkan Aikido in North America. The founder and director is Kevin Blok and he is the Kaicho or chairman.