Founded by Dr. Kevin Jones in 2000. Jones-sensei began studying with Sensei Williams when he was teaching a harder form of Aikido, spent most of his time with various teachers with KNK backgrounds, reassociated with Sensei Williams when he was teaching a much softer form of Aikido, became independent for several years, and has now associated with Master Koretoshi Maruyama. He has also spent time at seminars with teachers from all over the Aikido map. Our view is that there are positive aspects to everyone's style of practice, and that everything in Aikido training should be examined in the light of direct experience. While we are firmly convinced of the value of Ki training in Aikido, and believe that the ultimate Aikido is subtle and apparently effortless, we are also firm believers in a solid technical foundation in our practice. We believe in the principle that one should lead, not fight - and that the mind is easier to lead than the body - but think that a properly balanced and relaxed body is a prerequisite to more subtle practice. Rule of mind and rule of body are both equal parts of the same whole and both must be practiced sincerely.
We are happy to beg, steal, or borrow good ideas from wherever we come across them. Hence we are probably not very good at following anyone's party-line too closely and believe in exploring and finding good tools where ever we can. Sometimes we're hard, usually we're soft and we're always searching for the "truth". We think it makes for an interesting environment and encourage respect for all Aikido-ka and cross pollination where ever possible. The only thing we have strongly negative views on is the concept of tournaments and competition within Aikido - but that's not something to discuss here!
We expect to continue to change and evolve. Our Aikido will continue to grow and develop. In our continuing search for truth, we have associated with Maruyama-sensei, whose teaching matches the intent of Shugenkai very well. We have incorporated his Aikido Yuishinkai into our practice.
We think that style should mean a matter of individual interpretation and a different way of looking at the whole; not a barrier to sharing ideas with other Aikido-ka. Hence we encourage the formation of styles and decry the formation of organizations.
Aikido Yuishinkai, "Aikido without boundaries", was founded by Master Koretoshi Maruyama to promote universal values and principles of peace throughout the world. Maruyama Sensei is widely admired and respected as a teacher who has dedicated his life to communicating the benefits of ‘positive mind’ through Aikido training. He has inspired many thousands of people throughout the world over many years. For more information, please see theYuishinkai homepage.
Aikido Schools of Ueshiba
This is the Aikido taught by Mitsugi Saotome. While the ASU are affiliated with the Aikikai, for a long period of time they were an independent organization with independent development. Saotome-sensei seems to have an eclectic approach to Aikido, developing everything from hard practical techniques through to soft abstract sensitivity exercises. There is considerable emphasis on weapons training in this school.
The Aikikai is the common name for the style formerly 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 Aikikai is currently headed by the 3rd Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba following the death of his father. In reality, this "style" is more of an umbrella than a specific style, since it seems that many individuals within the organization teach in quite a different manner. The Aikido taught by Ueshiba-sensei is generally large and flowing, with an emphasis on a standard syllabus and little or no emphasis on weapons training. Other teachers within the auspices of the Aikikai (e.g. Chiba-sensei of the USAF-WR) place much more emphasis on weapons practice.
While still a part of the Aikikai, the style taught by the late Morihiro Saito, based in the Iwama dojo, is generally considered sufficiently stylistically different from mainstream Aikikai that it is named individually. Saito-sensei was a long time uchi-deshi 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 it was taught to him by the Founder. Technically, Iwama-ryu seems to resemble the Aikido O-sensei was teaching in the early 50's mainly in the Iwama dojo. The technical repertoire is larger than in most other styles and a great deal of emphasis is placed on weapons training.
With Saito-sensei's passing in 2002, a great number of the Iwama Ryu clubs joined an organization called Iwama Shin Shin Aiki Shurenkai, formed by Morihiro Saito's son Hitohiro Saito.
Founded by Kenneth Williams. Sensei Williams was originally an "assistant" (the British term for uchi-deshi) to Kenshiro Abbe-sensei in the mid-50s and began his study with a hard form close to Aiki-budo. After leaving the Aikikai in the late 60s, he practiced independently for a number of years before becoming a student of Tohei-sensei in 1976 and forming the Ki Federation of GB. In 1986, Sensei Williams resigned from the KNK. The Ki Federation continued as an independent organization, teaching Sensei Williams' own style, incorporating elements from all aspects of his training and being aimed at being more easily learned by non-Japanese students.
Founded by Shuji Maruyama. Maruyama-sensei was a Chief Instructor with the Ki Society in the US. On resigning from the Ki Society, he founded the Kokikai. This style is a soft form of Aikido, focusing on effective technique with minimum effort. They have explicit Ki training, with a formulation of the 4 principles that differs from the KNK, with most of the emphasis on the lower level tests.
Founded by Roderick Kobayashi. Kobayashi-sensei was the Chief Instructor of the Southern California Ki Society and a student of Tohei-sensei. On leaving the Ki Society in 1981, he formed the Seidokan which is an independant organisation, although I believe they later re-established some links with the Aikikai. The Seidokan style is characterized by small movements within technique.
This style is headed by Shizuo Imaizumi, based in NY. Imaizumi-sensei was an uchi-deshi at the Aikikai in 1964. Much of his training was with Koichi Tohei-sensei and following Tohei-sensei's leaving the Aikikai, Imaizumi-sensei became the Chief Instructor for the US Ki Societies. Imaizumi-sensei later left the KNK and founded the Shin Budo Kai in 1989. This style has a very comprehensive syllabus covering Ki training, Aikido technique and a number of different weapons styles. More information is available from The Shin Budo Kai Homepage.
The style founded by Koichi Tohei - Aikido with Mind and Body Unified. Tohei-sensei places a great deal of emphasis on understanding the concept of Ki and developing this aspect independently of the Aikido training for application to general health and daily life.
This style is one of the softest styles of Aikido and is characterized by fluid movements that often involve the practitioner jumping or skipping, something seldom seen in other styles. Most schools are not primarily concerned with practical physical application of the techniques, considering them exercises to further develop unification of mind and body. However, the principles learned are applicable to self defense (and effective for this purpose too) but are also applicable to the broader aspects of daily life.
In recent years, Tohei-sensei has been moving further and further away from Aikido and has devoted himself almost exclusively to Ki training. However, most recently, Ki no Kenkyukai has started an initiative to make Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido into an International Competitive Sport, based on tai-gi ("forms") contest. This aspect is not strongly emphasized in most US dojo. For more information, please see a Ki Society USA homepage.
One of the other big breaks in Aikido history occurred during O-sensei's life when Kenji Tomiki proposed "rationalizing" Aikido training using Kata and Competition. Since that time, there has been little commonality between the Tomiki schools and the mainline Aikido schools. In recent years there have been a number of offshoots of Tomiki-ryu that have abandoned the idea of competition. We've classified such styles under this heading, even though they fit the Budo mold better than the sport mold, since they are all directly derived from Tomiki-sensei's style.
Tomiki-ryu was founded by Kenji Tomiki, and early student of O-sensei and of Judo founder Jigoro Kano. Tomiki-sensei believed that a "rationalization" of Aikido training, along the lines that Kano-sensei followed for Judo would make it more easily taught, particularly at the Japanese Universities. In addition, he 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. Tomiki-ryu is characterized by using kata (pre-arranged forms) in teaching and by holding competitions, both empty handed and with a rubber knife.
An off-shoot of Tomiki-ryu headed by Karl Geis.The Fugakukai do not hold competitions.
The Jiyushinkai is an independent group, founded by C.E. Clark, with roots in the teaching methods of: Kano, Mifune, Ueshiba, Tomiki, Ohba, Nishioka, and Miyake senseis. More information can be found at the Jiyushinkai Aikibudo page.