Morihei Ueshiba(1882-1969), the founder of Aikido, met Sokaku Takeda, the well-known master of Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, in 1915 in Hokkaido and was impressed by Takeda’s techniques. He subsequently trained intensely under Takeda and gained a certificate in Daito Ryu Aikijutsu. Morihei Ueshiba also studied Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Kito Ryu Jujistu and other empty hand and weapon arts.
Morihei Ueshiba’s practice of martial arts gradually began to take more on a spiritual character by the study of kotodama (word spirit). He developed his own approach using applied principles and techniques, to break down the barrier between mind, spirit and body. In 1922 it was formally known as “Aiki-bujutsu”.
In April 1931, Morihei Ueshiba opened a scale of eighty mat Aiki-budo dojo inaugurated as Kobukan or “hell” Dojo. At this time, gozo Shioda was one of the students in Kobukan Dojo. Around this time, the police adopted Aiki-budo as an official curriculum subject. Morihei Ueshiba later feel that Kobukan Aiki-budo was not only a branch or style of some broader art. He proclaimed the new name Aikido to identify his art as unique and a distinctive form of Budo.Then he entered the associations under a new name. Aikido was officially recognized as the name of Morihei Ueshiba school in February 1942.
Morihei Ueshiba passed away peacefully on 26th April 1969 at the age of 86, leaving his students his dream of the world as one peaceful family through the practice of Aikido.
Soke Gozo Shioda
Soke Gozo Shioda was born in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 1915. His father, Shioda Seiichi was a prominent pediatrician and medical academic, who, having a penchant for martial arts, had constructed a dojo and named it Yoshinkan or “House of cultivating the spirit”. Various teachers were invited to demonstrate and instruct there. He enthusiastically began practicing various arts showing the determination and super abundance of energy that were to characterize his entire approach to life. He was naturally talented and made rapid progress to third Dan in Judo by the time he reached his mid teens.
At the age of 18 his father sent him to watch a class led by Morihei Ueshiba at the Kobukan. Morihei Ueshiba’s school was somewhat exclusive and was said to offer a powerful martial art. On his initial visit, watching Morihei throw his opponent about so easily and without any apparent effort, he felt sure that he was witnessing a fraud but was invited to try his Judo skills against Morihei to see for himself. On launching an attack,he soon found himself flying in midair, hitting the ground head first not knowing what had happened. A dazed and bewildered Gozo Shioda was surprised by what had taken place. The very next day which was 24th May 1932, Gozo Shioda joined the Kobukan Dojo as an uchideshi or “residence disciple”.
Shioda trained under Morihei until 1941, when he also graduated from Takushoku University. He spent the war in an administrative support capacity in China, Taiwan, Celebes and Borneo. Following the lifting of the ban on the practice of martial arts after the Second World War,in 1954, Shioda performed his first public Aikido demonstration in the presence of 15,000 spectators. He was awarded the grand price for the best performance. Within a year Soke Gozo Shioda established his dojo Yoshinkan named after his father’s original dojo with its first location in Yoyogi Hachimon.
Gozo Shioda traveled all over Japan during 1950’s demonstrating the Yoshinkan Aikido as a strong style, concerned with practicality and efficiency of its techniques. Yoshinkan Aikido is made compulsory to the Tokyo Metropolitan Women’s police force and the annual training of an elite group of Kidotai or Riot Police. The riot Police course has been running for well over thirty-five years.
In 1961, Soke Gozo Shioda’s mastery of aikido was confirmed when Morihei Ueshiba awarded him the degree of 9th Dan.Aikido was further acknowledged when in 1984 the International Martial Arts Federation awarded him the degree of 10th Dan along with the title Meijin or Grand Master. During the forty years since it was established, Yoshinkan Aikido has expanded to all over Japan,America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
In 1990, Soke Gozo Shioda established the International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation to follow up on the growth and coordination of worldwide interest towards Yoshinkan Aikido.
Soke Gozo Shioda, an outstanding martial artist, author, teacher and Founder of the Yoshinkan Aikido died in Tokyo on 17th July 1994.