Aikido evolved from its forerunner, Daitoryu aiki-jujutsu. The founder of Aikido, Morehei Ueshiba, progressively refined his art from a purely battlefield art to that which can subdue an opponent without injury. He had many students who practiced with him and formed their own dojos that eventually grew into ryuha (branches of Aikido).
Here are some of them in roughly chronological order of their development.
The family Aikido style passed on from father to son, currently in 3rd generation. Today it is the largest Aikido organisation. Some consider it more of an umbrella organisation run by various shihan (master instructors). Multiple Aikikai organisations run in Australia, each under the direction of different shihan.
Founded by Shioda Sensei, a pre-war student of the founder, it is regarded as a physically demanding style of Aikido. Famous for training the Tokyo Riot Police.
Founder by Tomiki Sensei, a top student of Kano's Judo. He developed a competition form of Aikido to help promote it as a sport, and use competition to enhance practice.
Named after the farm where the founder spent significant periods of time. Iwama's custodian Saito Sensei dedicated himself to preserving the techniques as taught to him by the founder. Recently, following Saito Sensei's passing, the Iwama ryu separated from the Aikikai as the land was passed back to the Ueshiba family.
Students of Koichi Tohei fomed their own styles such as Shuji Maruyama (Kokikai), Izumai Sensei (Shin Budo Kai), Ken Williams (Ki Federation) Yoshigasaki (Ki Society International), Oskima Sensei (Kodokai)
Brisbane Aikido >
The Iwama dojo was where O-Sensei spent a lot of his time and - depending on who you talked to - the only place where the study of weapons was permitted (most likely because at the Hombu in Tokyo there were many teachers drawing on many weapon lineages and it was confusing for students). Saito Sensei, something of a living historian of the art, strove to preserve what he learnt from O-Sensei and what he taught became colloquially known as Iwama Ryu and he began to issue his own certificates in weapons.
With his passing a number of formal Aikido ryuha formed based on Iwama style.
Many students chose to remain with the Aikikai, some followed Saito Sensei's son and formal successor Hitohiro Sensei with Iwama Shin-Shin Aiki Shuren-kai which is heading in new directions, while others banded together forming a variety of Iwama Ryu ryuha each with their own claims to legitimacy.
Founder by Shioda Sensei, a prewar student of the founder it is regarded as a physically demanding style of aikido. Famous for training the Tokyo Riot police (see Angry White Pajamas for a rueful and sometimes humorous account). Recently the school has passed to the son and some senior instructors have started a Yoshinkan Ryuha
Headed by Master Koretoshi Maruyama, a direct student of the founder and former chief instructor of Ki Society. It has formal links to the Daito Ryu and professes Aikido without Boundaries thus members are free to practice other styles as well. This is my current school and teacher.
'Every river has a name. However, these names disappear when they flow into the great ocean. Aikido has many styles, many names, but Aikido is Aikido. It is my vision and hope that, like the rivers, they flow together and unite as one.'
The Ki Society is head by Koichi Tohei, the only person to have received a written 10th dan from the founder of Aikido (others received them verbally). Shin Shin Toitsu means mind and body unified. (There are different characters for Shin, one for body one for mind). Ki no Kenkyukai is the organisation it means Ki research. UNder the KNK there are many ways to find out about Ki - Aikido is just one of them.
Tohei Sensei in his prime was legendary and the KNK was formed by him after he left the Aikikai where he was the chief instructor. I started y aikido in the Ki Society and did a few dan grades with them. For me it was not only the reemergence of Maruyama sensei but also the statement that 'Aikido is not a martial art' that lead to my change. A whole seminar focusing on one rhythm kind of confirmed it for me that this wasn't where my personal intrests lie, though many others find it quite enriching.
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