Definitions

Yoshinkan

Yoshinkan

(trans. Hall for Cultivating the Spirit) is a style of aikido founded by Gozo Shioda (1915-1994) after World War II.

Yoshinkan Aikido is occasionally called a "hard" style because the training methods are a product of the gruelling period that Sōke Shioda spent as a student of Morihei Ueshiba before the war.

Style

As a style of aikido, yoshinkan is more akin to the prewar Aiki Budo techniques taught by O Sensei, and therefore also generally closer to aikijujutsu than those styles of aikido developed post-war. The unusual emphasis placed on correct form rather than correct flow and timing further contributes to its image as a "hard" style. However, the merit of such terms as "hard" and "soft" is generally believed to lie in the superficial level of describing a style's "feel", rather than saying anything about the heart of the style itself.

Shioda-sensei formed the Yoshinkan style of aikido because he felt that there needed to be greater consistency in the training process for students, so he created a structured method in which beginning students would learn the foundation techniques. Techniques are made up of elements such as the initiating attack, the applicable control and whether it is a pin or throw. They are further divided into two groups called ichi (number 1) and ni (number 2) techniques. Ichi (Number 1) techniques have a feeling of the energy moving away from you, often with your partner, or uke, pulling. Ni (Number 2) techniques have a feeling of the energy coming towards you. The feeling for an ichi (number 1) technique is that you go with the pull and for ni (number 2) you divert or pivot away from the push.

Techniques

Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 kihon waza (lit. "basic techniques"), which are practised repeatedly. Proficiency in these enable the student to master the remaining ones, which total some 3000 overall. The syllabus contains no weapons forms, although they are practised as an adjunct to the open hand techniques. Like many styles of aikido, Yoshinkan eschews competition; instead, it emphasizes self defence applications. Yoshinkan aikido is one of the martial arts that has been taught to the Tokyo police.

Besides the usual attention to distance, timing and balance, the Yoshinkan style places particularly heavy emphasis on stance and basic movements. Yoshinkan’s distinctive stance, or kamae (lit. "posture" in Japanese), stresses the position of feet and hips. Yoshinkan aikido practitioners stand with hips and shoulders square to the front, the front foot pointing outward and the back foot pointing about 90 degrees to the front foot. Kamae is the foundation of all Yoshinkan aikido techniques and practitioners of Yoshinkan aikido strive to perfect their kamae so that their overall technique will be strengthened. Along with kamae there are 6 kihon dosa (lit. "basic movements") which are considered to be central for the 150 basic techniques. Yoshinkan aikido students practice these diligently to understand how to move their kamae around to put themselves in a strong position. Without proper form in one's basic movements one's aikido will not be as effective.

Organizations

In 1990, Sōke Shioda founded both the International Yoshinkai Aikido Federation (IYAF) to facilitate the learning of Yoshinkan aikido outside of Japan. Today, both the All Japan Yoshinkan Aikido Federation and the IYAF are now led by the current head of the style Yasuhisa Shioda, the founder's son. Under him, the Yoshinkan Honbu dojo, located in Shinjuku Tokyo, runs an annual 11-month intensive course called the Senshusei course derived from the course used to train the Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police. The book Angry White Pyjamas, by Robert Twigger, is based on the author's experiences during the course.

Yoshokai aikido is an offshoot of Yoshinkan Aikido based in the United States of America.

See also

Videos of Yoshinkan Aikido demonstrations

External links

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