Aikido, as a system, is derived from old school Jujutsu and sword school styles and was founded by O’sensei Morihei Uyeshiba. There are numerous styles and countless variations of techniques which can make it confusing when choosing a dojo. Trust your instincts, talk to the instructors and students. If the environment is safe, the staff and students welcoming and the training sincere (focused with a positive, energetic spirit) it’s probably a good place to train. Lineage– where a style comes from, can also be a good indicator as to the goals and philosophy of the school.
Aikido started with Takeda Sogaku Minamoto Masayoshi (1858–1943). Tekeda began his martial arts training at the age of five. Sogaku studied the Daito-ryu, Ono-ha Itto-ryu kenjutsu and sojutsu (spear), the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Jikishinkage-ryu of sword, and Hozoin-ryu sojutsu (spear).
Morihei Uyeshiba met Takeda Sogaku and studied with him for about 15 years. Uyeshiba also accompanied Takeda Sogaku as an assistant on numerous occasions when Takeda traveled about Hokkaido giving seminars. Originally, Uyeshiba’s art was referred to as Aiki budo. During the war years, Uyeshiba began changing the teachings and philosophy of the Daito-ryu and in 1942 called his new system Takemuso Aikido. Uyeshiba combined the philosophy of the Omoto-kyo with the techniques of aikijutsu and eventually created modern aikido. On April 26, 1969, Uyeshiba passed away at age of eighty-six.
Gozo Shioda (1915–1994) was one of Uyeshiba sensei’s most distinguished students (tenth dan) and was director of Aikido Yoshinkan. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Shioda entered Uyeshiba’s dojo when he was eighteen years old and lived there for eight years. In 1954, Shioda Sensei took part in an exhibition of Japanese martial arts in Tokyo, where he attracted much attention and favorable comment. Within the year, the Aikido Yoshinkan was established, and Shioda became the director and chief instructor.
Yukio Noguchi was born in Kumamoto, Japan and started learning kendo when he was only nine years old. Eventually he began studying Judo, Sumo , and Shigin (a traditional Japanese form of male singing) and Goju Karate. Noguchi attained his Yondan in judo, as well as status as an assistant instructor. After World War II, Noguchi taught judo at a Nagasaki coal mine and began studying Aikido with Gozo Shioda. Noguchi helped Shioda build up aikido in Japan by teaching at eighty-three police departments in Tokyo. In 1951 and 1952, Noguchi was the all Kanto Region Judo Champion, and he went on to enter the all Japan judo championship tournament. He also taught at the Yokohama YMCA, Yokohama’s special task police force and Yokosuka naval base. After a trip to Hawaii in 1961, he returned in 1963 and became a permanent resident of Hawaii. He founded Aikido Shizenkai of America in 1980. Mr. Noguchi had earned dan ranks in aikido, judo, sumo, karate and kendo. He passed away September 12, 1999 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Charles Ii was born in Honolulu, Hawaii where he grew up and was to become a dedicated practitioner of aikido. After a stint in the Army Charlie returned to Hawaii and began to study aikido from Yukio Noguchi. Captivated by the art, Ii practiced at least five to seven hours daily, six days a week. After many years of studying with Noguchi, Ii moved to to the Marshall Islands. With Sensei Noguchi’s blessings, Ii taught aikido for ten years while there. During this period he organized several events that brought together practitioners of many martial arts to share their common knowledge and to learn from their differences. When Ii Sensei retired he moved to Northern California where he continued to teach aikido at the Nibukikan Dojo in Chico. The Ii family moved again, this time to Ridgecrest where Ii taught aikido at his own dojo and at the city recreation center until he moved to Palo Cedro. As with other aikido teachers, Ii’s style evolved over the years. His timing was refined and his techniques became fluid and subtle, requiring little effort to execute. He borrowed techniques from other styles he has studied, including judo, Wado-ryu, soft style kung fu and tai chi. Ii Sensei passed away August 2015.