One of Ueshiba’s outstanding students had been Gozo Shioda (born September 9, 1915), who has contributed much to bring about the increased popularity that Aikido has enjoyed since WWII. Shioda entered Ueshiba’s dojo at the age of 18, and lived and practiced there for eight years. Because he stayed at the dojo longer than any other student, Shioda learned to sense the ways of his master’s mind and spirit.
Shioda was sent to Formosa with the Japanese army during the war years and, like Ueshiba, was able to utilize this real combat situation to train him-self mentally and physically. Shortly after his return to Japan at the end of the war, Shioda left the master’s dojo. His principal concern was the pro-motion of Aikido, since Aikido had been restricted to special groups of people.Even though the body has its limits, until your death, the strength of your spirit is limitless. This is precisely why, in the martial arts, there is no such thing as deteriorating as you age.
Further, in popularizing Aikido, Shioda was showing his gratitude for his master’s kindness. During the next two decades many demonstrations were presented to police forces, army groups, dock workers, and others. Much of the support for these activities came from Japanese business.
The tremendous interest in Aikido since the war dates back to 1954 when, under the auspices of the Life Extension Society, an exhibition of 160 martial arts from all over Japan was held. This was the first time that Aikido had been demonstrated to a large public audience, and Shioda’s first place performance attracted a great deal of attention. Shioda sensei’s style of Aikido is known as Yoshinkan, a name that he inherited from his father who owned a kendo and judo dojo by that name. Yo means cultivating; shin means spirit or mind; and kan means house; thus Yoshinkan is the house for the cultivation of mind and spirit.
Shioda sensei continued to awe and inspire onlookers and students alike until his death in July 1994. Shioda sensei was highly respected all over the world for his attitude toward the Budo disciplines and for his belief in Wa (harmony) as a way of life.
Special thanks to Sensei M. Karasawa for his efforts in compiling this section.
Minoru Mochizuki, also from Kodokan, became an Aikido student in 1931 and established his first dojo outside of Tokyo. In 1949 Mochizuki taught Aikido, Judo and Iaido (Katori shindo ryu) in Europe. He was the first Japanese to receive the French cultural prize for his contribution to French cultural development.
It is said that as a young boy, Morihei Ueshiba (b. 1883) had an unusual interest in the martial arts, philosophy and religion. The environment of his youth, being one of religious discipline and tradition, had an enormous effect on the course of his life.
Until the war (Russo-Japan, 1904), he trained diligently under the instruction of several renowned martial art masters; but the war itself provided a real situation in which Ueshiba found the opportunity to develop himself both physically and mentally.
During this time, Sokaku Takeda, then head of the family, began to teach Aiki-jujitsu outside the Takeda household, travelling throughout Ja-pan and finally settling in Hokkaido. Ueshiba studied Daito Ryu Aiki-jujuDaitotsu under Sensei Takeda until he had mastered it and had obtained a license to practice its techniques. In addition, he continued to investigate and practice other martial arts, particularly Kenjutsu and Sojutsu.Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. ~ Morihei Ueshiba
Unfortunately, he was recalled home to his sick father; on the way, how-ever, he met Oni Saburo Deguchi, leader of the Omoto religion. Ueshiba was very impressed by this man and subsequently became one of his disciples. Although this expanded his interest and involvement in religion, the martial arts were not neglected. In 1925, Ueshiba founded his style of Aiki-jujutsu, recognized for the spiritual and physical development.
During the next decade, Ueshiba’s students (Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shioda and others) were active in building a foundation for present day Aikido. Ueshiba, however, was interested in seeking the true martial way (Budo spirit). In his search he left the dojo to work at farming, and by practicing Aikido, he tried to unify his spiritual and physical being through a closeness with nature. After the war (1950), he returned to the Tokyo dojo with a mature, modified form which he then called Aikido.
Ueshiba continued to instruct at the dojo until his death in 1968. He received a government award as the designer of modern Aikido and for his contribution to its popularization. He remains an inspiration to many.
After the war Ueshiba’s students began teaching Aikido in their own different ways, not necessarily to restricted groups of people but in the way they thought best to teach and spread Aikido throughout Japan and the world.
One of Ueshiba’s first students, began Aikido in 1926 after being sent from Kodokan Judo to learn Aikido. During the late 1930′s he adopted Aikido into an education course at Manchuria University, where he was a professor, and invited Ueshiba to instruct there. Tomiki worked very hard to make Aikido a government foundation, and since 1949, has been active in the sport-education field, concentrating on Aikido as a sport at Waseda University where he is a highly respected professor.