Recommended reading: “Will Aikido Follow in the Footsteps of Judo?” by Stanley Pranin

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

I think that there is definitely some “food for thought” here for the leaders of the Aikido world in the sense that Aikido has followed a course similar to that of Judo with regard to its propagation abroad. Aikido was spread beyond the shores of its birthplace first by Koichi Tohei who traveled to Hawaii in 1953 where he spent several years followed by a succession of uchi-deshi from Hombu Dojo including Hiroshi Tada, Nobuyoshi Tamura, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Mitsunari Kanai, Kazuo Chiba, Katsuaki Asai, Seiichi Sugano and a number of others. The art grew in a more or less orderly fashion over the years until the fratricidal split witch occurred in 1974 when Chief Instructor, Koichi Tohei Sensei, formally resigned from Hombu Dojo citing irreconcilable differences in teaching methodology as the reason for the severance of ties. It was shortly thereafter in 1976 that Hombu Dojo felt it imperative to solidify its position in the Aikido world after the above-alluded-to cleavage. Thus, the first tentative steps were made to establish an international body to insure the orderly propagation of the art, promote communications, standardize dan promotions, etc., the assumption naturally being that these desirable goals could not otherwise be attained.

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  1. …yet, as we see from the example of Inoue Sensei, there are parallel paths being pursued. Jiu jutsu may be the better model for the universe of aiki arts. There will be formally identified aikido schools, as there are judo, then a greater or lesser collection of local similar arts. More or fewer of these could be incorporated by Aikido Hombu if they wished to devote the resources. That effort, however, might be controversial.

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