Aikido Yoshinkan (Aikido Cultivating the Spirit School) was founded by Gozo Shioda Soke (1915–1994) after World War II. Yoshinkan Aikido is often called the "hard" style of aikido because the training methods are a product of the grueling period that Shioda Soke spent as a student of Morihei Ueshiba before the war.
Yoshinkan is more akin to the pre-war aikibudo techniques taught by O'Sensei, and therefore also generally closer to aikijujutsu. The unusual emphasis placed on correct form rather than correct flow and timing further contributes to its image as a "hard" style.
Gozo Shioda Soke formed Yoshinkan of Aikido because he felt that there needed to be greater consistency in the training process for students; 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 (first) and ni (second) techniques. Ichi techniques have a feeling of the energy moving away from you, often with your partner, or uke, pulling. Ni techniques have a feeling of the energy coming towards you. In an ichi technique, the Yoshinkan practitioner goes with the pull; and for a ni technique he diverts or pivots away from the push.
Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 kihon waza (lit. "basic techniques"), which are practiced 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 practiced as an adjunct to the open hand techniques. Like many styles of aikido, Yoshinkan eschews competition; instead, it emphasizes self defense 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.