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Shioda Gozo

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Gōzō Shioda (塩田 剛三, Shioda Gōzō, September 9, 1915–July 17, 1994), was a Japanese aikido teacher and the founder of the Yoshinkan style of aikido.

Shioda was a student of judo while young, and after being easily thrown by Morihei Ueshiba after a demonstration, became his student in 1932. He also studied aikijujutsu. He has become known as one of the most "fiery" or "vigorous" people of aikido history. In 1961 he was awarded a 9th dan rank by Ueshiba and in 1985 he received 10th dan and the title Sōke from the International Budo Federation.

Early years as an uchi deshi

His father was a keen judo practitioner who had his own dojo called the Yoshinkan as well. Shioda junior was a black belt in judo by the time he entered high-school. He attended Takushoku University but curtailed his studies in order to train as a full-time uchi-deshi at Morihei Ueshiba's Kobukan dojo (the site of the Kobukan is now occupied by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo). This was the first official dojo of what later became aikido. At that time it was called aiki budo.

In those days, aiki budo was still a very hard martial art and training at the Kobukan was intense. It was this kind of training that Shioda loved and strove to preserve when he later founded the Yoshinkan. He and other uchi deshi would often go around Tokyo at night picking fights with gangs in order to test out their skills, despite being forbidden to do so by Ueshiba.[citation needed] In one incident, Shioda and a fellow deshi got into a fight with a gang of about 30 yakuza. He was able to defeat the gang by bringing down the leader first. He said that this was an essential tactic in a fight against many.

As a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army

Shioda trained under Ueshiba on and off for a total of around ten years. He was posted to China in 1937 as part of the Imperial Japanese Army. During this time, he had several opportunities to test his martial skills for real.

In one incident, he was drinking in a bar with an army friend of his in Shanghai when his friend got into an argument with a local gang member, which resulted in the gang member calling upon the other 3 members of his group to come to his assistance. Shanghai was a very lawless place at that time and the Chinese gang were intent on killing the two Japanese soldiers. Shioda and his friend managed to get away briefly but were soon cornered inside a room by the four gang members. In the ensuing fight, Shioda broke the leg of one of the gang members, the arm of another, and finished off another by punching him hard in the stomach, all using aikido techniques and principles. He later described this incident as his "aikido enlightenment", and stated that you could only truly appreciate what aikido was about once you had used it in a life-or-death situation such as this.

Establishment of the Yoshinkan

He returned to Japan after the war and after completing his formal aikido training, he began doing demonstrations of his art to police departments and army units. This laid the groundwork for him to open his own Yoshinkan dojo in 1955 in the Tsukudo Hachiman area of Tokyo. Since then, the dojo has changed locations a few times but is now situated in Kami-Ochiai, Shinjuku, next to Ochiai station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line.

Yoshinkan aikido has spread around the world and there are now approximately 150 dojos affiliated with the International Yoshinkai Aikido Federation outside Japan.

Several famous people have visited the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo, including Robert F. Kennedy and Mike Tyson.

The Yoshinkan style is known as being a hard and dynamic style concerned with the practicality of its techniques, but also remaining faithful to the ideals of peace and harmony laid out by the founder, Morihei Ueshiba.

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Aikido is a modern Japanese Martial Art and is very different from disciplines such as Karate, Kick Boxing, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, MMA, BJJ, Kempo and Krav Maga where there is emphasis on kicking, punching or wrestling.

Aikido is an extremely efficient self defence (also as Self-Defence Women London) system utilising balance-taking and posture-breaking movements to achieve joint locks, pins and throws. It contains elements of Ju Jitsu, Kendo, Judo and other budo.

Aikido Classes are held every Tuesday and Wednesday evening at our Harrow dojo, and Thursday evening at our Pinner dojo in NW London. Pinner Aikido Club London is a part of the Kai Shin Kai International Traditional Aikido Association (KSK), which is a member of the British Aikido Board (BAB).

Aikido is essentially a non-violent Martial art system that encourages the avoidance of confrontation and harmony with an aggressor. The classes are well attended with Aikido students always on the mat and aimed at all levels, from beginner to advanced but everyone is welcome to come along regardless of fitness or experience.

Our Aikido students work at their own pace during the training sessions and no one is forced into doing anything they are not comfortable with.
Pinner Aikido Club in London can help you achieve self-defense skills, self-esteem, confidence, and fitness. Most of all though, our classes are fun.

You do not have to be competitive or naturally athletic to take part in the Aikido class. Learning Aikido is about self-improvement and self-confidence.

Regardless of your size, body type and current level of physical ability or disability. If you are looking for a healthier, more confident way of life, then the modern art of Aikido may well be for you.

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