Morihei Ueshiba (1882-1968)  known as O-sensei (great teacher) investigated and studied  traditional Japanese martial arts before opening his own school in 1925. He taught a new martial art which borrowed significantly from traditional sword, staff and hand to hand styles of fighting with the  most notable being Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. Ueshiba  applied himself to the reworking of these combat techniques and synthesized them into a form that taught harmony and reconciliation rather than violence and death. In this way, he satisfied his belief that true Budo (the way of the warrior) was the way of peace. Since the 1920's, several styles of Aikido have developed.

Gozo Shioda (1915-1994) was one of Morihei Ueshiba’s foremost students and evolved the Yoshinkan style which incorporates precision in executing techniques with the study of basic movements. This is combined with detailed instruction to provide a teaching methodology that is easily learned and is suitable for both practical self-defense and personal development. Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 basic techniques which are practiced repeatedly. These enable the student to master the remaining ones which total some 3000 overall. The Yoshinkan style of Aikido emphasises the self-defence aspect of the art.

Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 kihon waza (lit. "basic techniques"), which are practised 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 practised as an adjunct to the open hand techniques.  Yoshinkan eschews competition; instead, it emphasizes self defence 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.