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I am a beginner and interested in both Yoshinkan aikido (which is richer in waza compared to Shodokan) and Shodokan aikido.

Are there any negative impacts when I learn both at the same time?

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None whatsoever with a little pinch of salt.

A lot of the Aikido techniques are the same in all styles, baring all the minor tweaks, emphasis, and focus changes. Ikkyo or Ikajo or oshi-taoshi are all the same techniques: you drive uke's elbow downwards via their head. Yet, because you are a beginner, you will see all of them as different techniques due to the emphasis that each kata puts on the technique.

In Shodokan, randori will force you to strip kata of its gloss and make it work for you against a resisting target. Clearly, this means that you have to understand kata first. Whether this kata comes from Shodokan or Yoshinkan is mostly irrelevant.

Yoshinkan will give you excellent basic skills and technical knowledge. Yoshinkan might try to optimise techniques to make them more effective but without a physical test that those work for yourself, its use is limited: for this, you need application against resisting targets.

Both styles were born from training under Ueshiba during the Hell Dojo years and are considered "hard" styles of Aikido. Both are good solid systems, have some excellent teachers. Both are used to train Japanese Police forces.

Best pick one first.

To progress in an art at a reasonable speed you need two to three classes per week. So, training in both styles will require you to have five/six classes per week. Unless you are super fit, that's going to be hard on you. At much less than that, you are getting breath but not depth. This means that it will take longer to grade in either styles.

Since you are a beginner, I would advise you to pick one, get shodan 1 in that then cross train in the other. You will then not get the confusion of alien techniques and be able to tell where the different emphasis are.

Clearly, pick the dojo where you are having the most fun.


1: Clearly reaching first dan depends on how often you train, how gifted you are, and on the length of time between gradings. That said, at three times a week you should be shodan with three years, give or take… There are courses that allow you to get a shodan in less than a year, those are intensive training not for the faint hearted.

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    @SingleFighter I doubt that. But you can always ask one of the instructors there, they might make an exception for you. In any case, I do not remember the tests being expensive. – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Dec 13 '16 at 10:58
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Depends on the teacher. This is ultimately a variation on the gorilla vs shark problem - the variables surrounding the question influence the outcome more than the question does.

I started in yoshinkan and shifted to Tomiki (equivalent to Shotokan for the scope of this question). Worked well for me - is working less well for one of the students who just joined us. Ultimately the differences are more about how the art is taught than about the technique, and "how the art is taught" depends heavily on the teacher.

In theory, yoshinkan is taught by repetition. Tomiki has a defined curriculum. In practice different teachers within the same school will teach very differently (and may teach different students differently). The core corpus of Tomiki (the basic 17) is an ordered set of techniques that build on one another to teach the fundamentals.

Technically, Yoshinkan movements involve more rotation/tenkan deeper stances, and a "learn by doing" training. Tomiki is closer to judo, has a smaller base stance, more judo throws, de-emphasis of kote-mwashi/nikkyo, and a formalized curriculumn. You'll learn different names for the same control (kote mawashi vice nikkyo), and the kata are organized differently (I'm relatively sure that owaza jupon is not part of the yoshinkan curriculum). I'm skeptical of your assertion that Yoshinkan contains more waza, and even more skeptical that the number of waza is related in any meaningful way to the quality of a martial arts lineage.

Although I will not question your experience, I'm skeptical that a yoshinkan practitioner is more creative than a tomiki practitioner; that simply doesn't match my experience. Given that Tomiki is the only lineage of aikido that regular fights tournaments, I'm even more skeptical.

I would always ask my primary instructor before cross training with another instructor.

But if you can ask the question, "If I take 15 classess a week, how long does it take to get a shodan in Shodokan aikido? ", then it really doesn't matter what ryu you're learning In any school of any quality whatsoever, that question is unanswerable. You'll be promoted when you demonstrate mastery of the material. If you care about the shodan rather than the training, then you want a mcdojo, and those can occur in any lineage.

I'm reminded of the teaching story - a student once asked a teacher how long it would take to attain mastery. The teacher said that if the student studied diligently mastery could be attained in 5 years. The student asked how long it would take if he trained twice as many days as the other students, took twice as many classes, and did twice as many exercises. The master replied, "Ahh- for such a student, mastery could be obtained in as little as 10 years."

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