I'm not a student of it, but occasionally the style's namesake comes up, sometimes referred to as "Shodokan Aikido", and other times "Tomiki Aikido". I don't know which is correct, and I believe it is meant to refer to the same style.

In addition to that confusion, I wonder if there is any relationship between the name "Shodokan" (aikido) and "Shotokan" (karate). The names sound similar, I wonder if they are related in some way?

  • 1
    Same problem with Aikido Osaka-Kobayashi Aikido. I have trained it for years and didn't hear the term Aikido Osaka, because everyone says simply Kobayashi. But of course Kobayashi Sensei didn't name his system with his own.
    – Endery
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 7:01

3 Answers 3


Style name(s)…

"Tomiki Aikido" is a misnomer. However, keep on reading.

Tomiki started teaching his system of learning/teaching Aikido before naming it. Thus, people (especially in the USA) started to call it "Tomiki Aikido" because it came from Tomiki. Afterwards, Tomiki (with others such as Oba and Nariyama) continue to refine his system. He called it the Shodokan Aikido randori system in the inaugural address at the opening of Shodokan. Tomiki was not arrogant enough to name his style by his own name. Thus, the real name of the style is Shodokan Aikido.

However, people keep using "Tomiki Aikido" and more often than not, what they teach is the first version (or unrefined version) of the Shodokan Aikido randori system. The two are close but have differences but that is a topic for another time.


Aikido, being the "way of harmony", has so much harmony in it that everyone is creating their own organisation⸮ All start to deviate from the Shodokan Aikido randori system. Sometimes, this is both justified and wanted (see 守破離 - Shuhari). Sometimes, it is ego, pride, and hubris.

The two main Japanese organisation are the JAA headed by Shishida-shihan and SAF headed by Nariyama-shihan. The latter used to be the head technical director of the JAA but there was a split due to politics I have no intentions to get into and are not interesting to anyone. Most, if not all, organisation in the world tend to follow either one of these two.

In the UK, the situation is crazy: everyone is starting their own organisation, whether either as part of the overall umbrella Aikido organisation (the BAB) or against it as it is the tool to the Devil™ or some such. Note that this is in no way limited to Shodokan/Sport Aikido. Traditional is even worst if anything.

I strongly suspect that this crazy is the same in the USA, and any other country in the world…


Let's look at the kanji:

  • 昭道館 for Shōdōkan
  • 松濤館 for Shōtōkan

Notice that the first two kanji are different… And that's where I get stuck as I do not read Japanese. As far as I know, 昭道館 (Shodokan) can be translated as "open way". This is something Tomiki was very keen on: he wanted anyone who knew his system to teach it to anyone who asked, whatever their race, creed, or gender.

I asked about the meaning of 昭道館 vs 松濤館 on Japanese Language and this answer provided the insight:

Both styles are named after the dojo where they originated. The 館 ("kan") in both names means a type of building and is commonly suffixed to the names of dojos.

Please see the full answer for details.


Mostly, this comes from conversations, books, and videos of Tomiki, Nariyama, Phil Newcombe and Scott Allbright. Nariyama has written a few books with good history sections. Aikido and Randori: Reconciliation of Two Opposing Forces has Scott Allbright's views and contain lots of his experience talking to Tomiki.


From the sources that I am looking at (reddit, wiki, various web forums) almost universally refer to them as "Shodokan/Tomiki", which would indicate that the names are intended to by synonymous for the same style.

In addition, the wiki states:

Shodokan Aikido is sometimes referred to as "Sport Aikido" because of its use of regular competitions, the style also may be referred to as "Tomiki Aikido".

This would also be buttressed by the following information on the founder of Shodokan, Kenji Tomiki.

In 1967 Kenji Tomiki built a Shodokan hombu dojo in Osaka, Japan, to teach, train and promote his style. The style itself, could arguably have been founded with the formation of the Waseda University Aikido Club in 1958.[1] Today, Shodokan Aikido is organised with two major groups, the Japan Aikido Association (JAA) and the Shodokan Aikido Federation.

I would surmise that the official name is Shodokan, as the federation carries that name, and that Tomiki is a secondary synonym.

As far as the similarity between Shodokan/Shotokan, that I did not find any clarification on.

  • 2
    There are multiple federations involved with Tomiki Aikido - JAA, Shin Shin, etc. There are reasons why the lineage is fractured, but none of them affect the quality of the teaching or the value of the aikido.
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 22:35

Irrespective of the historical genesis of the names, it would appear (in this time 2017) that the designation "Tomiki Aikido" seems to be more employed by followers/associates of the JAA and "Shodokan Aikido" seems to be employed by followers/associates of SAF. (shodokan Aikido Federation).

The common source is however Kenji Tomiki and his Judo inspired absorption and dissemination of Ueshiba Daito-Ryo and Aikido.

The term "Sport Aikido" seems to be gaining more global acceptance and usage by both (non-japanese) JAA and SAF followers as a generic name for this school of Aikido to assist in the formation of a unified bid for olympic acceptance.

(Personal Opinion Only)

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