Kenji Tomiki, a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba and Jigoro Kano who were the founders of aikido and judo respectively, developed one of the major branches of modern Aikido. His aikido is often referred to as Tomiki Aikido or Tomiki Ryu but Tomiki prefered it to be known as Shodokan Aikido.

In the autumn of 1926 Tomiki was introduced to Morihei Ueshiba and was immediately impressed by aikido techniques. The techniques were different from judo but left a deep impression on him. After this, with his younger brother Kensaburo, Tomiki started going to Ueshiba's dojo in Gotanda every day. During the following summer holiday in 1927 Tomiki went to Ayabe, because Ueshiba had moved there, and trained with him for a month.

At that time, Ueshiba spoke about his own teacher Sokaku Takeda (founder of Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu). Tomiki was a graduate student and started to read the Omoto religious scriptures (Ueshiba's faith at that time) as well as working for Ueshiba. In Tokyo, Ueshiba's only uke then was Yoichiro Inoue who only attended occasionally so Tomiki promptly took his place.

Tomiki then became a junior high school teacher in his hometown of Kakunodate and continued practising aikido during his occasional holidays. In 1934 he resigned and returned to Tokyo where he set up home one minute away from Ueshiba's Kobukan Dojo and continued to study aikido seriously. In that year he became an army officer and, with Ueshiba's permission, went to Manchukuo to teach as an instructor of Ueshiba-ryu Aikijujitsu. His techniques were praised enthusiastically by the chief of staff Hideki Tojo which promoted the spread of aikido there. In March of 1936 he became a lecturer at the Daido Institute that had been established in Manchukuo.

In the spring of 1938 he moved to the newly established Kenkoku University lecturing in budo and was in charge of a new course in aikibudo (the name used by Ueshiba at that time) on the curriculum. From this period Tomiki made great progress in his research and he wrote various books and papers, such as 'The Future Of Judo and Aikibudo' (1937), explaining the significance of judo and budo in aikibudo. As a result, he received recognition and support from many people in budo and judo including Jiro Nango, the second president of Kodokan.

Through his favourite pupil, Ueshiba's aikibudo became established as a form of educational budo. Between 1940 and 1942 Ueshiba visited Manchukuo and took great pleasure demonstrating aikibudo. In 1940 he established a grading system and made Tomiki his first 8th dan.

Tomiki Aikido in Aotearoa New Zealand

Tomiki Aikido has been practised in New Zealand since the mid 1990s when Jeanette Parker (3rd Dan) returned to New Plymouth from Japan after training with Shishida Sensei.

She moved to Wellington in 1996 and set up a club in Mt Cook which then moved to its current dojo location at the old Surf Club in Island Bay in 1998.

After retiring in 2002, the club was continued by one of her students David Gliddon (2nd Dan) under the direction of Peter Cleydon (5th Dan) of Shodokan Aikido Australia.

Louise Parkin (4th Dan) is the current senior instructor and a former British Women's Champion. She returned to New Zealand in 2000 after 10 years in the UK and joined David at what was then called Bushinkan Tomiki Aikido Club.

She began her aikido training with Philip Newcombe (7th Dan) and his brother Jim (5th Dan) at the Shodokan London clubs in 1990. She travels regularly overseas to connect with other Shodokan clubs whenever she can to strengthen relationships within Tomiki Aikido. In New Zealand she has connections to clubs in Auckland (Kikusai Kai Tomiki Aikido NZ with Pepi Waite, 5th Dan), New Plymouth (Bell Block Tomiki Aikido with Terry O'Kane, 2nd Dan) and Christchurch (Shodokan Aikido Christchurch (Peter Hind, 3rd Dan).

The club at Island Bay is now called Shodokan Aikido Wellington and is affiliated to the Shodokan Honbu dojo in Osaka led by technical director Nariyami Shihan (9th Dan).  They also have a close association with Oceania Aikido Kyougi Renmei (OAKR) led by Alan Higgs (6th Dan) in Brisbane. OAKR is the regional body that coordinates any competitions in Australasia.