How is it different from other aikido styles?
Yoshinkan takes a highly structured training approach based on six basic movements, known as kihon dosa. This makes it very much easier to learn and teach. For this reason, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police chose to train its elite riot police squad—whose duties include protecting heads of state and diplomatic security—in Yoshinkan aikido. Yoshinkan is known as of one the "hard" styles of aikido.

Is Yoshinkan aikido for me?
Men and women of all ages, cultures and backgrounds practice aikido. Done correctly and with dedication in training, a 50 year old can take up and master the art (as many have). Aikido operates on the principle of harmonizing with an opponent's force to overcome them. It does not pit your physical strength against theirs. For this reason, aikido is an ideal form of women's self-defence.

By using aikido, a weaker or older person can with the right technique overcome someone bigger or stronger. Aikido techniques are perhaps more effective against bigger people, whose momentum can be directed back on them with more devastating effect than on a smaller person. Indeed, the great masters of aikido themselves have tended to be small—no more than 5'4" and weighing less than 130 pounds.

Is the sparring for real?
As every technique in Yoshinkan aikido can result in severe injury to an opponent, the uke (the person receiving a technique) must blend with the technique being executed and "flip out" before getting injured. That said, practitioners do not submit to a technique of their own accord. Shite (the person applying a technique) uses their skill to unbalance their opponent and take them to "the point of no return", from which the opponent has no choice but to fall.

Why does the aikido practitioner wait for an attack to come?
There is a good reason for this. Once an opponent has fully committed to an attack, it is difficult for them to change direction and momentum. This makes it easier for the aikidoka (practitioner of aikido) to counter the attack. There are many historical accounts of samurai who walked away from a duel after having faced each other still for hours. Why? Because neither were able to find an opportunity to strike at each other without exposing themselves to a counter attack. Thus, both masters, equally matched, were able to forfeit the duel with their honour intact.

The falls look painful - will I hurt myself?
In Yoshinkan aikido, every student learns ukemi, the proper way of "escaping" a technique. Students practice ukemi techniques continually, even before achieving their black belt. The loud slap is merely that of the hand as it hits the mat ahead of the rest of the body in order to break the fall.

What can I gain from learning Yoshinkan aikido?
Aikido is a way of life. It teaches humility and discipline, promotes health and enhances inner strength. Through repeated practice, it also helps develop a better sense of spatial awareness and an alertness of your immediate surroundings. Most of all, aikido teaches you how to avoid physical confrontation by instilling in you the knowledge of effective martial art techniques—and an appreciation of their potentially devastating outcomes.

What are the characteristics of a good aikido practitioner?
Aikidoka must display appropriate speed and timing in executing a technique. The ability to maintain a strong centre of gravity is therefore crucial. Aikido practitioners must also be able to harness their body's "inner strength" and focus this strength at the point of contact with their opponent. Harnessing this requires the use of "breath power"—proper breathing techniques when executing a technique.