Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba. He had changed the techniques of Daito-Ryu-Aiki-Jujutsu according to his understanding. Already during his lifetime, his students founded other schools, some of which also have Aikido in their name. The largest aikido organization in the world is the AIKIKAI. It is seen as the keeper of the family heritage. Therefore, a descendant of Morihei Ueshiba is at its head.
The numerous other aikido organizations that now exist were created for different reasons, the focus of teaching had been changed or there were some organizational-political reasons.
An essential element of most aikido organizations are graduations. Through a defined examination programme, the contents of the aikido practice are specified and thus a certain quality of the aikido is guaranteed. In addition, a hierarchy is established. On the one hand, solely through the dangrades, on the other hand, through the rules of who may examine to which grade. As long as a single doshu is at the head of the organization, these regulations work well. As soon as the doshu is missing, the aikidoka should agree on additional rules if they want to continue working together in the organization.
The most important elements in the practice of Aikido are the local dojos. Often there are very dedicated Aikidoka who organize rooms and times and advertise for new participants.
These local teachers teach what they think is right and important. They may be connected to more advanced aikidoka in the organization, but just by teaching they develop further and can also practice very good Aikido independently of a superior structure.
Aikido associations that consider the examination programme and the graduations to be of secondary importance make themself largely superfluous.
Cooperations between dojos and different teachers are also possible without an umbrella organization. The value of a dan grade then no longer results from the importance of the superior organization, but from the situation and the practice in the local dojo.
There are now examples of dojos breaking away from central organizations and practicing their own local art. Even so, technically and philosophically, a high level can be maintained and Aikido can unfold its positive effects for all participating Aikidoka.
(Ki-Aikido and other styles since 1979, founder of the dojos of Haigerloch, Balingen and Hechingen, currently first teacher in Balerna)