Kokikai Aikido was founded by Shuji Maruyama, who continues to lead and develop the style. Maruyama began studying Aikido in 1955 under Koichi Tohei, the chief instructor of Aikido under Morihei Ueshiba at the time. After receiving an introduction from Tohei, Maruyama later apprenticed directly with Ueshiba.
The organization responsible for promotion of the style is Kokikai Aikido International.
The Kokikai style emphasizes natural movement, ki development, relaxation, and good posture and mind-body coordination. Its four basic principles are stated as:
- Keep One Point to develop calmness
- Relax progressively
- Correct posture in everything
- Develop your Positive Mind
Kokikai Aikido, like Aikido generally, is a minimalist martial art that focuses on making techniques effective while using little physical effort. A practitioner uses timing and an opponent's own momentum to take his balance and then to throw or immobilize him. An axiom of the style is "minimal effort for maximum effect". Kokikai applies this feeling to defensive techniques appropriate for realistic, modern, and focused attacks by one or more opponents.