Before the World War II, Ueshiba called his art Aiki-Budo, and had such students as Kenji Tomiki (Tomiki-Aikido), Gozo Shioda (Yoshinkan Aikido) and Koichi Tohei (Ki-Aikido).
The art was officially registered as Aikido in 1942. Ueshiba had removed the most dangerous techniques of Daitoryu in order to gain aikido more popularity, but also due to his religious beliefs of the Omoto sect, which formed the basis for the ethical framework of aikido.
Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) mainly on the technical basis of Daitoryu aiki-jujutsu. Sokaku Takeda (1859-1943), who is said to be the reviver of Daitoryu, granted Ueshiba with Kyoju Dairi teaching certification and Shinkage-ryu kenjutsu transmission scroll in 1922. > Ueshiba
547 Daitoryu techniques were photographed in 1934-1939, when first Ueshiba and then Takeda were teaching at the Asahi newspaper dojo. A few years later their student Takuma Hisa (1895-1980), the only one to receive Menkyo Kaiden "license of total transmission" from Takeda, organized the material into nine volumes called the Soden (1942-1944), which formed the main technical catalog of Hisa's teaching. The only student Hisa taught Soden in its entirety is said to be Yutaka Amatsu (1937-2013).
The first five volumes contain techniques taught by Ueshiba and appear under the name Aikido.
At the early age Koichi Tohei (1920-2011) studied judo, zen meditation and misogi. After a personal demonstration from Morihei Ueshiba in 1940 he started practicing aikido in order to combine bodily training with training the mind, which he felt was lacking in judo. While practicing aikido with Ueshiba, Tohei was also training Shinshin Toitsu Do ("way of mind and body unification") with Tempu Nakamura. From there he adopted e.g. the key concept "the mind moves the body".
Tohei was much responsible of spreading aikido outside Japan since 1953. He was also the only student of Morihei Ueshiba to be officially awarded 10th dan. Tohei remained as the chief instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo until his departure in 1974. By this time, he had founded the organisation Ki no Kenkyukai, which now became the headquarters of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido ("Aikido with Mind and Body Coordinated"), better known as Ki-Aikido.
Rainer Varis (b. 1955) started practicing aikido and iaido in 1971 with Toshikazu Ichimura, who back then was the teacher responsible for aikido in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In 1974 Varis was the first aikido black belt in Finland, and served as the Finnish head teacher of Finland Aikikai until leaving the organisation in 1977. After that he went to Koichi Tohei's seminars in Brussels and started studying ki-aikido with Degueldre and Yoshigasaki. Varis founded the Finnish Ki-Aikido Society in 1979 and the Finnish Ki Federation in 1993.
Kenjiro Yoshigasaki (1951-2021) started to practice yoga at the age of 10 and Aikido in 1968 as a direct student of Tohei. He came to Europe in 1977 as a regional chief instructor of the Ki no Kenkyukai. In 2001 Yoshigasaki founded his own organisation, Ki no Kenkyukai Internationale, to further develop Tohei's teachings.
The organisation currently lists 190 dojos in 25 different countries. The contact person for the KnKi is Michael Holm from Denmark, who regularly visits nordic countries to do seminars.
Esa Lilja (b. 1973) started to practice judo with Timo and Matti Hautoniemi in Jushinkan Ähtäri, Finland in 1985, soon followed with karate, ryukyu kobujutsu and aikido. In the 1990s he moved to Helsinki and started studying ki-aikido with Rainer Varis, taiji, again with Timo Hautoniemi, and kendo. In 2003 he founded Ki-Aikido Shizentai Dojo in Helsinki, and also started studying Amatsu style Daitoryu aiki-jujutsu. Lilja moved to Stavanger, Norway, in 2019 and founded Ki-Aikido Karasukai in 2021.
Ki-Aikido Karasukai is connected to the Varis style of ki-aikido and the Finnish Ki Federation, and works closely together with the Ki No Kenkyukai Internationale.