The International Aikido Federation of IAF is a world governing body for the sport of Aikido and is also a federation of Aikido Organisations affiliated to the Aikikai Foundation. This is also known as the Aikikai Hombu in Japan or the ‘mother house’ of Aikido. IAF is based in Tokyo and is a partner with organisations that include the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS) and the International World Games Association (IWGA). The current Aikido Doshu is also the IAF President and together with the Senior Council, growth in the sport is monitored to ensure it does not deviate from what was originally taught by the founder Morihei Ueshiba. The IAF held its first congress in 1976 in Tokyo and in 1984 became a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). Membership to IWGA and GAISF is important for sport organisations as it gives recognition to that particular sport. As a member of IWGA, the IAF participate in the World Games and the Combat Games.
Aikido is a modern martial art and although there are no competitions, the involvement in international games through workshops, demonstrations and congresses, the sport is increasing its global awareness. When Aikido was originally developed, the ultimate goal was to create an art that practitioners could use in self-defence without injuring their attacker. It has often been dubbed as the sport of peace. Aikido originates from the martial art Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but the founder Ueshiba diverged from that in 1920. Today Aikido is practised all over the world in various styles and interpretations. Despite the variations, they share a common theme to always consider the welfare of the attacker. They also share in the techniques originally taught by the founder. The art of Daitō-ryū was the main influence on Aikido. Techniques involve empty-handed throwing and joint-locking, Ueshiba also added weapons in his training movements. These include the spear (yari), the short staff (jō), and on occasion the bayonet (jūken). The main weapon is swordsmanship (kenjutsu). Training includes a high degree of physical and mental ability. Beginners first need to learn how to safely fall or role. After the basic techniques are mastered, students then progress to more freestyle defence and the use of weaponry.