The International Aikido Federation (IAF) is a world governing body and is also a federation of Aikido Organisations affiliated to the Aikikai Foundation. It 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 IAF President, together with the Senior Council, monitor growth in the sport to ensure there is no deviation from what was originally taught by the founder. 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 sport. As a member of IWGA, the IAF participate in the World Games and the Combat Games.
When Aikido was originally developed, the 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. Today Aikido is practised all over the world in various styles and interpretations. Despite some differences, 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. Weapons were also added in 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 roll. After the basic techniques are mastered, students then progress to more freestyle defence and the use of weaponry.