It is said that George Lucas had read a book about Aikido before starting to write A New Hope and that some elements of the character Yoda were based on Ueshiba Morihei Osensei himself. The concept of the Force may also be drawn from the eastern idea of Ki or Qi (Chi).
Above the Law
Obviously all of Steven Seagal’s films contain at least one or two Aikido techniques but the first opens in the dojo with Seagal teaching a class and demonstrating with some of his students including Haruo Matsuoka. However, while Seagal has occasionally demonstrated Aikido’s technical repertoire, he has always failed to show anything of Aikido’s moral and spiritual teachings.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
In series 1 episode 4 Code of Honour Security Chief Tasha Yar displays her Aikido skills on a holographic opponent for the benefit of the Ligonians. This scene is pivotal to the plot as it is the reason that they then kidnap her with the idea of Luton, their leader, marrying her. However, the techniques shown look a little more like Judo.
Aikido is mentioned again in episode 23 Skin of Evil as Tasha Yar is the favourite to win a martial arts competition before her death in that episode.
Star Trek: Enterprise
In series 4 episode 11 Observer Effect, Lieutenant Commander Hoshi Sato reveals that she has a black belt in Aikido when she recounts a tale of a poker game which her commander tried to end by sweeping the chips off of the table provoking her to break his arm.
Only Fools and Horses
Mickey Pearce talks to Del Boy in the Nags Head about his Aikido class the previous evening.
Episode 4745; Boyd Hoyland and Janae Timmins begin attending Aikido classes together after seeing a leaflet.
Episode 4750; Stingray eventually convinces Serena Bishop to join him as he also begins attending Aikido classes with Boyd and Janae.
Episode 4798; Boyd begins to teach Dylan Timmins Aikido so that he can fight Mike Pill but doesn’t like Dylan’s aggressive attitude or possible motives and walks off.
Episode 4805; Boyd again agrees to teach Dylan Aikido so that he can fight Mike.
Ian takes the Beale family to an Aikido class to help with his temper and as an activity for them to do together (and possibly because he knew Phil wouldn’t be happy about Ian reporting him to the Police).
The OC – Season 2
At Trey’s birthday party in episode 11, Seth is being intimidated by a group of jocks when Trey blunders in knocking one over and then grabbing another by the throat and pushing him to the floor. This seems like a move unlikely to work but prompts Jess who is watching to walk up and ask him if he’s studied Aikido, to which he doesn’t reply. This is only a passing mention compared to other examples but noteworthy in such a popular (at the time) series.
The Man in the High Castle – Season 1
Episode 1 The New World introduces heroine Juliana Crain practicing Aikido in the dojo, though the camera goes to an obscure close up or one of the other students watch her every time she executes a technique.
Episode 2 Sunrise sees Juliana Crain attacked by an SD agent whom she throws over the side of the damn they’re standing on with a throw which nearly looks like shihonage (though as he hits the fence square on and it doesn’t break, it’s not really clear how he goes over the top of it).
Walking Dead – Season 6
Episode 4 Here’s Not Here features The Art of Piece, John Stevens’ book of translations of Osensei’s poetry, however, the only bit of the book which is read out is a hand written passage inside the front cover but at least they get the sentiment right. Unfortunately, the technical content of the episode focuses on the jo (short staff) which, though used in Aikido practice, is not used in the way they show in any martial art I’ve ever seen and certainly not in Aikido.
The Good Fight – Season 2
Episode 11 sees Diane studying aikido after she witnesses a classes and comments on it’s beautiful movements. She comes back the next week and has the most unlikely first lesson I’ve ever seen but we don’t get to see her making her first throw with no prior instruction when the assistant instructor is asked to attack her with a tanto (wooden knife). In the next training scene she appears to be very competent for a beginner executing a fairly convincing kotegaeshi on the assistant instructor, in what now appears to be a private lesson, as if she has been practicing now for years but judging by the rest of the story line, hardly any time has passed since her first class. Aikido appears to not be mentioned again for the rest of the series.
Released as The Power of Aikido in the west, this 1975 Japanese language film is a biography of Ueshiba Morihei Osensei’s early career in martial arts but, unfortunately, it plays fast and loose with historical fact making the literal translation of the title Crash! Aikido rather apt. Not least is the disparity between Sonny Chiba’s height of 5′ 10″ and Osensei’s 4′ 11″. However, a few true events did make it into the film and interestingly Osensei’s son, Ueshiba Kisshomaru Doshu, can be seen demonstrating techniques in the opening credits and he was probably the source of the more creditable parts of the script.