Iwama Ryu Aikido refers to the traditional instruction developed by the father O Sensei UESHIBA. The words “Iwama Ryu” come from the name of the town where O Sensei elaborated his art which he named Aikido in 1942 (Ibaraki area).
That’s the practice we aim in our associations.
Morihiro Saito Sensei:
After the father’s death on April, 26th 1969, Morihiro Saito sensei became the major instructor at the Iwama Dojo but also became the very close Aikido temple’s guardian. He had been serving the father with devotion for twenty four years and O Sensei’s death only strengthened his resolution to do whatever was possible to keep Morihei Ueshiba’s legacy as it was.
The publication of M. Saito’s traditional Aikido (a series of 5 major technical books) during the 70’s contributed to set down his reputation as best technician of the discipline.
In 1974, M. Saito made his first trip abroad to give a series of seminar in California. Fo the first time ever, a large amount of students had the opportunity to realize how wide M. Saito’s technical knowledge of Aikido were. The clarity of his education program, with methods consisting in breaking down the moves and techniques, got him showered with praises by the students.
Often called “Iwama’s Aikido”, this form of aikido has become associated with a training in which the emphasis is put both on the bare handed techniques and on the weapon techniques, unlike in many other schools where the bare handed techniques only are taught.
- Saito’s education is being followed by loads of students all over the world and especially in the United States, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Australia, England Sweden, Portugal, and France.
With an exemplary devotion and faith, M. SAITO preserved, under the name “Iwama Ryu”, the spirit and techniques of the Father’s art until the very end of his life.
SAITO Sensei passed away at Iwama on May 13th, 2002 at the age of 74.
Hitohira SAITO Sensei:
Born on February 12th, 1957, he is the son and successor of Morihiro SAITO Sensei. He started to study Aikido at the age of 7 under Morihei UESHIBA’s direction. After O Sensei’s death in 1969, he continued his study under his father’s direction and became official instructor of the Iwama Dojo in 1986. He opened his own dojo, the “Tanrenkan” in 2000. A year before his father’s death, Hitohiro SAITO took the Father’s dojo under his charge along with the Aiki-jinja, Aikido’s world temple.
He was in charge of the original Aikido dojo until 2004. He then decided to break with Tokyo’s Aikikai and develop his own organization named “Iwama Shin Shin Aïkishurenkai » in order to preserve the aikido his father and O Sensei used to teach.
Today, he teaches Aikido throughout the world and regularly receives inner students (ushi-deshi) in his Dojo in Iwama. His practice of Aikido is said to be dynamic, accurate, and incredibly fluid. In his education, Hitohiro SAITO Sensei insists on the necessity to acquire very strong basics in order to have a better capacity to adaptat and unify techniques in any situation.
Hitohiro Sensei is also a talented chef, calligraphist, and sculptor. His studio is packed with traditional Japanese masks and Shishi-Gashira (lion’s head sculpted decorating the Kamiza).