Aikido is a fairly modern self defence Martial Art in comparison. It was developed by Morihei Ueshiba (aka O’Sensei) in the early 1940’s in Iwama (Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan). He was skilled in Jujutsu as well as other arts, including various weapons practices, some dating back to the samurai era.
Up until his passing in 1969 he devoted his life to refining his art, using a combination of Taijutsu (empty handed techniques) and weapons practices - Aiki-Ken (wooden sword) and Aiki-Jo (wooden staff).
A number of styles of Aikido (led by the various students that had been taught by O’sensei) began to emerge and spread across the world following his death. One of these styles was Iwama Aikido, led by Morihiro Saito (9th Dan) who began studying under O-Sensei in 1946.
Unlike the majority of students that had mostly learnt their Aikido at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, during O’sensei’s visits, Morihiro Saito remained firmly by his side in Iwama for 23 years.
This unbroken practice allowed Saito Sensei to not only master the founders empty handed techniques, but it also gave him the opportunity of becoming highly skilled in his ‘Aiki weapons’ system.
The Aiki weapons are what gave O-Sensei’s Aikido its uniqueness, and where a great deal of power is generated from, yet they were rarely taught outside of Iwama.
Before the founders passing, Saito Sensei was gifted with the responsibility of the Aiki Jinja (Shrine) and the Iwama Dojo, because of his devotion and loyalty to the Ueshiba family.
He was also (under the supervision of O-sensei) allowed to organise the founders Aikido and weapons legacy into a more structured format.
A path for the future
Nowadays, this format is still referred to as ‘Iwama Aikido’ which is known for its strong basics, accuracy of techniques and for its use of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo.
Despite Saito Sensei’s own passing in 2002, his teachings continue to be preserved to this day, thanks to a growing number of dedicated students around the world.
Saito Sensei’s representative here in the UK is Sensei Tony Sargeant (6th Dan). Sensei Sargeant has devoted many years of practice to Iwama Aikido and is the Technical Director of Takemusu Iwama Aikido Europe.
Tony Sargeant Sesnei (6th Dan)
Iwama Aikido Jersey
Iwama Aikido Jersey is dedicated to preserving the original teachings of Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei) as passed down by Mohirto Saito Sensei.
Tim Deller, Head Coach and founder of Iwama Aikido Jersey.