Aikido History - Iwama Aikido

Some stories of those that went before - Saito Sensei

This was written by me (Simon Thackeray  of White Oak Aikido and Reading University Aikido Clubs) without any intention to make any claims as to accuracy or it being any version of a 'complete and true' UK Aikido history. It is based on my own memories of events, written information that I have and my memory of what I have been told. Lots of Aikido people and lots of Aikido events have been omitted because this is only about people and events that interacted with my own development in Aikido and that of the White Oak and Reading University Aikido Clubs, so it is all very much written from my own perspective and only includes what I want to and what I remember right now as I write it. However, if you think anything is seriously inaccurate as opposed to being omitted, then please let me know! Or go to Aikido training in Reading today.

Below is a section on Saito Sensei and Iwama Aikido, which were strong influences on me and my Aikido, particularly in the 1980s. You can use the following links to go to Haydn Foster Sensei, Hamish McFarlane, Andy Allan, Ron Russell, Fiona Bain and some information on the history of Aikido at Reading University.

Morihiro Saito Shihan 9th dan

Saito Sensei was a close student of O Sensei at the Iwama Aikido dojo for some 24 years. He codified and spread the Iwama style of Aikido and particularly the weapons system, through seminars, books and films.

Saito Sensei and UK Aikido

In about 1981, Hamish McFarlane, a senior 4th dan, went Iwama to gain a deeper insight into Saito Sensei's Aikido. On his return, Haydn Foster Sensei incorporated more weapons training into his teaching and introduced strong, static technique as the basic starting point for his Aikido.  McFarlane Sensei was to return to Iwama again (possibly in 1985?), which reinforced the Iwama influence.

In 1985,  Saito Sensei came to the UK to give two five day seminars, one at Brunel University and one at the National Scottish Sports Centre in Largs.

Saito Sensei course
                                              group photo - Largs 1985
Group photo at the Saito Sensei course in Largs in 1985

Saito Sensei visited the UK twice more, coming to Cambridge in 1989 and Birmingham in 1994.

Saito Sensei's Influence on White Oak Aikido and Reading University Aikido

I have trained for some 26 days at Aikido seminars with Saito Sensei (Brunel 1985, Largs 1985, Fiesch 1987, Fiesch 1988, Cambridge 1989, Birmingham 1994 and Paris 2000), as well as with many Iwama style teachers including Takeji Tomita (including his course at the Hut in 1985, prior to Saito Sensei's UK seminars), Hitohiro Saito and Patricia Hendricks. The weapons system and much of the body technique taught at the White Oak and Reading University Aikido Clubs, which is not purely received from my Sensei, Haydn Foster Sensei, is strongly influenced by the Iwama style of Aikido of Saito Sensei.

Saito Sensei course
                                                in Paris UK group
                                                picture
The UK group at the Saito Sensei course in Paris in 2000

I have also attended Aikido seminars with many other significant teachers all of whom have influenced my Aikido. These include (certainly not an exhaustive list and in no particular order): Nobuyoshi Tamura, Donovan Waite, Bill Smith, Hiroshi Ikeda, Frank Doran, Bob Nadeau, Julio Toribio, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Christian Tissier, Yasou Kobayashi, Hiroaki Kobayashi and Osamu Obata.

This video was shot at the Aikido seminar given by Saito Sensei in Cambridge in 1989. It is a very short clip from the approximately 440 minutes of video that was shot at the seminar. This material is currently being edited and, in collaboration with Tony Sargeant, will be available on DVD in 2017.

To be kept in touch with the release of this Iwama Aikido DVD, please email saitodvd@whiteoak-aikido.org




To find out more about getting involved in the martial art of Aikido in Reading:
Home page of White Oak Aikido in Reading, Berkshire, UK
Info for Beginners at White Oak Aikido Club and at Reading University - some more details about the Aikido clubs and what to expect if you come along.
Aikido Training Times and venues for the Aikido clubs at Reading YMCA, Caversham Heights Methodist Church Hall and at Reading University.
Joining White Oak Aikido or Reading University Aikido Club and a bit about gradings.
or please Contact us if you have any questions about Aikido or the club.
...and here's some pages about Aikido in the past.

Chi Gung (Qi Gong) classes in Basingstoke and Caversham, Reading.


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                                            Sensei: Foster, Tomita and
                                            Saito standing together
                                            outside
Haydn Foster Sensei with Tomita Sensei and Saito Sensei at the Aikido seminar at Brunel University in 1985.

Saito Sensei
Fiona Bain and Robert Brodie with Tomita Sensei and Saito Sensei at the Aikido seminar at Brunel University in 1985.
 
Cover of Aikido
                                                technical manual on
                                                Katatedori
A rare copy of an Aikido technical manual by Saito Sensei on Katatetori produced by Aiki News in 1979 and signed personally by Saito Sensei.

Cover of an Aikido
                                              technical manual by Saito
                                              Sensei
A rare copy of an Aikido  technical manual by Saito Sensei on Koshinage produced by Aiki News in 1981 and signed personally by Saito Sensei.

Handwritten
                                                Aikido seminar schedule
                                                in Japanese with English
                                                under
The seminar timetable for the Aikido course in Fiesch in 1988, handwritten by Saito Sensei.


Pass for Saito Sensei
                                            Paris seminar in 2000
Saito Sensei seminar pass Paris in 2000



Some pictures from the Hiroaki Kobayashi Sensei Seminar Cardiff 2015
John Butcher with Hiroaki Sensei

Aikido seminar pic 02

Aikido seminar pic 3

Aikido seminar pic 4

Aikido seminar pic 5