Whitton Aikido
                                                    & Reading Aikido
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Aikido in Reading Berkshire
Aikido on Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire Borders
offering classes in the Japanese martial art of Aikido since 1991

...the way of the warrior ...the way of harmony

Aikido History - Iwama Aikido

Some stories of those that went before - Saito Sensei

This was written by me (Simon Thackeray  of White Oak Aikido Reading) 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 White Oak Aikido and Reading University Aikido, 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 White Oak Aikido Reading, 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
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. A short preview from the approximately 440 minutes of video that was shot at the seminar.

Watch our Aikido video here!
Not what you'll be doing when you start, but sometimes our more senior grades like to show off a bit!
Find out more about getting involved in the martial art of Aikido in Whitton and Aikido in Reading:
Home page of White Oak Aikido UK
Info for Beginners - some more details about Aikido and what to expect if you come along to either our Reading or Whitton dojos.
Or please Contact us if you have any questions about Aikido classes in Reading or Whitton.

...and here's some pages about the past - Aikido in the old days

Weekly Chi Gung / Qigong classes in Craven Arms Shropshire

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                                            Sensei: Foster, Tomita and
                                            Saito standing together
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
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
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.

                                                Aikido seminar schedule
                                                in Japanese with English
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

Aikido seminar
                                                pic 3

Aikido seminar
                                                pic 4

Aikido seminar
                                                pic 5

Contact Reading Aikido:

Email Reading Aikido

Phone Reading Aikido
07743 301199


Contact Whitton Aikido:

Email Whitton Aikido

Phone Whitton Aikido
01432 509467