“A technical tour de force by Morihiro Saito that will open the eyes of aikido practitioners to the magnificence of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei’s art!”
This is the first of two technical volumes produced by Morihiro Saito Sensei in collaboration with Aiki News (precursor of Aikido Journal) based on a series of several hundred black and white photos shot inside the Iwama Dojo. “Takemusu Aiki: Katatedori” was published in 1979 and contains 22 techniques, all from katatedori, the single-hand grab. The text explaining the technical photos is produced both in English and Japanese to allow access to the widest possible reading audience of aikidoka.
Saito Sensei was known for his ability to organize and breakdown techniques into easily learnable components. This skill is readily evident in this manual as he guides readers step by step through the execution of techniques. For several of the techniques, the basic movement is accompanied by a progression to henkawaza (variations), and oyowaza (applied techniques).
Given the time frame in which the photos were taken (1978-79) and the available technology, Saito Sensei would stop his movements at key points in the movement to allow the photo to be taken. Because of this, the natural flow of movement is lacking in these images, a trait characteristic of technical manuals of this sort. By contrast, the pausing of a movement at critical points allows the reader’s eye to focus on essential details for deeper understanding.
At the time this photo series was taken, many foreign aikido students were coming to the Iwama dojo to spend varying periods of time as uchideshi, or live-in students. Saito Sensei’s reputation was growing steadily largely due to the publication of a series of five technical volumes titled Traditional Aikido appearing in the mid-1970s. Like this manual, these books had English and Japanese text, and were must-reading among serious practitioners of aikido in Japan and abroad. This widespread exposure to the Iwama aikido training curriculum created a strong demand for Saito Sensei to travel to foreign countries to conduct seminars. He received many invitations to teach abroad, the USA, Europe, Scandanavia, and Australia being his major destinations.
Saito Sensei was almost single-handedly responsible for the kindling of interest in the practice of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo. This aiki weapons’ repertoire was developed by Saito Sensei based on training patterns he learned from Founder Morihei Ueshiba during his intensive period of training in Iwama in the late 1940s and 50s. Therefore, readers should keep in mind that the empty-handed techniques shown in “Takemusu Aiki: Katatedori” are part of a vast curriculum that includes hundreds of taijutsu techniques as well as the rich technical content of ken and jo practices, all tied together as a cohesive whole.
Saito Sensei would mention many times both privately and in public that he was not free to develop his own style of aikido. This was due to his devotion to the Founder, and his roles as the dojo-cho of the Iwama Dojo and guardian of the nearby Aiki Shrine. Rather, he viewed his mission as dedicating his life to the preservation and faithful dissemination of the Founder’s aikido as he learned it in Iwama. Saito Sensei’s innate genius, tireless energy and herculean efforts to travel all over Japan and to foreign lands, and his many publications have assured his position as one of the most important and influential disciples of Morihei Ueshiba.
It is our pleasure to offer this rare training manual, “Takemusu Aiki: Katatedori,” in ebook form for the first time since its original publication in 1979. Readers will be able to download their PDF file within minutes of their purchase. This ebook is affordably priced at only $3.99. It is no longer necessary to pay for shipping, customs charges, or lost packages. Nor is there any need to wait! You can view the PDF book on your mobile device for portability and convenience. The “Katatedori” manual will be an invaluable learning aid for you in your aikido practice!