“Penn State Aikido Lesson Plan for Week 5,” by Jim Sullivan

Penn State University is currently conducting an aikido course and part of the course materials are period by Aikido Journal. We invite our readers to follow along with these well-designed assignments.

Hello Aikido students,

This week your assignment is to:

Read article: Morihei Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito

Watch video of Morihiro Saito Shihan with the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba

This week with guest instructor Mark Larson Sensei you will be hearing even more references to Iwama, Morihiro Saito, the Founder and the Aiki Ken and Jo. Reading this article will help you better understand the development of Aikido and Morihiro Saito as a person, a teacher, and the “inheritor of Morihei Ueshiba’s technical legacy”.

You have seen video already in class and on-line of Saito Shihan and the Founder. This week in class you will see footage of Saito Sensei teaching classes in California. This is bonus footage from the Aiki Ken DVD available from Aikido Journal. This week you have guest instructor Mark Larson Sensei teach classes Thursday. In the 1960’s a young man named Bill Witt from the California Bay area became the first American uchideshi of Morihiro Saito Shihan. Witt Shihan is still actively teaching and his efforts paved the way for many others to follow and learn from the student closest to the founder of Aikido – Bernice Tom, Pat Hendricks and Stan Pranin just to name a few. All of these and many other great teachers have a unique capsule of history with Saito Shihan and have become renowned teachers themselves. What is unique about Mark Sensei is that he spent nearly every day of the last five years of Saito Sensei’s life with him, and as such has an unparalleled knowledge of and insight into the last few years of arguably the closest student of the Founder. This video is short and may not seem to have a lot of “Aikido” in it, in actuality if you watch closely I think the true heart and appearance of Aikido can be felt. This will be discussed in class.

Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.
Instructor of Kinesiology
Penn State University
266 Rec Hall
University Park, PA 16823

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