During and after World War II, Morihei Ueshiba was esconced in the small country town of Iwama. Here he was freed from the specter of war and his hectic teaching schedule. In Iwama, Morihei set about healing himself physically and spiritually. He farmed, meditated, and most importantly, immersed himself in training.
In 1946, a young lad of 18 showed up at the Iwama Dojo asking to practice aikido. Like most young men, young Morihiro Saito wanted to become strong. Instead, old Master Ueshiba told him he would teach the young man how to become of service to society! Thus began an amazing relationship that had everything to do with the survival of Morihei O-Sensei’s techniques!
Morihiro Saito became one of the Founder’s closest and most dedicated students. He also turned out to be one of the young art’s most skilled technicians. Saito Sensei, having the huge advantage of a flexible work schedule, was able to spend entire days at the Iwama Dojo helping Morihei in every aspect of his life. Of course, this also meant training hours a day with the Master, often on a one-on-one basis.
When the Founder breathed his last on April 29, 1969, Saito Sensei became the head of Morihei’s private dojo and the guardian of the nearby Aiki Shrine.
Soon, Morihiro Saito would author a series of technical books which took the aikido world by storm. In addition to presenting the vast technical repertoire handed down by Morihei Ueshiba, these manuals also introduced a comprehensive weapons curriculum for the first time.
Saito Sensei soon would receive a steady stream of foreign uchideshi at the Iwama Dojo that eventually numbered into the thousands. He also embarked upon a 30-year career of foreign travel conducting more than 100 seminars in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Because of his incredible technical and teaching skills, his extensive publications, and foreign travels, Morihiro Saito greatly impacted the development of modern aikido.
Learn more about this famous martial arts master and the specifics of his aikido curriculum below.