Takemusu Aikido


 

Takemusu Aikido is referred to as O-Sensei's traditional Aikido, which he taught every day in Iwama and which Morihiro Saito Shihan handed down to us faithfully and accurately. To better understand why Iwama Takemusu Aikido differs from other styles practiced all over the world, we should consider that Aikido did not begin its international diffusion until after the end of World War II. The art as it is mostly practiced today derives more from the interpretations of leading teachers and other disciples of Ueshiba than from the Aikido of the Founder himself. 
Beginning from the 1950s these well-known instructors introduced their own modifications to the art. The reason for this can be explained by the events relating to World War II, the Founder's long period of seclusion in Iwama and his son's increasing participation and responsibility in the organizational and administrative activities of Aikikai Headquarters in Tokyo (Honbu Dojo). Almost all the senior disciples had to abandon their training in Iwama - many during the War, others immediately after it. 
In those days life in Iwama was really severe. The widespread poverty and lack of food compelled people to work hard to get a living, so all Ueshiba's disciples could no longer go to the dojo. During that difficult period Saito Sensei always stood by the Founder, serving him even in the most humble works. 
Even if it was a very hard life, Saito Sensei had the great opportunity to spend more time by the Founder than any other person, either before or after the War. 
O-Sensei trusted his devoted student deeply and taught him everything - theoretically and practically. Saito Sensei never dared to interpret or change what he had received from the Founder; he just confined himself to memorize, study and help his Sensei. Morihiro Saito Sensei spent all his life preserving the original Aikido of O-Sensei. 
Saito Sensei's training approach was unique from that of other leading instructors in that it emphasizes the same importance of taijutsu (empty-handed techniques) and buki waza (weapons techniques), which includes the study of ken (sword) and jo (staff). O-Sensei looked upon this unavoidable connection between taijutsu, ken and jo practice as a determining factor for studying Aikido and Saito Sensei's training method is based on the punctual application of these principles.