Style Aikido is taught at Cambridge Aikido.
is a small village in the Ibaraki prefecture of Japan, and it is
the place where the founder created his art of Aikido in the mid
1900's. He spent the remainder of his life living in Iwama, developing
and teaching Aikido there.
The man who spent by far the most time with the founder was a student
by the name of Morihiro
Saito (pictured right). Saito began training with the founder
as a young man and stayed with him for over 25 years until the time
of the founder's death in 1969.
Before he died, the founder passed responsibility of the dojo in
Iwama to Saito sensei, while the official headquarters of Aikido,
located in Tokyo, was left to the founder's son.
Saito sensei saw that the popularity of Aikido was spreading around
the world and realised that the founder's personal students could
not be on hand everywhere around the world to ensure that the founder's
Aikido was being taught and practiced correctly. He created an organisation,
Ryu", or "The Iwama School of Aikido", as a method
of ensuring that Aikido was taught in a consistent manner, in a
way which would preserve the Aikido of the founder.
Iwama Style Aikido differs from many styles of Aikido in that a
much stronger emphasis is placed on mastering the fundamentals of
basic Aikido movement from a static position before learning to
apply the techniques in a more advanced constantly moving and flowing
manner. Saito sensei believed that understanding basic principals
and building upwards on a strong foundation was of paramount importance.
Iwama Style Aikido also places more emphasis on the study of traditional
weaponry than many other styles of Aikido.
Sadly, Saito sensei passed away on May 13, 2002. This was
a huge loss to the Aikido community. Cambridge Aikido is now part
of the Takemusu
Aikido Association, an organisation that promotes Morihei Ueshiba's
Aikido as passed on by his longest direct student, Morihiro Saito.