History of Iwama Aikido


Founder of Aikido

Morihei Ueshiba or 'O'Sensei', the founder of Aikido was born in Tanabe in 1883, a tumultuous period in Japanese history. After serving in the army he led a community to the remote wilderness in Hokkaido, northern Japan. It was here that he received instruction under Takeda Sokaku, founder of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu. On leaving Hokkaido in 1919, O'Sensei joined the Omote movement in Ayabe serving as a martial arts instructor under the enigmatic leader Onisaburo Deguchi. It was during these years that he experienced a great spiritual enlightenment. After this experience his martial art skill and ability was largely enhanced.
O'Sensei moved to Tokyo in 1926 where he set up a number of dojos and spent time in traveling around Japan spreading his new martial art. With the onset of the war O'Sensei moved to Iwama, a remote rural farming community, to immerse himself deeply in training and misogi. O'Sensei continued to refine his art in Iwama and promoted Aikido abroad up until his passing in 1969.
(Excerpt from the Encyclopaedia of Aikido by S. Pranin).


O'Sensei's longest serving student

Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, trained with O Sensei in Iwama for 23 years, often as the only student and cared for O Sensei and Mrs Ueshiba up until O Sensei's passing in 1969. It was in Iwama that Aikido took its modern form. Saito Sensei has been credited for systemising Aikido and developing a vast weapons system which is an identifying feature of the Iwama style.
Saito Sensei spent many years promoting O Sensei's Aikido throughout the world and implemented an uchi deshi program where foreigners could live and study Aikdio in Iwama. Saito Sensei's legacy has been retained through his son Hitohira Saito Soke, head of the Shin Shin Aikishuren Kai organisation.


Head of Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai

Hitohira Saito Soke began training as a seven year old under O Sensei who regarded the young Saito as a grandson. As a young man Hitohira Saito Soke took on the responsibilities of his father care taking the Founder's dojo and Shrine of Aiki, Aiki Jinja. 
Eventually Hitohira Saito Soke inaurguated his own dojo, the 'Tanrenkan', and founded his own organisation Shin Shin Aiki Shuren Kai. Hitohira Saito Sensei is renowned for his austere and precise Aikido in which he places particular emphasis on aiki ken and aiki jo.
"We preserve and share the great inflence of my father Morihiro while remaining faithful to the technical and spiritual heritage left by the Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
We continually try to improve ourselves through the intensive and systematic practice of kihon, and we believe each training session is a unique opportunity to feel closer to the Founder.
I firstly apply this permanent training to myself."
- Hitohira Saito, Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai.


Aiki Shuren Dojo Adelaide

To us, Aikido is more than just learning a self defence and improving fitness.  Aikido is Budo:

"The purpose is not only to make you physically stronger but also to make you mentally stronger. Aikido’s goals are achieved though keiko. By constantly testing and pushing your limits further and further. But, in order to push that limit we have to train at the limit. Not above it.”(Hitohiro Saito Sensei, head of Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai).

Head instructor Michael Costello is passionate about sharing the spirit and traditional Iwama style approach to training Aikido with the local community: "Our Dojo is a place to improve technique and fitness, develop mindfulness through training, and foster a positive and connected club atmosphere for all students, in alignment to how we practice Aikido in Iwama, Japan."

We are committed to providing clear and effective instruction in a friendly and safe environment.  Our training includes weapons practice (sword and staff) and open handed techniques that cover joint locks, holds, and throws.

Ph: 0407 770 894

Garden Terrace, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5095, Australia

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