Morihiro Saito

Morihiro Saito

7 Episodes

Morihiro Saito (March 31, 1928-May 13, 2002), 9th Dan, was Chief Instructor of the Iwama Dojo and one of the closest students of the founder. Saito's style of aikido is often referred to as "Iwama aikido." 

Building a worldwide student base, Saito’s practice of aikido spanned 56 years, from the age of 18, when he first met aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, until his dealth in 2002.

Prior to joining Ueshiba as a live-in student (uchideshi) in 1946, he practiced kendo as a schoolboy and Shinto-ryū karate and judo as an adult.  When Saito came to Iwama for training, he joined other live-in students including Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, and Tadashi Abe. This early training was quite brutal, but after persevering for several years, Saito became one of Ueshiba's closest students.

From 1946 until Ueshiba’s passing in 1969, Saito served as Ueshiba's assistant in a variety of ways at Iwama while his wife served Mrs. Ueshiba.

Before his death, Ueshiba gave Morihiro Saito the responsibility of carrying on the teaching at the Iwama dojo and the position of guardian of the Aiki Jinja located in Iwama.

Stanley Pranin, founder of Aikido Journal, was a direct student of Saito Sensei.

Morihiro Saito Interview (1978):

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Morihiro Saito
  • Morihiro Saito: Aiki-ken

    Episode 1

    This is Morihiro Saito's Aiki-Ken (sword) instructional video. This video includes ken suburi exercises with step-by-step instructions.

  • Morihiro Saito: Aiki-jo Part 1

    Episode 2

    This is Part 1 of Saito Shihan's jo instructional video. The video includes jo suburi movements, O-Sensei's jo kata movement, and jo awase movements.

  • Morihiro Saito: Aiki-jo Part 2

    Episode 3

    This is Part 2 of Saito Shihan's jo instructional video. In this video, he demonstrates the 31 kumijo and the 10 kumijo (developed by Saito) and explains each movement step-by- step.

  • Morihiro Saito : Jo-dori and Jo-nage

    Episode 1

    Morihiro Saito Shihan (9th dan) teaches Jo-dori and Jo-nage at Iwama dojo in 1988. Patricia Hendricks Shihan takes ukemi and and translates during the class.

    Saito Shihan explains the differences between Hombu dojo style and Iwama style jo techniques.

  • Morihiro Saito: Atemi

    Episode 5

    A short demonstration of various atemi techniques filmed in 1975 with Saito Sensei. This quick overview of a vast array of atemi options is a valuable overview that is informative to aikido practitioners of all levels.

  • Morihiro Saito: 1973 TV Documentary

    Episode 6

    This TV documentary film was shot by NHK in 1973 on location in Iwama. The video was filmed when Saito Shihan was the chief instructor of Iwama Dojo and guardian of the Aikido Shrine. He held this role from 1969 until his death in 2002. His mastery of empty-handed and weapon techniques is legend...

  • Morihiro Saito: 1985 Friendship Demonstration

    Episode 1

    This video features a demonstration by Morihei Saito Shihan.

    Morihei Saito Shihan started aikido in 1946 at Iwama Dojo. He served as a Chief Instructor from 1969 until his death in 2002. Saito Shihan is one of aikido’s most prominent figures, expert in taijutsu and the aiki ken and jo. In th...