Iwama Style Aikido is often recognized for its extensive use of kihon, or static training, in the early learning stages. A student will begin with holds from a solid position to properly learn the basic mechanics of Aikido techniques and movements. From there, we will help you develop stability and precision, enabling you to move effectively into ki no nagare, or flowing, joint locks and throws associated with Aikido. Integrated with open-hand training, weapons practice with bokken and jo (sword and staff), helps to better understand weight distribution and use of the hips in movement. Weapons practice also helps you learn to extend the range of control beyond the limits of your own body, which is key in understanding how to redirect the energy of an attacker.
Morihiro Saito was one of the few direct students of Aikido founder O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. He considered it his duty to correctly transmit O’Sensei’s traditional teachings as he was taught in Iwama. O’Sensei called the art he perfected in Iwama takemusu aikido, or “the inexhaustible font of aikido techniques”.
Dennis Tatoian, founder of the Traditional Aikido of Sonoma dojo, studied for many years under Saito Sensei living as a long time uchideshi at the Iwama dojo. Tatoian Sensei received his rank directly from Saito Sensei and his most recent promotion to 7th Dan from his son, Hitohira Saito. The students of Traditional Aikido of Sonoma are fortunate to study and train the techniques and philosophy handed down via direct lineage from the founder of Aikido.