Kudos to my good friend Ethan Weisgard for his excellent article about Morihiro Saito-sensei. He asked me to post some comments.
I lived in Iwama for 10 years training with Saito-sensei starting in 1972. He was my teacher, mentor and friend.
We had many great times training and partying together. Besides Aikido, we shared a liking for Suntory Red whisky, the official dojo drink, which we called "Iwama nectar".
He and his wife Sata (we called her "okusan") were always very kind to me and my wife Takako and our kids.
I took Sensei's ukemi hundreds of times. It was always a surreal experience.
Although he was extremely strong, I never really felt his power. I would attack him, and the next thing I knew I was down on the mat without having the slightest idea what happened in between.
Those years in Iwama were like living in heaven. They were the best of my life, and although I can never get them back again, I will always have fond memories.
If anyone is interested, there are a lot of stories and pictures from my time in Iwama at my dojo website www.iwama-aikido.com