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Old 03-12-2011, 01:31 AM   #1
Hanna B
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Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Who were the Saito students who brought the so called Iwama style of aikido to Europe?

I don't suppose Saito sensei ever went to Europe without being invited by someone. So there should have been a European student first... and unless this student travelled to Japan to train with Saito, without prior experience of this line of aikido, this student must have had someone else as teacher first.

There has been at least one Japanese student of Saito sensei who became a European resident: Tomita sensei came to Sweden in late 60s, and still lives and teaches in Sweden. Has there been other Japanese Saito students living and teaching in Europe?

Other than Saito sensei, who were the teachers of other big European Iwama names, like Paolo Corralini? Unless they went to Iwama without prior experience of this line of aikido, they should have had a teacher(s) in Europe from the Saito lineage. So who were they, the Saito lineage pioneers in Europe?
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:49 AM   #2
grondahl
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

This article sheds some light on the issue:
http://www.taai.it/index.php?option=...mid=56&lang=en
and
http://aikido-france.net/toutain/

I´m sure that Ethan Weisgard will give a more complete answer, I think he is the only senior Iwama-stylist on Aikiweb. There is still some (minor) activity on Aikidojournals Iwama-forum.

Last edited by grondahl : 03-12-2011 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:46 AM   #3
sakumeikan
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Chiba Sensei invited Saito Sensei to the U.K. in the early 70s. The object of this was to further expose weapons work to the U.K. At that time Saito Sensei had written the introductory Vol1/2/3 of his excellent books which contained weapon training.
Both Tomita Sensei and Bruce Klickstein Sensei also travelled with Saito Sensei in the U.K.
My own original teacher, Mr Coyle, in the 70s was also instrumental in introducing Saito Sensei type weaponry in Scotland.
At present I believe there is an Iwama style dojo in Edinburgh.
In North Africa I had the pleasure of training with Iwama students from Algeria led by Hasseine Mohamed el Hadi Sensei
who attended the Ist Tunisian Summer School in Sousse.
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:39 AM   #4
Hanna B
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Corallini travelled to Iwama in 1984 and invited Saito sensei to Italy in 1985. Daniel Toutain began training with Saito sensei in 1993. Neither is terribly early. They both must have gotten their inspiration, their idea to search Saito sensei out, from somebody else's aikido. With Toutain we can suspect Corallini, perhaps, but with Corallini? Evenås? Tomita sensei, who after all lives in a corner of Europe since 1969? Some US practitioner? Books only? The last version I highly doubt.

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Chiba Sensei invited Saito Sensei to the U.K. in the early 70s. The object of this was to further expose weapons work to the U.K. At that time Saito Sensei had written the introductory Vol1/2/3 of his excellent books which contained weapon training.
Both Tomita Sensei and Bruce Klickstein Sensei also travelled with Saito Sensei in the U.K.
My own original teacher, Mr Coyle, in the 70s was also instrumental in introducing Saito Sensei type weaponry in Scotland.
At present I believe there is an Iwama style dojo in Edinburgh.
This is interesting. You are saying that early on, Saito sensei's teachings were spread as a weapons auxilliry to other teacher's aikido. That sounds as a reasonable start... yes. At the time, the borders between different "styles" within the Aikikai were not really borders the way they sometimes are today. I wonder if Saito sensei visited other European countries in similar fashion, invited by people with no or little prior experience of his aikido but who had read his books on weapons work. This must have created plenty of opportunities for aikido practitioners to become interested in Saito sensei's aikido.

I also wonder to what extent, if any, Tomita sensei travelled and taught outside of Scandinavia in like the 70s, besides this travelling with Saito sensei in the UK. If Tomita sensei actually did play an important part in spreading this type of aikido in parts of Europe, we can expect this to be excluded from the official history of Iwama aikido as written by today's Iwama aikido people (since Tomita sensei never was a part of this movement). Theoretically, there could have been half a dozen people like him throughout Europe who got removed from the official history books of Iwama aikido. So I really don't think my question will be best answered by the senior Iwamaists. They will probably give me the very official version only.

Tomita sensei's organisation "Tomita Academy" has dojos in Sweden, England, France, Portugal, Italy, and Russia, according to his website. These are probably not very many dojos - they are not extremely many in Sweden either. Is the existance of these dojos a sign that he did use to travel and teach in these countries? They could be, but not necessarily.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:49 AM   #5
ewolput
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

In 1976, when I was Japan for aikido, I found the books of Saito in a bookshop in Tokyo. Around 1977/1978, Kanetsuka sensei came to my dojo in Antwerp/Belgium and introduced the weaponsystem of Saito sensei. Maybe some people became interested and went to Iwama to study further.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:49 AM   #6
David Yap
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Who were the Saito students who brought the so called Iwama style of aikido to Europe?...
Hanna,

This website may hold the clue ...

http://www.saitosensei.com/

From the site, Lars Anderson sensei (Sweden) has already connected in 1972 and the first seminar was held in Sweden in the mid-70s.

Hope this information helps

David Y
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:04 PM   #7
grondahl
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Philipe Voarino seems to have started training for Saito sensei in the mid eighties
http://www.aikidotakemusu.com/article58.html

Some europeans also seems to have started their connection with Iwama style aikido on the american west coast (Witt, Klickstein etc) and then brought it back to Europe (Wolfgang Baumgartner, Roland Spitzbarth).

According to the website of the Meerendonks, a teacher called Volker Stanzel had a connection to Saito in as far back as atleast 77.
http://www.uchideshi.de/sensei-2/mar...ndonk/?lang=en

Also, Göteborgs Aikidoklubb claims to be the oldest Iwama style dojo outside of Japan.
http://goteborgsaikidoklubb.se/?p=38
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:00 PM   #8
Hanna B
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
From the site, Lars Anderson sensei (Sweden) has already connected in 1972 and the first seminar was held in Sweden in the mid-70s.
Lars-Göran Andersson is/was a student of Tomita sensei, who as already mentioned came here in 1969. Of course the saitosensei.com website doesn't mention Tomita.

Btw, on which page of that website do you find the text on Andersson? You can probably right click and find the direct url, or just tell which way I go to find it.

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Also, Göteborgs Aikidoklubb claims to be the oldest Iwama style dojo outside of Japan.
http://goteborgsaikidoklubb.se/?p=38
Created in 1969, yeah. Guess who taught there?
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:20 PM   #9
grondahl
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Lars-Göran Andersson and later Tomita sensei. But according to Lasses own website the club was founded 72 (being a section of a judo club before that)

http://www.torsbyaikido.se/index.php?edit=lasse

I think that the main reason that Tomita is excluded from saitosensei.com is the fact that it seems that he hasn´t contributed to the site.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:23 AM   #10
David Yap
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Lars-Göran Andersson is/was a student of Tomita sensei, who as already mentioned came here in 1969. Of course the saitosensei.com website doesn't mention Tomita.

Btw, on which page of that website do you find the text on Andersson? You can probably right click and find the direct url, or just tell which way I go to find it.
The webpages are arranged according to the era, click on "1970". Both Andersson sensei and Tomita sensei were tagged in a photo taken with Saito shihan in 1972. In another photo circa 1975-1976 taken in a seminar in Sweden, Andersson sensei was a uke to Saito shihan.
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:04 AM   #11
CTozer
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Hi Hanna,

You raise some interesting questions concerning Tomita Sensei.
He will not figure in any history for Saito Sensei's 'Iwama' method of Aikido (Iwama Ryu, Takemusu Aikido) post 1992, when he consulted with Saito Sensei and officially created his 'Tomita Academy', thereby becoming independent. Nonetheless the fact that he has effectively been erased from almost all biographical histories prior to this date is interesting in and of itself, since he first came to Gothenburg, Sweden to teach Aikido in August 1969.
As a long-time student of Tomita Sensei, I can perhaps shed some light on this for you if you would like to PM me.

Last edited by CTozer : 03-15-2011 at 04:04 AM. Reason: format change

Chris Tozer
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:48 AM   #12
Hanna B
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

I guess I have to settle on the fact that I don't know how important a factor Tomita sensei was for early spread of Saito sensei's aikido in Europe... but I know that it is underestimated.

Anyway, I didn't start this thread to promote Tomita sensei, whom I've never trained for, only watched his training once and seen some of his students. I am still interested in more early spread of Saito lineage aikido in Europe, so if anyone has more to say - please do.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:27 AM   #13
CTozer
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Hi Hanna,

Thanks for your PM and I have replied.

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Anyway, I didn't start this thread to promote Tomita sensei, whom I've never trained for, only watched his training once and seen some of his students.
I hope you didn't take my reply in the thread above as wanting to promote Tomita Sensei or his Aikido in any way. I assumed from the original question you raised that you wanted some information on early practitioners of Saito Sensei's method in Europe and in that regard, Tomita Sensei's role was pivotal.

Chris Tozer
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #14
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Iwama lineage in Europe and Scandinavia

Hello Hanna,

I will try to give you some information regarding your question about the Iwama lineage in Europe and Scandinavia. I apologize for the length of this answer -- it's hard to make it brief.

There were several students from Sweden who went with Tomita Sensei to visit and train in Iwama back in the early 1970s (1972/1973). You will see group pictures from the Iwama dojo with a young Ulf Evenås among them in the old Traditional Aikido book series of Saito Sensei . There was another student called Mirko who is also seen in these photos. (volume 3, page 11: Ulf is number 3 from the right in the line, Mirko is number 2; page13: Ulf is on the right, with no hakama and a white belt). Mirko is no longer active in Aikido. Lasse (Lars Goran Andersson isn't in these pictures but he was there during this period, too, as was a gentleman called Sam, from Tomita Sensei's dojo. He is no longer active either. These books were published in 1973/1974. I know that Ulf and Lasse were in the dojo several times during this period (mid to late 1970s) -- once for a pretty long stay, about 9 months or more. This was the time when David Alexander was soto deshi for more than 10 years, Bruce Klickstein was there as well. This was a time when you would get very close to Saito Sensei, as uchi deshi, working and training from morning to evening, with some after-keiko enjoyment time put in as well! You can find photos on saitosensei.com

This close connection created a bond from Ulf and Lasse directly to Saito Sensei. So Tomita Sensei deserves the credit for creating the first connection to his own teacher -- Saito Sensei. Tomita Sensei had studied under O-Sensei directly, in Iwama, and was first a student of Nishio Sensei, before connecting directly with Saito Sensei, staying as uchi deshi in Iwama, and helping take care of O-Sensei in the last stage of his life. Tomita Sensei was Saito Sensei's first uchi deshi, staying on after O-Sensei passed on. Saito Sensei always showed Tomita Sensei respect for this.

So the first contact to Saito Sensei in Europe in an organized way was made from Tomita Sensei, and his students at that time-the most active being Ulf and Lasse.

Saito Sensei came to Scandinavia, visiting Copenhagen in 1976 (?) for a demonstration and Sweden for training camps and demonstrations. Bruce Klickstein was Saito Sensei's otomo -- translating for him, taking ukemi and helping him in general. Tomita Sensei was with him for all the arrangements, and Ulf and Lasse were there as well. Saito Sensei came back to Sweden in 1982 to hold a summer camp -- with David Alexander as otomo.

In Denmark we had -- from 1975 - followed Tomita Sensei and his group, sort of like the little brothers and sisters in the family. Ulf and Lasse helped us tremendously in developing Aikido -- both in our own individual training, as well as spreading it in Denmark during the mid-1970s and forward.

In time, Tomita Sensei decided to move out on his own -- to teach his way and share his outlook on Aikido with his students. In 1992 at our (third?) summer camp in Denmark with Saito Sensei, Tomita Sensei made an official announcement, saying that he was going to start his own organization -- Tomita Academy. People were asked to decide whether they wished to be part of this organization or to connect with Saito Sensei. This was when Tomita Sensei's own organization started. Those of us who chose to connect directly to Saito Sensei went that way and others connected directly with Tomita Sensei.

Tomita Sensei was our Sensei, and he was a great inspiration. I will always give him the greatest respect -- my life would not be what it is without him.

So to summarize, there may have been individuals from Europe that went to Iwama before 1972/1973, but none that actually brought the training methodology back and promulgated it as Iwama aikido at this time. I think the credit has to go to Tomita Sensei and the Swedish contingency -- of which Ulf and Lasse were and are the mainstays of this group.

From the mid-1980s and on, there were more Europeans that came to Iwama to train -- Paolo Corralini being the most active in this respect. It is evident that with Saito Sensei awarding Ulf and Paolo his highest degrees ( 7th dan and Shihan) and making an official statement saying that these two people were his top representatives in Europe shows that these two people have put in the time and effort to be worthy of this credit.

Disclaimer! Please note that this reply is regarding the chronology of Iwama aikido in Europe.
Other countries have been there starting in the early 1970s as well: America, New Zealand and Australia, as far as I know, and probably other. I don't want to steal any glory from these countries -- just substantiate the time line regarding the European Iwama lineage.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #15
Hanna B
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Thanks Chris!

I was simply thinking that people might think "gee, she probably started this thread with the intent to nail it all to Tomita sensei from the very start". I didn't. I have been kind of puzzled by how he is not existing in what's written about Iwama aikido in Europe, but also thought that there may be many others.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:36 AM   #16
Hanna B
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

And thanks a lot Ethan for your very informative post!
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:04 AM   #17
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Hello Hanna,

You're welcome. I'm glad to have been of help.

In aiki,

Ethan
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:10 AM   #18
N. Delalondre
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Hi there,

In case of France, I think saito-method came from Patricia Guerri (Uchi deshi from 1985 to 1987/88), Philippe Voarino (not sure of the date, he started a few time after P.Guerri at Iwama), then Daniel Toutain who firstly attends a seminar of P.Guerri in France then going to a Saito's seminar in Italia and being introduced to Saito sensei by Paolo Corralini.

But introduction in France seems to be way after the first introduction in Europe.

Regards,
Nicolas
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:44 AM   #19
Alex Megann
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Eddy Wolput wrote: View Post
In 1976, when I was Japan for aikido, I found the books of Saito in a bookshop in Tokyo. Around 1977/1978, Kanetsuka sensei came to my dojo in Antwerp/Belgium and introduced the weaponsystem of Saito sensei. Maybe some people became interested and went to Iwama to study further.
Kanetsuka Sensei was certainly very familiar with Saito Sensei's books, and had had some direct contact with him (I know Saito visited him at his home in London), although to my knowledge he didn't train at Iwama. In 1980 we had the whole series of "Traditional Aikido" in the dojo in Oxford and Kanetsuka Sensei appeared to know them almost by heart. He was also teaching the 13 and 31 jo katas, but I don't remember him showing much aiki-ken. By the time he became ill in the mid-80s he stopped teaching aiki-jo and aiki-ken altogether, and was doing a lot of kesagiri (the Kashima-shinryu kihondachi), which I believe was due to the influence of Sekiya Sensei.

For many years Kanetsuka Sensei has put great stress on being able to handle strong static grips (particularly including multiple ukes), and he has always credited Saito Sensei with his understanding of this.

Alex
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:21 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Kanetsuka Sensei was certainly very familiar with Saito Sensei's books, and had had some direct contact with him (I know Saito visited him at his home in London), although to my knowledge he didn't train at Iwama. In 1980 we had the whole series of "Traditional Aikido" in the dojo in Oxford and Kanetsuka Sensei appeared to know them almost by heart. He was also teaching the 13 and 31 jo katas, but I don't remember him showing much aiki-ken.
Alex
Hello Alex,

He practised the whole range of Aiki-ken in his Ryushinkan Dojo in London. I was his partner at a demonstration held in London, with Chiba Shihan present. It was Chiba S who put a stop to M Sekiya's kesa-giri training in aikido classes. The only thing MKS did not teach was the paired 31 jo kata.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-22-2011, 02:53 AM   #21
raul rodrigo
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
It was Chiba S who put a stop to M Sekiya's kesa-giri training in aikido classes.
Dear Prof Goldsbury, please explain why Chiba made Sekiya stop teaching kesa giri. And wouldn't it have been awkward to do so to one's own father in law?

best

RAUL
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:15 AM   #22
Alex Megann
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Alex,

He practised the whole range of Aiki-ken in his Ryushinkan Dojo in London. I was his partner at a demonstration held in London, with Chiba Shihan present. It was Chiba S who put a stop to M Sekiya's kesa-giri training in aikido classes. The only thing MKS did not teach was the paired 31 jo kata.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hi Peter,

That is very interesting indeed, and I hadn't heard this story. I was under the impression that Chiba Sensei had encouraged Kanetsuka Sensei to study kesagiri.

Alex
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:16 AM   #23
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Hi Peter,

That is very interesting indeed, and I hadn't heard this story. I was under the impression that Chiba Sensei had encouraged Kanetsuka Sensei to study kesagiri.

Alex
Hello Alex,

I will attempt to answer Raul's question in response to your post. You might know that the reason M Sekiya spent a year in the UK was to ease the transition in the BAF from K Chiba to M Kanetsuka as Technical Director. K Chiba remained as Technical Adviser and came to England frequently. (For this was when the political problems in Europe were beginning to hot up.) M Sekiya had retired as an engineer for Japan Airlines (JAL) and could travel very cheaply. He had trained with S Yamaguchi and K Chiba wanted him to teach S Yamaguchi's way of doing aikido. However, he did not want the kashima koryu to be taught at the same time and as part of aikido--but this is what happened. I suppose it was thought that there was little point in teaching kesa-giri alone, without the basic kata of which it was a part, so we practised these.

As far as I recall, practice at Ryushinkan on weekdays lasted for three hours, with a short break in the middle. The first part always began with kokyu ryoku training and suwari-waza ikkyo. The second part nearly always featured weapons, which invariably began with suburi training at the tyre makiwara in the dojo. I would sometimes teach the kokyu ryoku and suwari-waza classes, but MKS would usually appear and take over--and teach the weapons classes, which were usually aiki-ken and aiki-jo. M Sekiya taught the midday classes and sometimes taught weapons.

All in all, it worked very well, even when the weapons training was split into two separate systems and there was a more pronounced separation between Ryushinkan and Tempukan.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-22-2011, 08:06 AM   #24
Alex Megann
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Alex,

I will attempt to answer Raul's question in response to your post. You might know that the reason M Sekiya spent a year in the UK was to ease the transition in the BAF from K Chiba to M Kanetsuka as Technical Director. K Chiba remained as Technical Adviser and came to England frequently. (For this was when the political problems in Europe were beginning to hot up.) M Sekiya had retired as an engineer for Japan Airlines (JAL) and could travel very cheaply. He had trained with S Yamaguchi and K Chiba wanted him to teach S Yamaguchi's way of doing aikido. However, he did not want the kashima koryu to be taught at the same time and as part of aikido--but this is what happened. I suppose it was thought that there was little point in teaching kesa-giri alone, without the basic kata of which it was a part, so we practised these.

As far as I recall, practice at Ryushinkan on weekdays lasted for three hours, with a short break in the middle. The first part always began with kokyu ryoku training and suwari-waza ikkyo. The second part nearly always featured weapons, which invariably began with suburi training at the tyre makiwara in the dojo. I would sometimes teach the kokyu ryoku and suwari-waza classes, but MKS would usually appear and take over--and teach the weapons classes, which were usually aiki-ken and aiki-jo. M Sekiya taught the midday classes and sometimes taught weapons.

All in all, it worked very well, even when the weapons training was split into two separate systems and there was a more pronounced separation between Ryushinkan and Tempukan.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hi Peter,

I'm sure you have already mentioned it, but when were you training regularly at Ryushinkan? As I didn't really start practising regularly with KS until about 1981, your recollections are very interesting to me.

I was training two or three times a week at the University dojo, where KS taught perhaps one class each week after he moved to Oxford. In general weapons practice there was the exception rather than the rule. I also attended regular classes at KS's private dojo (first at the Oxford Ashram and then at Iffley Hall) where we did a lot of swordwork but little jo practice.

Alex
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:12 AM   #25
sakumeikan
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Re: Who brought the Saito a.k.a. Iwama lineage to Europe?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Alex,

He practised the whole range of Aiki-ken in his Ryushinkan Dojo in London. I was his partner at a demonstration held in London, with Chiba Shihan present. It was Chiba S who put a stop to M Sekiya's kesa-giri training in aikido classes. The only thing MKS did not teach was the paired 31 jo kata.

Best wishes,

PAG
Dear Peter,
I may be wrong but I would find it difficult to believe the assertion that Chiba Sensei stopped Sekiya Sensei from teaching Kesa giri movements.I say this because when I trained in San Diego Aikikai
Chiba Sensei was teaching kesa giri exercises.Check out You tube.
Vids were put up by Hadronica without asking my permission.
These vids came from my own collection.Cheers, Joe
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