During these times of social distancing, we feel fortunate to have Iwama Aikido weapon practices to work on while person-to-person contact is not possible. We meet at outdoor locations in Emeryville, Oakland, and Berkeley. Open to students of all ranks and levels of experience.
The Founder taught wooden sword (bokken) and wooden staff (jo) practices at his dojo in Iwama, Japan. Morihiro Saito Sensei augmented these practices with suburi and kata and taught these practices to his students in Iwama and in his many teaching tours overseas. Through this, these Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo practices became an important part of our Iwama Aikido curriculum --something that distinguishes our style of Aikido from other styles. Weapon techniques are included in our tests from the very beginning of a student's progression through the ranks.
“When O-Sensei explained Aikido he always said that taijutsu (body techniques) and ken and jo techniques were all the same. He always started out his explanation of Aikido using the ken. Although he didn’t use a one-two-three method, he always taught us patiently and explained in detail what we should do.” ... “When I starting teaching myself ... I classified and arranged his jo techniques. I rearranged everything into 20 basic movements I called “suburi” which included tsuki (thrusting), uchikomi (striking), hassogaeshi (figure-eight movements), and so on so it would be easier for students to practice them. I was taught first how to swing a sword. I organized what I learned and devised these kumijo and suburi for the sword. O-Sensei’s method may have been good for private lessons, but not for teaching groups. In his method, there were no names for techniques, no words. This was why I organized the movements into tsuki (thrusts), uchikomi (strikes) and kaeshi (turning movements) and gave them names.”