This November we were honored to host Hitohira Saito Sensei again in California. Sensei’s visit continues a decades-long tradition of Iwama Aikido here on the West Coast of the United States started by his father in the 70’s. The November 2015 Seminar represented Hitohira Saito Sensei’s 3rd visit to Sonoma County and Takemusu Aikido of Sonoma (T.A.O.S.) looks eagerly forward to his next visit!
After a quick recovery from his flight, Sensei started off the next morning with sunrise meditation and bukiwaza with the core TAOS students and joined by Makoto san who served as Sensei otomo during his visit. That night Sensei volunteered to teach at the Sonoma State University Aikido, and the class was joined by other local Iwama Aikido deshi as well as the rest of the TAOS students.
During his visit sensei was able to reconnect with dozens of long-ago Iwama deshi, many of whom had served as uchideshi under Morihiro Saito Sensei. Most importantly, the visit gave time to be with Dennis Tatoian Sensei (the head of the TAOS group of dojos).
The weekend seminar was a tremendous success as Sensei worked the group gradually through the increasingly complex Aikido curriculum. There were students on the mat ranging in age from 15 to 80, 5th kyu to 6th dan, and students from many different affiliations, countries, states and schools that were all able to come together in the spirit of aiki. Though the mood of the weekend was a bit overshadowed by news of the Paris attacks, Sensei’s kind and encouraging words of coming together as a global family to promote peace and understanding, lifted everyone’s spirits. Good food, good company, and karaoke sung in several languages helped guarantee that a fantastic time was had by all!
Domo Arigatou Gozaimashita!!!