Iwama Aiki Shurenkai 2018 Embu
The Iwama Shin Shin Aiki Shurenkai, led by Kaicho Saito Hitohira, conducted their annual public “embu kai” demonstration in Tomobe, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan in June 2018.
The video of Saito Kaicho conducting a variety of paired sword practices and sword takeaways illustrates the precise nature of aikido as practiced under his astute direction and high standards.
Not only has Kaicho inherited the logical training approach from his father, the late Saito Morihiro, 9th Dan, but more and more he exhibits an understanding of the true martial spirit of aikido as envisioned by the founder, Ueshiba Morihei O'sensei.
He shows the martial application of the kumi-tachi while offering variations to the basic forms that highlight the potential severity of combat. At the same time, his patience and stillness of mind are apparent as he invites his opponent to attack.
While offering a vigorous embu demonstration, he remains cognizant of time and space, ensuring that he can successfully disarm his opponent while keeping his training partner safe from being thrown into a wall.
His son and designated successor, Saito Yasuhiro “Waka Sensei”, participated along with longtime live in student “Uchi-Deshi” from France, Victor Detrez.
True to the intentions of the founder, aikido at the Iwama Shin Shin Aiki Shurenkai incorporates weapons as an integral and indispensable part of the training curriculum. Precision and power manifest in empty-handed techniques and weapon disarms because of the deliberate practice of forging the body through ken and jo suburi.
The years of arduous honing of the body-mind system through foundational training is evident in Saito Kancho's demonstration. As his organization's distinctive logo alludes to the triangle, circle, square, and eight powers embedded within aikido technique, frequently discussed during lectures by the founder, Saito Kancho remains committed to understanding O'sensei's martial and spiritual legacy at a very deep level.
This demonstration offered a glimpse of that deep understanding.