1960's and Saito Sensei

1960's

1960-Saito Sensei is 32 years old. He is still working on the railroad as a switchman for the Japan National Railroads (JNR) and spending the rest of his time by the side of O-Sensei. The Iwama dojo is still relatively obscure. O-Sensei passes away on April 26, 1969.

Mid 1960's. Saito Sensei pumping iron.

Mid-1960's. Saito Sensei, place and exact year unknown. The story Saito Sensei told was that he used to accompany O-Sensei on many trips. In the beginning he wasn't that strong, and had trouble handling some of the trainees in the places they visited. So, he took up weightlifting to build himself up. He couldn't afford a barbell of his own, so he worked out using a railroad rail that he got from work. Obviously this was a big success. That barbell looks a bit light for him.

Photo: Given to David Alexander by Saito Sensei


1969. Saito sensei in formal seiza. This is a popular photo to display on the dojo shomen and at seminars.

Photo: Bill Witt received this photo personally from Saito Sensei

1969 in formal attire for seiza.

1960's. Stan Pranin: "This photo was a personal favorite of Morihiro Saito Shihan. In the 1970s and 80s when I was training in the Iwama Dojo he would sometimes bring out this photo to show students the correct position to assume. He attached great importance to this exercise and said that O-Sensei would always teach tai no henko at the beginning of classes. Do you?"

Photo: unknown source

1960s. Tai no henko with O-Sensei.

1969, Honbu Aikikai, Tokyo. Jo demo. At this time, he was teaching Sunday classes in Honbu which always included buki-waza, or "weapons training".

Photo: Stan Pranin

1969 in Honbu Aikikai.

1969. Saito Sensei vanquishes newly minted shodan Bill Witt. More of this exchange on the Bill Witt page.

1969. Saito Sensei works with a short stick against Bill Witts' ken