Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo is a Japanese Budo Dojo where Traditional Aikido is taught and trained in the Spirit of Morihiro Saito Shihan. Saito Shihan was the longest direct-disciple of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, from 1946-1969. In 1969, prior to the Founder’s passing, Morihiro Saito was asked by the Ueshiba Family to serve as Chief-Instructor at the Founder’s Senmon (Specialty) Dojo, Aiki-jinja Fuzoku Dojo, and Guardian of the Aiki Shrine, both located in Iwama, Ibaraki, Japan–the Birthplace of Aikido. Saito Shihan devoted the next 33 years, and nearly 60 years of his life, systemizing and preserving the Aikido he learned directly from the Founder as well as caring for the Aiki Shrine, Iwama Dojo, and their surroundings.
In the spring of 1993, Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo founder and chief-instructor Mark Larson Sensei was formally introduced to Morihiro Saito Shihan, in Iwama, by Larson’s first teacher, Shigeru Kawabe Shihan of Akita Aiki Shuren Dojo. At Kawabe’s recommendation, Larson would go on to learn under Saito’s tutelage for the next nine-plus years until Saito Shihan passed away on May 13, 2002. Before Saito Shihan’s passing, at the request of Morihiro Saito Shihan, Mark Larson Sensei founded Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo–a name Saito Shihan placed on his dojo. Today, we at Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo preserve the Aikido that Morihiro Saito Shihan taught our instructor directly for nearly a decade.
The aikido I teach at Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo is the aikido Morihiro Saito Sensei taught in the early 1990’s until his untimely passing in 2002. As it was Morihiro Saito Sensei’s mission to preserve the Aikido of his teacher, Founder Morihei Ueshiba, it is my mission to preserve the Aikido I learned directly from my head teacher, Morihiro Saito Sensei, in the latter years of Saito Sensei’s life–precisely as he taught it at the Founder’s dojo (Ibaraki Aiki Shuren Dojo) in Iwama, Japan. It is this period of Morihiro Saito Shihan’s Aikido that originally became known worldwide as IWAMA AIKIDO.
Mark L. Larson (Takuto)–Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo-cho