Mark Larson Sensei (Takuto) began Aikido in 1990. After 17 years of playing competitive sports, including ice hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and explorations of Wing Chun kung fu and Goju-ryu karate, Mark’s studies took him to the birthplace of Aikido, Iwama, Japan, where, in 1992, he learned and trained as a live-in/direct student (uchideshi) for the next 10 years at the Founder’s Dojo under Master Morihiro Saito.
Larson received the menkyokaiden “license of total transmission”–the highest level of license that exists in the Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo from Master Saito in 2001–the highest honor bestowed by Morihiro Saito Shihan. Mark currently holds a 6th degree black belt in Aikido from the World Aikido Federation (Aikikai) Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan.
Mark Sensei returned from Japan in 2002 to open an Aikido Shuren Dojo. He demonstrates Aikido worldwide, having taught people between the ages of three and eighty-three, from all walks of life: professional athletes–ice hockey, figure skating, baseball, boxing, MMA, wrestling, and dance; musicians and writers; fire, search & rescue workers; law enforcement and military personnel–FBI Agents, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (TSA), investigators, bounty hunters, self-defense tactics instructors, firearm instructors, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, SERT snipers; as well as other professionals in the educational, corporate, medical, and security fields. While living in Japan, Mark participated in Japan’s top Aikido demonstration (Zennippon Aikido Embutaikai), in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2001; performed Aikido in the 6th World Games in 2001; and earned Most Valuable Practitioner Honor at the Kashima Shimbuden Air Self-Defense Forces Aikido Gassyuku in 2001. He also founded the Minnesota State University – Akita, Japan, Aiki Shuren Dojo, 1993 – 2004 (renamed by the local prefectural government Akita International University, AIU–Aikido Club, 2004 – present).
Today, Mark Larson Sensei is available for guest speaking engagements, events and instruction. He continues to teach Aikido classes, workshops, leadership sessions, and seminars privately and as a Minnesota State college-level course. He presents locally, nationally, and internationally–traveling throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. He is the founder and chief instructor of Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo, Nowthen, MN, and chief technical advisor for a number of Aikido Dojos in the USA and Japan as well as Canada, Denmark, and Sweden.