The essence of Budo is not the art of fighting, or narrow technique, but an art of personal refinement and of protecting the quality of life. Aikido is first and always Budo. Without the heart of a warrior and the deep desire to protect society, to protect all life, Aikido becomes an empty dance. Budo (the Warrior Way) is its spirit. These principles are the life blood of Master Instructor, Mitsugi Saotome. For fifteen years until the Founder of Aikido’s passing in 1969, Saotome Sensei lived as his personal disciple, studying under his guidance the practice and philosophy of Aikido. In 1975 Saotome Sensei left a highly respected position as a senior instructor at the World Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo to come to the United States. When asked why he made this decision he replied,
“I meditated on O Sensei’s (Great Teacher) spirit for three days and three nights and I felt it was his wish that I should go. This country is a great experiment, a melting pot of people from many different cultural backgrounds living together, the world condensed into one nation. The goal of Aikido and O Sensei’s dream is that all the peoples of the world live together as one family, in harmony with each other and with their environment. The United States has the opportunity to set a great example.”
Saotome Sensei is Founder and Chief Instructor of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, the Aikido Shobukan Dojo in Washington DC and the Aiki Shrine Dojo in Florida. He and his students have established many dojos in the United States and he conducts training camps and seminars throughout the country and abroad. The Aikido dojos he founded in Japan are still thriving, and he has students all over the world. You can read more about him in his Wikipedia article. He has given demonstrations of his art throughout the world.
The Aikido Chuseikan dojo has a very close relationship with Saotome Shihan, and we are fortunate that he has taught classes at our dojo on multiple occasions. Our instructors are personal students of Saotome Sensei, and we are affiliated with the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba.