Morihiro Saito sensei (1928-2002) was a very close disciple of the founder of Aikido. He spent 23 years with O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), from the age of 18 until the age of 41. During all these years, he received a special education, which is unique among all students of the Founder. He was considered as the technical heir of Master Ueshiba, especially concerning the weapons of Aikido : the Aikiken and the Aikijo. Indeed, his Master showed, but never taught the Aikido weapons outside of his dojo in Iwama, a small town located at 100 km from Tokyo where the Founder lived permanently.
When Master Ueshiba passed away in April 1969, Saito sensei became in charge of the Iwama Dojo and of the Aiki Jinja, a temple built near the Dojo by the Founder as a tribute to Aikido.
Saito sensei has preserved intact the teaching of O Sensei Ueshiba in Iwama Dojo where he received professors and practitioners coming from around the world to perfect their knowledge of Aikido at the source as uchideshi (live-in student).
The Founder of Aikido awarded him the rank of 8th Dan. Then he received the rank of 9th Dan from the Aikikai of Tokyo, the Aikido World headquarters of which he was one of the top representative.
Saito sensei regularly gave seminars in several countries. He is the author of many books, especially a final series of six volumes entitled "Takemusu Aiki". The series was co-written with Stanley Pranin from Aikido Journal which is also broadcasting videos of historic courses led by Saito sensei. The French translation of "Takemusu Aiki" was made by Daniel Toutain. Many videos of Saito sensei can be seen on the Internet. Saito Sensei died in Iwama on May 13, 2002.