Comparing Westchester Aikido Styles

Aikido Founder's Two Dojos: Iwama & Tokyo

Tokyo Aikido

In Tokyo, the founder trained people from Japan over long periods to go out into the world to spread Aikido. In Iwama, Saito Sensei drew students from other countries to be live-in students for shorter periods and sent them back out with support to continue their development. The training methods therefore needed to be different.

Aikido Founder training his son
Founder Trains Son
Kisshomaru Ueshiba
Kisshomaru Ueshiba
The Aikido in the NY metropolitan area is primarily from the Tokyo dojo, the first dojo the Founder of Aikido started. In the mid-1940s, after World War II when martial arts were declared illegal in Japan, he left to start his second dojo in Iwama. His son Kisshomaru, a very good practitioner in his own right, took over the Tokyo dojo and the founder would visit once a month thereafter. Due to the environment, his son changed the training methods to largely focus on flowing techniques that were beautiful and good for one's health. The founder did not develop his weapons system until he moved to Iwama (a small town outside Tokyo), so none of the Aikido masters from Tokyo were well studied in his weapons.

The founder's training method, and the one continued by his son was to demonstrate technique with scant explanation. It was up to the student to study the detail intensively in each class to figure out the secrets that made the techniques work. Each student developed according to their own diligence and capacity for perception. Study was challenging because the teacher would simply demonstrate according to the circumstance at the moment, continually changing techniques. The student had to try to understand the reason for the change. Students needed to train for long periods of time to develop a solid understanding, which was quite possible as the uchi-deshi (live-in students), were largely from Japan.

Aikido Classes in Westchester, NY: Availability

Westchester County is unique in the NY metropolitan area in that both Iwama Style Aikido and the Tokyo style are available. Typically a student will find one system resonates more with them than the other.