Mitsugi Saotome is an Aikikai Shihan, who was born in 1937, and is a direct disciple of Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, the founder of Aikido.
He began his martial arts training in judo at the age of 16, and at age 18 entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. He became an uchi-deshi in 1958 and trained there for 15 years until his teacher's death in 1969.
Mitsugi Saotome taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo from 1960, was a well respected instructor, and received many honors. He earned the title shihan, became a senior instructor, and held that position until 1975.
He began to think hard and meditate on O'Sensei's spirit to learn his purpose in life. After several days the divine helped him decide to move to the United States of America.
He felt that America embraced new ideas, and would be an ideal environment to spread the Aikido message of peace and harmony.
Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Master Sokaku Takeda. and his spiritual studies with the Omoto Kyo and Onisaburi Deguchi.
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In the United States, Saotome founded the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. He continues to serve as chief instructor for the organization, which has rejoined the Aikikai and its association with Hombu Dojo.
He is very skilled in the use of traditional Japanese weapons, including the wooden jo and wooden bokken.
He has also developed a system for working with two swords in aikido. He says that learning weapons movements and skills not only increases speed and agility, but helps to create harmony with a training partner.
He continues to teach at the Aiki Shrine Dojo in Florida, but spends around 6 weeks every year teaching at the Aikido Shobukan Hombu Dojo of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba in Washington, DC. He also travels extensively, teaching seminars throughout the America.
He has written 3 books titled... Aikido and the Harmony of Nature (1986), The Principles of Aikido (1989), Aikido: Living By Design (2004). He has also produced a collection of videos/dvds. For More Info Click Here