Formerly known as O-Sensei or great teacher, O-Sensei was disillusioned with the violence and competition in martial arts and so he created Aikido. Aikido, translated means "The way of harmony."
O-Sensei stated that "The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter – it is the Art of Peace.
Saito Shihan, 9th Dan, began taking martial arts in school. He studied both Kendo and Judo until meeting O-Sensei in 1946 at the age of 18. Saito Shihan became one of O-Sensei's closest students and served as his assistant from 1946 until O-Sensei's passing in 1969.
Before O-Sensei's, death he gave Morihiro Saito the responsibility of carrying on the teaching at the Iwama dojo and the position of caretaker of the Aiki Shrine located in Iwama. Aikido students from outside Japan began traveling to Iwama to train under Saito as live-in students.
Saito Sensei is one of the most influential teachers, having taught all over the world and teaching hundreds of students that went on to build their own dojos.
Bernice Tom Sensei, 7th Dan, is a direct disciple of Morihiro Saito Shihan and holder of the Menkyo Kaiden in Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo. She was invited to teach Iwama Style Weapons at Sunset Cliffs Aikido, San Diego, CA, in the mid eighties, and in 1990 she became SCA’s Chief Instructor.
For the past two and half decades, Tom Sensei has dedicated herself to the dissemination of Aikido and makes every effort to pass the Iwama System to her students as it was passed down by Saito Shihan.
Today, Bernice Tom Sensei serves on the board of directors of the Takemusu Aikido Association. Her precision and approach to Aikido is unparalled and is one of the highest ranking aikdoka in the US.
Benson Spivey Sensei, 3rd Dan, and Dojo Cho, started training in Aikido while attending college in San Diego, under Bernice Tom Sensei. He was a live in student or uchideshi for 3 years and has been training for over 20 years.
Ben Sensei, having come back to Massachusetts, wanted to build an Aikido community that was founded on the Iwama style of Aikido. As such, SouthCoast Aikido was born. When Ben isn't teaching AIkido, or busy being a parent, he teaches special needs students. His knowledge of Aikido and ability to break down techniques into manageable pieces is what sets him apart.