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Aikido and its Founder

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969), the 'Founder' or O-Sensei,  as a synthesis of unarmed techniques derived mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu and Japanese sword and staff / spear techniques.

A purely literal interpretation of Aikido is the "Way of combining forces" or "Way of unifying energy", in which the term 'aiki' refers to the martial arts principle or tactic of blending with an attacker's movements for the purpose of controlling their actions with minimal effort and 'do' means way. One applies 'aiki' by understanding the rhythm and intent of the attacker to find the optimal position and timing to apply a counter-technique.

Morihiro Saito Sensei

Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928 - 2002) was one of the longest serving students of O-Sensei (the founder of Aikido).  Saito Sensei trained under O-Sensei for 23 years until the death of O-Sensei in 1969. After the passing of O-Sensei, Saito Sensei dedicated his life to preserving and passing on the techniques of the Founder.

Morihiro Saito Sensei, passed away on the 13th of May 2002 at the age of 74. He leaves us with a significant technical resource, the 'Saito method', i.e., the style of Aikido commonly know as Takemusu Aikido (or 'Traditional Aikido'). Takemusu Aikido is the style of Aikido we teach at West Cumbria Aikido.


Takemusu Aikido

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (also known as O-Sensei) developed his art over the course of a long life of training and experience and consequently went through many phases in it’s development and maturation.

The style or line of Aikido that we teach is known as Takemusu Aikido and is a traditional form of Aikido that was passed on from O-Sensei to the late Morihiro Saito Sensei. Takemusu Aikido can be characterised and differentiated from other schools and styles of aikido by its emphasis on the following three areas:

  • RIAI: The integration of empty handed practice (tai jutsu) and practice with weapon (buki waza) whereby both practices are understood as one integrated and mutually reinforcing whole.​

  • KIHON: Strong emphasis on basic training (kihon) with a clear distinction between basic and more advanced levels of practice and technique. It is understood that all the fundamental elements of the art are ‘encoded’ in the most basic techniques and that ability in advanced technique depends on the depth of one’s grasp of the basics.

  • BUDO: Aikido understood and practiced as a modern, yet traditionally rooted martial art, with relevance to daily life in all it’s aspects beyond the regular training in the dojo.

Our Technical Director

Our Technical Director is Lewis Bernaldo de Quirós, an Aikikai Shihan.

Sensei de Quirós trained full time under the late Morihiro Saito Sensei (9th Dan) from 1986 until 1993 in the Iwama Dojo in Japan. Prior to beginning his training in Aikido, he trained for 10 years in both Judo and Karate. During his stay in Japan he also practiced Kyudo (traditional Japanese archery), Japanese calligraphy and Zen.


Since returning from Japan he has taught Aikido on a full time basis and to date has conducted well over 350 international seminars.


Sensei de Quirós received the rank of 5th Dan Aikikai from Morihiro Saito Sensei in 1999 and 6th Dan Aikikai from the third Aikikai Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba, in 2009. He was awarded the highest level of Aikikai instructor rank of Shihan in April 2022.


He is the Senior Instructor and Examiner on behalf of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of a European network of dojos (Traditional Aikido Europe, TAE) of which West Cumbria Aikido is part.

Our Instructors - Adrian Punt

Adrian (2nd Dan Aikikai) is an instructor at West Cumbria Aikido. He is also the

club COVID-19 Officer and is a St John Ambulance certified first aider.

Adrian started Aikido in 1994, under the direction of Geoff Flather Sensei of

Banyu Hatten Aikido (BHA) and  was awarded his shodan (1st dan blackbelt) in

January 1999. Later that year he moved to West Cumbria and established the

first Aikido club in St Bees where he taught for a number of years. In 2004, due

to back problems, he retired from Aikido.


In early 2018, and at just over 50, Adrian returned to Aikido joining West

Cumbria Aikido and received his shodan in Takemusu Aikido from Francois

Chidiac Sensei of the International Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) in

summer 2019.

Adrian has been a member of Traditional Aikido Europe (TAE)  since October

2018. He trains extensively with the TAE club in Lancaster and Ulverston, with

which he has very close ties. He also attends numerous TAE weekend seminars

and summer schools with Sensei de Quirós.


Since April 2020, he has attended daily asageiko (morning training) with

Michael Ormerod (3rd Dan Aikikai) via the Takemusu Aikido Online Dojo.


In July 2020, at the TAE summer camp in Swizerland, Adrian successfully tested under Lewis for his shodan and then in Motril in Spain in October 2021 for his nidan. These are Aikikai registered grades.

Adrian is a British Aikido Board (BAB) Coaching Level 1 certified (no. BAB 005246 - dated 28/04/19) and insured instructor. See our weekly training page for class schedules.

Our Instructors - Jason Fisher

Jason (1st Dan Aikikai) is an instructor at West Cumbria Aikido. He is also the

club COVID-19 Deputy Officer.

Jason started Aikido in 2014 with the British Takemusu Aikido Federation

(BTAF). He has attended numerous seminars and summer schools with

Philippe Voarino Sensei and Francois Chidiac Sensei of the International

Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) and was awarded his shodan (1st dan

blackbelt) in spring 2018 by Philippe Voarino Sensei.

In February 2020 Jason became a member of Traditional Aikido Europe (TAE)

and in March 2022 was presented with his Aikikai shodan certificate by

Sensei de Quirós.

Jason is a British Aikido Board (BAB) Coaching Level 1 certified

(no. BAB 005122 - dated 24/09/17) and insured instructor. See our weekly

training page for class schedules.

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