In 1992 following political and personal differences with the Aikikai, Saito Morihiro Shihan, 9th Dan formed his school of Aikido, which he named Iwama Ryu (Iwama Style).


This separation allowed Saito Shihan freedom to design a grading structure for Iwama Buki (Iwama weapons), a side of Aikido that he thought was not being taught and studied as the founder, Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei, had decreed.


Accordingly, Saito Shihan created 5 levels of examination involving detailed testing known as Hiden Mokuroku (secret transmission catalog/list). They were usually known as secrets from the teacher to the very best students, which ensured that the successful recipients had been taught, understood and could correctly demonstrate, in this case, the Ken and Jo Bukiwaza (weapons techniques).


In 1989 Sensei Sargeant received Bukiwaza certifications (Shodan to Sandan) and five years later, whilst as an Iwama Uchideshi, was awarded his Iwama Ryu Godan Taijutsu and received his Yondan and then Godan Bukiwaza certifications, the 5th being the highest level Bukiwaza award and teachers level.


At the time of his awarding, Saito Shihan asked Sensei Sargeant to give his word to continue teaching Iwama weapons and maintaining the highest standards throughout Europe. Humbled and bewildered why he was asked, he still gave his word to carry out Saito Shihan’s wishes. However, in asking Sensei Sargeant to teach Iwama style Aikido Taijutsu and Bukiwaza, Saito Shihan was placing a significant burden on his shoulders and one that he has striven to keep pure across the years. Sadly, as the years have passed, Sensei Sargeant has witnessed a dilution in Aiki body arts and weapons and has sadly seen standards fall.


Sensei Sargeant has now decided to formalise Saito Shihan’s request by introducing the specific weapons testing, using the same levels of Certification (Shodan to Godan) for those who wish to have their standard of Iwama weapons formally recognised.


With the reintroduction of Iwama Style Bukiwaza certification testing, Sensei Sargeant aims to keep the very highest of standards and thus maintain the Aiki weapons quality for the next generation of Iwama style teachers.