“If you want to be strong, you should apply a technique after partner’s grapping”
Morihiro Saito became an O-sensei's student in
During 23 years of training at the O-sensei's side Saito became one of the most reputable Aikido teachers and in many ways O-sensei's technical inheritor. As an Ueshiba's training partner for most of the time he had an opportunity to watch the development of many techniques and principles that were usually not taught.
Although O-sensei admitted young Saito as a student, advanced students repeatedly tried his fortitude and determination to be a master's disciple. Saito often recalled the pain and hardship within the first training lessons. He felt that it would be much better to be defeated in a fight than to suffer this way. Once he had to put away bandages protecting his wounds. If he did not do so, the advanced students would concentrate on his sore spot. However, young Saito soon showed his courage and perseverance, which helped him to win respect of advanced students. He recalls with respect how kindly people as Koichi Tohei and Tadashi Abe taught him.
As the time was going, all students were leaving dojo for family or other reasons except Saito. Ueshiba got used to Saito and relied on him more even in personal life. Saito's training wasn't affected even with his marriage. His wife helped the founder's family and personally took care of his wife Hatsu. When Morihiro helped to settle a land dispute, Ueshiba donated him a piece of land where Saito could build a house, live with his family and continue with his help O-sensei.
By the late 1950s, after many years of direct tutelage under O-sensei, Saito transformed to a strong man and one of the top instructors in Aikikai system. He would regularly teach at Iwama dojo in O-sensei's absence. At the beginning of the 1960s he began instructing at the Hombu dojo in Tokio and was the only teacher that was allowed to teach weapon techniques.
When O-sensei passed away, Saito sensei became an Iwama dojo teacher and an Aiki Shrine caretaker. He served and trained at the O-sensei's side for 23 years and his master's death intensified his efforts to persevere in his legacy without modifications.
During his life Saito gathered a good-sized membership of students out of
Saito sensei passed away on May 13, 2002.