The way of aikido
Nineteen students convened at the property of Mark Larson at 9:30 a.m., on Friday, March 31.
From the moment they arrived, they would begin to rake the yard, sweep the driveway or pick up sticks. Each person preparing for the chance to learn from Larson, someone who has become well known throughout the aikido community.
He was the last American student of Morihiro Saito. Saito was the highest ranked aikido master in the world while Larson trained under him from 1993-2002, and the longest direct student of aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba.
Both Ueshiba and Saito have since passed, and Larson has taken it upon himself to carry on the teachings of his teacher, and his teacher before him. There are people around the world teaching and practicing the martial art, but he wants to make sure to preserve the practices in its original form.
“I know what I know and I want to share it with others, that’s all,” he began. “I’m not anymore special than anybody, but I know I knew Morihiro Saito more than anybody in the last five years of his life.”
Larson’s journey began back in St. Cloud, Minn. where he grew up and participated in a number of competitive sports for 17 years. He eventually went on to play hockey in the United States Hockey League and the NCAA, but got burned out and began looking for more.