Iwama Takemusu Aikido Dojo London
Justin Christou

Justin Christou Sensei 5th Dan (1969 - )

At the age of 15 Justin Christou began his martial arts training in London, studying various forms of both Japanese and Chinese martial arts. By the age of 25 he found himself on a journey to Japan lasting over eight years.

17th March 1995 - 20th June 2003

Justin Christou in O'Sensei's Room at Iwama

Justin Christou in O'Sensei's Room at Iwama

Enrolling as an Uchi Deshi (live in student), Justin Christou spent the next eight years of his life devoted solely to the study of Aikido and serving his late master Morihiro Saito Sensei. Meeting his teacher every day at the famous Iwama dojo (martial arts school) that had once been the Founders dojo and birth place for Aikido. Bukiwaza (Weapons training), such as sword, staff and shuriken, was held each morning and Taijitsu (unarmed training) consisting of numerous self defense escape techniques, including various throws, pins, locks and a wide range of knife disarming techniques, was held every evening.

It wasn't just about training, although it may seem that way. Daily life also included helping Sensei with the many chores of running the school, such as waking up early before practice and cleaning the dojo or raking the leaves outside for morning practice. Often this extended to working the land around the dojo, including farming, cutting trees and on many occasions preparing for Matsuri (festivals).

Justin Christou at a Seminar in Scotland

Justin Christou Sensei demonstrating shihonage at a Seminar in Scotland

Some may think this as a hard way to learn martial arts and spend over 8 years of ones life. Well yes, but also an invaluable way as these few students that devoted their lives to Sensei and the dojo developed a very close relationship and were often called upon to demonstrate the techniques. Where others would only get to see the techniques these lucky students would get to feel the techniques and really get an understanding for the Aikido that the Founder had once graciously passed on to his own student Morihiro Saito Sensei.

the founder of Aikido

Quote of the week

"If you want to disarm your foe, seize the initiative step in and cut decisively."

Morihei Ueshiba - the founder of Aikido