Interview with Morihiro Saito (9th Dan) by Mark Binder (3rd Dan)
BINDER: What do you think the most important Aikido technique is?
SAITO: They’re all very important, but the one that makes people really get good is Shihonage, because you have the way of movement and the way of using weapons in Shihonage. O Sensei used to always say you can never do enough shihonage.
B: What is it that makes a strong shihonage?
S: Kokyu. And the hips.
B: Can you explain Kokyu?
S: You can’t really see it. You can’t really show it.
B: What is the biggest mistake that people make with Shihonage?
S: They forget the feeling of the sword when they do it. You need to always have the feeling of the sword when you do it. You have to have it from the beginning to the end.
B: Is there anything that you’d like to correct with people about what Aikido means?
S: I would like to fix in people’s minds that the weapons (ken-do) and the taijitsu (hand-to-hand) come together, and you need both of them for Aikido. It will be a really big mistake if you don’t place importance in both of those.