Aikicommunications ...

Bill Witt, Mark Larson,to Visit Richmond Nov. 17-18, 2018

RICHMOND, Va.  - Two major forces in Iwama Aikido will converge here in November when William Witt Shihan, 8th Dan, and Mark Larson Sensei, 6th Dan, visit for a joint seminar.

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Witt was the first American uchideshi of Morihiro Saito Shihan dating back to 1969 and continuing for extensive periods of time through 1975, while Larson was one of Saito's last principal American uchideshi from 1993 until Saito’s death in 2002.

Witt and Larson will visit the Brock Center at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland on Saturday, Nov. 17, and. Sunday, Nov. 18, as guests of Bryan Park Aikido, Randolph-Macon Aikido Club and River City Aikido.

(Photos: Bill Witt, top, and Mark Larson.)

Witt Sensei was the first to receive the menkyo kaiden scroll for the Aiki-ken from Saito Shihan, while Larson was the last to receive the scroll in 2001.

Saito Shihan (1928-2002) was the longest direct student of the Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) and former Chief Instructor of the Founder's Iwama Dojo from 1969-2002. He was also caretaker of the Aiki Shrine.

Witt did extensive translating for Saito Shihan for an initial series of books in the early 1970s and brought Saito to the U.S. for his first series of U.S. seminars during that same period. Larson traveled extensively with Saito Shihan as his primary uke and otomo for seminars in the late 1990s and early 2000s and served as his translator.

"I was there when Saito Sensei wanted to promote Bill Witt Sensei to 7th Dan and helped with some of the translating," Larson recalled. "I also remember translating letters from Witt Sensei to Saito Sensei toward the end of Sensei's life and for the Saito Family after Saito Sensei passed. Witt Sensei sent me a nice email after Sensei passed away about our connection to Saito Sensei and Iwama that I kept."

Both Witt and Larson reflect the teaching of Saito Shihan in their technique and follow the same precise training methods that are characteristic of the Iwama lineage, descending from the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba.

Witt is former President of the Takemusu Aikido Association and teaches at the Silicon Valley Dojo in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Larson is Chief Instructor of the Aiki Shuren Dojo in St. Cloud, Minn.

Witt and Larson both visited Richmond two weeks apart last year before deciding to join forces this year. Witt visited Randolph-Macon College Oct. 7-8 as the guest of Bryan Park Aikido and Chief Instructor Tim Sheldon, and Larson visited the Lewis Ginter Recreation Assn. in Richmond Oct. 21-22 as the guest of River City Aikido and Chief Instructor Brian Hill.

The fee is $80 if received by Oct. 14 and $100 at the seminar. The fee for either Saturday or Sunday is $70. Click here for directions to the college, and here for a campus map.

For further information, call Bryan Park Aikido Chief Instructor Tim Sheldon at 804-477-4533. Email


Saturday: Kids class 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Adults 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday evening: Party.

Sunday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with breaks each hour.     


Bill Witt - Mark Larson Seminar Registration

Name: ________________________________________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________/________________________/______________/_________
                (street)                                                     (city)                                            (state)                      (zip)

E-Mail:_____________@____________________  Telephone Number _______________________

Dojo ______________________________ Rank _________________

Amount enclosed: $________________ ($80 for both days if received by Oct. 14, or $100 at the seminar, and $70 for Saturday or Sunday only.)

Make checks payable to Tim Sheldon. Mailing address: Tim Sheldon, 7602 N. Pinehill Dr., Richmond, VA 23228



Aikido is a martial art similar to Judo or Karate. Aikido teaches self-defense and requires practicing with partners to learn Aikido techniques. Randolph-Macon College, Bryan Park Aikido, River City Aikido, and chief instructors Tim Sheldon and Brian Hill assume no liability for injury or damages arising from the practice of Aikido. Due to the strenuous nature of the practice, the participant is strongly advised to consult with a physician concerning his/her fitness to participate. All of the Aikido activities involve an element of risk, which the participant is urged to consider and which the participant assumes. If the participant feels unsure of his/her ability to take part in any of the Aikido activities, it is recommended that he/she not participate in these specific activities until he/she has mastered the more basic techniques.

I have read the above waiver and understand its contents.

Signed:________________________________ Date:___________

Signature of Parent/Guardian:______________________________ Date_________