Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art combining open-hand, sword and staff techniques together with the principles and practice of awase (connection) and kokyu (abdominal breath power).

Iwama Aikido Melbourne is a branch dojo of Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai Japan, headed by Saito Hitohira Soke son of the late Saito Morihiro Sensei and technical heir to the Founder's personal dojo located in the small town of Iwama, Ibaraki-prefecture, Japan.

Founded in 1998 and now based in Eltham we offer two evening classes a week, instructed by Simon Harris, 5th dan. Simon has trained Aikido for over 20 years and has regularly trained as a live-in student at the headquarters dojo in Iwama, Japan since his first trip in 1988 at the age of 15. Simon is committed to the practice of as taught by his instructor Saito Hitohira Soke.

We have practitioners of all levels, from beginner to 3rd degree black belt, and warmly welcome new students of all ages and backgrounds. So, if you are interested in practicing Aikido in a friendly and professional environment, please contact us or just drop in and watch a class. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you are more than welcome to participate in a free class.


“Aikido is training of mind and body. Its purpose is to produce sincere people.” — Aikido Founder, Ueshiba Morihei

Aikido is a relatively contemporary martial art though it’s technical origins date back many hundreds of years. Founder Ueshiba Morihei—also known as O’Sensei—studied and perfected these techniques and principles and after a life of vigourous martial arts training and experience, had an epiphany. He realised that the traditional, confrontational, nature of martial arts went against what he saw as the true meaning of Budo: conflict-resolution through peaceful means. From that point on O’Sensei dedicated his life to developing and transmitting a martial way that emphasised technical excellence, personal discipline and self-growth, what we now call Aikido.

Much of the founder’s research took place at his private “outdoor” dojo in the quiet farming community of Iwama, Japan. Thus, the name of the style we practise is often referred to as Dento Iwama Ryu, which literally translates as Traditional Iwama Style reflecting the technical and spiritual roots.

On his passing in 1969, O’Sensei’s left his dojo in the care of his longest serving live-in student, Saito Morihiro Sensei. On the passing of Saito Morhihiro Sensei in 2002 the style passed to Saito Sensei’s son, Hitohira.

For more information on the history of Aikido, you might like to visit Aikido Journal’s Encyclopaedia of Aikido and in particular, the excellent entry on Ueshiba Morihei.


“The instructor can only impart one portion of the teaching. To be able to utilize technique, one must learn it through his/her own experience of diligent and ceaseless training.” — Aikido Founder, Ueshiba Morihei

Simon Harris is ranked 5th dan in Aikido, a practice he began more than 20 years ago, and has been the head instructor at the dojo since its inception over 10 years ago. Since his initial stay of 10 months as a 15-year-old in 1988, he has travelled to the headquarters dojo in Iwama, Japan, every few years to ensure consistency of technical and spiritual direction and development.

His approach to teaching follows as closely as possible that of his current instructor and mentor, Saito Hitohira Soke and before that of the late Saito Morihiro Sensei. Classes focus on the fundamentals of each technique, with instruction and correction tailored to the needs of each student.


“Training should always be done in an enjoyable manner.” — Aikido Founder, Ueshiba Morihei

Classes are held between 7pm and 8.30pm Tuesday and Friday evenings at Research Scout Hall, Research Park, 1459 Main Road, Research VIC 3095, Australia.

We warmly welcome beginners and new members as well as visitors from any style of Aikido. There are no joining fees and absolutely no contracts. All you need to start your journey is a willingness to practice diligently, to support the dojo objectives, and to follow the dojo rules and etiquette as directed by senior students and instructors.

Mat fees are charged on a monthly or per-class basis. Monthly fees are $80 per calendar month ($60 concession) allowing you to attend as many scheduled classes as you wish. Alternatively, you can pay a casual attendance fee of $15 per-class.

There is also a yearly registration and insurance fee equivalent to one month’s training fees payable on August 1st every year.

If you are interested in practising please feel free to contact us or just drop in and watch a class. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you are more than welcome to participate in a free class.

We ask that students arrive 30 minutes prior to allow enough time to change and setup the Dojo.


Simon currently lives in Eltham North with his wife and three children and can be reached via email to haruki_zaemon@mac.com, or telephone on 0417 505 611