When asked why he made this decision he replied, “I meditated on O Sensei’s (Great Teacher) spirit for three days and three nights and I felt it was his wish that I should go. This country is a great experiment, a melting pot of people from many different cultural backgrounds living together, the world condensed into one nation. The goal of Aikido and O Sensei’s dream is that all the peoples of the world live together as one family, in harmony with each other and with their environment. The United States has the opportunity to set a great example.”
Saotome Shihan founded the the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU) as the membership organization that affiliates all of the Aikido dojos under the instruction of himself, Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, and their students. The name of the organization reflects a commitment to the vision of O Sensei and not the cultivation of a style or territory.Since its establishment, there have been over 1,000 black belts awarded to ranked members of ASU. ASU is affiliated with Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.