Iwama Ryu Bukiwaza Certification

After many years of deliberation, Sensei Sargeant has now made the decision to offer formal examinations, to be known as ‘Takemusu Iwama Aikido Bukiwaza Certification’ to those Aikidoka wishing to have their Iwama Bukiwaza techniques acknowledged as correct.




Qualification & Acceptance Criteria

Certification Levels & Testing

Application Process



In 1992 following political and personal differences with the Aikikai, Saito Morihiro Shihan, 9th Dan formed his school of Aikido, which he named Iwama Ryu (Iwama Style).

This separation allowed Saito Shihan freedom to design a grading structure for Iwama Buki (Iwama weapons), a side of Aikido that he thought was not being taught and studied as the founder, Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei, had decreed.

Accordingly, Saito Shihan created 5 levels of examination involving detailed testing known as Hiden Mokuroku (secret transmission catalog/list). They were usually known as secrets from the teacher to the very best students, which ensured that the successful recipients had been taught, understood and could correctly demonstrate, in this case, the Ken and Jo Bukiwaza (weapons techniques).

In 1989 Sensei Sargeant received Bukiwaza certifications (Shodan to Sandan) and five years later, whilst as an Iwama Uchideshi, was awarded his Iwama Ryu Godan Taijutsu and received his Yondan and then Godan Bukiwaza certifications, the 5th being the highest level Bukiwaza award and teachers level.

At the time of his awarding, Saito Shihan asked Sensei Sargeant to give his word to continue teaching Iwama weapons and maintaining the highest standards throughout Europe. Humbled and bewildered why he was asked, he still gave his word to carry out Saito Shihan’s wishes. However, in asking Sensei Sargeant to teach Iwama style Aikido Taijutsu and Bukiwaza, Saito Shihan was placing a significant burden on his shoulders and one that he has striven to keep pure across the years. Sadly, as the years have passed, Sensei Sargeant has witnessed a dilution in Aiki body arts and weapons and has sadly seen standards fall.

Sensei Sargeant has now decided to formalise Saito Shihan’s request by introducing the specific weapons testing, using the same levels of Certification (Shodan to Godan) for those who wish to have their standard of Iwama weapons formally recognised.

With the reintroduction of Iwama Style Bukiwaza certification testing, Sensei Sargeant aims to keep the very highest of standards and thus maintain the Aiki weapons quality for the next generation of Iwama style teachers.


Sensei Sargeant - Bukiwaza Chief Examiner TAIE


Qualification & Acceptance Criteria

To qualify for certification testing, the examinee will need to fulfil the following criteria:

Iwama Buki branded Jo - by Sensei Sargeant

1. Any individual wishing to take certification testing shall start at Shodan Bukiwaza (Level One). There will be no exceptions.

2. Successfully complete a pre-examination interview in person or online (Zoom/Skype, etc.) if a face-to-face is not possible.

3. Any individual may apply for testing as long as they are students who personally study Iwama style weapons, regardless of their organisation affiliation.

4. Have appropriate Iwama-style weapons (Jo and Ken) and present techniques in Gi (no Hakama to be worn).

5. Hold a Shodan certificate (minimum entry level) or be tested for Dan grade Taijutsu and associated Dan grade Bukiwaza certification within the same exam.

6. Be available to test on a date and at a location designated by Sensei Sargeant.

7. Be limited to one Bukiwaza certification test per grading session with a minimum gap of 6 months until the next opportunity to test. The higher the level, these gap periods will increase:

1st level (Shodan) to 2nd level (Nidan) : six months

2nd level (Nidan) to 3rd level (Sandan) : twelve months

3rd level (Sandan) to 4th level (Yondan) : eighteen months

4th level (Yondan) to 5th level (Godan) : two years

Please note: The only exceptions to these rules may be those who already hold a high rank of 2nd Dan Iwama style and above and who have been tested by either Saito Sensei or Sensei Sargeant.

8. Pay for the certification test in advance of the Bukiwaza grading.

9. Eligibility for Shodan Bukiwaza testing at 1st Kyu level is possible, depending upon the pre-examination interview. However, the certificate will only be issued upon successful Shodan Taijutsu testing.


Additional Information

• Bukiwaza Dan grades are independent of Taijutsu Dan grade levels.

• Examinations will be conducted over the course of a day

• In the event of a failed attempt at certification, the examinee will be allowed, free of charge, to re-test within 12 months. After this the fees will be forfeited.

• The examinee will be informed immediately upon successful examination, and an official certificate will be issued.

• The use of Japanese shall be expected for all the Bukiwaza and associated counting

• In certain ‘rare’ circumstances, examinees may be allowed to submit a video of their Bukiwaza where travel opportunities are limited. Please get in touch with Sensei Sargeant directly to discuss this remote certification opportunity. Please note that any video submission shall show techniques from the front , the side (chest side) but not from the rear. Videos submitted will the broken up into the various sections required for the different testing levels.

• These are “Teaching level” licences and not basic level student presentations, therefore ‘every detail’ will be required to be shown.

• All testing shall be conducted at standard Kihon speed unless instructed otherwise.



Certification Levels & Testing

Bukiwaza testing will be conducted in Great Gransden, Bedfordshire (near Sensei Sargeant’s home) unless otherwise agreed.

The examinees will be tested in small groups across a full day and may be expected to demonstrate additional Bukiwaza to that listed in the levels below.

Examinees will be expected to say the names or count number of each technique before execution, in Japanese and so it can be clearly heard (in the presence of Sensei Sargeant or remote presentation/recording).

To form part of the ‘transmission’ process the examinees will be recorded during the testing so that they can reference their presentations and the specific details that are at the core of the techniques. The video recording will be privately published on YouTube with access restricted to examinee only.

Instruction will also be given by Sensei Sargeant during this period and the examinees will have opportunities to ‘polish’ their techniques in line the level’s requirements. It is strongly advised that applicants study the many videos Sensei Sargeant has published online to ensure the understand the detail, precision and standard expected for Bukiwaza licencing.

Upon successful testing an official certificate will be issued to the examinee.


Shodan Bukiwaza Transmission Licence – Certification Level One

– Aiki Ken Suburi 1 to 7

– Aiki Ken Awase

Right blend
Left blend
Fifth blend
Seventh blend

– Aiki Jo Suburi 1 – 20

Examination Fee and Certification: £80.00


Nidan Bukiwaza Transmission Licence – Certification Level Two

– Aiki Jo San Ju Ichi No Kata – 31 Count Kata

– Aiki Jo 13 Count kata

Examination Fee and Certification: £110.00


Sandan Bukiwaza Transmission Licence – Certification Level Three

– Aiki Ken Happo Giri

– Aiki Ken Kumi Tachi 1 to 5 (Kihon and Ki No Nagare)

– Aiki Ken Ki Musubi No Tachi (Kihon and Ki No Nagare)

Examination Fee and Certification: £140.00


Yondan Bukiwaza Transmission Licence – Certification Level Four

– Aiki Jo San Ju Ichi No Kumi Jo – 31 Jo Kumi Jo

1 – 3
4 – 6
7 – 8
9 – 11
13 – 17
18 – 22
22 – 27
27 – 31

1 - 31

Examination Fee and Certification: £170.00

Original 31 Jo Kata Kumi Jo board
outside the Ibaraki Dojo, Iwama Japan.

Saito Sensei changed this across the years.


Godan Bukiwaza Transmission Licence – Certification Level Five

At the discretion of Sensei Sargeant (prior notification of qualification will be provided) but also to include any/all of the above.

The Godan Bukiwaza certification is considered to be the Menkyo Kaiden or ‘licence of total transmission’, the highest level master grade for Iwama weapons skill. Once achieved the holder is granted the ability to join the commission of examiners for Iwama Ryu Bukiwaza.

Examination Fee and Certification: £200.00



Application Process

If you wish to be considered for certification testing then please:

Contact Sensei Sargeant directly to discuss your request

2. Complete the application form:

Bukiwaza Certification Application Form – MS Word Document

Bukiwaza Certification Application Form – PDF version

3. Your request will be considered and you will be informed of the outcome

4. Upon successful application, testing dates and arrangements will be mutually agreed


Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo Licence example (Sample only)

Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo Licence example (sample only)


Sensei Sargeant receiving is Yondan Bukiwaza award - Iwama 1994

Sensei Sargeant receiving is Yondan Bukiwaza award – Iwama 1994
(Photo attrib. Simon Whittaker)


Click here if you wish to see Saito Shihan’s original qualifications document for Bukiwaza testing.