top of page

With near 30 years of existence, the International Aikido Seminar of Le Vigan has become a reference, worldwide and in France.

At the beginning it was the will of a small group of aikido people to create an organization to welcome one of the last Uchi-Deshi of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of aikido, leading today to the gathering of more than 10 nations around one of the worldwide aikido figure,


discover the history of the seminar.

In 1991, under the aegis of Marcel Dromer, Irène Lecoq, Jean-François Douche et Paul Lagarrigue, Aikido Harmonie is created to continue to practice under Mitsugi SAOTOME Shihan's supervision in France.

The first seminar was organized on an outstanding location : Le Vigan in the south of France.

During 18 years, Saotome Sensei came exclusively to this small town of the Cévennes area, in this magnificent location that was making him feel like Japan, to teach aikido to all practitioners from Europe.

In 2009, Saotome Sensei decided to give way to Hiroshi IKEDA Shihan, his most senior student, to continue the work started two decades earlier. By opening a new path, Ikeda Sensei increases his efforts to pass on his vision of aikido to all practitioners from all nations : Portugal, USA, Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Italy, Japan and France.


Since 1991, each year, last week of August, the International Aikido Seminar of Le Vigan is renewed with the same success.

En 2022, Aïkido Harmonie a fêté ses 30 ans. Pour cette occasion, Ikeda Sensei et Saotome Sensei ont été réunis pour animer ce stage historique. Près de 400 pratiquants de partout dans le monde s'étaient réunis pour célébrer ce moment unique.

30 years of the Vigan course

VIGAN International Aikido Course 2023 - 30 years with  Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei -  Director: David Charpentier

Mitsugi SAOTOME Shihan

Mitsugi SAOTOME Shihan is born March 7, 1937. He is the Founder and supervisory instructor for more than 100 affiliated Dojos of the international Aikido Schools of Ueshiba association (ASU).

Saotome Sensei has devoted his entire adult life to the study and teaching of Aikido. He began as a special apprentice with the Founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei (O Sensei) in 1955 and continued for 15 years until the Founder’s death in April of 1969.

From 1960 until 1975 Saotome Sensei taught at the World Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. During this period he was accorded many positions, honors and achievements. He appeared publicly at many events in Japan and abroad for the purpose of spreading the understanding and knowledge of Aikido.

In 1975 Saotome Sensei decided to leave his highly respected position as a senior instructor at World Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo to come to the United States.

In addition to regularly scheduled national and international seminars, Saotome Sensei has taught many special seminars including a U.S. Military Special Forces seminar, special training of the U.S. Security Forces in Washington, D.C. and has spoken before the United Nations General Assembly on the role of Aikido in world peace efforts.

Saotome Sensei has published a number of highly respected books on Aikido including A Light on TransmissionAikido and the Harmony of Nature, The Principles of Aikido, and Aikido: Living by Design. He has also authored several training videotapes.

Hiroshi IKEDA Shihan

Since 2009, Ikeda Sensei is in charge of the International Aikido Seminar of Le Vigan.

Find his biography on his dedicated webpage.

bottom of page