Iwama Style Aikido is the style of aikido that was taught at Iwama dojo (in Iwama) by the founder of aikido,O sensei Morihei Ueshiba, and especially the lineage passed on through Morihiro Saito shihan, a close disciple who was given responsibility over Iwama dojo by O sensei Ueshiba.
It is also known by many names. These include Iwama-ryū (岩間流 where ryū is the Japanese term for a style or school), Iwama Style (岩間スタイル where "style" was transliterated into Japanese from English). It is often associated with the term Takemusu after the martial concept. It is sometimes also referred to as Traditional or Dentō (伝統, lit. traditional).
Iwama style includes the combined study (riai) of traditional Japanese weapons (bukiwaza), specifically Aiki-jō (staff) and Aiki-ken (sword), and of empty-handed aikido(taijutsu), both accompanied by kiai. Iwama practitioners often claim that their aikido is close to that of the founder, as preserved by Morihiro Saito shihan. Much of this claim is based on photos taken from the Noma Dojo and a technical manual written by the founder.
Among non-Iwama practitioners, a common opinion is that Iwama style mainly is O sensei Morihei Ueshiba's aikido of the 1940s and 1950s not taking into consideration his later years; this viewpoint is considered to be too simplistic by Iwama-style practitioners.
Iwama (style) Aikido has a strong grip when starting most of the kata . Most Aikido styles uses a softer grip method when starting their kata. Iwama Aikido style grip is strong and powerful and the aim is to pin the whole body with a strong strategic grip.
Generally speaking, Iwama style is considered more martial than counterparts, such as Aikikai's, which tends to be more acrobatic and artistic than martial.