Sensei Da Cunha began his traditional Aikido training in 1981 with Sensei Barry Night in Melbourne, Australia while studying at university. Sensei Night had just recently arrived from Japan where he had spent several years as a student of Morihiro Saito Shihan. Tristan Da Cunha trained daily with Sensei Night in order to finish the course, and then returned to the Dominican Republic where he had been living with his family.
Sensei Da Cunha first traveled to Japan in 1986 where he remained an uchi deshi of Morihiro Saito Sensei in the Aikido Founder's dojo. He returned to Portugal with a mission to spread traditional Aikido throughout Portugal. At the request of Morihiro Saito, Da Cunha founded Aiki Shuren Kai Portugal (the Portuguese Association, Aiki Shuren Dojo). Since then he has returned several times to Iwama as an uchi deshi of Sensei Saito.
The Portuguese Association of Aiki Shuren Dojo has developed into one of the largest Aikido organizations in Portugal, comprised of dozens of dojos with hundreds of active members. The dojo’s instructors have also been educated in Iwama as uchi deshi of Saito Sensei.
Tristan da Cunha was uchi deshi of Grand Master Morihiro Saito the last year he was active before succumbing to bone cancer.
After Morihiro Saito died, Tristan continued with his son and successor, Hitohiro Saito Shihan. In February 2004, Tristan traveled to Japan to attend the opening ceremony of Iwama Shin Shin Aikishurenkai, the organization created by Hitohiro Saito Sensei to preserve and spread the teachings of his father of the founder's Aikido.
Since then Da Cunha Sensei has returned several times to Japan to be uchi deshi of Sensei Hitohiro. In addition to Aikido, he is also a practitioner and teacher of Shuriken Jutsu, a martial art mastering shuriken throwing, taught by Morihiro Saito. While in Japan, Tristan taught this martial art as Negishi Ryu Shuriken Jutsu. In honor of his master, and because he had a very unique method of teaching, he decided to name it Saito Ryu Shuriken Jutsu. Hitohiro Saito Shihan also continued with the daily practice of this art, having also added their practice to technical curriculum in Iwama Aikido.
The Portuguese Association Aiki Shuren Dojo is a associated with Iwama Shin Shin Aikishurenkai. Master Tristan Da Cunha is also co-founder of Iwama Shin Shin Aikishurenkai-Latin America Kyokai. In addition to Aikido and Shuriken Jutsu, he has practiced Judo, Full-contact, Shaolin Chun Fa Kempo and Ryukyu Kobujutsu for 2 years.