RICHARD HIDESO HIRAO Richard "Dick" Hideso Hirao, 93 of Honolulu passed away peacefully September 19, 2014 at the Care Center of Honolulu. He was born on January 1, 1921 to Asataro and Kumayo Hirao. He served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1947, he then dedicated his life to working in the family business where he later retired as owner of Nisshodo Mochiya in 2010. Richard also served the Aikido community as Shihan of Koboji Dojo, and President of Hawaii Aiki Kai. Richard was a consummate host whose love of cooking and hospitality brought family and friends together at his home. His generous and fun loving spirit will continue to bring fond memories to all. Richard is survived by his loving wife of 69 years Bessie M. Hirao; son, Michael T. (Ursula) Hirao; daughters Elaine H. (Kalama) Koanui, Dianne K. (Curtis) Brooks, Doreen A. Hirao-Doo; 7 Grandchildren and 8 Great Grandchildren.
This past weekend we had the honor and privilege of spending time with Shihan who shared with us stories of his history, relationships, and lessons that proved to be a most memorable experience for those in attendance. What stood out the most for me personally was his recollections and relationship with Hirao Sensei and his family. From such a young age until now Shihan shared with us that he has always kept a close relationship with Hirao Sensei and his family. I found that to be very profound and a great lesson in the importance of staying connected to not only ones teachers but family as well because family is such an important thing in our lives. As Shihan shared his memories as a young "rascal" in his early days of training with Hirao Sensei on his family's temple grounds I couldn't help but imagine what things were like. I also found myself reflecting on my own relationships and who I was as a person 20 plus years ago and who I am now. Shihan has always been a guiding light to me and I can say with confidence I am a better person then who I was 20 years ago. In many ways I too was a bit into mischief as well
when I first walked into the dojo. There were definitely many times Shihan would put me back on the right path and for that I am eternally grateful. Shihan continued with his recollections of his early training committing to Hirao Sensei that he would last more then 3 months all the way to his shodan.Shihan's early training would consist primarily of aikitaiso for I believe 10 months! That brought to mind the sheer determination and will Shihan has and again was inspiring to hear. I imagined what I would have done had I been tasked with the same training regimen! I was again left in awe thinking about what Shihan was sharing with us. I felt again privileged being a student of Shihan
knowing that everything he teaches us is not without a deeper meaning. Whether I understand the deeper meaning is a lesson I always strive for! Shihan shared the last time he saw Hirao Sensei in 2013, even being in much pain Hirao Sensei still walked Shihan to the door at the end of their visit. Hearing Shihan share this, I could only admire what that gesture meant to Shihan.This recollection stood out to me the most of Shihan sharing his time with us. I honestly don't know why, it just left a very emotional image in my mind as he told us the story.I think as I get older you begin to appreciate everything and everyone more because you never know when might be the last time. Shihan continued with a lesson for us as he recollected his time before he started at Hombu Dojo. Hirao Sensei would take Shihan out and they would end up playing pool together. Relating it to jo Shihan would agree and as it turns out Hirao was quite the pool player.Shihan shared this because when he was preparing for his Nidan Hirao didn't tell Shihan that Tohei Sensei thought for his Shodan test Shihan had the best weapons technique and jo kata. Seeing how Hirao was quite the pool shark and relating it to jo, Shihan knew that there is always something more you can learn from your teacher
regardless of how good you are. That was a great story for us all to hear especially now during this pandemic. There is always something we can learn from our teachers. We may not be able to train how we used to but there are always lessons to be learned. Shihan asked if anyone had any memories of Hirao Sensei, I did not get to respond at the time, I was quickly thinking and the last memory I have was at the banquet in Hawaii in 2011. Hirao Sensei sitting and watching his granddaughter perform a beautiful hula dance was one of the more emotional moments of the evening. The love and pride he had for his granddaughter was palpable and I remember everyone watching in awe.
As our time with Shihan would soon come to an end, he shared with us his infamous story of going with his grandfather to see O'Sensei in Hawaii and proclaiming "that's fake!" but we all know aikido is so much more then it appears. Shihan put it very simply at the end of his conversation with us that aikido is great way to make friends- people will either follow you or come after you! This was a memorable experience and having the opportunity to share the special day with Shihan and everyone else in attendance was wonderful. We couldn't be physically together but with the wonders of technology we were able to still be together. I look forward to many more lessons to be learned and more friends to be made! Thank you Shihan!
Dear Aikido Family, You all know Okimura Shihan, but do you know about his Aikido sensei, Hirao Shihan? Those of us from WAAI who travelled with Shihan to Hawaii in 2011 for the 50th anniversary celebrating Aikido coming to the U.S. were fortunate to see Hirao Shihan (whom I will refer to hereafter as Sensei), who was seated on stage during the banquet program while his granddaughter (winner of all-Hawaii Hula in a previous year) performed hula. This lovely elderly gentleman wiped away his tears during her remarkable and touching dance/story for the audience which
included honored guest, Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu, O Sensei's grandson and world leader of Aikido, as well as Shihan's mother, brother and sister. Hirao Sensei passed away six years ago on Sept 19, 2014. This past September 19th, many of Shihan's students and chief instructors gathered via Zoom to hear Shihan reminisce and honor his beloved teacher. It truly was a global gathering, including Zohreh Sensei in Tehran, Rana Dutta Sensei in southern India, Nikolay in Bulgaria, and a Phillipe, in France. What follows are some of Shihan's musings from our Zoom meeting, as best I can recall. Hirao Sensei was born on January 1, 1921. Shihan said, "Can you imagine how it was for Mrs. Hirao, to give birth on January 1st?" It turns out that the Hirao family owned a bakery in Honolulu, and with New Year's being the most important holiday in Japanese tradition, the bakery would have been humming with a looming deadline at that time. It also turns out that that the Okimuras had a bakery next door or near-by. The Hiraos specialized in mochi and the Okimuras, manjuu confectionaries. (In fact, I have sentimentally kept the wrapper from a confection from the Hirao bakery that Shihan and Zohreh Sensei shared with us on that Hawaii trip - chichi dango from Nisshodo bakery.)
Shihan observed that even though their bakeries were near each other, there was no competition; rather, they helped each other, borrowing from supplies and so forth. When Shihan was a boy of 11, he and his rascal friends were told they each had to choose a martial art. As it happens,Hirao Sensei taught aikido on the temple grounds of Koboji Shingon Mission, where the Okimura family also lived, as Shihan's father presided over the congregation. Shihan said, "I was lazy." He chose aikido because it was literally downstairs. Taking the easy way, however, did not work out as Shihan had planned. "I had no idea how strict he would be!" Hirao Sensei told Shihan he would not last three
months, so in reverse psychology fashion Shihan accepted the challenge telling himself that he would train until he got his black belt. This gave us a chuckle as Shihan now holds the rank of 7th degree black belt. For the first 10 (ten!) months, Shihan was relegated to the back of the dojo to practice aiki-taiso (non-partner movements). Every now and then Hirao Sensei would say, "Nathan, come and attack!" Shihan would rush up and try to knock Sensei down, but his rolls would elicit an "Ow!," and he would be sent back to his aiki-taiso routine. It was while practicing solo that Shihan began to observe the classes "indirectly and discreetly." (I can't help but think what a valuable skills Shihan learned. Shihan is indeed one of the most observant people I have ever met. I recall at one seminar he talked about the importance of using the senses to directly experience and learn -- taste, feel, look, etc. -- instead of THINKING, which removes us from direct experience.) Shihan received his black belt at age 16. Before age 16 he was ready to take the test but was too young to qualify, so he was asked to do a mock test. The judge was Koichi Tohei Shihan. Shihan resolved that he would do his best even though he would not be promoted. The problem, however, was that
Hirao Sensei had not taught him weapon techniques. On the Friday before the Sunday test, Shihan learned jo kata, jo-taking and some bokken which he then performed on the mock test two days later. Fast forward a few years to Shihan's Nidan test. Hirao Sensei told him that after that mock test, Tohei Shihan said Shihan showed "the best weapons." Hirao Sensei said, "I didn't tell you before because you were just 15 and you would have a big head." "There's always more you can learn from your teacher," Shihan told us. To illustrate his point, one time he and Hirao Sensei had spent the evening together, having dinner and driving around when Shihan asked if he played pool. Hirao Sensei
deadpanned, "It's just like jo." So, they played. Shihan said he could never beat his teacher at pool. Here's what I love about Shihan's aikido: He never stops exploring. He said, "I'm still trying to figure out what is aikido?" And then he philosophized in his humorous way, "The secret of Aikido is move and people will follow you or come after you because they want to be your friend."We were invited to ask questions. Stenzel Sensei (Northern Minnesota) asked Shihan to tell the story about O Sensei's introduction to Hula. It was about 1961 on a trip to Hawaii, O Sensei saw hula for the first time. He was quite taken by how the hand, hip, and foot worked together just like aikido. So, O Sensei learned some Hula hand and foot movements to take back. Shihan said, "I hope you learn that instead of just dumping uke down that you instead think of the graceful movement of Hula. Hula tells a story, and Aikido tells a story. It's the story of how you achieve harmony and blend with someone who is opposite you." Buchanan Sensei (Western Minnesota) asked Shihan to tell us something he learned from Hirao Sensei that really stuck with him. Shihan remarked that there were many things in the pre-black belt time. Shihan was 11 when he started Aikido and though he was ready
to take his black belt test at 14 he had to wait two more years to qualify. He felt Hirao Sensei was telling him that he needed to learn patience. "I think that is what is going on today. The fruit of Aikido is the next generation. You senseis have to help me take care of the [young] trees … We are aikido-KA, meaning we belong to the FAMILY of aikido. Anthony-Cahill Sensei (Northwestern Washington) asked Shihan what technique he remembers best from Hirao Sensei. There are two, and both show the same ideal -- Shomenuchi Irimi Nage and Tenchi Nage. In both techniques one hand points to heaven. "Ask for heaven's help." Irimi Nage was formerly called Kokyuu Nage (breath-throw). "You have to throw
with your breath. Do not hold it back. After you ask for heaven's help, it is up to you not to crush it down. We need heaven's help to keep earth going." What a great place to end this letter. Please practice the meaning of aikido as Shihan teaches us, even off the mat during this momentous time: take care of yourselves and each other.
The feeling of being with our Shihan, our Sensei, and our WAAI family once again was an honorable and joyful experience. It was a privilege to be there and to be part of a reunion after an arduous journey through this current pandemic and challenging time. There was so much that went into making it happen, and truly I am thankful to Shihan and Sensei allowing us this opportunity to listen to our Shihan speak of Hirao Shihan. To hear and even feel the emotion in each of the stories was something that I cannot forget. Despite my memory, the feeling will remain
and that feeling is the feeling of connection, unity, and family.I learned that the relationship between teacher and student is something that I am still learning about. The connection that Hirao Shihan possibly started by uttering the words to our Shihan ‘You will not even last 3 months' which sparked the internal challenge to endure. Hirao Shihan's connection to Shihan's grandfather, it was as if there is a direct historical connection to what once was and continues to persist through our Shihan. This lineage, ultimately in appreciation to our Shihan, is that we are an integral part, regardless if we choose to be so or not. By merely submitting to the status of a student, if possible for some, we becomes responsible to uphold that extremely unique lineage. Shihan alluded to this many times and culminated in the statement to Nikolay in the symbolism of holding up Sensei on the camera so Sensei may be seen by our WAAI Family. I therefore learned that no matter what, to be students of Shihan and Sensei, is to be an integral part of this lineage. Shihan also spoke of how the Hirao Family thinks of our Shihan, and harkening back to the connection that Shihan's grandfather established long ago with Hirao Shihan. Although Shihan is not related by blood, Hirao
Shihan's family looks upon Shihan as a brother among the siblings, perhaps even a son in the eyes of Mrs. Hirao. O'Sensei emphasized the necessity to think of all of humanity as one family on this earth. Hirao Shihan and his Family have created that sense of connection and unity, and continue to keep that going to this day. I learned that in every way possible, Shihan and the lineage he encapsulates is a glorious once in a million year phenomenon. Shihan spoke of the two businesses that Hirao Shihan and his grandfather each created. They demonstrated what it meant to support one another even though they may be servicing the same customers in the same area. In American business, they call this
competition. By what Shihan shared with us, the sense of competition was more internal. They saw how they could do well by also referring their customers to each other's businesses. They saw how they could do well by also referring their customers to each other's businesses. Step by step they lifted one another towards the top of their professions. They worked together in ways that most of us here cannot imagine, and when listening upon our ears it seems unreal. However, most important that I learned is that they realized the value of what it means to live well on this earth for which we share with each other regardless of how hard we may try to forget that fact. When listening and learning this story, it gave me hope that humanity can be working well together to reach higher and achieve a level of decency that is worth respecting. Shihan asked if we had any questions and on the second question from Anthony- Cahill Sensei about which techniques Hirao Shihan taught Shihan that standout today, my Zoom connection was lost for no apparent reason from a tradition scientific and technological perspective. Even though I have always leaned more towards scientific understanding, Shihan and Sensei have taught me during this Gathering and for many years
prior, that some things are only explainable by a higher connection to the universe. In fact, in this, I find it was indeed a lesson from the universe. I can only guess but there are messages that come and this message was to say that my lack of something meant that my ears were not yet ready for the answer to that question. It was phenomenal as I recall that just as Shihan was about to reveal the basis and connection between shomenuchi iriminage and ryotetori tenchinage, the Zoom connection vanished. I quickly logged back in to only find that the answer was gone, still in the universe, but did not reach my ears. As a final grand understanding and lesson that I receive, Shihan and Sensei
spoke of the last time Shihan saw his first teacher in Hawaii. One of sheer will and complete understanding of their relationship, Hirao Shihan escorted Shihan to the door at the end of their last meeting. Even though Hirao Shihan was not feeling well, he saw his perhaps only true long lasting student to the door. As Shihan and Sensei were leaving, Hirao Shihan stood to wave them goodbye for one final blessing that one day they may meet again. My heart saddens but with a mixture of joy. This is the understanding that I am learning now about the value of life. Indeed, after listening to Shihan's and Sensei's combined stories of their final meeting with Hirao Shihan, I feel and firmly believe that one of the most essential actions is when we say our greetings and farewells. Farewells, Shihan has taught us, we even more heavy with emotion and significance. Shihan taught me when we were in California for the Doshu Seminar in the airport saying goodbye to Nikolay and Olga that in Japanese this action of goodbye is called Miukuri. There are many feelings and emotions that created from this goodbye, the thought that perhaps this is indeed the last and when you return it will not be the same. It shows appreciation and the value of the relationships between or
among us, human to human. Time moves forward regardless of our will. Miukuri is a profound continuous expression of thankfulness of the time we got to spend with each other. Before all this technology, saying goodbye had this meaning. The meaning that until we see each other again, to live well and to prosper to make it back. This is the current understanding I have come to find. With this, I am starting to see there is a connection that Shihan is teaching in these concepts and with Ichi Go Ichi E. To value the time we have with those we love, to value the time and the moment of beginning and end, that there is a relationship that Shihan taught us in the laying of the katana in front of the
Samurai, the myoten; the start and the finish, the beginning and the end. Hirao Shihan, Shihan, and Sensei, I am learning, are teaching everyone and myself how to be appreciative of life. Time creates life and it takes it away.
It was a great pleasure and honor to be part of Okimura Shihan sharing his fond memories of his first Aikido teacher, Hirao Shihan. It illuminated a unique teacher/student relationship that is very rare and also gave a glimpse into Okimura Shihan’s teachings to us. While I never had the opportunity of meeting Hirao Shihan, I still felt like I gained an understanding of the person he was. One thing that really struck me, was the idea of creating a family through AIkido, something that Okimura Shihan and Zohreh Sensei
always focus on. Okimura Shihan explained the Japanese words "ke" and "ka". Both are the same kanji, but they are used differently. By creating an Aikido family, the Hirao-ke and the Okiumura-ke became a larger family of Aikido-ka. And today, we are all part of this "ka" still and I can see its roots and how it is growing into the future.. Okimura Shihan highlighted this special relationship by telling us about how, at their last meeting, Hirao Shihan would not simply sit back and let his visitors leave. To show his true appreciation and care, he walked Okimura Shihan and Zohreh Sensei to the door before saying his farewell. And this despite the fact that Hirao Shihan was very sick and in pain and that this was truly difficult for him. Okimura Shihan also emphasized how this relationship transcended generations and that Hirao Shihan's children have always treated Okimura Shihan as a brother as well. This wonderful relationship between Hirao Shihan and Okimura Shihan goes back a long time and did not start with them. Okimura Shihan's grandfather and Hirao Shihan's father already had businesses across the street from each other. While they competed with each other for customers, they also helped each
other. They would direct customers to each other's businesses or help out, if one of them had a sugar shortage, e.g. In this way, they helped each other grow and create a good community for both their businesses. When Okimura Shihan was a little boy, he and some of his friends got themselves into trouble and it was decided that they needed to learn discipline through practicing martial arts. This is how, at the age of 11, Okimura Shihan started practicing Aikido at Koboji dojo. At the time, he thought it was the easy choice, since the dojo was inside the temple grounds where he lived. Little did he know that Hirao Shihan would come knocking at his door and take him
to practice every time he tried to skip class. One of the first lessons for Okimura Shihan was that of patience and working towards a goal. For the first 10 months, Okimura Shihan would only practice Aikitaiso by himself, while watching the other students. Every once in a while, Hirao Shihan would call on him and throw him. When Okimura Shihan was not able to take a proper roll, Hirao Shihan would send him back to practice by himself. Only once Okimura Shihan showed that he could take a proper roll, was he allowed to join class with the adults. He then progressed quickly from there, building on what he had observed in the last 10 months of watching and learning while focusing on his own Aikitaiso. Some of Hirao Shihan's favorite techniques were Shomen Uchi Irimi Nage and Ryote Dori Tenchi Nage, because of the connection with heaven during the throw. These are still techniques and principles that Okimura Shihan emphasizes during today's classes with us and we practice them frequently. It is quite eye opening to recognize the roots of our Aikido heritage. At the age of 16, Okimura Shihan was allowed to take a "practice" test for Shodan.Since he was under age, he was technically
not allowed to take the test. However, Okimura Shihan was growing impatient after waiting 2 years since receiving his Ikkyu rank. Tohe Shihan was in attendance and decided to award Okimura Shihan the Shodan rank regardless of his age, since he had performed very well. It is very interesting to see how Okimura Shihan has changed over the years: As a boy, he could not wait to become a Yudansha, but when he was offered the rank of Shihan by Kisshomaru Doshu, Okimura Shihan rejected the offer for several years, owing to his understanding of the responsibilities that come with the rank.In this way, Shihan is ever increasing the Aikdo-ka and leading our family into the future.
It has been a privilege of learning from Okimura Shihan over the last few years and seeing the world through different eyes. I am looking forward to continuing my practice, understanding that I am part of a history that started long before me and will reach into the future beyond me. I am grateful to Okimura Shihan and Zohreh Sensei, who have built ADA and given me my Aikido Ka and all the many teachers who came before. After Okimura Shihan had become a Yudansha, Hirao Shihan set him a big task: To build an Aikido children's program. There had been no Aikido classes for children and when Okimura Shihan started practicing himself, he had been part of the adult classes. Now Okimura Shihan had to create a curriculum without any guidance, while he was still a child himself. Today, when I witness Okimura Shihan during children's class, I can see his great care and the joy he takes from interacting with our Aikido kids and watching them all grow. It is quite amazing that even though Okimura Shihan does not attend class that often, he is well aware of each child's needs and peculiarities. Now I realize that this was a seed planted by Hirao Shihan so many years ago.
Let me being this writing by simply stating "Perfectly Splendid". Every adversity of our life teaches and gives us a way to overcome it. The current worldwide pandemic gave us this opportunity to come online to meet and share out thoughts. Indeed it was a unique experience to see the WAAI family. Some of them I know and some of them I see for the first time. Storytelling or teaching lessons of life through the story is an age-old system of different cultures.
The primary difference of teaching Aikido of Shihan Okimure is adding humor in instruction. Which makes the lessons more memorable. Indeed his tales of being introduced to Aikido and continue to be a student of Hirao Sensei his first teacher was unique. Surprisingly but in reality, he is still in touch with his late teacher's family and being treated as their elder brother. This is really unheard in modern days where everyone is so self-centered and thinks only about themselves. This is not the first time I have seen tears in his eyes when he mentions of Hirao Sensei. As if his teacher still lives in his heart. Okimura Shihan's Aikido teaching always filled with instruction towards creating a benevolent and human conscious group of individuals. He always emphasizes about staying connected. Which is the primary basis of modern-day social networking. His constant reminder of how to use the principle of Aikido in everyday life to make ourself a better person and how not to give up on things or situation is rather extraordinary.
The primary difference to be training in ADA with Okimure Shihan is to understand the Physic of Aikido and gain knowledge of the essence of the art than how to do perfect break fall and not to respond to a serious shoulder and wrist lock. I still think people who have seen Okimura Shihan in his prime days are lucky. I will look forward to gaining more from him.
I am grateful for the chance to be part of WAAI and a student under Okimura Shihan and Soofi Sensei, to be part of the great lineage and present for this gathering in Honor of Hirao Shihan. It was my duty to provide audio and video channels for my Sensei, to ensure that everybody had a good enough connection, to pay attention to any flaws and that everybody had their camera on, but my most attention was to our Shihan - searching for the connection in his eyes, gestures, expressions and and voice fluctuations. I heard some familiar stories but with different caveats as well as some that I had not heard before. I learned that connection to your teacher is forever and relationships can grow and flourish if you care for it, no matter the distance or the difficulties. Being on the zoom meeting is neat because you can watch many expressions and movements, their reactions while Shihan is talking, unlike other times when I can usually never see other faces. It is neat to see the differences and it is amazing to see how feelings change with a word or gesture from Shihan. It was a wonderful experience when I saw how Shihan had helped us
to really remember Hirao Shihan. How he was meanwhile teaching us. I felt as if he was showing us a certain sadness for how he has yet to see the fruits of his teachings in the future generations of WAAI students, how the Senseis and students need to fulfill their role and live up to their ranks to grow aikido and spread love and harmony with the gentle but firm touch of our teacher. It was all about the love and care, as in the teaching for how in both Hirao Shihan's favorite techniques the Tenchinage and Iriminage you need to show the stars first and then to bring Heaven to Earth. Teaching such as the balancing act to harmony between family and duty as in the story about the two great families (ke = ka)
working their family businesses with great love and care as they were helping one another. The teachings of O'Sensei, Hirao Shihan and Okimura Shihan are one, and it is the harmonizing way of love.Their style in life is the real example and lesson that we are given a great opportunity to learn from. The importance is to create the best possible environment to pass it to next generations because these great men had sacrificed their lives to aikido and we are responsible that this is not wasted and that it is carried forward with equal care, devotion and commitment. So it was puzzling the question of "can Shihan see without glasses". Shihan answered "yes and no" . I thought of this as if we limit ourselves to seeing only with our eyes then we may be dependent on the glasses, but Shihan was there to see much more than what one is able to see with his eyes. Yes, this was a gathering in honor of Shihan's teacher and that was very clear by how Shihan was leading the class.We learned facts about Hirao Shihan - his birthday (January 1st 1921), the time since he had passed away from this world (6 years), his family's occupation (mochi makers). I learned about the connection and relationship between Okimurake and Hiraoke and how they supported each other
although they were competitors in business - either with products, or by sending customers to try their delicious sweets, to the extent that the first dojo where Shihan practiced under Hirao Shihan was at Koboji temple where his grandfather was the priest. I learned from Sensei's memory which she shared, that she was with Shihan at Hirao Shihan's house in Hawaii and that Hirao Shihan cried as he looked at our Shihan and that there were no words spoken, but there were also no words needed as Sensei saw the love, care and the special connection between the two and how much was being told in those eyes. Sensei had felt it as this was a great moment of Hirao Shihan being proud with his student.
Shihan's story about O'Sensei's demonstration at a school gym in Hawaii, when he had been just nine-years-old and how he got a message from O'Sensei through his stare after he had exclaimed in japanese that those movements were fake, thought me one more time during that gathering that the human soul and its purity coming through the eyes say more than spoken words. O'Sensei's eyes were powerful and touching so much that they would pass on to Shihan the curiosity and eagerness to explore and learn about aikido that is still moving Shihan to this day. I learned that before Shihan's first test in 1968, he had to have a lot of patience. First he had to do only aikitaiso for the first 10 months and the. he could not be blackbelt before he was of age. Also his shodan test was supposed to be not a real one because at this time he would have been under age. Well he still did his best. And even though he had not even trained with weapons by then, except for the couple of days right before the exam, Koichi Tohei Sensei had said that Shihan had the best weapons technique. I learned again that teachers are important with their style of teaching as Hirao Shihan never even mentioned Tohei's comment
earlier as he didn't want Shihan to lose his focus in training. And still yet when Hirao Shihan had invited his student and offered that they play billiards this was a lesson to learn from Our Shihan had never played pool before to which Hirao Shihan had exclaimed that it is just like jo. Apparently Hirao Shihan was really good at it so our Shihan said that although Tohei Sensei had given him such a high grade for his weapons technique there is always so much more you can learn from your teacher. I learned from Shihan that Hula is aikido, because when O'Sensei had seen Hula he said that it is similar in the way of hip and hands movements and wanted to try it. So Shihan is teaching us
to be graceful in our movements. I learned that Hirao Sensei's favorite techniques were Tenchi Nage and Irimi Nage. But back then it had been called Kokyoho Irimi as most techniques were called "Something something Kokyohonage" as it means breath throw. So we should not hold back our breath and should be gentle going for the heavens first before making the earth heavenly. We are to support our teachers and follow them truly if we want to learn from them and do aiki.