From Aikido Journal #100 (1994)
Although almost totally unknown to Aikido practitioners, one of the most fascinating related forms of the art was created by Minoru Hirai. Hirai served as General Director of Morihei Ueshiba’s old Kobukan Dojo during World War II, and later taught his own unique form of Jujutsu based on the principle of circular taisabaki. Aikido Journal recently visited Hirai Sensei, now 91 years of age, at his home in Shizuoka and recorded the highlights of his thought-provoking conversation about Korindo and martial arts theories.
Aikido Journal : You first met Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, in Okayama before the war, I believe. Would you describe the circumstances?
Minoru Hirai : There was a match factory in Nishikawa, Okayama, and next to the factory was the house of an Omoto believer. I went there on business and Ueshiba Sensei happened to be present.
Ueshiba Sensei talked about his dojo, the Kobukan, and other topics for many hours. I had been learning Togun Ryu Heiho and as I listened to Ueshiba Sensei, I thought that what he was saying was quite unusual. That was our first meeting.
Later I met him again at the residence of a different person, someone who was not an Omoto believer. I heard that Ueshiba Sensei happened to be there so I went to see him. This time, Sensei suddenly invited me to come to Tokyo. The first time we met he had said nothing about the idea, but he extended an invitation at our second meeting. That was actually the beginning of our relationship.
I decided to go to Tokyo where Ueshiba Sensei had his dojo in Uchigome. Of course I was interested in martial arts, but I really did not think of the consequences. I think perhaps two or three months passed before I met Ueshiba Sensei the second time and we may have corresponded in the interim. In any event, I remember clearly going up to Wakamatsu-Cho where his dojo was located. When I look back, I think that our approach to both life and the martial arts was unusual. But I don’t know whether I was the unusual one or Ueshiba Sensei was!
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