Video: Minoru Hirai demonstrates Korindo Aikido

Minoru Hirai Sensei demonstrating at his Shizuoka Dojo in 1994

Minoru Hirai Sensei demonstrating at his Shizuoka Dojo in 1994

The fact that this video was ever made and has survived is little short of a miracle. It features the reclusive Minoru Hirai Sensei, the creator of Korindo Aikido. Although little known among contemporary aikido practitioners, Hirai Sensei played a pivotal role in the naming of aikido while serving as the General Affairs Director of Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo in the early 1940s.

Minoru Hirai throws Editor Stanley Pranin

Hirai was a top-level martial artist in his own right and enjoyed a congenial relationship of mutual trust with Morihei Ueshiba. It was Hirai Sensei who mentored Kisshomaru Ueshiba when the latter was suddenly thrust into the position of becoming the Dojo-cho of Morihei’s dojo while still a university student when the Founder moved to Iwama in 1942. You can read all about Hirai Sensei’s relationship to aikido here.

This video is a remarkable document in which Hirai Sensei, at age 91, demonstrates a wide variety of the taisabaki techniques, for which Korindo Aikido is was known, and ken and jo movements. He is remarkably sprightly even considering his advanced age, and you will see flashes of his martial arts genius.

In a startling scene, Hirai Sensei suddenly calls forth Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin, who is taking photographs, to attack him. Hirai Sensei fires off a series of throws, the contrast between his diminutive frame versus Stanley’s towering six feet is impressive!

Duration: 21:11

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  1. Frederic Veer says:

    Hi Stan how did it feel to take ukemi for Hirai sensei ?

    • It all happened so quickly as he told me to attack him suddenly. I was in the midst of taking pictures and was totally unprepared. I remember him being full of ki and very assertive. He was very strong considering his age.

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