Recommended reading: “Famous Swordsmen of Japan (4): Toru Shirai” by Yoshinori Kono

The article below concerning famous swordsman Toru Shirai has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Returning home, he grasped his bokuto in the way he had seen the ascetic wield his bell-striker and discovered that he had attained a exceptional new level of ability. This revelation, along with his use of projection through the tip of the bokuto (nobi) and the relaxation of the limbs and body, became the three principles that Shirai Sensei attained during his life as a swordsman—secrets so deep that even the ancient masters had not known of them. This episode has been often quoted in stories and tales of famous swordsmen and will likely be familiar to anyone with even a little knowledge of Shirai. It suggests that Shirai visited Terada seeking advice about how to continue training in his teacher’s absence, was told to visit Tokuhon, and while observing nembutsu devotions was Tokuhon’s deeply enlightened.

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