Sugano was born in Otaru, Hokkaido. As a teenager, he was training in Judo for six years and at the age of 18, he joined Aikido in the Hombu Dojo. in 1957 he enrolled as an uchi-deshi.
Sugano entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1957 and by 1959 was a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba. In 1965 he was appointed by Ueshiba to introduce aikido in Australia. He remained there for 15 years, founding the organisation Aiki Kai Australia. At the request of Nobuyoshi Tamura, Sugano went to Europe and stayed in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Starting in 1988, he resided in New York City where he co-instructed with Yoshimitsu Yamada at the New York Aikikai.
Sugano maintained regular contact with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and also the Ueshiba family. He traveled extensively during the year to give aikido seminars, mainly in Europe and South East Asia. He visited Australia twice yearly and Malaysia once yearly to conduct the National Training Schools and dan grading. Sugano’s aikido was known for possessing both speed and power.
His teaching emphasized timing and distance, within a fundamental study of basic technique. Weapons instruction followed a more organic style, with very little study of formal kata. Sugano’s weapons instruction focused on correct body positioning (hanmi) and paired practice, which again emphasized the necessity of timing and distance.
To be continued…