Shihan was known for possessing both speed and power. His teaching emphasized timing and distance, within a fundamental study of basic technique. For many people, all over the world, he was an embodiment of O-Sensei’s philosophy of love, kindness and compassion.
In 2003, Sugano suffered a below the knee amputation, but he continued to teach and demonstrate aikido without any severe limitation. A medical fund was set up to cover his ongoing medical costs.
Sugano died in New York City on August 29, 2010. The Foundation he established in Australia prior to his death, continues to promote Sugano’s aikido legacy internationally.
Three of Sugano’s students were promoted to 7th dan on his recommendation: Tony Smibert (Tasmania), Robert Botterill (Melbourne) and Hanan Janiv (Canberra).
They had also been awarded the title of Shihan.