Keith Cooke Hirabayashi
Keith Hirabayashi was born in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 17,
1959. He grew up in the Seattle area and attended the University
of Washington. His career in action movies has taken him around
the world. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife
Suzanne and their son Jake.
Mr. Hirabayashi began his martial arts career almost completely
by chance. He saw someone performing a wushu form and was
immediately interested. He began to learn the art of wushu from
Roger Tung in 1973. A lot of people thought it was strange that
a half-Japanese person would want to learn a Chinese style. Mr.
Hirabayashi's enthusiasm for the art caused him to go to China in
1980 to train, study, and learn wushu. He took a second trip to
compete there in 1982. He joined the karate competition circuit
in 1983. In 1985, he was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine
Hall of Fame as the Competitor of the Year. He has been five time
Grand Champion at the US World and US Open Karate Tournaments.
Mr. Hirabayashi’s martial skill eventually landed him several
roles in movies including China O'Brien and China O'Brien II
(both of which starred Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton). In
addition to his working day role as master of his dojo, Mr.
Hirabayashi enjoys a career in Hollywood as an actor and a
stuntman. His long list of movie credits reflects not only the
strength of his screen charisma but more importantly the
diversity of his roles. He has portrayed Thai, Vietnamese,
Japanese, and even Native American characters. Among his better
known credits are Sub-Zero in "Mortal Kombat 2" and Nobu in
"Beverly Hills Ninja." His most recent appearances include
"National Security" with Martin Lawrence and "Lost Time" with
fellow martial artist and actor Robin Shou.
Mr. Hirabayashi teaches martial arts and fitness training at
Champions Martial Arts, the dojo he opened in 1995 in Los
Angeles, California. He has a talent for sharing his dedication
to health and fitness with his students. Foremost among the
classes he offers is the Ultimate Body-shaping Course. Eight to
ten weeks of fitness training, nutritional counseling, and
motivational support end with a gala banquet and an award for the
participant who shows the greatest improvement in his or her
physical fitness. Mr. Hirabayashi holds several of these courses
each year. His “Little Dragons” classes include students who
begin at the age of only four years old.
Mr. Hirabayashi's expertise led fitness guru Kathy Smith to call
on him as technical advisor for her kickboxing workout video.
Mr. Hirabayashi's excellent teaching skills make him an ideal
instructor as he demonstrates the various moves and offers tips
and cautionary advice on starting out slowly.
Mr. Keith Hirabayashi is committed to being an excellent role
model for his students. His physical prowess in the martial arts
is matched by the deep compassion he brings to his teaching and
to his personal relationships. He puts in many long hours in the
service of his students, yet he also makes it a priority to spend
time with his six year old son, Jake. He goes to church on
Sundays with his wife and their son. Regardless of his busy
professional schedule, Mr. Hirabayashi serves as the assistant
coach for his son's Little League baseball team.
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