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   Sat, February 21, 2004



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Mr. Hito a man of his word
By BRET HART -- For the Calgary Sun


Funerals are never a happy time. But I have to say when I walked into my father's house after his memorial service, it made me smile when one of the first faces I saw -- one I hadn't seen in a very long time -- was that of Mr. Hito, who now lives in Osaka, Japan.

Back in the heyday of Stampede Wrestling, Hito was one of Stu's most trusted foremen and reliable workers.

A lot of people assume my father taught me to wrestle in the fabled Hart dungeon but what Stu taught me was submission wrestling. When I was 20 years old, my father's tag-team champions were two of the toughest and hardest working Japanese wrestlers in the business.

Hito was a respected friend of the family.

He said to me one time at my father's house, knowing I'd been city and provincial amateur wrestling champion: "You biggest one (of Stu's sons). How come you no wrestle?"

He and Mr. Sakurada offered to teach me in their spare time.

I said sure.

I would learn over time there was no such thing as spare time in wrestling, so these guys taught me with time they never really had. I have had a lot of wrestlers offer to teach me but they never actually showed up.

Japanese wrestlers are different -- they're true to their word.

I lived in the carriage house behind the Hart house and I woke up a couple of days later to Hito and Sakurada pounding on my door and peering in my window.

"Come on! We teach you wrestle!"

It seemed like every morning, I was down in the dungeon learning endlessly how to fall, to protect myself and, even more importantly, how to protect my opponent -- yet be physically convincing as a wrestler.

The Stampede Wrestling territory was world renowned for being one of the most realistic, hardcore promotions in the business.

After five months of 'taking bumps,' they told me I was good enough. I remember asking when they were going to teach me drop kicks and head scissors.

Hito smiled and said: "That's the easy stuff. You can figure that out yourself."

People often say to me: Where would wrestling be without Bret Hart? But my answer to that is: Where would Bret Hart be without Mr. Hito?

Early in my career, I gradually became a sharpened sword thanks to many matches with both Hito and Sakurada, the Cuban Assassin, Dynamite Kid, Leo Burke and countless others. I would go on to become the Excellence of Execution, respected and loved by my fellow wrestlers for 22 years with an untarnished safety record.

In all those years of slams, kicks and punches, I never hurt one wrestler -- unless you count the time I chipped big Vader's tooth with a steel chair. Hey, he moved. But the point is I owe all my success as a pro wrestler to the greatest grand master of execution, my old friend and mentor, Katsui Adachi, better known as Mr. Hito. After staying the winter in Calgary visiting his family Hito is heading back to Japan next week and I wanted to thank him for everything.