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Danzan-Ryu Jujutsu  History
Prof. Henry Seishiro Okazaki in  1941.

Table of Contents
Okazaki's Early years
Master Tanaka's School   
The Beginning of    Danzan-Ryu
A Challenge   
The Trip Back to    Japan
World War II
Okazaki's Last    Years
The First    Replacement
Danzan-Ryu on the    Mainland
Okugi 1993

Okazaki's Early Years 
Seishiro Okazaki was born on January 28, 1890 in the town of
Date in the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan. His father was Hanyeimon Okazaki and his  mother was Fuka Suenaga. In 1906, Seishiro moved  from Japan to the big island of Hawaii and settled in Hilo.  In 1909, he was examined by a doctor who diagnosed Seishiro with incurable  tuberculosis.

Master Tanaka's School 
In relating this story to Sig Kufferath, Okazaki said, "With courage  borne out of desperation, I went to Master Yoshimatsu Tanaka." At that time  (1910), Tanaka was teaching Jujutsu at his
Shinyukai dojo in Hilo  and in Okazaki's words, "started to practice Jujutsu in earnest and in defiance  of death.
Whether or not it was due to his frantic devotion to  Jujutsu, Okazaki's tuberculosis healed and developed a strong,  iron-like body. He believed that he owed his life to Jujutsu and devoted the  rest of it to the teaching and promotion of the art.

The Beginning of Danzan-Ryu 
While in Hilo, Okazaki mastered various Jujutsu techniques being taught  at the Yoshin- Ryu, Iwaga-Ryu and Kosogabe-Ryu schools. He then combined these  systems with Karate techniques from the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) and the knife  techniques of the Phillipines to form the Danzan-Ryu school of Jujutsu. Danzan  are the kanji (Chinese characters) that denote the Hawaiian islands, thus  Danzan-Ryu is the Hawaiian school of Jujutsu. According to Kufferath, one of  Okazaki's most influential instructors, Wo Chung, called Hawaii "Danzan", so  Okazaki dedicated part of the system to Chung's memory. Chung taught Okazaki  Mushi-Jutsu, which is the art of boxing withintent to kill, as Okazaki  translated it. In 1917, he also studied the Hawaiian secret killing art of Lua  under the tutelage of David Kainhee, a native Hawaiian. This training took place  in the district of Puna on the island of Hawaii. He also studied western boxing  and wrestling, and he learned dirk throwing from a Spaniard. Okazaki  incorporated all of these arts into his system.
In addition to the martial systems, Okazaki studied  all the resuscitation arts of Kappo and Seifukujutsu, the Japanese art of  physical adjustment and restoration. He was a firm believer that one of the  virtues of Jujutsu was its techniques of restoration from disabling  blows.

A Challenge
In  September of 1922, a heavyweight American boxing champion named
K.O. Morris visited  the islands and began to challenge Judo and other martial arts. His claim was  that his boxing was superior to any Japanese fighting art. When the challenge  was answered in the Hilo arena by several Japanese martial artists, they were  defeated by Morris, causing them to lose face. According to Kufferath, Okazaki  then challenged Morris to a match. Okazaki reportedly suffered a broken nose in  the first round. He then retaliated with a reverse arm  lock (here demonstrated by Prof. Sig Kufferath) which broke Morris' arm and  caused him to faint from the pain. Okazaki later said, "I enhanced the  reputation of Japanese Jujutsu by defeating him with much splendor." Okazaki  received a gold watch from the Japanese community for restoring its  honor.

The Trip Back to Japan 
In September 1924,
Okazaki left  Hilo and returned temporarily to Japan. This trip lasted five months, three  of which he was actually in Japan and the other two months, he was in transit  across the Pacific. During his stay in Japan, he traveled  extensively (here seen at Nachi Falls in the southern district of Wakayama  prefecture), visiting more than 50 dojos scattered between Morioka  City in the north and Kagoshima in the south. He mastered some 675 techniques of Jujutsu, all the while  improving his own Danzan-Ryu. This photograph is Okazaki with a Kiai Jutsu master named Hiroshima. During this time, he  visited the Kodokan and received a black belt in Judo from Prof. Jigoro Kano. He  returned from Japan in February of 1925 and started to teach his Jujutsu on  the island of Maui. (map)

In 1929,  Okazaki moved to
Honolulu on the island of Oahu. It was here that he opened the Okazaki "Sefukujutsu In",  or Okazaki Adjustment and Restoration Clinic which would eventually be called  the Nikko Restoration Sanitorium. At the same time, he opened his Kodenkan Dojo  to teach his Danzan-Ryu Jujutsu while still testing and improving his system.  People came in droves to the Sanitorium with  so-called incurable nerve disorders, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Incidentally, President Roosevelt offered Okazaki a job at the White House as  his private therapist. Okazaki, not wanting to leave the islands, declined the  offer.
Okazaki was one of the first teachers to break from  tradition and teach Japanese martial arts to non-Japanese. In fact, it is  reported that in 1922, Okazaki taught Judo to two students, Dr. Baldwin of Hilo  and Chief Fatoio of Samoa. For this he was severly reprimanded by his  instructors. In Honolulu, however, Okazaki was the master. Kufferath relates  that Okazaki was ostracized by other Japanese for doing this. Okazaki believed  that eveyone should have the opportunity to learn Jujutsu, regardless of their  heritage.
His first class in Honolulu consisted of six  students: his son Hachiro, Kiyoshi Kawashima, Benjamin Marks, George Harbottle,  William Simao and Y.S. Kim. In 1932, Richard Rickerts, Curly Friedman, Charles  Wagner, Harold McLean, Bob Glover and Tantro Muggey enrolled in the Kodenkan. In  1936, they graduated with instructor's diplomas. Okazaki also formed an  organization originally called the American Jujitsu Guild and later renamed to  the American Jujitsu  Institute (AJI).
Okazaki felt that his was the most comprehensive form  of Jujutsu because it took what he believed were the optimum approaches to  self-defense and combined them into one school. He was also an avid promoter of  sport Judo and Sumo in Hawaii.

World War II
On December  7, 1941, forces from the Imperial Japanese Navy executed a surprised attack on  the U.S. military bases on Oahu, thus entering the United States into war with  Japan. What followed for island residents was martial law where many Japanese  were arrested and detained at the military base on Sand Island. Many reports  have indicated that Okazaki was detained as well. Recent documents released by  the U.S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act do not show  that Okazaki was detained. Eyewitnesses such as Steven J. Byzek, a black belt  under Okazaki, says that Okazaki was taken in for questioning by the  authorities, but that he was not detained. Probably the best account comes from  the children of Okazaki. His youngest daughter Imi recalls that she visited him  on at least two occasions in a prison camp. This was a clear recollection of  her's since she had to make a long bus trip to get to the location. Some  accounts of this time do indicate that the Kodenkan was closed for a time, but  was later reopened.
Ironically, it was during the war that Okazaki helped  to developed the U.S. Army's field manual on hand-to-hand fighting (FM 21-150)  and also taught many servicemen the art of Jujutsu.
Note 1: Sig Kufferath, who was the Army  hand-to-hand combat instructor in Honolulu during the war played a key role in  the development of this manual.
Note 2: The current version of FM 21-150 can  be found HERE.

One of  Okazaki's dreams was to have a Danzan-Ryu school in every state of the union,  which is today becoming a reality. Okazaki used the Kyu/Dan ranking system for  Danzan- ryu. (Kyu are the undergraduate ranks, while Dan are the black belt  degrees.) He also used the traditional certification, awarding the
Mokuroku (instructor's scroll) to black belts who achieved instructor level. These  scrolls were from 8 to 10 feet in length, handwritten in Japanese and contained  much of Okazaki's philosophy, a history of Jujutsu and a catalog of Danzan-Ryu  techniques. Those who received the scrolls were considered official Danzan-Ryu  teachers and black belts were not allowed to teach or organize their own classes  until they received a scroll. Scrolls were usually awarded when the student  received their second-degree black belt in Danzan-Ryu. "We practiced six days a  week and Okazaki had a special Sunday class at his home which was by invitation  only", Kufferath recalls.
The other traditional certification was the Menkyo  Kaiden or Kaidensho (certificate of mastery), which was a diploma, handwritten in Japanese. This  diploma certified that the named person was a master of Danzan-Ryu and had  learned the entire system. Kaidensho were given to students after they received  personal instruction from Okazaki on all of the secrets and Okugi, or  "inner mysteries" of Danzan-Ryu. Sig Kufferath and a number of other Okazaki  students attended a special Okugi class in February of 1948. The curriculum  included the advanced katas Kiai No Maki, Shinnin No Maki, Shinyo No Maki and  Shingen No Maki, as well as commando techniques, serious and fatal blows and  resuscitation. Some of the other attendees were Marion Anderson, William Ah Moo,  Wally and Bernice Jay, Steve Byzek, Richard and Esther Takamoto, Carl Beaver,  Jack Wheat and David Nuuhiwa. The graduation was held on February 22, 1948 where  each of the graduates received a Kaidensho and the title of  Shihan.
The other purpose of this class was to get all of the  instructors together to update their skills with the most recent Danzan-Ryu  teachings. Okazaki had planned to repeat this class every ten years, but this  did not happen.
This photo shows the post  Okugi dinner for the students, the Professor and other invited guests. 

Okazaki's Last Years 
In December of 1948, Okazaki suffered a stroke that left him
partially  paralyzed. This severly reduced his teaching ability and much of this was  done by his instructors. He suffered another stroke in 1950 which put him in the  hospital. At 4:00 PM on July 12, 1951, Henry Seishiro Okazaki died from the  effects of a third stroke.

The First Replacement 
The passing of Okazaki left the AJI in a chaotic state. In 1952, an  election was held to select a replacement for the Professor. The candidates were  Bill Ah Moo, John Cahill and Sig Kufferath. The AJI required the officers to be  Hawaiian residents, so Cahill, who had moved to California was disqualified.  When the election was held
Kufferath won  by a large margin. He continued in the capacity of AJI President until 1960 when  he moved to the mainland. He did, however, remain the only Professor until 1965.  After unsuccessfully trying to get Kufferath to return to Hawaii, the AJI  elected Sam Luke as the next Professor in 1965. After this the AJI appointed a Board of  Professors.

Danzan-Ryu on the Mainland 
Many black belts received their instructor's scrolls and moved to the  U.S. mainland to open Danzan-Ryu schools. Among them were Bud Estes (1939), Richard Rickerts  (1941), Ray Law  (1939) and John  Cahill (1946). These four formed the  American Judo and Jujitsu Federation (AJJF). Wally Jay, who founded  Small Circle Jujitsu, came to the mainland in 1950 to teach Jujitsu after  studying Danzan-Ryu in his native Hawaii. Jay with Willy Cahill (John's  son), John  Chow-Hoon, James  Muro, et.al. later formed Jujitsu America. William Montero came  to San Jose, CA in 1947 from Hawaii and began teaching Danzan-Ryu. Other  mainland organizations included the Shoshin Ryu under Carl Beaver, Kodenkan  Yudanshakai in Arizona under Joe Holck, the Kodenkan  Hombu in Costa Rica under Ramon Lono Ancho, Jr.,  the Jujitsu Institute of America in Florida and Texas under Bill Beach (a student of  Richard Takamoto  and Ray Law) and his brother William R. Beach, the Southern California Jujitsu  Association under Bill Randle (a student of Ray Law), the Christian Jujitsu  Association under Gene  Edwards (a student of Bud Estes) and the Kodenkan Danzan-Ryu Association  under Kufferath,  Ancho, Tony Janovich and Doug Kiehl. In  addition to these, Danzan-Ryu headmaster Sig Kufferath  (deceased) and his senior student Tony Janovich give  autonomous ranking through their dojo in Campbell,  California.

Okugi 1993
Forty-five years after the first Okugi class, Profs. Sig Kufferath and  Tony Janovich repeated the class that Okazaki earlier held. The curriculum was  the same as the previous class. On two weekends in the summer of 1993, 25 black  belt instructors from all over the U.S. came to the Campbell dojo to learn the  inner mysteries of Danzan-Ryu. Kufferath and Janovich presented the advanced  katas and resuscitation that Okazaki taught earlier. They also presented updates  and improvements to the system in the same manner as Okazaki.
24 of the 25 students graduated from this  class and received a Kaidensho that was identical to those given in 1948. These students have since gone on to  propagate the Okazaki system. From this class, two students have gone on to  achieve the rank of 6th Dan and the title of "Professor": Robert Hudson and Ron  Jennings.

Note: Much of the above information was taken from  an article written by Tony Janovich in the  April 1990 issue of Black Belt Magazine.

The Credit for the information on this page goes to George E. Arrington III
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