Hakko Ryu Ju Jutsu History
The following information was obtained from “The Official Hakko Ryu Ju Jutsu Study Guide” by Michael J. LaMonica, Chief Instructor, Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu Federation U.S.A.
Soke Ryuho Okuyama…
Okuyama Yoshihara was born on February 21st, 1901 to a former samurai family. He spent his life training in various bujutsu-ryu and studied traditional oriental medicine. At the age of 26, after spending 3 years at the Tokyo School of Government, Okuyama had made many political and prestigious contacts. It was through these people that he met Shihan Toshimi Matsuda , who at the time was teaching Daito-Ryu Aiki Ju Jutsu. Matsuda, who was a former apprentice to the founder of Daito-Ryu, Shihan Somi Takeda, found Okuyama to be an excellent student and taught him extensively the techniques of the Ryu.
As mentioned earlier, Okuyama was also a practitioner of traditional oriental medicine. On many occasions through his travels, he was able to apprentice himself to many highly skilled practitioners. One of these men was Ryuzan Hirayama. From him Okuyama learned Keiraku Therapy (Circulation medicine using the meridians of the body), Shiatsu (Finger pressure medicine), Amma (massage), and Diet.
In 1939, he founded the Dai Nihon Shidokai. This marked his split from the main Daito-Ryu school. Takeda was vey old at this point and the leadership of Daito-Ryu was in question. With Tokimune Takeda destined to take over the Ryu, Okuyama saw little chance for administrative advancement. Being a master of both martial arts and medicine, he wanted to use his skills to bring himself financial benefits as well as provide a service to his country. It was then that he began to formulate his own distinct system.
On June 1st, 1941, Okuyama held the Hakko-Ryu Kaiso Hokukusai (Ceremony Proclaiming to the Shinto Deities the Birth of Hakko-Ryu). On that day, Okuyama took the pen name “Ryuho”, which means: “the spine of a dragon.” and called his system Hakko-Ryu Ju Jutsu.
Since that time, and until his death in 1987, Mr. Okuyama developed a strong following for his system. Over 700,000 people have been trained in Hakko-Ryu at the honbu in Omiya, Japan and international branch schools. Mr. Okuyama’s method of teaching students individually, rather than in large groups, added to the uniqueness of his style and helped build his reputation as an instructor. His son Ryuho(Toshio) Okuyama is now the Headmaster of the Ryu and continues, for the most part, in his father’s pattern.
Okuyama finished his studies with Takeda in 1938 and published his first martial art text called “Daito-Ryu Goshin Jutsu.” (The Daito System of Self Protection). Eventually, he established the Dai Nippon Shidokai (Greater Japan Way of the Samurai Association) and became a public instructor of what he called “Daito-Ryu Hiden Shido” (Secret Daito-Ryu Way of the Samurai). He opened his first dojo in Asahikawa and called it the Nippon Shidokai Ryubukan.
Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu (“The Spirit of the Eighth Light School of the Art of Gentleness”)
On August 5th,1997 Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu was born, consisting of Hakko Ryu Shihans from all over the world, with similar interests in preserving the original teachings of Ryuho Okuyama.
This organization continues today with the sincere goal of preserving the art of Hakko Ryu Ju Jutsu, in it truest form. In the spirit of co-operation, several Shihans from around the world still practice together, sharing brotherhood and kinship, encouraged by ShoDai Soke, Ryuho Okuyama. “The heart of the Eighth Light”. Soke M.J. LaMonica is now charged with the instruction of Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu and oversees both the techniques and the operations of authorized Dojos.
Read more about Soke LaMonica here
Okuyama also was able to train in other arts other than Daito-Ryu. He trained in Hasegamako-Ryu Iai-jutsu (sword drawing), Shuriken-jutsu(various throwing weapons), Jo-jutsu (stick), Kusarigama (sickle-chain), Nito-Ryu Ken-jutsu (sword), So-jutsu (spear), and Kyu-jutsu(archery).
In 1936, Okuyama was awarded his intructor’s licence in Daito-Ryu and apprenticed himself to Shihan Somi Takeda. Here he studied the Okuda (secret techniques) and assisted Takeda (who was quite old at the time…) with the running of his Aiki association.