View Full Version : Danzan Ryu

Joseph Svinth
29th July 2000, 08:23
Hilo, HI, Tribune-Herald, Dec. 16, 1925

This paper is of the opinion that a mixed match ... between a Japanese jiu jitsu expert and a white boxer is not a good thing for this community. It serves no good purpose and merely arouses useless race prejudices. A Japanese and a white man could box together and no hard feeling would arise. If the Japanese won, even the white fans would credit him with being good to win in a game that is practically new to the Japanese, and if he lost, the Japanese would not suffer any hurt of pride. The same would be both true of a jiu jitsu match. But on the other hand, jiu jitsu is something that the Japanese think undefeatable, while the Anglo-Saxon thinks the same of boxing, and both methods are practically rooted in each classes's national pride. When either meets defeat at the other's hands, age-old pride of caste and country is aroused and good sportsmanship is bound to suffer.

The Shinyu Kai must not be judged too harshly by the fans, as they were perfectly sincere in the effort to give the fans of Hilo a good show and it was unfortunate that they were misled by the principals of the match. The club was under the impression that they were giving Kayo Morris' brother a chance to stage a comeback for the family honor, and the fact that Kayo Morris' brother was an Irishman, while Kayo himself was an English Jew, is no fault of the officials of the Shinyu Kai.


NOTE: The Shinyu Kai was Henry Okazaki's club, and Okazuki was the jujutsuka involved in this match.

29th July 2000, 14:43
Who won?

Joseph Svinth
29th July 2000, 22:21
Oh, sorry, I figured everybody knew that Professor Okazaki won.

Some detail of the first match appears on George Arrington's excellent site, http://www.danzan.com . Go to "history", then "a challenge." This is simply some detail not mentioned there.


I'm also in the process of preparing FM 21-150, 1942, for posting to JNon-LethalCbt at http://ejmas.com . This text is interesting because it is based largely on DZR principles. From an instructional standpoint I think Captain Smith's stuff is better for teaching large numbers of troops in a hurry, but I guess you'll be able to decide that for yourself as the text and photos appear.

3rd August 2000, 20:03
so the point of this thread is.....?

-eric sterner

Joseph Svinth
4th August 2000, 09:00
The point of this post?

I assumed that people knew what was available on the Internet regarding Danzan Ryu history, and therefore did not need or want lengthy and essentially repetitive preamble. But, as that is not the case, another long and probably irrelevant posting follows. The moderator may move it to a more relevant forum if he wishes.

Seishiro "Henry" Okazaki began studying Yoshin-ryu jujutsu in Hilo, Hawaii in 1910, and received his mokuroku, or instructor's scroll, in 1922.

On May 19, 1922, Okazaki had a jujutsu vs. boxing match with Carl "K.O." Morris in Hilo. (Until 1929 prizefighting was illegal in the Territory of Hawaii but exhibitions were not.) And, while Okazaki had his nose broken in the first round, he caught Morris’s arm during the second and then put him down for the count.

Okazaki's victory brought Okazaki and his dojo, the Shin-yu-kai, considerable praise in Hilo, and in 1923 he even began teaching a girls' self-defense class at Hilo High School. "The course is a practical one," said the "Japan Times", "and centers on the line of 'To-Ho-Do-Ki,' or breaking of hand-grips, whereby a girl, no matter how weak, can quickly extricate herself from an attacker’s grip. In the opinion of the instructors, the girls can attain a fair knowledge of 'To-Ho-Do-Ki' within a few months time."

In 1925 Okazaki had a second boxing vs. jujutsu match in Hilo. As noted in the original posting, this one did not attract so much favorable attention.

By 1930 Okazaki had moved from Hilo to Honolulu, and there began began teaching what he now called "Danzan Ryu" jujutsu. (The name Danzan Ryu literally means "Cedar Mountain Old Flow," but as Cedar Mountain refers to the Big Island, it is usually translated as Hawaiian jujutsu.)

As developed in Honolulu, Danzan Ryu jujutsu incorporated techniques from Kodokan judo (Okazaki was graded 2-dan at the Kodokan), Goju Ryu karate (Okazaki's student Oki Shikina studied for a bit with Chojun Miyagi) western boxing, Yoshin Ryu jujutsu, professional wrestling (Oki Shikina was a Territorial champion and eventually a trainer of Rikidozan), and perhaps even lua. (Lua is a Native Hawaiian martial art. For an online introduction, see http://www.paulwaters.com/learning.htm and http://coffeetimes.com/lua.htm .)

Okazaki's first Honolulu class had six students, and to the disgust of many in both the haole and AJA ("Americans of Japanese Ancestry," a term that Japanese Americans from Hawaii have used for themselves since World War II) communities, these classes were as interracially mixed as Honolulu itself. Classes were held six days a week, with a Sunday class at Okazaki’s home for special students.

These students later offered instruction at the Honolulu YMCA and US Army bases, and as a result Danzan Ryu methods were shown in the US Army Field Manual 21-150, "Unarmed Defense for the American Soldier," dated June 30, 1942. (Sig Kufferath and Lono Ancho contributed to the preparation of the base document, and people shown in photographs include Steve Byzek and Marion Anderson.)

4th August 2000, 19:05
Hello All,

Been away from the list for a while.

I appreciate the info that Joe has posted about the rematch. I was unaware of this incident prior to this.

A couple of comments...I think the primary contributor to the 1942 manual was Kufferath and not Ancho. Ancho was not in the military at this time and could not have been a part of this manual. Ancho did, however, provide special training to the armed forces later (60's on).

The 1942 manual does not mention Okazaki nor Kufferath and shows models that were not from the Kodenkan. The recently released photos of Byzek and Anderson (not the same Marion Anderson that was a Kodenkan instructor) were classified during the war and not used in the book.

Brian Griffin
4th August 2000, 21:37
Hi Mr. Svinth--thanks for the fascinating new info!
Hey George! Where you been? Good to hear from you.

Allow me to offer a small historico-linguistic comment:

Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
The name Danzan Ryu literally means "Cedar Mountain Old Flow," but as Cedar Mountain refers to the Big Island, it is usually translated as Hawaiian jujutsu.
The kanji used for the "dan" in "danzan" can, in fact, be used to mean "cedar" but in this case it's better rendered as "sandalwood." There were once significant expanses of sandalwood trees native to the Hawai'ian Islands. In the 18th & 19th centuries, these were harvested & exported to southern China (and elsewhere), where they were in great demand (for incense, scented soaps, fans, & other handicrafts). As a result, there are several terms in the Chinese language which use "sandalwood" in reference to the Hawai'ian Islands, e.g. _tan dao_ (sandalwood islands), _tan xiang shan_ (sandalwood-scented mountains), or just plain _tan shan_ for short. The latter term (given in pinyin Mandarin here) was apparently the way one of Okazaki's teachers (Wo Chong) referred to the islands. Okazaki took the term (in its Japanese pronunciation) as the name of his new ryu, as a way of showing respect to an honored teacher.

BTW, does anybody (George?) know anything more about Wo Chong? The name sounds southern-chinese (to me, anyway) & immigration history suggests the same (Canton? Fukien?). Okazaki called his boxing-style _mushi jutsu_ i.e. "insect art." Could this be a southern Preying Mantis style?

5th August 2000, 01:12
Howdy Brian,

Nice to hear from you as well.

I did find out (finally) about this mushi-jutsu stuff. Of course my initial approach was to look up the word "Mushi" in the ol' Nelson. Naturally, the only Japanese word with which these syllables coorespond together is "Bug". I discussed this praying mantis theory with several people in the past. One person even translated it as such in a magazine article.

But, DUH... (imagine the sound of my hand smacking my forehead!)

It's not mushi...it's mu-shi, which is equivalent to bu-shi, which of course means warrior. These are the kanji which Chong/Okazaki were saying. Okazaki describes it in his 1929 book as the art of boxing with the intent to kill. It certainly sounds like some of the stuff we saw back in '93, eh?




Joseph Svinth
5th August 2000, 14:53
For anyone else who likes old newspaper articles about Hawaiian judo and jujutsu, here are a couple more clippings.

From “Girls Expert in Jiujitsu,” Japan Times & Mail, Feb. 13, 1924, 5.

HILO, Hawaii, Jan. 17 – The girls demonstrated what they can do in the line of jiujitsu last night.

Wearing white Japanese jiujitsu jackets and bloomers, with obis [sashes] smartly tied around their slender waists, and chaperoned by Miss Harrison of the Young Women’s Christian Association, the members of the Girls’ Reserve of the Hilo Senior High School and some public teachers enthusiastically commenced the new year’s practice of the world-famous, gentle but effective art of jiujitsu last evening in the gymnasium of the Hilo Shin-yu-kwai, under the able instruction of Mr. Okazaki, Mr. Sakamoto, and their assistants.

This girls’ jiujitsu class was organized in the latter part of 1923 by Miss Harrison with the view of helping the members of her sex to learn self defense.

The course is a practical one and centers on the line of ‘To-Ho-Do-Ki,” or breaking of hand-grips, whereby a girl, no matter how weak, can quickly extricate herself from an attacker’s grip.

In the opinion of the instructors, the girls can attain a fair knowledge of “To-Ho-Do-Ki” within a few months time.

The girls are fortunate in having as instructor, Okazaki, champion jiujitsu exponent of the Big Island, who not long ago defeated K.O. Morris in a mixed jiujitsu-boxing match.

Considerable credit must be given to the Shin-yu-kwai Association which is doing its utmost to promote interest in jiujitsu among the young people.

The present Shin-yu-kwai was a small club with few members at its origin. Among these was Okazaki, now a “ni dan,” a high rank in jiujitsu sportdom.

When the beneficial results derived from practicing jiujitsu were realized by the majority of the people, increase of members followed. At present the club has about 200 members.


From “Hawaiian-Born Girl Wins Ranking of ‘Shodan’ in Judo,” Japan Times & Mail, Nov. 20, 1936, 5.

Of two girls who were presented with certificates of ‘shodan’ or the first class in judo Wednesday [18 Nov 1936] at ceremonies in the women’s division of the Kodokan, one was Miss Shizuko Osumi, 20, a Hawaiian born Japanese girl.

Miss Osumi is a student of the Jissen Girls school and has been taking up judo for the last five years.

The other girl to win the distinction of possessing the first class ranking was Miss Miyeko Kitajima.


If anybody knows anything more about Miss Osumi or the Hilo girls' class, I would be interested in hearing it.

Brian Griffin
8th August 2000, 04:05
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
If anybody knows anything more about Miss Osumi or the Hilo girls' class, I would be interested in hearing it.
Great stuff, Mr. Svinth! Keep it coming!
Sounds like the Hilo class was the fore-runner of the one Okazaki later ran for the Girl Scouts, as documented in his 1929 book "The Science of Self-Defense for Girls & Women."
Originally posted by danzanryu
I did find out (finally) about this mushi-jutsu stuff.
It's not mushi...it's mu-shi, which is equivalent to bu-shi, which of course means warrior. These are the kanji which Chong/Okazaki were saying.Does this mean you have a document written by Okazaki that contains this kanji compound in this context? That would be great! Is it going up on your website? "Mu-shi" is kind of an unusual reading for those kanji, don't you agree?
Okazaki describes it in his 1929 book as the art of boxing with the intent to kill. It certainly sounds like some of the stuff we saw back in '93, eh?
On the other hand, _tanglangquan_ is known for both its vital-point striking {tianxue} and grappling techniques {qin-na}---very much like the _okugi_ of Danzan-ryu.

Here are the relevant quotes:
from "The Science of Self-Defense for Girls & Women"(1929)
"...and from a Chinese, a kind of boxing called Mushi-Jitsu...
...Mushi-Jitsu is a kind of boxing used with intent to kill and so it differs from the American style.
There's another 2-kanji compound to consider here: _mu-shi_ with the meaning "without regard to rules." Maybe old Wo Chong was teaching NHB fighting! :)

Then again, there's _mu-shi_ with the meaning "penniless."
After seeing all the red ink on the dojo books at the close of each month, I must be a _shihan_ by now :)

jimmy o'curry
3rd January 2001, 04:19
i'm moving this back up to the top; it is a very good thread, and will help my other post make more sense.

jimmy o'curry
24th January 2001, 23:39
there is a discussion in the "western-arts" list at egroups.com, that states DZR never made it into the military field manual;

a post claims that the waza were based upon "goshin jitsu from the new york judo club" (?);

any comments? i'm genuinely curious re: this subject.

jime okuri, a.k.a. jeff slade

Joseph Svinth
25th January 2001, 07:18
The instructor at the New York Jiu-Jitsu Club in 1936 was T. Shozo Kuwashima. Remembered today mostly for his book written with A.R. Welch (*Judo: Forty-One Lessons in the Modern Science of Jiu-Jitsu*, 1938), Kuwashima was born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1893. After studying judo at Tokyo Agricultural College, he emigrated to the United States in 1916. He taught judo in Stockton and other Northern California locations until the mid-1930s, when he got a job teaching judo in New York and New Jersey. He must have been fairly orthodox, as Jigoro Kano visited the club Later he moved to Chicago, where he operated a judo club until a skin disease forced his retirement in 1945. Demonstrators shown in British versions of Kuwashima’s book included Ted Mossom and Stan Bissell.

To see chapters out of the 1942 US Army manual, see Journal of Non-lethal Combatives at http://ejmas.com . Disregarding the fact that the technical advisor for the comments is a DZR stylist, why, if the US manual of 1942 was based on Kodokan judo, don't its methods more closely resemble those shown in Kuwashima's book? Hmm?

Anyway, for more on DZR, see http://www.ajjf.org/~ajjf/article02.html and
http://www.danzan.com .

jimmy o'curry
25th January 2001, 23:42
thank you;

may i quote you, or cite this information? it is well-known stuff in DZR circles, i'm sure; but some guy at "western-arts" is challenging it, claiming to have researched the matter.

jimmy o'curry (jeff slade)

Joseph Svinth
26th January 2001, 06:46
Cool. Since the fellow claims to have researched it, then he should have no trouble providing standard references with which to refute everything George Arrington and I have said. ("New York Times" tells us who taught at the New York Dojo in the 1930s, so it's not like I'm saying anything here that a reasonable researcher shouldn't already know.)

Examples of acceptable sources include newspaper articles with full citation so that I can find them in the library (Xeroxes are acceptable), Xeroxes of signed and dated letters, tape-recorded interviews, and transcribed oral histories. If it turns out their documentation supports their claims, then I will be more than happy to publish the corrections.

On the other hand, if the fellow replies, "I heard this from My Master, and He knows, and that should be sufficient for you," well...

jimmy o'curry
27th January 2001, 02:48
thanks for all the information.

jimmy okuri (jeff slade)

Joseph Svinth
27th January 2001, 07:29
I have been told via offline communication that Sig Kufferath of the DZR told his students that he worked on FM 21-150.

Unfortunately Kufferath is deceased and as a result this is hearsay anecdotal evidence rather than compelling evidence. Nevertheless, at least we have the name of the teacher who said, thus causing DZR students to believe.

The Western arts people should at a minimum be able to provide the name of the teacher who said that he contributed to the base document. If they can't, then what you have is simply apocryphal citation. Apocryphal citation can be used to guide searches, but care should be taken, as we tend to find what we want to see.

jimmy o'curry
28th January 2001, 05:40
according to my interlocutor on the other list, the nyc jiu-jitsu club and the nyc judo club were two different entities . . .

he states that the nyc judo club's techs. were based upon the work of allan smith & sven jorgensen . . .

also states the nyc judo club cut itself off from all oriental instruction, & based its work on pre-WWII non-japanese sources (??) . . .

i'm not making any further inquiries about this on the other list; i'm not in a position to refute the guy . . .

however, i am curious about these references; have you heard of this nyc judo club that relied on non-japanese techs; . . . have you heard of allan smith and /or sven jorgensen?

i appreciate your comments; i don't have much time for research these days, as i have a little one on the way. however, i do like learning about the history of DZR J-J & judo in the u.s. . . .

(i learned DZR from an ex-cop who broke away from the AJJF, b/c he thought it was not concentrating sufficiently on self-defense . . .)

thanks again for all the info.
Jeff Slade (jimmy o'curry)

[Edited by jimmy o'curry on 01-28-2001 at 12:49 AM]

Joseph Svinth
28th January 2001, 08:06
From 1920 until 1950, Svend J. Jorgensen (1890-1974) was a Seattle policeman, and according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he started teaching jiujitsu to traffic police in November 1927. (The Museum of History and Industry has the original glass plate negative of the photo; it's nice.)

Jorgensen's official SPD Museum biography reads, in part:

"One of the most well-known officers was Sven 'Jiu-Jitsu' Jorgensen. Hired on January 1, 1920, Jorgensen became internationally known for his expertise in weaponry, pistol marksmanship, and the training of police officers in the martial art form of 'jiu-jitsu.'

"A tireless promoter of his talents and the police, Jorgensen began travelling throughout the nation, instructing police officers (who, to this point in history had never seen much formalized training) in 'disarming' techniques, proper handgun use, and self-protection."

Jorgensen ran for King County Sheriff in November 1950 (Democratic ticket) and was soundly defeated by the incumbent, Harlan S. Callahan. In his retirement, he taught self-defense classes, often to women, and worked as a security guard at Harborview Medical Center. Between 1930 and 1969 he published a number of books. Sample titles include "American Police Ju Jitsu" (1937), "Come Along Holds" (1938), "Official Police Ju Jitsu" (1938), and "Thirty-Six Secret Knockout Blows without the Use of Fists" (1930).

So far, all this is background, and if anyone anything substantive to share (including Xeroxes of his books; all I have is "American Police Jiu Jitsu"), I'd appreciate it. (Washington State Historical Society has a couple of his books in its possession, but due to their condition they don't allow photocopying.)

Meanwhile, the first five chapters of Allan Corstorphin Smith's manual appear at Journal of Non-Lethal Combatives at http://ejmas.com . Smith earned his shodan in Japan in 1916, and taught H2H to cavalrymen at Fort Myer and West Point cadets at Fort Benning during the period 1918-1920.

The only resemblance I noticed between FM 21-150 and Smith's book is the use of the word "Stahara," and in FM 21-150 that term was used only in passing, and never really defined. Smith on the other hand gave it a lot of space, and in modern terms, what he was talking about was centering. This suggests that the term was not understood by the authors of FM 21-150, as Smith (properly, IMO) harped on it.

Still, some of the defenses shown in FM 21-150 are stupid enough to have been invented in New York by people with lots of experience watching movies. See, for example, the knife defenses shown at Figure 47-2, where the guy with the knife lunges, and the soldier drops to the ground to do a butterfly leg sweep. To wit:

"Immediately your opponent comes within arm's length of your nearest leg, you will spring to the ground, launching your body at him feet first, and turning to your left. Your left instep will hook around your opponent's lead ankle. Your right foot will kick him strongly on the inside of the knee or thigh, while you break the force of your fall to the ground with your hand or arm (fig. 47 (2)). This scissoring motion done rapidly and taking your opponent by surprise will drop him on his back. The best he can possibly do with his knife is cut at your feet or lower leg. Immediately you both strike the ground, you will raise your right foot and bring your heel viciously into his groin or midsection."

This is designed for a combat infantryman, remember, wearing about 50 pounds of equipment, rather than Douglas Fairbanks and a stuntman. As a result, in my opinion, the current FM 21-150, Combatives, which is influenced heavily by taekwondo, is a LOT more practical and practical than the 1942 edition.

Oh. Regarding that horrible Oriental instruction, the RCMP, Berkeley PD, Washington State Patrol, and LAPD all had Nikkei instructors before WWII; the US Army hired judoka out of the camps to teach in CQB during WWII; and the Navy's V-5 program was based in part on the successes of Mas Tamura over Karl Pojello. (Tamura gave up sixty pounds and choked out Pojello in under 2 minutes. Score one for judoka.) Professional wrestling also influenced WWII combatives. Kaimon Kudo, for example, trained Rangers in Hawaii while Lou Thesz trained Army infantry at Fort Lewis. So if you want to do legitimate WWII combatives, either train at the Gardena Judo Club where Kudo was an instructor emeritus for decades, or with any big-time rassler taught by Thesz (there are a bunch), and you'll be as legitimate in your claims as anybody else.

[Edited by Joseph Svinth on 01-28-2001 at 03:22 AM]

28th January 2001, 23:22

Just had the opportunity to go through the history of Danzan Ryu, specifically the challange link.

I know it took place many moons ago, but do you know if there were any "rules".

Gloves, shoes worn?

I imagine it was much like a modern UFC where the eyes, bites were off limits.

Any ideas?

[Edited by kenjgood on 01-28-2001 at 06:25 PM]

jimmy o'curry
29th January 2001, 01:59
thanks again, mr. svinth

Joseph Svinth
29th January 2001, 06:31
Ken --

As I understand it, the boxer was uniformed in gloves, shorts, and shoes, while the judoka was in judogi. For a 1913 Japan Times article and a picture, see http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_JapanTimes_1199.htm .

In support of this thesis, E.J. Harrison (1982, page 46), adds: "In my opinion the problem can never be satisfactorily solved under the conditions of a friendly contest in which the boxer must wear gloves and the judoka may not avail himself of the more deadly tricks in his repertoire."

And, finally, Heinie Miller wrote in "The Ring" (Dec. 1922, page 5), about a match in Manila in 1909: "The Jap was to wear a sort of jiu-jitsu shirt while the American was to wear gloves. The Jap was not allowed to hit but all jiu-jitsu holds were permitted. The American was not allowed to wrestle or hold but all clean blows were permitted."

All --

Does anybody have access to old New York City telephone books? The first step: During the 1930s, what were the addresses of the various judo and jujitsu clubs in town? Who was involved?

If the DZR story is legend, then we need to put it to rest. (One of the joys of E-publishing is that I can correct my errors quickly!) On the other hand, if it is fact, then it would be nice to quantify it.

[Edited by Joseph Svinth on 01-29-2001 at 01:35 AM]