View Full Version : Jujitsu in America before 1940

27th September 2002, 15:08
I am looking for biographical info on American practicing Jujitsu in America before 1940.

27th September 2002, 21:40
Check out: http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncframe.htm

There are some old military articles at the bottom of the page.

Steven Malanosk
28th September 2002, 02:14
You can start with President Teddy Roosevelt.

He was told by the State Dept.,they would no longer allow him to bring in pro boxers to spar with, so he brought over a JJ instructor from Japan. He later did JuDo.

"Speak softly, but carry a big stick!" = Jo.

28th September 2002, 11:04
The "jujitsu" teacher was Yoshiaki [Yoshitsugu] Yamashita. That was the only "jujitsu" teacher TR had. Yamashita was a judoka representing Kano and the Kodokan.

See the article "Professor Yamashita goes to Washington" at http://ejmas.com . In the Journal of Combative Sports.


Joseph Svinth
28th September 2002, 22:54
The URL above is good, but TR also took a few lessons from JJ O'Brien in 1902. O'Brien was just back from Nagasaki, where he had been a Foreign Settlement policeman. Risher Thornberry, who taught jiujitsu to soldiers during WWI and later wrote some books in LA, was also in Nagasaki ca. 1905. See http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncart_henderson_0600.htm .

For more about the Foreign Settlement in Nagasaki, see http://www.uwosh.edu/home_pages/faculty_staff/earns/seaman.html . Descriptions of samurai tactics are included. One strategy is to attack from behind with the sword; another is to wait until the other guy is drunk, then attack. Makes sense to me.

Another pioneer of that era is S.J. (Svend) Jorgensen. The medals you see in all his pictures are shooting medals.

29th September 2002, 03:26
For what it's worth,

I believe that when President Roosevelt also visited Hawaii, he would undergo Professor Hachiro (Henry) Okazaki's restoratative massage therapy, although I don't believe or remember him actually training with Prof. Okazaki at any point.

http://www.danzan.com can offer some decent info on Americans practicing Jujitsu during and before the 40's.

Best Regards.

Joseph Svinth
29th September 2002, 06:48
It was FDR rather than TR who had Okazaki as his masseuse in Hawaii.

Check professional wrestling, too -- Maeda, Taro Miyake, Kaimon Kudo, etc., were all wrestlers.

29th September 2002, 15:55
I got my Roosevelts mixed up. Thanks, Joe!

30th September 2002, 04:24
The thing about jujutsu during that time is that it was really judo or judo with the jujutsu still left in before the McCarthy ban in Japan. Judo was always refered to as jujutsu rather than judo, even though judo is a style of jujutsu, the term itself and its doctrine was abit different than judo. Thus after the ban it lost many of its more jujutsu like self defense aspects.

Brian Griffin
30th September 2002, 06:55
Originally posted by Joseph Svinth
...FDR...who had Okazaki as his masseuse...
Masseur...if you please.

30th September 2002, 12:46
Thank you - tons to read

16th October 2002, 18:07
Here in RI there was Prof. Milton "Hank" Gowdy. He originally taught Yabe JJ. I think he was born in 1920.

Dave Boylan

16th October 2002, 18:10
Yes - I saw an article about his passing away. He was a student of Yae Kichi Yabe. If you have any biographical information on him, or know of any person I could contact to get such info - that would be great. You may post here - or email me privately at kobukai2@hotmail.com Thanks.

16th October 2002, 20:10

I can only pass on what he told me. And I hope I get it right. His instructor was of mixed heritage - Japanese and Mongolian. Sensei Gowdy mentioned that both Prof Kano and O Sensei Ueshiba had visited his instructor's school in the past.

The present head of his system is Brad Inman, a real gentleman and excellent practitioner.

Dave Boylan

16th October 2002, 20:21
Thanks for the information. I will contact Mr. Inman.

17th October 2002, 09:36
Yes, Yabe is of Mongolian descent. A friend teaches Yabe ryu jujutsu in Seattle and does post here from time to time.

He played judo and Sambo with the Mongolian national team and may also have some information.

Aaron Field @ batakhan@msn.com

22nd October 2002, 15:26

What are some of the characteristics of Yabe? What little I know, there was quite a bit of atemi waza.

Dave Boylan

Vincent Azanza
30th October 2002, 17:30
Russ and Dave,

Yae Kiche Yabe was a student of the Tenjin-Ryu school of Ju-Jutsu. The Tenjin was noted for its use of atemi-waza. I am not quite sure that Yae Kiche Yabe was Professor Gowdy's instructor. I believe his instructor of mixed ethnicity was a contemporary with Yae Kiche Yabe.

My instructor is Aaron Fields. I believe he can shed more light on this subject than I can. His e-mail has been having problems lately but here is his address: batakhan@speakeasy.net

Vincent Azanza
Seattle Ju-Jutsu Club

Joseph Svinth
31st October 2002, 03:34
Hiden bunkai in Yabe Ryu include the Axilla of Gi and the Thumb of Death.

Vincent Azanza
31st October 2002, 06:00
You forgot pull my finger too Joe!


31st October 2002, 12:22

You are right. He mentioned that his instructor was of Japanese-Mongolian heritage. I may get this wrong (memory ain't what it used to be) but I think it was Setsu Quan Setsu.

<You forgot pull my finger too Joe!

Ah, this was stolen from the Korean art of Bangu Do. :-)

Dave Boylan

Vincent Azanza
31st October 2002, 17:22
That sounds right. I could not remember his name. My instructor speaks very highly of Brad Inman. Fred Warner is actually the head of the system, Brad is in charge of the Rhode Island school.
I have some of the YK Yabe books, 4 of the 5 in my possesion. If you would like I could photo copy them and send them to you. Shoot me an e-mail if you are interested. vincent.azanza@earthlink.net

Cheers!:D -Vincent-
Seattle Ju-Jutsu Club

jimmy o'curry
11th November 2002, 03:35
Somebody was teaching judo/jujutsu at Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee in the 1930s, but I do not know the name of the sensei. I inquired to the alumni assoc. via e-mail >1 yr. ago, but have not received a response.

Jeff Slade

11th November 2002, 10:10
Hey, Vince!

You're one of Aaron Field's guys, right? Well, tell the right and richouse soke of "Stinky Finger"-jutsu, Mark F. says hey!

Actually, I remember you, if memory serves, which is a growing problem, but Aaron has some quality people there, but then he knows that.


Good to hear from someone at Seattle Jujutsu who isn't Aaron.:D


12th November 2002, 04:03
Thus after the ban it lost many of its more jujutsu like self defense aspects. There's that pesky "budo ban" myth again. The only Martial Arts ban was one drafted by the Japanese Ministry of Education; it ceased judo, kendo, and other budo from being taught in public schools ... only. Budo could still be taught in private dojo. Judo was still being taught in the Kodokan in October 1945 --- that's when the late Walter Todd sensei enrolled.

Joe Svinth might have new information about the "ban" in the near future.

Apparently the Ministry of Education acted on a recommendation made by a Washington DC board (forgot its name). The board recommended kendo no longer be taught because of the nationalistic themes that had been incorporated earlier. Perhaps the Ministry of Education acted on its own so as not to be "forced" by the victors? Perhaps in a way similar to that of the Budokukai , that tried to reorganize itself voluntarily before it was commanded to disolve. Ministry of Education 1, DNBK 0.


Vincent Azanza
12th November 2002, 20:53

Yes Mark, I believe we have met at the Bluming Seminar. I am Aaron's Senior student. About my quality, well if you are referring to my beer drinking kata, I am highly qualified!:D

Hope to see you soon!

Seattle Ju-jutsu Club

Aaron T
25th November 2002, 23:48
I am back in the funny pages.....hey Mark, Joe.....computer giving me the blues but all is well. I am happy to answer any questions directly, as Vinny said my e-mail is batakhan@speakeasy.net

Aaron Fields

Joseph Svinth
26th November 2002, 02:06
There is an article in Japan Times, about August 20, 1945. (I don't have the exact citation handy, sorry.) Anyway, the Japanese have surrendered but the Americans won't arrive for another couple weeks, and the Ministry of Education has already announced the end of grenade throwing and bayonet fighting in the junior high schools. They were also dusting off articles by Nakayama about kendo and Kano about judo that hadn't been seen in the paper since the mid-1930s. You know, the kind that describe kendo as building character and judo as being about Mutual Welfare.

Conclusion? Ministry of Education was already making some major changes in the syllabus PRIOR TO the American arrival. DNBK was also, according to its apologists writing SCAP, working in the same general direction. Thus, SCAP set some guidelines about no martial arts in schools or government buildings. This left lots of disgruntled ex-teachers to find new jobs, and said ex-teachers spent the next 50 years whining about the fact that, left to their own devices, most kids prefer playing volleyball, basketball, baseball, and soccer to bayonet fighting.

26th November 2002, 09:11
Hi, Vince,
Yes, I remember you from that seminar. I always look forward to going to Seattle and hope to see you there.

Darn you. You change identities and email address more often than I change my socks (and at work, that happens at least twice).

I had another new one for you but (sigh) I'll change it again, Aaron Fields, Aaron T. Fields, Aaron T, or Arron Field).

(I actually had meant to send you an article I know you would appreciate this morning, but not budo related, at least not the stuff we do in funny clothes).

Perhaps I just knew you would change up again, somehow. KI?