View Full Version : Koryu in Hawai`i

Joel Simmons
26th September 2001, 00:47

My name is Joel Simmons and I've been looking for a koryu style to study for a while. I just discovered this forum and thought maybe this might be a good way to ask around.

I know a lot of people involved in koryu do not like to take just anybody into their dojo without knowing something about them or without knowing them personally. So, I wanted to just tell a little about myself and my experience in the martial arts so I don't come off as a complete stranger.

I'm a student at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, majoring in Human Geography. I plan on moving back to Portland, OR where I grew up after I graduate to pursue a masters degree. I am also engaged to a wonderful woman I met at the Univ. of Portland when I attended there. She is originally from Hawai'i. Some hobbies of mine are restoring classic aircooled volkswagens and maybe customizing them a bit. My current project is a clean 1967 Beetle. I also try to go hiking whenever I can.

My martial arts experience started out awesome, but turned sour through time. I began in Portland by studying traditional Okinawan Shorin-ryu karate-do. I loved it. But, the sensei was interested in "expanding" the dojo and getting more and more students so it could be his fulltime job. So, I left the dojo due to it expanding to over 100 students with one sensei. My second experience was with bujinkan ninjutsu. It was interesting, but many of the characters that were attracted to that dojo were practicing for less than noble reasons. At least, thats the vibe I got. Also, ninjutsu has a questionable lineage, and lineage is something I think is very important. The next experience I had was with a Kung-fu kwoon that supposedly taught, "all the Shaolin animal styles and the secret wu-tang mountain styles" well...too good to be true usually is and it was. Here in Hawai'i I tried out another kung-fu kwoon but didn't like the fact that the sifu had framed pictures of himself on the cover of Black Belt mag. all over the kwoon. So, I proceeded to try out some Hawaiian Lua. Interesting, but a lot of hot-heads and egos.

Either I have extremely bad karma or I'm just too picky. All this has occured in the passing of 3 years during which I've just been trying to find a dojo that teaches traditional koryu with the correct spirit.

If anybody could help me out that would be awesome. Thanks for reading this long and boring message, I wish I could've made it more interesting.

Aloha and mahalo,
Joel Simmons

Stéphan Thériault
26th September 2001, 04:17
Aloha back at you there! You might want to check out http://www.furyu.com/ mr.Muromoto practice both Takeuchi-ryu kobudo and Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iai. He's in Hawaii, by the way.

Joel Simmons
26th September 2001, 07:09
Aloha Stephan,

Thank you for the information. I received the same name from some other dojos in the area here. I'll be sure to check him out.


Kit LeBlanc
26th September 2001, 07:15


I live in Portland and Sosuishitsu-ryu jujutsu has several branches here. The system is related to the Takeuchi-ryu which Mr. Muromoto teaches, and the guys here are well connected with the headmaster of the system in Japan.

That may help you make some decisions, if ya think you might ultimately end up back here...


26th September 2001, 07:35
Hi Joel,

I know of two groups here in Hawaii, Wayne Muromoto's group as mentioned above, and Quintin Chambers SMR jo group. I think that may be pretty much it here on Oahu. I think the best way to get in touch with Wayne is to email him via his website. As for SMR jo, we only train once a week (Sunday mornings), and it can take a long time for the training to, uh, accumulate(?) into any skill or ability, and it can get really frustrating, so I generally don't recommend it to my friends (just my enemies ;o). But you're still welcome to come check us out. If you're interested, pop me an email or something and I can send directions.

-Charles Lockhart
Honolulu, HI

Oh, yeah, I was gonna say, for a shorter term investment, there's plenty of good judo and aikido here.

Brently Keen
26th September 2001, 17:15

There are Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai clubs in both Hawaii and the Portland, Oregon area. Email me for some more info, and I'll see if I can't put you in touch with them.

Brently Keen

26th September 2001, 17:53

Wondering, is the Daito-ryu Roppokai club the one that Chris Matsuo is with? I've heard pretty great things about him ("a real prodigy" is the phrase a friend of mine used). Do you know if they're still training in Moilili?

-Charles Lockhart
Honolulu, HI

Kit LeBlanc
26th September 2001, 18:02
Where near Portland is the Roppokai? I'd like to go check them out.


Joel Simmons
26th September 2001, 22:37
Aloha all,

Thanks for all the help and information. I didn't think I'd get any replies so soon. All the information I've ever read about koryu is that people who train in them are very reluctant to bring random people into it.

I guess those sources are wrong.

Charles - I know what you mean about slow moving progress with training sessions being only once a week. I think I need to find a place where I can train at least 2 times, 3 ideally. But, you take what you can get right?

Aloha and mahalo,

Chuck Clark
27th September 2001, 02:00

With respect, I suspect that Chambers Sensei didn't tell you to only practice once a week.

You might want to pick up your jo and bokuto every chance you get and invite others who train with you once a week to make it 2 or 3 times at your house, a nearby park, or any place that is convenient.


27th September 2001, 02:56
Hi Chuck,

With respect, I pick up my jo and bokuto and practice with a friend who has about the same level of ability in the park 2-3 times a week, schedules permitting. I also practice by myself maybe an hour a night, going over different problems I have with the kihon or the kata.

I definitely wish that the other core students had time available to train with me on the side. I could make time to train with somebody every day. The biggest bitch I have with my training is that I only get one full on class a week, but then I'm lucky to get even that. Chambers S. gives us his time, and in my opinion world class instruction, and never asks anything in return. I mean, ANYTHING. And I can tell we try his patience a great deal. Some of us are just plain talent-less, others are (unknowingly in my opinion) kind of rude. And he never complains, just smiles, and keeps going. Hell, he drives in from Kailua to teach us, which is significantly more hassle than my little cruise across town.

Mabye it's because he's British?

Anyway, the side practices we have are just not the same as the official class we have every Sunday, and as the most junior *consistent* (ie. showing up for every class, vs. more junior students who show up sporadically) member in our group, I'm not going to be inviting new students to the park to show 'em how its done.

Unfortunately, we have a really small group. I would say that we have, uh, 1, 2, 3, 4, yeah, 4 students who show up more than 50% of the time and I* consider to be core members. The most senior student has been there since, I think, the 70's, the next guy down has been there since '90, me and the other guy have been there since uh, '97? In the four years I've been there, I've seen so many people come and go. In four years we haven't had one new student that attends consistently. I'm tired of being the junior-most guy already <insert whining, pissing and moaning here>.

Most people don't make it past the kihon. I understand why. I don't think we focus a whole lot on new students. I personally don't think it's really a good investment to spend a lot of time on them. If they make it through the kihon, then, to me, they've started being worth the time. If they make it past tsuki zue, then I start feeling like it's a sound investment. Up until then, I try and help them learn the techniques so that they aren't so painful to watch, that's about it. I've been a member of a training group whose main focus was on new students, on training them and keeping them. Beyond the beginner level, nobody received any more training, so everybody left.

The real fact for me is that I am not qualified or authorized to show anybody squat about SMR jo. When it comes to working with new students, I do exactly what Quintin tells me to do, no more, no less, as best as I can.

Sorry, this went off into rant world. And here I meant it to be a short response. I guess, in summary, I'm an anti-social bastard, and I train for myself and my own reasons. Hell, I'd like to steer everybody away from our group, if only to maximize my learning time. I'm stingy. But that would probably be inappropriate, and not my call. Chambers Sensei is a fantastic guy with incredible amounts of experience. I highly recommend anybody interested in koryu in Hawaii to come at least watch one of our classes and say hi to him. He is a very friendly, approachable and down-to-earth (hope I used that phrase correctly) person. If you want directions, message me, or email me at charles_z_lockhart@hotmail.com

Again, Chuck, sorry if I was too much with that. Guess I ran into a sore spot there somewhere.

Take care,

-Charles Lockhart
Honolulu, HI

*everything I write reflects my opinions, and in no way is meant to reflect the opinions or feelings of anybody else. And trust me, my opinions aren't worth much.

Timothy Walters Kleinert
27th September 2001, 12:45
I know that there is a Kashima Shinden Jikishin-kage Ryu (kenjutsu) school somewhere in Hawaii, but I don't know where exactly. It is my understanding that there are only two schools of that ryu in the US, one in Hawaii and one in Chicago, IL. Here's the email for the school in Chicago, I'm sure you could email them for the address of the school in Hawaii (note: Kashima Shinden Jikishin-kage Ryu is not the only thing they teach in the Chicago school, so you may wish to mention that you're specifically looking for the Kashima Shinden Jikishin-kage Ryu school in Hawaii) :


--Timothy Kleinert

Tony Peters
4th October 2001, 03:10
on the lack of students though I'm one of the students who doesn't get to practice regularly:( The Current political situation coupled with a decrease in my jobs manning and an increase in the workload has left me with precious little time to do much. (Getting stranded in Guam for a week longer than expected didn't help either) One day a week is hard because if you can't make it that day you lose two weeks on training...though Chambers sensei is way beyond patient with me when I do make it in. He truely is a wonderful teacher. Now if I can just figure out how to get free from work for a sunday or ten :D

4th October 2001, 04:27
Yeah, but then you have to agree with me Tony, or else the next time you come to class I'll thwack you with a stick ;)

Seriously though, my pseudo-psychotic ranting about people who don't show up wasn't about you. You have other obligations and make it when you can, uh, most of the time:D I think it's admirable that you still come even inconsistently. My biggest challenge during my first year of training was dealing with the (very) slow accumulation of skill (not to say that it's speeding along now ;o). I think I had one advantage over most beginners: I had a burning need to train, and a bum knee that kept me from training in pretty much anything else. Likely that without the knee injury, I would never have started training. Of course, then I wouldn't be the insane jo addict that I am now..... :eek:

Charles Lockhart
Honolulu, HI

Jeff Hamacher
4th October 2001, 05:17
Originally posted by charlesl2
... and a bum knee that kept me from training in pretty much anything else. Likely that without the knee injury, I would never have started training.
the parallel with my start in jo is eerily familiar.:D i did some damage to my knee and underwent surgery to correct things, but the pain hasn't subsided enough that i can return to aikido. i am still doing tea ceremony and started yoga recently, but the sudden shocks of ukemi or the strain of shikko is just too much for now. i'm so grateful to have found a skilled jo teacher in my neighbourhood, and i'm really digging the training.

4th October 2001, 15:44
Although not a Koryu, there is also a Hakko Ryu Dojo in Honolulu.
I believe you can get contact information at www.hakkoryu.com

Hope this helps.
Steven Resell

4th October 2001, 16:43
Jim, I would get a real life, but it would conflict too heavily with my current delusions of adequacy.

As for whining, well, George W. got on the tv just the other night and declared that it's every American's God/Allah/Buddha's given right to bitch, moan and whine to their heart's content:D And after all, isn't that what public forum's are about ;o)?

So, do you guys just train in jo? How many people are in your group? How long you been training? I'm thinking your in Anchorage?

4th October 2001, 16:55

So let me guess, tore your ACL? That's what happened to me. I spend 2+ years training in aikido, never even get so much as a bruise, decide to take up judo, which I loved, and 8 months later I can't walk. A few months later when the swelling had gone down and leg was stable I tried judo again, but no go. Then tried going back to aikido, but no go. Luckily a friend of mine, Tomas Hargrave, practiced jo. I'd always thought of it as an eccentricity of his, thought the whole stick vs. sword thing was pretty useless and redundant. I know better now, but it's not something I could explain to somebody who didn't already know, and then what would be the point.

Anyway, I finally had the surgery, and am hoping to supplement my jo training with some more judo, assuming I can find a school here in Honolulu that'll teach a beat-up adult with no talent for it.

Sorry for the whole personal bio thing.

-Charles Lockhart
Honolulu, HI

Jeff Hamacher
5th October 2001, 03:20
Originally posted by charlesl2
So let me guess, tore your ACL? That's what happened to me. (...) Anyway, I finally had the surgery, and am hoping to supplement my jo training with some more judo, assuming I can find a school here in Honolulu that'll teach a beat-up adult with no talent for it.
i'm not familiar with the acronym ACL; what i did was put a couple of tears in the lateral meniscii of my left knee. the meniscus is the shock absorber inside the knee joint. i had my surgery here, and from what my doctor/surgeon told me this kind of injury is quite common among japanese even if they don't have any martial arts experience. my injury comes from bending the knee very deeply and then applying strong lateral or twisting pressure on the joint, which is why i suspect ushiro-ukemi and shikko are the culprits. sadly, i don't know if i'll ever feel confident enough to go back to aikido or a similar grappling art, since the doctor told me that while the surgery corrects the problem it removes some of the meniscus tissue making the joint slightly weaker and raising the likelihood of reinjury. ah, well.

Brently Keen
5th October 2001, 21:12
I'd think that judo would be even worse than aikido (for the knees). I had a student in his mid-late forties with a similar injury in his knee, and was concerned about maybe having to have additional surgery, when he started with me (doing Daito-ryu). He could hardly sit in seiza more than a minute, and could not do shikko at all. But after some time (about a year) he actually strengthened his knee and improved his overall flexibility and circulation. He only occasionally needed to wear his knee brace/support and did not need to have additional surgery. He also was able to resume surfing and mountain biking more frequently even competing in a masters surf competition.

The key is in learning how to move properly into and from seiza as well as in shikko. It's hard to describe in words, but proper movement does not do damage. Shikko, when done properly places no stress and almost no weight on the knees. But few really pay much attention to the older and more correct ways of moving. I'm continually amazed at how destructive many arts (or the way they're practiced) really are for practitioners who train over long periods. Presumably the budo are for self-preservation and protection, and extended practice of these arts ought not to be harmful or damaging if practiced correctly even into old age.

One unique aspect of Daito-ryu Roppokai training is that with the kind of nagare geiko we do, is when practicing za tori techniques (suwari waza) you don't wind up sitting in seiza for long extended periods of time like is often done in aikido. Instead, you generally sit stationary while you throw each of your training partners once, then you get up and get in line to take ukemi while the next guy throws everybody and so on. You throw everybody once and you take ukemi from everybody once. So you get up and down more frequently (which strengthens the knee and improves circulation), but don't stay seated for too long which restricts circulation, and puts pressure on the knees. We do a lot less shikko than other branches of Daito-ryu and most schools of aikido too. Our za tori techniques generally don't require as much movement either, so unlike aikido's suwari waza ikkyo for example, where you're kneeling up on your toes (weight distributed between your toes and knees) and then stepping around the mat pummeling your knees in shikko as you stuggle to keep you balance and blend with uke to execute the technique - we tend to remain seated in seiza (weight distributed evenly across the instep and shins and knees) and control or move the uke around us without needing to move around too much or take any unnecessary steps. This stems from Daito-ryu's oshikiuchi techniques that were created to conform with the strict ettiquette enforced inside castles, but is also much easier on the knees.

Another frequent problem is people don't sit properly in seiza either. You should not have one foot on top of the other. Your big toes should be touching (some say one over the other), but your feet should not overlap. Your weight should be centered over your ankles/feet and not forward over your knees. You shouldn't ever bend forward leaning your hands or forearms (and your weight) onto your knees.

* * * * *

Kit: You can find some contact information for the Roppokai in Oregon on the international website: www.daitoryu-roppokai.org
Desmond is building a new dojo, that he hopes to have completed sometime next Spring.

Brently Keen

Jeff Hamacher
15th October 2001, 06:51

thanks for the post regarding Daitoryu and injuries; i've wondered about training in DTR and in particular was concerned about running into the same difficulties that i probably did with aikido. the fact is that i don't know for sure what the cause of my injury was. my doctor/surgeon told me that, based on the images from an MRI scan, it wasn't the result of trauma but rather a type of repetitive-stress-disorder. the main reason the damage progressed to the point where it required surgery was that i chose to just bear the pain (foolishly) rather than immediately go to the doctor. interestingly enough, my right knee was showing exactly the same symptoms but a training layoff of 3-4 months put it right. if only i'd gone the preventative route with my left knee ...:(

i also train in tea ceremony and with a few years of living in japan i would say that my seiza is essentially correct. even so, my doctor was quick to point out that my injury is very common among japanese who don't even train in martial arts or do other heavy physical activity; it's simply the result of "floor living". he also noted that with the rise of "chair culture" in japan the incidence of meniscus damage is dropping steadily. regardless, he told me that the knee joint is a complex little doofer and very susceptible to injury no matter what kind of physical activity you do. heck, i asked him if i was safe doing yoga (which i started a month ago to get some more flexibility into my stiff body) and he said, "not really"!

your comments about shikkou in DTR as compared to aikido, Brently, seem to be on the money. i don't have any experience training in DTR as such, only reading through the technical manual published by Aiki News and written by Kondo-sensei, but i got the impression that, where aikido techniques demand trying to approximate proper walking while you're on your knees, DTR techniques keep the wandering around to a minimum and concentrate on overcoming your "opponent" with other skills. of course, Kondo-sensei represents a different branch of the DTR tradition than Roppokai and Okamoto-sensei, but even if there are some differences in approach i assume the fundamentals are similar. if you have any further comments, Brently, i'd be happy to hear them.

i won't be training in any martial art other than jo for a while, i figure, but perhaps i'll find the opportunity to take up DTR at some point. given the chance and the time to dedicate to regular training, i think that DTR would be wonderful study for me.

J. A. Crippen
14th November 2002, 21:11
I'm planning to move from my home town of Anchorage, Alaska to Honolulu, Hawai`i in a couple of years. One of my main reasons is to have better access to Japanese cultural and linguistic education and especially to koryu bugei. (Another reason is to attend the U of H's EE program, but that's a different story.) It looks like my current employer has quite a number of positions that open up there regularly, so job prospects are pretty good for me in comparison to the rest of the weakened economy in the region.

I'm wondering if anyone can enlighten me as to what koryu are available on Oahu (Honolulu and environs). I'm primarily interested in jujutsu and kenjutsu (not just iai/batto), but sogo bujutsu and others would certainly hold my attention.

I'm planning to go on vacation to Oahu in late February; maybe I can get information on a couple of dojo that might not be terribly inconvenienced by having someone visit and watch quietly in the corner.

14th November 2002, 22:46
Contact Wayne Muramoto -- He can link you up with Take no Uchi Ryu (aka Takeuchi Ryu) jujutsu. There's also (wazzis name, student of Donn Draeger.... teaches jo and some other good stuff). Wayne's been know to lurk here ... even post oncet'while.

There's probably a Danzan Ryu jujutsu dojo somewhere there -- seeing that Okazaki sensei established it in Hawaii, and his son lives in Hawaii. While it's not a koryu, it looks like some good stuff !! I once chatted with Tony Janovich who is a senior amongst seniors of the ryu -- he was taught by Sig Kufferath, who was taught by Okazaki sensei. Lots of emphasis on restorative massage, which was Okazaki sensei's profession.

Good luck, and let us know how you fare.


Jack B
14th November 2002, 23:18
There's also (wazzis name, student of Donn Draeger.... teaches jo and some other good stuff). Quentin Chambers. I believe he is with IJF so you may be able to contact him through Relnick sensei (http://www.shindo-muso-ryu.org).

Lucky dog.

J. A. Crippen
15th November 2002, 15:54
Well, very lucky if you consider where I'm living now...

Although I was born and raised here in Anchorage, AK, and although I dearly love the state of Alaska, I'm really starting to get bored. And boredom is the one thing that I most fear in my life. I'm afraid that if I get seriously bored then I'll end up getting fat and sitting in front of the TeeVee every day watching nonparticipatory sports and inane sitcoms. That's not the way I want to waste my life. I'd much rather waste it by practicing something that's at least got some tradition to it...

The other reason I'm leaving is because the local universities suck. Both UAA and UAF are not anything to write home about as far as Computer Science or Electrical Engineering go, and I'd much rather get my education from somewhere that professors actually care about what they're teaching rather than whether they'll get laid off next year. I attended for a few years and then basically dropped out and joined the workforce. I knew it was time to leave when I was being asked to teach class instead of the prof.

All that, and there's just not much in the way of koryu in Alaska. My sensei is in MJER but he's gone to med school and I haven't seen him for years except for the occasional short visit. A couple of people I know practice SMR jodo but their sensei lives in some other state and they don't see him often. There's plenty of flavors of gendai budo (along with an extraordinary wealth of TKD from immigrant Koreans), but basically no koryu. So I decided to move to Hawai`i. It was either there or San Francisco or Boston, and Hawai`i just sounded more like what I was used to (ie, being isolated from the rest of the US).

15th November 2002, 23:10

My direct email address is wmuromoto@hotmail.com. You can contact me regarding dropping in to watch my classes in Takeuchi-ryu and/or MJER (Kyoto Rakutokai line, influenced by the Yamanouchi daimyo). As long as you don't pick your nose and fart in front of me, you're more than welcome to observe. I may be off-island in May and/or June. My dues are $25/month to defray the room rental costs. And maybe you buy me a six-pack once a year or something.

Mr. Chambers runs a very good class in jo on Sunday mornings, outdoors. His classes are free.

Mr. Montgomery's MJER iai classes are on the island of Maui. He teaches the the Sekiguchi Komei strain of MJER.

There is a very good instructor of Hakko-ryu on this island, but to join that ryu, you must give up all other martial arts.

There's also a pretty good club of sumo wrestlers, if you like grabbing and tussling around with near-naked men in underwear, a number of kendo clubs you could join, a lot of different aikido teachers, and some real old style karate teachers you could hook up with. And, of course, the usual amount of other martial arts, including Gracie, taekwondo, capoeira, Chinese, etc.

On a more practical level, the UH's engineering school is considered fair to middling. It ain't no MIT, but it has graduated students who do go on and get pretty decent jobs in this state or elsewhere. And they win their share of national student competitions. Guess it depends on the instructors you get.