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Thread: Daito ryu USA (John Denora)

  1. #1
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    I don't know much about him. Does anyone know his story. I do know that he is friends with Al Holtman of the San Diego Judo Club.

    You may email me isdc@pacbell.net

    Thanks,

    Cat

  2. #2
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    Exclamation More info

    Here are the posts on that subject which went out some time last year or before for those who wanna (or gotta) know:
    --------

    Terry
    Member posted 10-21-1999 18:23
    Anyone have any info on John Denora and
    his Daito Ryu U.S.A also did he recive
    Kyoju Dairi Certificate ( is this right )
    I know he is listed as Judan in Daito Ryu
    ( U.S.A ) Jujutsu in a shokeship group
    by Frank Sanchez?
    Terry
    ------------------
    Keep Going !!!!!

    Nathan Scott
    Member posted 10-21-1999 18:34
    Hello,
    Mr. Denora has been affiliated with ligitimate Daito ryu branchs in the
    past, but is no longer aligned with anyone. I don't know what if any kind
    of rank or certification he has received from these groups in the past, or
    for how long/seriously he studied.
    I can tell you I met him once or twice in passing, and he enthusiastically
    issued Daito ryu membership cards on the spot to the majority of the people
    in the room, writing the names in by hand.
    Mr. Denora resides in San Diego.
    HTH,
    ------------------
    Nathan Scott
    Shinkendo/ Aiki Buken Honbu dojo
    Tsuki Kage dojo

    Kempo Guy
    Member posted 10-22-1999 15:41
    Mr. Denora has a Jun Kyoju Dairi Ceritification issued by the late Yonezawa
    Sensei of the Daito Ryu Bokuyokan. I was told he actually travelled to
    Hokkaido and stayed with Yonezawa Sensei to learn Daito Ryu as well.
    He was also a long time student of F. Lovret of the Yamate Ryu and Tenshin
    Ryu, although I believe his study was mainly in the Tenshin Ryu.
    He was also at one time a student of Kiyama Sensei of the Kodokai, although
    I do not know for how long.
    I believe he also has a 7th Dan ranking in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu, although I
    have heard it is an honorary rank. I think he also has a Shodan ranking in
    Yoshinkan Aikido as well under Sam Combes Sensei.
    As for his tenth degree ranking in one of the soke groups......
    He founded his Daito Ryu USA and Daito Ryu International as a "study group"
    to perpetuate the teachnings of Sokaku Takeda and Denora's teacher,
    Yonezawa Sensei.
    He is a very interesting character and is quite knowledgeable in regards to
    the martial arts, both Japanese and Chinese, as he was also involved in
    Chinese Martial Arts for a long time.
    As for his skill in Daito Ryu I can not really comment much on. He does
    know the Bokuyokan curriculum, although he also teaches stuff from the
    mainline AikiBudo techniques (I have no idea as to where he was taught
    these.....) He has not been aligned with the Bokuyokan for several years,
    although he kept in touch with Yonezawa Sensei. Also as far as I know, he
    never issued rank through the Bokuyokan, only through his own organization.

    Hope this helps.
    Steven Resell
    [This message has been edited by Kempo Guy (edited 10-23-1999).]

    Toby Threadgill
    Member posted 10-25-1999 14:16
    Terry,
    The fact that Mr Denora promoted a notorious charlatan in New York who was
    a nidan in Yoshinkan Aikido to rokudan in Aikijujutsu says it all to me.
    Check out a letter to the editor in Aikido Journal Vol.26, No. 1 .......
    Toby Threadgill
    Soryushin Dojo

    George Kohler
    Moderator posted 10-25-1999 15:29
    Hi Toby,
    This notorious charlatan wouldn't be a guy, by the name Graham, would it?
    ------------------
    George Kohler
    Genbukan Kusakage Dojo

    Kempo Guy
    Member posted 10-26-1999 23:51
    I have seen Denora "give" out ranks to other instructors (some are
    notorious) as well.
    I am also familiar with the person in question as well, although this
    person I believe is aligned with a different organization these days.
    Steven Resell
    [This message has been edited by Kempo Guy (edited 10-27-1999).]

    Ron Tisdale
    Member posted 10-28-1999 10:25
    I don't know if this is the same guy, but I did see a "graham" from new
    york demonstrate at a Yoshinkan seminar recently. *I* certainly wouldn't
    call him a "charlatan" to his face. While he was far from the best at the
    demonstation, he was definately more than adequate. Can anyone point me to
    an online reference for the letter to the editor in Aikido Journal Vol.26,
    No. 1? I'd really like to see it.
    Ron Tisdale

    hisashi otake
    New Member posted 11-10-1999 14:23
    Denora got his nidan from the late Yonezawa,
    his stay at Yonezawa's residence was maybe a month or so in the early
    eighties.

    MC Busman
    New Member posted 11-11-1999 06:44
    It's late/early, so please excuse the choppiness. . .
    Regarding John Denora, mention was made of the letter in Aiki Journal Vol.6
    no.1. The situation is better understood if one also has the opportunity to
    read the letters on pg.5 of vol.25 no.2, and pgs.4-5 of vol.25 no.3. Both
    letters deal with "Bogus Daito Ryu Rankings" and include replies from
    editor Stanley Pranin. Worth reading, but too complex to discuss in toto
    here. The gist of the writer & editor's irritation revolves around Denora's
    (and now others) use of the title/rank grandmaster 10th dan in Daito Ryu,
    and the certificates he hands out like candy (very expensive candy) with no
    requirement to demonstrate or learn complete d.r. technique. Graehm Lewis
    (sp?), an Aikido 2nd dan at the time was one of the first recipients of
    Denora's promotions--to 7th dan, then 6th after a single seminar (Pranin of
    the Aikido Journal, unlike me, has the decency and grace not to mention
    specific names).
    The major problems I see with this are as follows. Denora himself does
    _not_ make any sort of effort to explain to fellow teachers or students
    that 1. his 10th dan rank is an honor bestowed by fellow (mostly US)
    martial artists in Sanchez's group, and has nothing to do with his
    proficiency or actual ranking in traditional Daito Ryu, but is rather a
    sign of respect for his age, years of studying different martial arts, the
    fact that he has friends who, like all others who are promoted by this sort
    of organization, were willing to recommend & approve him. 2. That Daito Ryu
    USA is simply a study group composed of interested individuals who want to
    preserve the teachings of Yonezawa and other D.R. greats. But then, a study
    group wouldn't issue ranks like that. . .
    Having watched him perform a few years back at a seminar/banquet, and
    having spoken recently with a former student of his, John Denora's D.R.USA
    is not straight "traditional" Daito Ryu, but includes techniques he has
    gleaned from other teachers (including aiki & sword with Lovrett who
    introduced him to Yonezawa & co, and whomever he studied under during his
    Bak fu Pai days--someone also mentioned his recent 1st dan in Yoshinkan
    Aikido, and I've heard that he was a godan or rokudan in Judo years back?)
    and even videos. No, I don't think that there's anything wrong with that!
    But if compiling techniques from so many different sources, why use the
    name Daito Ryu? Just my opinion, but strikes me as misleading, and gives
    the wrong impression about legit D.R. schools. . .
    Now as to some of my recent conversations w/ a former student. According to
    this person, Mr. Denora apparently has a habit of badmouthing people to
    others, being very verbally abusive towards his students, and occasionally
    throws tantrums in class. The student seemed puzzled over his behavior, not
    bitter or angry with him--actually expressed concern and wondered if this
    was a personality flaw he couldn't help, or maybe something related to an
    organic health problem. . .who knows. Due to _my_ skepticism, actually sent
    me a copy of a video of a seminar which Denora did that opens with him
    basically telling the seminar participants how unworthy they were of his
    presence, and of Daito Ryu! 'Course, we all have our bad days
    Having said this what I did witness him demonstrate, both in person years
    back and on the tape from his student showed a fair level of skill. If his
    student's contentions are to be believed, it is a pity that he doesn't have
    the temperment and good judgement to go along with these skills.
    Daito Ryu USA should be considered a modern, _hybrid art_ with _some_
    kodokai D.R. influence.
    *busman*
    ------------------
    "The facts speak for themselves"
    --Euripides


    M.C. Busman

    mc_busman@Bigmailbox.net

    "May the Wind at Your Back Always be Your Own"
    --Anonymous Co-Worker

  3. #3
    Justin Campbell Guest

    Exclamation RUN!

    From what I have heard... RUN. If you are looking for Daito-ryu, that is. Like the posts say... he may have earned a Nidan (may) and that is it... he is no grandmaster! He is skilled in other arts and is passing on what he does as Daito-ryu... and it is not.

    My 0.02
    Justin

  4. #4
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    Thumbs down

    I have met Mr. Denora personally, and I was there to witness the event that Mr. Threadgill was being a gentleman in describing. Yes he did train with Yonezawa when Yonezawa was still with the Kodokai, from what I had gathered, he had gotten a hiden mokuroku from Yonezawa(Yonezawa,by the way, gave out so much rank in the 70's and 80's that I would only view such ranks with a humongous grain of salt).
    Later on, he started his "Daito-ryu USA" organization and then started passing himself off as a 10th dan and the "father" of American Aikijujutsu.
    I was at the seminar in which he promoted a particular gentleman from Long Island who teaches Yoshinkan aikido to 6th dan in Daito-ryu. So here is a self promoted 10th dan(please!) promoting this guy to a rank higher than the one he received from Yonezawa in the first place(I need an aspirin).
    Incidentally, the person in question in Long Island also made a tape on the Ikkajo series of Daito-ryu after two weekend seminars with Kawabe sensei from the Daito-ryu Takumakai. We left the seminar in disgust.
    Anyway, hope this helps. Sincerely,
    Roger Lake
    Roger Lake

  5. #5
    FritzCat Guest

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    http://www.johndenora.com/

    For your viewing pleasure....

    Fritz Greenbaum

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    Hey, Mr. Denora again.

    BTW, it's probably worth reiterating that the Hiden Mokuroku that was issued by Yonezawa Sensei while he was still in the Kodokai were apparently (at least largely) issued independently; ie: the Kodokai Honbu did not issue them.

    I suspect this may have been an issue with the Kodokai Honbu and Yonezawa Sensei.

    Regards,

    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Is it me, or is there nothing on this web page except for a photo and music? If there is a link to anything else, I can't find it in the source code.

    BTW, I find it interesting that the only text on the page says "Samurai Techniques", but the photo seems to show a katana displayed edge down with the hilt to the right.

    I wouldn't think an oversight like this would instill confidence in the prospective student.

    Nice photo though, other than that.

    Oh yeah - CAT: please sign all posts with your real, full name per forum policy. Hope this thread is helpful.

    Regards,

    [Edited by Nathan Scott on 01-29-2001 at 08:42 PM]
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    I found that the page is showing a pretty large Macromedia Flash file. You have to let it load. Even then, I could only get to a certain point before the page froze while indicating there was more data to be retrieved.

    It's very pretty, and the shakuhachi is nice, but a couple of images are reversed (makes it seem there might be a left-handed swordsman out there somewhere). Also the word "kenjujutsu" strayed across the screen. I haven't heard reference to this before. Can anyone help?

    Devon

  9. #9
    MarkF Guest

    Default

    Hey, there is someone here who remembers Fritz the Cat comics and the movies. So maybe I'm not the only elder hippy who reads the lists here. A for ya!

    Mark


  10. #10
    MarkF Guest

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    I thought the works aikijujutsu were clickable which just redirected me to the Macromedia.com search page, then realized it was still loading.

    Last page was contact data for private training, etc.

    Mark

    BTW: Is that the only known photo of Denora? He reminds me of Angus Scrim in those strange movies I've seen. BBBrrrrrr.


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    There are some old photos of him in the winter 1994-1995 issue of "Budo Dojo", an old Pacific Rim Company publication. There was an article on Daito-ryu in that magazine which he wrote(not very accurate BTW). I agree with Mr. Scott on the validity of the issuances of those rank by Yonezawa. I believe that this also led to Yonezawa forming his own faction(I believe also that his Bokuyokan faction is a Christian association). He was apparently running a dojo in San Diego the last time I ran into him about 5-6 years ago, but as far what he is doing presently, I don't know(don't care either, to be perfectly honest).
    Thank You,
    Roger

    {deleted double-post; NS}

    [Edited by Nathan Scott on 01-31-2001 at 12:02 PM]
    Roger Lake

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    Question Sagawa Sensei and John Denora?

    Hi there,
    I met Professor Denora a few years ago at Frank Sanchez' annual awards event in Orlando. (Denora gave me a life membership card in DaitoRy USA)
    A very intersting man, who had lots to say about DaitoRyu and its modern history. Supposedly he was writing a book about it.
    I do not recall who he said he trained with--quite a few teachers as I understand. It seemed to me he mentioned Sagawa Sensei of the DaitoRyu. Does anyone know if this was the case?

    Bill Rodgers

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    I don't know about the whole Sagawa sensei thing. If he was referring to Yukiyoshi Sagawa, I don't think so because it was my understanding that Sagawa sensei didn't accept foreign students. If he was referring to Sogawa who heads up the Saigo-ha group from Kyushu, maybe, but according to Kondo sensei, this group is not Daito-ryu.
    From the conversations I have had with John Denora (several a few years ago), I wouldn't place too much credence in what he says.

    Roger Lake
    Roger Lake

  14. #14
    Jerry Johnson Guest

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    On some webpage I seen John Denora's name which I think was the Saigo-ha of Canada?There is nothing about him on his web-page other then phone numbers. I am going to give Denora a jingle and ask. Nothing annoys me worst then a great webpage that doesn't say anything.




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    If your interest is in learning Daito-ryu, don't waste the money on the long distance phone call. That guy from Canada is an even bigger waste of time. Total fraud.

    Roger Lake
    Roger Lake

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