Danzan Ryu – American Martial Arts Style
Danzan Ryu is an American martial arts and is a hybrid form of Jujutsu. It is also known as Kodenkan and Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. This martial arts was created by Henry Seishiro Okazaki in Hawaii during the 1920s and 1930s.
History of Danzan Ryu
According to the American Jujitsu Institute, “Henry Seishiro Okazaki was born in the town of Kakeda, Fukushima Perfecture, Japan, on January 28, 1890. He migrated to Hawaii in 1906 and settled in Hilo, Hawaii. At the age of 19 he was diagnosed as having a lung disease thought to be tuberculosis. As a desparate measure to combat depression, he began his study of Judo under the tutoralage of Master Yoshimatsu (Kichimatsu) Tanaka at the Shinyu Kai Dojo in Hilo. The arts fascinated him and eliminated his frustration over his illness. He practiced with all of his strength and being. Strangely, his devotion led to a complete recovery form his illness. In his own words he became the ‘The owner of a body as if made of iron.” Thereafter, he dedicated his entire life to Judo.
Okazaki studied various arts including Namba-Shoshin Ryu, Tenshin-Shinyo Ryu, Yoshin Ryu, Kodokan Judo, Iwaga Ryu, Kosogabe Ryu, Ryukyu Karate Jutsu etc. He returned to Japan in 1924 traveling from as far north at Morioka City to as far south as Kagoshima City, visiting more than 50 schools. He studied Okugi, considered the very secret techniques. He eventually acquired six hundred and seventy five techniques and earned a third rank in Judo. Professor Okazaki eventually returned to Hawaii and formed an eclectic system called “Kodenkan”. This system included Judo, Jujitsu, Hawaiian Lua, Okinawan Karate, Chinese Kung-Fu, and American Wrestling. Breaking with tradition, Okazaki taught not only the Japanese, but any and all races.
He gave the name Danzan Ryu to his school of Jujitsu. He gave it that name for two reasons. One was in honor of an old Chinese man whom Professor Okazaki was indebted to (Wo Chong). At that time, the Chinese refered to Hawaii as Danzan for reasons explained later in the AJI manual. The second reason was that most of Professor Okazaki’s studies had taken place in Hawaii.”
Demonstration Video of Danzan Ryu Techniques
Danzan Ryu Techniques and Structure
The system is broken up into “boards” as the original techniques were supposedly written on planks of wood. The first board is called Yawara and is mostly hand techniques and escapes. Nage No Kata is next and is comprised of sweeps and throws. Shime No Kata follows and is mostly ground techniques. Oku No Kata is a combination board. Weapon techniques are handled in Kiai No Maki. There are 3 boards at the black belt level: Shinnin No Maki, Shin Yo No Maki and Shin Gen No Maki. The last 2 are instructor arts and Shin Gen is only shown to select 3rd and 4th degree black belts. There are other supplementary boards such as Yo Nen Bu No Kata, which is a children’s board, Keisatsu, which is police arts, Fusegi Jutsu which is a short course on self defense, Goshin Jitsu, which was designed as a ladies course and others. Some schools and organizations have alternate boards such as Nage 2 and Shime 2, but they were not part of the original course. Testing and belt colors in Danzan Ryu vary to some degree by organization and sometimes by school.
In some schools Seifukujitsu is taught and is required to obtain Shodan. Though the term “Seifukujitsu” is largely unknown in this country, it is immediately recognized in Japan and Hawaii as an alternative therapy that often works where other, less-tested therapies fail. Restoration therapy has two goals: to balance the energy in the body (the “Ki” in Japanese or “Chi” in Chinese), and to break down soft tissue areas of the body that have been injured to allow them to properly heal.
- American Jujitsu Institute, History, http://www.americanjujitsuinstitute.org/pages/organization/history, Added – 10/03/14
- Seifukujitsu section – Janovich, A. Seifukujitsu: Effective Japanese Restoration Therapy http://www.kodenkan.com/restoration.html Retrieved on 10-23-14
- Personal Notes of Chris Love, 4th Dan, Kyoshi http://www.coloradokodenkan.com