At Suigetsu Dojo, our teachings following the traditional path of teacher to student. The current head instructors, Shihan Dara Masi and Shihan Melanie Fine, pass the teachings of their teacher, Shihan Dennis Palumbo, who in turn passed along the teachings of his instructor, Shodai Soke Ryuho Okuyama.
Below is a brief history of Hakkoryu Jujutsu. For a more detailed history, please consult this website: www.HakkoryuMartialArtsFederation.com. The HMAF is an organization dedicated to the dissimination of Hakkoryu Jujutsu as taught by Shodai Soke Okuyama.
Shodai Soke (First Generation Head) Okuyama Ryohu
"The three major characteristics of Hakkoryu are: no challenge, no resistance, no injury.With Hakkoryu, for the first time, the eyes of the dragon are drawn."
Shodai Soke Okuyama Ryuho
Hakkoryu Jujutsu was founded by Shodai Soke (First Generation Head) Okuyama Ryohu, born in 1901 in Yamagata Prefecture. During his early life, Shodai Soke traveled extensively, studying many of the martial and medical systems of his day. He studied under many teachers of various bujutsu ryu. At the same time, he had the opportunity to study with leading masters of traditional Japanese medicine including circulation (meridian-in/yo) theory, finger pressure medicine, acupuncture, massage, and traditional herbs and diet. He eventually became an instructor of Daitoryu Aikijujutsu, but in 1939 he left Daitoryu to begin formulating Hakkoryu.
On June 1, 1941 he held the "Hakkoryu Kaiso Hokokusai" (ceremony proclaiming the founding of Hakkoryu). The name "Hakkoryu" is based on a philosophical Japanese view of the color spectrum as being divided into eight bands of light. The eighth shade is infrared, which is invisible to the naked eye but extremely powerful, as are Hakkoryu techniques. The number eight in Japan also has associated with it numerous philosophical and religious meanings that are beyond the scope of this brief introduction.
Hakkoryu is a Jujutsu system which uses the body's Keiraku (meridian system) to create varying amounts of pain to control an attacker without necessarily causing serious injury. Because of the non-injurious potential of these techniques, Hakkoryu is said to be humanitarian in nature.
Constant throughout Hakkoryu training is the concept of abandoning force. Muscular strength is not required in Hakkoryu. Instead, the techniques rely mainly on an understanding of anatomy and physiology, both the exponent's and his/her attacker.
Along with Hakkoryu, Shodai Soke maintained an original and distinct school of traditional medical therapy called Koho Shiatsu (Imperial Method of Finger Pressure Therapy). Using the same Keiraku utilized in Hakkoryu to control an attacker, Koho Shiatsu defends against attacks of disease and sickness from within and outside the body.
Following Shodai Soke's retirement in 1986, his son, Okuyama Toshio assumed the responsibilities of the Ryu. At that time, Waka Sensei, as Okuyama Toshio was then known, took his father's pen name "Ryuho", and with it, the title Nidai Soke (Second Generation Head). Nidai Soke Okuyama Ryuho now directs and has total authority over all Hakkoryu dojos tied to the So Hombu Dojo. Shodai Soke passed away in November of 1987.
Dennis G. Palumbo
Mr. Dennis G. Palumbo began his formal training in the martial arts in 1958 in Yanagi Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. He entered the Air Force and upon his first overseas assignment to Japan, began his study of Hakkoryu Jujutsu with Shihan Hideo B. Abukawa, eventually attaining the rank and title of Shihan in November 1963 making him at that time only the 5th American to be awarded this title. He traveled back and forth between the US and Japan for many years, continuing to study Hakkoryu, Shotokan, Shudokan, and Goju-Ryu Karate.
In 1970 Mr. Palumbo was requested by Soke Okuyama to return to the Hombu for advanced training but was unable to attend because of Air Force duties until almost 10 years later. He formed the Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation in 1974 while stationed in San Angelo, TX. The HMAF is an organization dedicated to furthering the study of Hakkoryu Jujutsu and passing its teachings throughout the world.
In June of 1980 Mr. Palumbo returned to Japan to undergo training and testing by Soke Okuyama. He was awarded the titles and ranks of Renshi and then Menkyo Kaiden. In the summer of 1986 he was awarded the title of San Dai Kichu, the highest possible ranking in Hakkoryu Jujutsu.
In 2008, Palumbo Shihan closed Hakkosen Dojo and went into semi-retirement, teaching only his senior students privately.
Dara Masi is a direct student of Dennis Palumbo, Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu in Hakkoryu Jujutsu. Shihan Masi is proud to be an instructor of Hakkoryu Jujutsu, learning and passing on the true techniques of this art. She received the rank of Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu in Hakkoryu Jujutsu (equivalent to 8th degree black belt) in 2008 from Dai Sensei Palumbo.
With the closing of the Hakkosen Dojo and Shihan Palumbo’s semi-retirement, he chose to turn over the active administration of HMAF to Shihan Masi. She continues to work closely with Palumbo Shihan (who continues as President of HMAF) on all matters regarding the Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation.