In Memoriam

This page is dedicated to remembering and honoring those we've lost.

Seishiro (Henry) Okazaki

In memory of the founding father of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu

Seishiro "Henry" Okazaki (January 28, 1890 – July 12, 1951) was the founder of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu (which Jujitsu America helps preserve). He was a Japanese American, legendary martial artist and gifted healer. Born in KakedaDate County in Fukushima PrefectureJapan, he immigrated to Hawaii in 1906. At the age of 19 he learned he had tuberculosis. Through hard training in the martial arts, Okazaki recovered completely and vowed to dedicate his life to propagating jujutsu and judo. From 1927 to 1928, Okazaki developed a complete, integrated martial arts system: Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. A synthesis of several older styles of jujutsu, Okazaki included in the system elements of his studies of Okinawan karateChinese kung-fu,Hawaiian LuaFilipino knife fighting (escrima), boxing and wrestling, as well as traditional Japanese restorative massage and healing techniques (Seifukujutsu).[3]

Okazaki initially faced opposition within the Japanese-American community for teaching outsiders Japanese martial arts. This changed after World War II. Like tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans, Okazaki was interned during the war. Unlike others, however, his home and property were not looted; his students guarded them during the war. Upon their release, Okazaki helped support others in the Japanese-American community. For this he ultimately gained their respect.

Gradually, Okazaki developed a system comprising courses for men, women, and children. In his system, he stressed the ancient system of philosophical and moral training within the martial and restorative arts. He is credited with being the first to teach the full jujutsu course to non-Asians.[4] He also taught perhaps the first women's self-defense course in the country. He founded the American Jujitsu Institute in the Territory of Hawaii in 1939. This is the original Danzan Ryu Jujitsu organization and remains in operation to the present day. Jujitsu America split off from this organization to continue the growth of Danzan Ryu and other forms of jujitsu and martial arts. In addition to his work in martial arts, he was also very well known for his healing arts.

Hachiro Okazaki

In memory of our Henry Okazaki's son and proponent of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, Judo, and the Okazaki Method of Massage

Hachiro Okazaki, age 88, was born on January 7, 1922 in Hilo Hawaii.

He married Ruth Hifumi Suzuki in 1943. They had three children, a daughter Sharyn (Nathan) Waipa and twin sons Keith (Cheryl) and Clyde (Judy). He had four grandchildren Eric (Chiyoko), Amanda (Daniel) Hartman, Galen and Karyn) and two great-grandchildren (Kaito and Keina)

Following in his father’s footsteps (the late Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki) he became a massage therapist and the proprietor of Nikko Restoration Massage. As a massage therapist, Hachiro, like his father, helped countless people with their health problems. Included among his patients were President Lyndon B. Johnson and Governor John A. Burns. Whatever their occupations were, he treated all with respect. Many became life long friends. As a young man, Hachiro learned Judo and Jujitsu from his father and became a very accomplished Judoka.

Hachiro loved and cherished many things. Foremost, his family was closest to his heart. He took them on weekly camping trips to the shores of Kahuku’s beaches. Several of his friends with their families joined them and together they created unforgettable memories.

In the last three years of his life, as he was battling life threatening illnesses, he was truly blessed by the care of his three children and their families. Every desire and even “whim” was granted. In addition to his children, Hachi was also blessed by having caregivers Ana, Nesi, and Nonga who really looked after him in many ways. They were always patient and handled him gently and lovingly. He was truly fortunate to have had such priceless loving care from all.

In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by sister Irene (Hideki) Nakamura, two sisters-in-law Jeanette Okazaki and Jean Okazaki of Gardena, CA, and nieces, nephews, and numerous cousins.

Hachiro lived life to its fullest. We will miss him.

Services will be held on Monday, September 27, 2010 at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. Visitation at 4:30 pm; services at 5:30 pm. Please no koden (monetary offerings) or flowers. Aloha attire

Read more:

Professor Wally Jay

Remember Jujitsu America's lead founder and technical director

May 29, 2011 - Our Great Grandmaster and Founder Professor Wally Jay, one of the last great martial artists, has passed on peacefully at 2:20 am California time in Redwood City Kaiser Hospital. Prof Jay experienced a stroke on Tuesday May 24th and on Saturday as per his previous wishes was removed from life support. He survived another 12 hours and had family and friends with him. The Jay Family extends their gratitude to those that were there to lend support and to those that had him in their prayers.

The Jay Family after discussion have decided that to honor his wishes, Prof Leon Jay should continue the seminar in Long Island and Small Circle Jujitsu Camp in Indiana, Wed. June the 1st and 3rd 4th and 5th respectively. He will then continue to California to be with family to make arrangements for the funeral.

We will post more information as needed and have also asked long time loyal family friend, Norm Johnson to post on facebook.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes, The Jay Family

Professor John Chow-Hoon

In memory of one of Jujitsu America's main founders

Born March 5, 1927 in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii, the youngest of 13 children born to Hoon Chow and his mother Lily Malualani Kiha. Professor John (Ah Chin) Chow-Hoon got his first taste of the martial arts after his family moved to the island of Oahu, to a house on Queen St. in the town of Kakaako, close to a Japanese school. This school offered judo and kendo to any student who was interested.

Every chance he got he would watch those classes and became more and more interested with the martial arts. Finally, a friend and school mate asked him to join in. Being small for his age, he was placed in the judo class. His instructor at that time was Yukiso Yamamoto. Eventually, they both heard about Prof . Henry S. Okazaki’s dojo, where they would train on Saturday mornings. The rest of the time he was sent to train at the Kaheka dojo under the supervision of Bing Fai Lau and Sig Kufferath.

Along with regular classes, Prof. Chow-Hoon was sent to study long-life massage at Prof. Okazaki’s Nikko Sanitarium. There were several people he admired that were skilled in long-life massage: people like John Cahill, Jerry Turatani, Moses Pang, Bill Costa, Boyd Andretti and others.

While studying Danzan Ryu Jujitsu at the Kaheka lane dojo, Prof. Chow-Hoon was also studying the art of Koshoryu Kenpo with his brothers William and Frank. When his brother Prof. William (Kwai Sun) Chow graduated from James Mitose’ school of Kenpo Jujitsu, he opened his dojo at the Chow home. When Prof. Chow-Hoon’s father left Hawaii to go back to China, Prof. Chow took everything out of the house and knocked down a couple of the walls, including a piano shop next door in order to transform their home into a regular dojo. William would later open up schools on Young Street, at the Kapahulu Japanese school and latter on at the Nuuanu YMCA.

Prof. Chow-Hoon received his Shodan in Kenpo in 1943 along with Prof. Simeon Eli and several others. In attendance at his promotion were his friends Charlie (Prof. Toru Tanaka) Kalani and Arthur Lyman both of whom would later become famous in the entertainment business.

Many good students came out of the Kenpo school at the Nuuanu YMCA, Bill Chun, Manuel Dela Cruz, Paul Yamaguchi, Bobby Lowe, Harry Pang, Boyd Andretti, Woodrow Mckandless, the Emperado brothers Joe and Adriano (Adriano would latter on with others form an eclectic form of self-defense called Kajukenbo), Ed Parker (Parker would latter bring Kenpo Karate to the mainland) “brother” Abe Kamahoahoa, Ralph Castro and many others.

Prof. Chow-Hoon received his Shodan from Prof. Okazaki in 1945, the day before he was inducted into the U.S. Army. After entering the military in 1945, Prof. Chow-Hoon was assigned to camp Roberts, Calif. For basic training, from camp Roberts he was sent to the Philippine Islands.

While in the orient, the Prof. used to moon-light as a professional wrestler. He ran across many of the top wrestlers of the day including the “Masked Marvel”, who was the father of Dave Castoldi, a well known martial artist from the Boston area.

Prof. Chow-Hoon returned to Hawaii and was assigned to the Military Police Division. He was selected to become the instructor at the Military Police School for Self-Defense. Besides the military police he also trained the police for the Hawaiian National Guard, several members of the Honolulu Police Dept. and also members of the F.B.I. Next, Prof. Chow-Hoon spent a tour of duty in Korea where he worked out with Yudo (Judo) and Tang So Do clubs.

Once again Prof. Chow-Hoon returned home to Hawaii. While there he would train at the Kaheka Lane club, which was one of Prof. Okazaki’s many clubs teaching the Danzan Ryu system. Some of the individuals who came out of this club were people like John Kaneakua, Joe Holck, Sam and Bill Prestridge, Michael Chong and Sam Luke Sr.

During the middle of the 50′s, Prof. Chow-Hoon along with Prof. Francisco Limbago taught at Schofield barracks, Hawaii where he was selected as one of the Judo coaches representing Hawaii. This team took 1st place at all military games. His heavyweights were Prof. Toru Tanaka and Larry Price. Price would later go on to become the football coach at the University of Hawaii.

During this period the military used to have an “All Army Show”, a kind of talent show. Prof. Ramon Ancho was selected as the best of the show. He would perform “Board Breaking” using multiple boards using his fingers. During one of these shows Prof. Chow-Hoon and Prof. Limbago pulled a trick on Prof. Ancho. Prior to his portion of the show, both the Prof’s wet a couple of the boards without telling Prof. Ancho. He had to hit the boards more than a couple of times in order to break them. He knew they had pulled a trick on him for they both had a great big smile on their face.

Prof. Chow-Hoon got stationed in Japan, where he was able to train at the Kodokan . Out of respect he started out as a white belt, but by the time he left Japan in 1962 he was ranked as a Sandan (3rd degree black belt).

At the end of 1962 Prof. Chow-Hoon was stationed at the Fort Ord in California as a drill sergeant. This is when he first started to teach in the Monterey area. He ran across another Okazaki student Prof. Toru Tanaka. Whenever Prof. Tanaka would leave to go off to wrestle, Prof. Chow-Hoon would help out and run the class. And when he could not be there due to military obligations Cal Avila and Joe Takayama would stand in.

In 1964, Prof. Chow-Hoon was transferred to Alaska but still managed to work out and teach in anchorage. In 1965 he was assigned to Viet Nam. There he taught martial arts at the police station in Tien Nin.

Prof. Chow-Hoon retired from the military after over 20 years of service. He decided to settle on the Monterey Peninsula in the city of Pacific Grove, after retiring from the Army. Prof. Chow-Hoon worked as a P.E. teacher at the Del Mar elementary school in Marina, California. It was here that Prof. Chow-Hoon was approached by Mr. Art Clark to teach the martial arts in the community of Marina. Prof. Chow-Hoon taught at three elementary schools until 1968 when the gym at Los Arboles School was built, and then he combined the three clubs into one big class. Then in 1973, he started yet another club at the Pacific Grove High School, where he acted as Sensei and Advisor for his remaining years.

Back in 1978 Professor Chow-Hoon was one of the leaders instrumental in founding the organization of Jujitsu America for which he was very proud. It was an organization such as his own life, one of Kokua and Ohana. Everyone who walked the path of the martial arts with Professor experienced real joy of celebration and excitement in learning from this most gifted man.


Professor Carl Beaver

In memory of one of Jujitsu America's main founders

Carl P. Beaver came to Hawaii in 1939 and was first introduced to the Okazaki jujitsu system in 1940 by someone known only as "Corporal Wyatt." Although he learned only the basics of the system at that time, and World War Two caused a disruption of his training, it is clear that the young Mr. Beaver was hooked.

After his discharge in 1945, Beaver came back to Hawaii and began the study of Kodokan judo at the Nuuano YMCA under Sensei Yamamoto. After joining the Mano YMCA, he studied jujitsu under Sensei Dick McCarty, an Okazaki student, and obtained his Shodan, which was presented by Prof. Okazaki himself. Beaver continued with his jujitsu training under Prof. Okazaki and his senior student, Wally Jay, and gained further experience through Sensei Richard Takemoto.

In 1948, Beaver began an intensive study of massage under both Sensei McCarty and Prof. Okazaki in preparation for his Territorial massage license. He graduated from the Okazaki school of Restorative Massage in January, 1949 and, with his wife, Martha, obtained Territorial licenses.

It was during this time that Beaver lived with Professor Okazaki at the Professor's home. Some of Prof. Beaver's fondest memories and best "war stories" were from this time.

In 1950, Beaver moved to the Mainland and began teaching jujitsu at the Dayton Health Studio in Dayton, Ohio. In 1951, he moved to California and began teaching jujitsu in Gardena. 18 months later, he moved to Bellflower, California, teaching two classes a week for the next three decades. 

In 1961, Beaver received his Sandan from Sensei Wally Jay. In 1967, he received his Godan from Sensei Joe Holck, the American Jujitsu Institute's Regional Chairman at that time. In 1972, Beaver received his Rokudan and, thereafter, his Shichidan from the A.J.I. in 1976. In 1977, he was promoted to 8th Degree Black Belt and to Ninth Degree Black Belt by Jujitsu America. After coming out of retirement in 1988, he assumed the position of Technical Director for Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai. In 1990, he was elevated to Judan by both Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai and the American Jujitsu Institute.

Professor Beaver's recognitions include commendations from the Governors of the State of Hawaii and State of Arizona, Orange County Board of Supervisors, California State Assembly, received a commendation from the Mohave County Board of Supervisors in 1988. He was inducted into the Danzan Ryu Jujitsu Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Luciani Service Award in 1994. He was elevated to Godan in 1992 by the United States Judo Association. He was inducted into Jujitsu America's Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1979, and received Jujitsu America's Patriarch Award in 1996.

Sensei Jim Burgess

In memory of one of our important instructors

Sensei Jim Burgess

It was in his early years, prior to WWII, that Sensei Jim Burgess to the martial arts. While stationed in Puerto Rico, he taught escape and evasion tactics as time permitted.

From Puerto Rico, Sensei Jim Burgess was assigned to a bomber squadron in Guam where he was sent on a number of bombing missions. In 1945, he made a move to Okinawa, where he took advantage of an opportunity to train with some of the local black belts.

In 1946 he was discharged from the service, returning to civilian life with his wife and daughters.

In 1950 the family moved to Portland, OR, where Sensei Jim Burgess met up with Robert Dewer, who taught Sosuishitsu Ryu Jujitsu, Karate, and Judo. In 1982 he was appointed the Commissioner of all the SJJK dojos of the western US.

Sensei Jim Burgess was promoted to Yo Mokuroku in the early 1980s and received his Yodan from Jujitsu America in 1986. He was presented with Jujitsu America’s Instructor of the Year Award in 1988.

Sensei Jim Burgess closed his school in the mid 1990s and retired to King City. He still participated in many martial arts activities.