To understand the Dentokan style of Ju-Jutsu one must first travel back to ancient Japan. It was in that bygone era that one of the most famous schools of Ju-Jutsu had its beginning. The style was called Daito-Ryu. In The Hidden Roots of Aikido: Aiki Jujutsu Daitoryu (pages 13 and 14), Shiro Omiya describes the history of Daito-Ryu as follows: "The DAITORYU is believed to have originated within the family of Emperor Seiwa (reigned A.D. 858-876) and to have been greatly developed by one of the emperor’s descendants, Shinra Saburo Minamoto no Yoshimitsu, in the eleventh century. Yoshikiyo, his eldest son, settled in the village of Takeda in Koma (in present-day Yamanashi Prefecture) and founded the Takeda branch of the Minamoto clan. The Daitoryu tradition of Yoshimitsu was thereafter handed down in complete secrecy to successive generations of the Takeda family.
It was not until the nineteenth century - when martial art genius Sokaku Takeda began to teach the Daitoryu to the public - that the art became widely known." Sokaku Takeda had many students. Among these was Toshimi (Hosaku) Matsuda. It was Matsuda who was Yoshiji Okuyama’s (1901-1987) first and primary Daito-Ryu teacher. Okuyama later became a direct student of Sokaku Takeda for a short time. This is important because Okuyama would go on to form his own ryu/ha (style/method) of Ju-Jutsu called Hakko-Ryu as a derivative of Daito-Ryu. In addition to Daito-Ryu Ju-Jutsu, Okuyama also studied Iai-Jutsu (quick draw sword), Ken-Jutsu (fencing), Jo-Jutsu (short staff), Kusarigama-Jutsu (sickle and chain), So-Jutsu (spear), and Kyu-Jutsu (archery). Equally as significant, he made a study of oriental medicine. The study of which would greatly influence the development of his particular style of Ju-Jutsu. Yoshiji Okuyama received his Daito-Ryu teacher’s license in 1936 and opened his first Daito-Ryu school in 1938.
Succumbing to the nationalistic fervor of the time he actively supported the ideals of Imperial Japan. It was in 1941, the same year as the attack on Pearl Harbor, that he founded his Hakko-Ryu Ju-Jutsu. It was a style that combined the physical techniques of Daito-Ryu with elements of oriental medicine. But, it was also firmly grounded in the state religion of the day. Upon the founding Hakko-Ryu, in a Shinto ceremony, Okuyama took on the name of "Ryuho" which literally means "Spine of the Dragon". Hakko-Ryu translates to "Eighth Light Style". This name was based upon the belief that there is an eighth band of light in the spectrum. This band of light is much weaker than the others, almost invisible, but actually very strong, like x-rays. As an analogy, Hakko-Ryu’s techniques may appear weak, but are actually strong. It is quite common to confuse a lack of big sweeping motions with a lack of power. Nothing could be further from the truth. Small, direct, well-executed techniques are normally far more effective than those consisting of a great deal of wasted motion. This is true in virtually all martial arts. Okuyama’s nationalistic views changed as a result of the war. He became more peace loving as a result of the pain the Japanese people had to endure. This new philosophical outlook was reflected in a change in his approach to Ju-Jutsu. Thus Hakko-Ryu took on the characteristics of "No Challenge, No Resistance, and No Injury". It was a move away from the brutal combative approach normally associated with Daito-Ryu and its various offshoots. This approach was reflected in the Ju-Jutsu taught at the new Hakko-Ryu Hombu Dojo established in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, in 1947. legalistic society.
Hobbs sensei began his study of Hakko-Ryu in the United States in 1965. His teachers included Carl Miller, Dr. Roy L. Creasy, Jr., and the Reverend Clement Reidner. He also attended seminars conducted by James Benko. In 1968 Hobbs Shihan received his Shodan (Black Belt) in Hakko-Ryu Ju-Jutsu and continued the study of Hakko-Ryu, other forms of Ju-Jutsu, and Judo. Hobbs sensei lived in Japan from 1980-83, where he studied at the Hakko-Ryu Hombu Dojo. His principal teacher was Yasuhiro Irie, a direct student of Ryuho Okuyama since childhood. Other significant influences upon him were Shuzan Segawa and Toshio Okuyama. Following three years of study at the Hombu, he received his Shihan Menkyo (Master’s Certificate). The certificate was actually presented by Ryuho Okuyama. It was also during this period (1980-83) that Hobbs sensei also studied Aikido at an Aikikai affiliated dojo in the Tokyo area. Aikido interested him because of its unique footwork. Although both Aikido and Hakko-Ryu trace their origins to Daito-Ryu, Hakko-Ryu tends to be much more direct. "It was my good fortune to also earn my Shodan is Aikido prior to departing for my next assignment in England. While living in England for three years I taught Hakko-Ryu and found my knowledge of Aikido to be very useful. The reason being that a number of Aikidoka came to study Hakko-Ryu, resulting in the rapid spread of the style throughout much of the country."
Ryuho Okuyama passed away in 1987. Not long after Okuyama’s death, like a number of the seniors, Irie founded his own ryu/ha. He named his style of Ju-Jutsu "KoKoDo", which translates to "Imperial Light Way". This came as little surprise to most since he had been the chief instructor at the Hakko-Ryu Hombu Dojo for over twenty-five years and had developed his own unique approach to Hakko-Ryu. From 1997 to 1999 Sensei once again found himself living in Japan. Again, he studied with Yasuhiro Irie, becoming a part of his KoKoDo Ju-Jutsu. Before leaving Japan he received Menkyo Kaiden (Certificate of Total Transmission). Kaiden can also be literally translated to "All Passed". It designates that one has learned the complete syllabus of a particular ryu/ha. With Irie’s blessing Hobbs sensei formed
Dentokan Aiki Ju-Jutsu just before leaving Japan. It traces its origin in a continuous stream from Daito-Ryu, through Hakko-Ryu and KoKoDo into its present form.
The Dentokan Aiki Jujutsu System
Dentokan Aikijujutsu utilizes the Hakko-Ryu/KoKoDo waza (techniques) lists of Shodan Gi, Nidan Gi, Sandan Gi, Yondan Gi, Shihan Gi, Kaiden Gi, and Sandaikichu Gi to establish a firm base for further understanding and development. Knowledge and proficiency is increased by fully understanding the Henka (variations) possible within the standard waza. Still further expertise is gained by fully understanding the underlying Gensoku (principles). Through the understanding of Gensoku, one is able to develop practical Goshin (self-defense) Oyo (applications).
Dentokan Aiki Ju-Jutsu provides one with a full spectrum of techniques. These include Kansetsu Waza (joint locking techniques), Nage Waza (throwing techniques), Shime Waza (strangulation techniques), Atemi Waza (vital point striking); and Aiki, or subtle physical and mental disruptions to neutralize an attack at the moment of contact. The style is noted for it's soft and relaxed use of power, descended from it's predecessor art of Daito ryu. These techniques coupled with an understanding of Henka, Gensoku, and Oyo make possible a graduated response to any attack. One’s response can be one of simply pinning or restraining an opponent to an all out counter attack. It is a self-protection art developed for the battlefields of old Japan, yet still applicable to today’s