Hakko Ryu

Hakko Ryu (八光流)  is a school or ‘style’ of jujutsu related to Daito-ryu founded in 1941 by Okuyama Ryuho (1901-1987) a student of Sokaku Takeda and a practitioner of shiatsu. The school is now headed by his son Okuyama Ryuho. The headquarters or hombu dojo is located in ÅŒmiya-ku, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture.

The influence of oriental medicine is one of the distinguishing elements of the style and can be seen in the Koho Shiatsu system taught to its members at the higher levels of the art, as well as in the jujutsu system’s emphasis on using pressure points and manipulation of the opponent’s body through both the skeletal structure and the body’s meridians… It was studied by the founder of Shorinji Kempo. Hakkoryu should be recognized as a distinct and separate tradition from the more recently formed Hakko Denshin Ryu.

The techniques of Hakkoryu are nothing but the pure self-protection instinct that prepares your spirit to face urgent matters of life and death.

That is, when one encounters violence, it can be said that Hakkoryu provides natural, simple, and practical methods that enable one to calmly face imminent peril and move on without hesitation to capture and punish assailants reasonably and easily in an instant.

The mere practice that results in the wearing out of practice uniforms does not give birth to the kind of self-protection arts that will be helpful at such critical times.

Our Hakkoryu Shodan-gi are designed to prepare one with basic rules to firmly put down such general assaults. Furthermore, as one makes progress through the Nidan-gi, Sandan-gi, and so forth, the techniques naturally increase in their punishment and severity.

We can say that the state which ensues from immersion in Hakkoryu is the same as “priming water” (that is, putting water under great pressure) which develops instincts that can explode in an instant. The advanced teachings of Hakkoryu allow for the free control of life and death. But such a choice is up to man.

The holy heart grows from the natural posture of righteousness. Therefore, dismiss evil in your heart. Only then will you be ready to learn our secrets. Relax and focus your tanden. Disinterest yourself. With the mind of Hakkoryu, your protection techniques will spontaneously and readily come out without thinking.

Calmly focus your spirit, attack the mind of the opponent and shatter his will to its depth. Hakkoryu belongs to the world where spiritual action is given priority over form and style. In Hakkoryu, there is indeed no technical skill without a spiritual determination to carry on without hesitation to life or death. Hakkoryu, therefore, is mainly for the preparation and training of the mind.

Understanding these concepts, learn and practice the spirit and techniques of Hakkoryu until they lead you to a clear perception of your wholeness. Only then can you correctly choose how best to preserve justice and humanity. Moreover, the power of one finger through Hakkoryu Koho Shiatsu can surely save man from another kind of violence emanating from deep within – illness, disease, and injury. Suddenly, these too may deprive you of your natural freedoms.

I have been preaching through the experience of thousands of people that these two violence’s, one coming from the outside and one coming from within, can be easily shut out by the proper use of a single finger. The first I have named Hakkoryu Goshin Jutsu and the other, Hakkoryu Koho Shiatsu Igaku. When I reflect on my life, I can conceive of no greater gift of wisdom to mankind and cannot help to shout out loudly, “COME OUT GREAT MAN!” because of my strong love toward my native country, Japan.”

In Hakkoryu, no work of writing, film, video, observation in a dojo, or other form of indirect instruction can ever convey proper thinking and technique. There has never been a substitute for the transmission of Hakkoryu directly from the Soke or qualified Shihan.

This is why Hakkoryu has not made its internal scrolls, books, and other manuscripts available to the public, nor has it made “training films.” One must experience and feel the teachings of Hakkoryu in order understand and make progress. That being understood, this brief introduction to Hakkoryu Waza (techniques) will attempt to convey some of the ideas and approaches used in teaching Hakkoryu at Hombu Dojo and Hakkoryu Shibu (branches).

In general, Hakkoryu Jujutsu practitioners endeavor to prevent acts of violence before they occur. This is a primary belief in Hakkoryu. We say, “Idomazu” or “no challenge” which includes this idea. The first set of instruction in Hakkoryu is proper Rei. While the physical form consists of instruction in correct etiquette in a dojo and other Japanese settings, the principle must be more fully explained by Hakkoryu Shihan.

Such explanation should discuss the importance of respecting others. Its form might manifest itself in acts of politeness, courtesy, empathy, flexibility, and simply enough, smiling. Thinking and acting in such a manner towards others may be the best and simplest form of self-protection available. After this first Hakkoryu lesson, probably ninety-five percent of situations that lead to violent actions can be prevented. The rest of Hakkoryu is for use where such an approach is not practical or proves ineffective.

In Hakkoryu, no work of writing, film, video, observation in a dojo, or other form of indirect instruction can ever convey proper thinking and technique. There has never been a substitute for the transmission of Hakkoryu directly from the Soke or qualified Shihan. This is why Hakkoryu has not made its internal scrolls, books, and other manuscripts available to the public, nor has it made “training films.” One must experience and feel the teachings of Hakkoryu in order understand and make progress. That being understood, this brief introduction to Hakkoryu Waza (techniques) will attempt to convey some of the ideas and approaches used in teaching Hakkoryu at Hombu Dojo and Hakkoryu Shibu (branches).

In general, Hakkoryu Jujutsu practitioners endeavor to prevent acts of violence before they occur. This is a primary belief in Hakkoryu. We say, “Idomazu” or “no challenge” which includes this idea. The first set of instruction in Hakkoryu is proper Rei. While the physical form consists of instruction in correct etiquette in a dojo and other Japanese settings, the principle must be more fully explained by Hakkoryu Shihan. Such explanation should discuss the importance of respecting others. Its form might manifest itself in acts of politeness, courtesy, empathy, flexibility, and simply enough, smiling. Thinking and acting in such a manner towards others may be the best and simplest form of self-protection available. After this first Hakkoryu lesson, probably ninety-five percent of situations that lead to violent actions can be prevented. The rest of Hakkoryu is for use where such an approach is not practical or proves ineffective.

The very first basic technique in the Hakkoryu Shodan Kata is named “Hakko Dori.” One of the lessons it contains is the principle on how to escape. Should an attack be imminent or occurring, this art teaches methods to neutralize, avoid, or escape from strikes, grabs, and other types of physical dilemmas. In the dojo, physical techniques of escape are taught, but the principle may be expanded to everyday common sense actions such as just crossing the street if you see trouble ahead. Another early basic technique in the Shodan-gi teaches Hakkoryu Atemi (addressed below). During an initial attack by Kake (the attacker), these two are often combined. It has been rare to find a practical bugei/budo system where striking does not play a very significant role. It can be said that most Hakkoryu physical techniques start with striking and escape, though not necessarily in that order.

What to do then? Subsequent Hakkoryu techniques usually involve Osae (arresting) or Nage/Otoshi (throwing/dropping) techniques. These may utilize Keiraku, Katame (joint locks), and/or methods of Kuzushi (off-balancing).

Throughout Hakkoryu, the idea of abandoning force is emphasized. In the study of “Inyodo” (the way of yin and yang) one comes to see that an excess of either is detrimental. In Hakkoryu Jujutsu we say, “Sakarawazu” or “no resistance” in order to teach mental and physical relaxation/settling and to not fight against Kake’s force. Avoid where Kake is strong. Focus where Kake is weak.

As described in the History section of this website, Hakkoryu combines traditional medical thinking with arts of self-preservation. This is best exemplified when feeling the Atemi (strikes to the body) and Osae (arresting) techniques of Hakkoryu. Many of these are directed at Tsubo (special points) located along Keiraku (meridians) of the body. They can cause very sharp and distracting pain without necessarily injuring Kake. In Hakkoryu we say, “Kizu Tsukezu” or “no injury” to emphasize our hope that injury to Kake can be avoided. Only when it is unavoidable does Hakkoryu direct its Atemi to Kyusho (vital points).

Hakkoryu Kata and techniques build on each other one-by-one. Each Kata (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, etc.) begin with techniques in Seiza (formal Japanese sitting) then advance to standing arts. With Hakkoryu’s direct Shihan-to-Deshi teaching style, the correct ways to perform techniques can be clearly shown, corrections can be made quickly, and bad habits avoided. The Kata of Hakkoryu contain the wisdom and lessons passed down directly to us by Shodai Soke Okuyama Ryuho. As with all Japanese bugei/budo Kata, they may be considered “ideal models for teaching.” In Hakkoryu, their purpose is to clearly teach our principles (Gensoku), not to provide the best solution for any given self-defense situation. Once the Kata are mastered and our principles understood, they may be adapted for use in myriad practical situations. Such variations from Kihon Waza we call “Henka.”

Progress cannot be rushed. It depends on the abilities and determination of the Deshi. Step by step, the techniques of Hakkoryu become more advanced, powerful, and in combination, sometimes complicated. It is Hakkoryu’s purpose to eventually elevate a Deshi’s skill to the point where he/she will be able to create their own techniques (Henka) for use in practical self-defense situations. This is when the Deshi stops imitating and takes on Hakkoryu techniques as though their own.