Hoshin Roshi Ryu

The art of Hoshinjutsu is a living and constantly evolving system of self-protection, personal development, and internal focus training based on the creation of its founder, Dr. Glenn Morris (1944-2006). Hoshin Roshi Ryu is now headed by Gord Hessie. The system is a combination of martial science, meditation and energy focus, as well as emphasis on an individual’s personal power.

The art of Hoshinjutsu is a living and constantly evolving system of self protection, personal development, and internal focus training based on the creation of it’s founder, Dr. Glenn Morris. He was a true visionary with the mind of a scholar, spirit of an artist, and the raging heart of a warrior. His teachings have inspired hundreds of people from many different nations around the world to become better human beings. His sudden passing on April 1, 2006 was an incredible shock of indescribable loss to the ryu.

The Hoshinroshi ryu is now headed by Gord Hessie. It is Soke Hessie’s greatest wish to see the Hoshin system grow, prosper, and continue to evolve. The system is a combination of martial science, meditation and energy focus, as well as a distinct vehicle to develop an individual’s personal power to live with pride and dignity.

Our vision is to attract and create positive thinkers motivated to reach beyond their programming. Everyone has this potential. The Hoshin system can be the vehicle for change in those individuals driven to rise up against a challenge.

The life of a warrior is not necessarily synonymous with making war, however, it absolutely means the warrior is the crucible for change and it is the warrior’s challenge to rise above it.

Hoshin is an umbrella organization which was developed in the college environment, and has always emphasized development of the mind as well as the body. Reading the works of the masters, studying strategy, exploring anatomy and physiology in developing healing skills are included in the regular curriculum along with the physical techniques of combat.

Kindness and consideration towards others is just as important in Hoshin as the defense skills the student learns in class. Our classes are fun, with no rigid discipline other than a healthy respect for teachers and classmates. Once you have been accepted into the system, you will be expected to wear an appropriate colored patch and belt. Dogi, or t-shirt are worn during class if required by the instructor.

Why Hoshin? Hoshin is a conglomeration of skills, both martial and esoteric, which serve one general and basic purpose…. to develop a more fully actualized human being. A martial skills set can be learned from nearly any system. Hoshin’s martial component is an ecclectic mix of “things that work” from many systems refined to omit the useless repetition of kata and focus on real combat.

Secondly, the esoteric further defines us. As the martial aspect of Hoshin gives us more confidence and dignity of person to meet the day’s challenges with the knowledge that we can deliver significant retaliation to an attack, the esoteric aspect of our training allows us to meet each day with more dignity and grace because of the confidence it gives us as to our place in nature and our universe.

What Hoshin can develop inside you is more important that what it can develop on the outside. Hoshin is not about getting to a destination like a rank or title, it is about the journey.

Lastly, Hoshin is separate and far beyond any other system because of one thing… our sense of family. We are a community of individuals who have come together to learn and become better humans. There are so many people out there who wander through life from one moment to the next without a sense of purpose or community. Hoshin can be a vehicle for change if people let it.

History: Hoshinjutsu is seen by some as a more modern style of Ninjutsu. Hoshin was founded by the late Dr. Glenn J. Morris, a lifetime martial artist, literary scholar, and worldwide presenter.  Dr. Morris began studying martial arts while in his teens and had the great opportunity to travel the world during his time in the US military and while working within corporate America. This travel allowed him to continue studying various martial arts and select aspects of those arts that fit within his ideals of a balanced internal and external martial art.

In 1981, Dr. Morris, began working at Hillsdale College in Southern Michigan, USA.  Over the following year, circumstances lead him to assemble the previous years of training and knowledge into an academic course.  The techniques that had been learned from other martial arts were examined and dissected.  Any technique that was being critiqued for inclusion into the system was judged upon its effectiveness, ease of assimilation, and if it had the potential to inflict the most amount of pain/damage to the body and its energies. If the technique met those qualifications, it was then reassembled and modified into a simple format which could be easy for an inexperienced or beginner martial artist to learn.  Upper body strength techniques were kept to a minimum to make the course more compatible to the general public, and woman in general.  Importance was not only placed on the physical techniques but also on the strategy and transformation of consciousness involved in them.

After the initial completion of this research and compilation of internal and external martial traditions, Dr. Morris was then introduced to the ways of the Ninja thanks to Stephen Hayes. Dr. Morris and a few of his top students attended a seminar being hosted by Stephen Hayes who was the top ranked Ninjutsu instructor in North America at that time. This was also when Dr. Morris and his students had their first chance to see and learn from Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the 34th grandmaster of what is now referred to as the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  This was truly an eye-opening experience for Dr. Morris as he and his students watched Dr. Hatsumi destroy some of their favourite and most feared techniques. Dr. Morris then knew that he was about to embark upon a long and fruitful journey, learning the ways of the ancient ninja.

Dr. Morris began learning the Ninjutsu art, as all westerners did, through Stephen Hayes.  Mr. Hayes’s experience in other ancient traditions such as Mikko and the like gave Dr. Morris a great example of how some people were teaching the internal and external sides of the martial arts together. Through this training with Mr. Hayes, Dr. Morris and his students began to learn about the principles of the Japanese Godai, what is known as the five elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void).  A principle that would be of great importance to all those who would study Hoshin in years to come.

The system of Hoshinjutsu was being formed as Dr. Morris began teaching it at the Hillsdale College Physical Education Department, with the first class having more than twenty students enrolled. This first course took place every Friday afternoon for two hours.  Dr. Morris felt a physical education course on a Friday afternoon would draw only the most interested and dedicated students.  His assumptions were correct, in total over 300 students enrolled in this course and which resulted in achievements of at least two belt levels. Within the course, a five level belt system was developed based on the Japanese Godai.

Each belt level required students to study and do reports on classic martial arts literature such as “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi, “the Art of War” by Sun Tzu, along with learning yogic exercises, healing and physical self protection techniques.  A great emphasis was placed upon chi kung, meditation and esoteric self protection from both the Eastern and Western Traditions. This course was the roots of Hoshin, from which it continued to evolve and spread worldwide.

During that time, Dr. Morris continued his study of the art of Ninjutsu under the tutelage of Mr. Hayes.  After a time, Dr. Morris was then asked by Dr. Hatsumi to begin studying under Shidoshi Kevin Millis and another chapter in Dr. Morris’s Ninjutsu training began.  Dr. Morris and Mr. Millis created a great relationship built on a mutual respect for each others specialities. It was said that quite often when Mr. Millis and Dr. Morris were training together that Dr. Hatsumi would commonly ask “so who is the sensei today?”  Both Dr. Morris and Mr. Millis would end up pointing a finger at the other and smile and reply that the other was the instructor that day.

In 1993, the first of Dr. Morris’s four books were published: Path Notes of An America Ninja Master, Shadow Strategies of An American Ninja Master, Martial Arts Madness and Quantum Crawfish Bisque for the Clueless Soul.  These four books discussed much about his research, along with the relationship he began to create with Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. By this time Dr. Morris had received his eighth degree black belt in Togakure Ryu Bujinkan Ninpo (what would later be called Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu). Dr. Hatsumi knew of Dr. Morris’s belief in the combination of the internal and external sides of the martial traditions.  A belief that was slowly becoming extinct among many of the new, or up and coming practitioners of Ninjutsu.  Most focused on the external sides of the traditions, while Dr. Morris continued to explore, research and teach the internal side. Dr. Hatsumi asked Dr. Morris to continue teaching this internal aspect of the arts, and help to keep them from becoming extinct.

The only way that Dr. Morris felt he could truly honor this request was to teach these internal aspects in his own martial system, Hoshinjutsu.  The following exerpt from Dr. Morris’ book “Path Notes of An American Ninja Master”, pg 136 summaries Hoshin. “I consider Hoshinjutsu to be a close but honed-down approximation of the ancient ryus as well as a modern introductory course that enables students to enter the world of the true or combatic martial arts without fear, and to have the confidence to follow their hearts far beyond the techniques represented by sport, the color of their obis, or the limitations of their instructors.  Hoshin provides a vehicle for attaining the advantages of flow or enlightened movement without the risk of surviving endless battles with others.  It forces the issue to conquering one’s own fears while entering unknown territory in the company of friends.”

Dr. Morris was the spirit of Hoshin with his zest for life, unique personality, profound intelligence and tremendously witty sense of humor.  On April 1, 2006, Dr. Glenn Morris unexpectedly left this physical world. Upon hearing of Dr. Morris’s death, Dr. Hatsumi honored him by awarding him with his Judan or tenth degree black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  An honor that is held in high regard among all who knew him.