West Coast Jujitsu     


By Professor Len Riley "Kudan"

The Following is a brief explnation of what I teach as a Professor teaching Traditional Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.  This is my own personal summation of the philosophy behind what I was taught as I progressed through the ranks to 9th Degree Black belt and the title of Professor.  This may not reflect the views of others within the organization.

I started martial arts training in 1960 with my uncle who trained in Japan.  He studied Shodokan and attained 3rd Degree Black Belt.  I also studied Shito Ryu, Taekwando, Tongsudo, Competition Judo, Aikido and hand to hand combat in the Military.

I started my Jujitsu training in the mid 1970's at Golden West College.  My instructor was and still is Professor Mike Chubb.  In the basic class, I was taught rolling and falling techniques and then on to "Kata Boards" starting with Yawara and Nage; then moving on to Shime and Oku, etc.

At the same time the college class was being taught, my Sensei also had a very small Dojo at the town-house complex where he lived.  It was proverbial "one room schoolhouse". Some of the college students that showed a desire for additional training were invited to attend the small Dojo and study more advanced versions of the arts.

Previous to my Jujitsu career, as I said, I studied many other types of martial arts; but they did not fascinate me as much as Jujitsu.  Jujitsu training was much less stressful as opposed to the ridged, formal and inflexible styles I had experience.  The idea was self-defense.  This is the kind of self-defense that really worked on the streets.  The kind that could very well save your life or the life of a loved one if put to the test.  It wasn't fancy for show or punching aimlessly into the air, but an answer to an inescapable attack.

We hold the high regard the basic principles and techniques as passed down by the founder of our Danzan Ryu Jujitsu system, "Professor Okazaki".  We study these arts and still practice them the way he would want to see them done if he were still alive and watching.  We hold to the traditional arts for historical reasons, but we are constantly updating techniques we consider to be variations of these original arts to try and adapt them to work more towards what a person might run into on the street today.  These variations to the old techniques are still done with Okazaki's basic principles in mind, but since there are to many ways to do a technique, we constantly change these variations.  if we find a better way to do one of the techniques, we do it that way.  We work to perfect each technique by repetition, but in my estimation, perfect execution is not as important as adaptability.  All these individual variations are opportunities to learn something new.

In Many Martial Arts, students are required to mimic their instructor's movements precisely.  Unfortunately, individuals differ in size and skill level.  Styles too rooted in tradtion often suffer from rigidity that can make them less effective; so variations of the traditonal techniques are encouraged as long as the basic principle remains.  It is in this way that our Danzan Ryu style can be thought of as a living art and will withstand the test of time.

In our system, when you attain the rank of Black Belt, you have only scratched the surface.  Again, you are the level, like a white belt; ready to learn with no preconceived ideas and hopefully with an open mind.

You never stop being a student.  There is always more to learn.  If the teaching was proper, you will be giving back by passing these arts and philosophies on to others as you were taught.

Professor Okazaki passed these techniques on to us in the system he called Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, which means "Cedar Mountain System". The name of his school was "Ko Den Kan". the name of our school is West Coast Jujitsu.  our style is still Danzan Ryu from professor Okazaki.

Our Jujitsu family tree started with Professor Okazaki in Hawaii.  He taught many, many students in his lifetime.  One of these students was named Ray Law.  Professor Ray Law and his wife (also a Black belt) moved to Oakland California were they started a school.  One of the students at the school was William Randle.  Professor Randle moved to Santa Monica where he startef a school and taught by Sensei, Professor Mike Chubb.  There are many other too numerious to add to this short history lesson and I mean them no insult by leaving them out.

Hopefully, this will shed some light on some of the questions you may have had.  There is much more to know and many stories to pass on but for now you can add this to your Notebook or your knowledge of the art.
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