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Ryuho Okuyama (02)

Aiki News #84 (Spring 1990)

In the past, martial artists often studied healing and resuscitation side by side with martial techniques, but today, opportunities to study both the fighting and healing arts are rare. Hakko-ryu Jujutsu is one of the few schools to devote equal attention to the study of how to inflict damage and how to heal it. Second Headmaster Ryuho Okuyama describes both aspects of his art in this, the second and final installment of an interview conducted October 17, 1989.


What weight do you give to each of the two different aspects of Hakko-ryu, the martial art and the medicine?

Fifty-fifty. Those who enter our dojo are not usually in good health when they first arrive. They always have something wrong with them. One time, a person who was suffering from a duodenal ulcer and was scheduled to have an operation on it the next day, escaped from his hospital and came to our dojo. He got better here and he then learned shiatsu medicine and now runs his own clinic. There are many people like him in our dojo.

Are there many people who have already studied other martial arts?

Yes, actually there are. Those who come from abroad usually have studied various arts such as Judo, Karate and Aikido. They usually become convinced by Hakko-ryu. If you study only the martial arts, there is a danger of hurting people. We should study such arts synthetically.

There are no foreigners who come only to study Hakko-ryu. We will have a student from Pakistan soon. A person from Belgium has been studying here for more than one year. They all have studied some kind of martial art before.

We do not advertise our dojo much. People come because they have heard of us from those who have studied here before. Various places such as the Butokukai in Kyoto have invited us to join their organization and there once was a person who told us that he would help us become a foundation. However, our Sensei [the first headmaster of Hakko-ryu, Ryuho Okuyama] didn’t like such things and refused all these proposals. Otherwise, we would be controlled by them and would be no longer able to transmit the truth. Therefore, we make it a rule to remain like lone wolves.

About how many techniques are there in Hakko-ryu?

There are about two or three hundred techniques.

How many practitioners are there in Japan?

More than one and a half million, I think.

How about the number of dojos in Japan?

I think there are between twenty and thirty dojos. I think that the number will increase in the future.

How many instructors are there in Japan?

Well, let’s see. We have had a little more than three thousand instructors in the world but more than half of them have already passed away.

Do you have a large dojo in Tokyo?

There is one at Karasuyama in Setagaya-ku and one in Fussa. About 10 years ago, we had a clinic in Shibuya in Tokyo and we used to teach some techniques there too. However, since the dojo was upstairs and inside the building, the people downstairs complained about the vibrations they felt when we gave a class. Although we used to have thirty or forty patients a day at that time, we stopped teaching techniques there.

Recently, practitioners of acupuncture and moxabustion are using more machines. Do you use any kind of equipment during your treatments?

No, we only use our hands. We do not use low-and high-frequency vibrations or any special bed. The other day we treated a person who was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage. He didn’t go to a doctor when he had the stroke and this was good for him. He was taken immediately to my student and received shiatsu treatment once every two days there. Then he was brought here. I have given him five or six shiatsu treatments so far. He is hardly suffering from any aftereffects. He is not paralyzed on either side and can talk clearly. If he had gone to a doctor, he might have been paralyzed on his right side.

In the world of martial arts, there are two ways of thinking. One is that one should preserve what one has learned from the headmaster or founder intact, and the other is to try to adjust techniques according to the need of the times by adding and changing them. In the case of the shiatsu portion of Hakko-ryu are you affected much by new knowledge and discoveries in medicine?

I think this can be said about any technique in any martial art, but there is no “final version” of a technique. Techniques are always changing. I have not found any perfect technique or shiatsu method. I will be studying until I die and it is my life work.

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