Reflecting on the Esoteric Teachings of Professor Okazaki

After our Aikido class yesterday I had lunch with one of my Friends, Jim. We talked a bit about how we started in martial arts. I told him that my fist exposure was not in Aikido, but was in fact in Ju Jitsu when I was a kid, around the same age that my son is now. I asked him if he had ever heard about Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu and he said that he had not. Danzan Ryu was founded in the late thirties by Professor Seishiru Okazaki and was the form of martial art that I started learning for a few years way back in my child hood.

I told him about the esoteric teachings as described by Danzan Ryu’s O’ Sensei, Seishiru Okazaki. I believe that every martial artist should know and understand these principles. A translation of his esoteric principles can be found here:

To paraphrase and abbreviate:

  • Have gratitude to your teachers
  • Be gracious to your family
  • Be a productive citizen of your country
  • Do not be afraid of the strong or despise the weak
  • Show restraint and modesty
  • Be a good teacher to those who need it
  • Train hard and learn diligently
  • Remain calm in crisis

I love the fact that the art I started with is rooted in such love and respect. These are principles that can be used regardless of the art. These are principles one can use to cultivate themselves as growing and loving men and women.

In his esoteric principles he describes his art as Judo, elevated from Ju Jitsu and claims it to be a “finer moral concept called Judo, ‘the way of Gentleness'”. I am greatly moved by Professor Okazaki’s esoteric principles. As he refers to “Judo” I do not believe he is referring to a series of techniques making up his art. Rather, he is referring to the more esoteric “way of gentleness” that needs to be cultivated to become a better person and live a better life. To end this morning, here is a quote from the esoteric principles:

“Remember always parental love and one’s enormous indebtedness to teachers. Be grateful for the protection of Heaven and Earth. Be a good leader to younger men. To lead younger men well, will in the long run, mean to attain proficiency in the skill of Judo.”
– Professor Seishiru “Henry” Okazaki


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