Hakko-ryu Jujutsu and Koho Shiatsu

The Eighth Light System of Self-Defense and Imperial Finger Pressure Therapy

“The three major tenants of Hakko-ryu are:
Sakarawazu 逆らわず (No Resistance)
Idomazu 挑まず (No Challenge)
Kizutsukezu 傷つけず (No Injury)

With Hakko-ryu, for the first time, the eyes of the dragon are drawn.”
– Shodai Soke Okuyama Ryuho

Hakko-ryu Japan Representative Shihan Naraki Hara and Group 1963
Shodai Soke

Hakko-ryu is based on a philosophical view of the color spectrum as being divided into nine bands of light. The eighth shade is infrared, which is invisible to the naked eye but extremely powerful, as are Hakko-ryu techniques. Hakko-ryu Jujutsu was founded on June 1, 1941 by Ryuho Okuyama in Japan. Hakko-ryu is designed to handle attacks by applying pressure on the body’s Keiraku (Meridian Energy Pathways) to cause intense but non-damaging pain and thus destroy the attacker’s will to continue. The aim of Hakko-ryu technique is to neutralize, control and discourage an attacker with techniques that employ minimal strength yet generate maximum efficiency. Okuyama Sensei created his system upon the belief that the successful application of technique verses the application of physical strength could overcome attacks in a self-defense context. The ability to neutralize and control both the attacker and the situation is the hallmark of Hakko-ryu Jujutsu, which translates as “School of the Eight Lights”. During one’s training, tensing and the use of power are discouraged in favor of suppleness and flexibility. The “Gensoku” or principle behind each technique compensates for power. Hakko-ryu does not teach specific techniques and defenses for a myriad of possible attacks, but instead teaches a mastery of the “Gensoku” principles upon which the techniques are based. The most important aspect of the Hakko-ryu principles and their application is the emphasis placed on the little finger side of the hand. All gripping techniques stress the pulling motion of the pinky side of the hand, where blocking and pinning are also performed.

Many of Hakko-ryu’s control techniques do not involve an unnatural twisting of the joints, but rather a bending of the joints in a natural direction, which requires less strength, is much more difficult to resist physically, and results in a sharp piercing pain. Atemi techniques in Hakko-ryu are based on the principles of Koho Igaku Shiatsu, a form of Japanese finger pressure therapy created by Ryuho Okuyama and based on the principles of oriental medicine. Atemi strikes and touches are directed to the tensed areas of an opponent’s body. Kicks are generally directed to the lower body from the waist down. Open-hand strikes, particularly the knife hand (Shuto), thumb drive (Oya Yubi Ken), index knuckle strike (Hitosashi Yubi Ippon Ken), and the middle knuckle strike (Naka Yubi Ippon Ken) are fundamental methods of Atemi in Hakko-ryu for their ability to pierce the vital points of the body.

Kasa Waza
Hakko Ryu Spirit 001

The techniques of Hakko-ryu Jujutsu are learned in two basic manners: Suwari-waza (kneeling) and Tachi-waza (standing). 

Suwari Waza 座り技
The initial training in the Seiza 正座 kneeling position has two specific purposes. The first being to allow the student to learn perfectly the specific Gensoku principles of a particular technique so they know what makes it work and what prevents it from working. At this stage of training, you need not be overly concerned with footwork (Ashisabaki) or foot techniques (Ashiwaza). The second primary purpose of training in the sitting position is to promote suppleness in the legs, balance, strength in the hips, pelvic region, and lower body. This lower body cultivation expands our awareness of the Kikai Tanden 気海丹田.

Tachi Waza 立ち技
Training in the Tachi or Seiritsu 正立standing position reiterates those techniques learned well in the kneeling position and applies practical application of the foot and body movements. This allows the student to concentrate fully on their body position and movement (Taisabaki) because they have already spent considerable time mastering the basic hand techniques (Tewaza) in the kneeling position. They need not learn the hand and accompanying foot techniques simultaneously first, running the risk of performing one or the other incorrectly or worse, confusing themselves while trying to concentrate on two things at once. The complete application of proper foot and body movement and corresponding hand techniques soon become an integrated whole and complete technique. Tesabaki, Ashisabaki, and Taisabaki are performed smoothly, quickly and effectively, placing the attacker under control.

Seiza Seiritsu Seitanden Seikatsu-Ho
“Correct sitting leads to correct standing and both are needed for the cultivation and discovery of our Sei-Tanden which leads us on the path to the correct way of living our life with robust health and vitality.”

Koho Shiatsu Igaku

Imperial Finger Pressure Therapy
“One finger can hurt and one finger can heal.”

One of the major principles taught by Shodai Soke Okuyama is that a single finger can be used to heal or to harm. Okuyama Sensei taught that the use of violence from your own fist to control violence is not needed. You do not need to harm an attacker. You do however need to remove their will to act out their violent intentions. Using a strike with a single finger to subtly break their will of violence. One can also learn to heal with a single finger.

Hirata 12 Zones

Koho Shiatsu InKei
Keijō Shigeki Hisen 経状刺戟秘線 - (Inkei Meridian Stimulation Secret Lines)
Koho Shiatsu YoKei
Keijō Shigeki Hisen 経状刺戟秘線 - (Yokei Meridian Stimulation Secret Lines)


Sandai Kōka no Genri

Principles of the Three Major Effects of Koho Shiatsu Treatment

Kohō Shiatsu 皇法指圧 is the style of Shiatsu taught within Hakko-ryu. In chapter 2 of Okuyama Sensei’s book he outlines the three main effects utilized in his form of Shiatsu treatment:

  1. Butsuri teki ni Agaru Kōka 物理的に挙がる効果 (Physical Targeted Effect) Indirect Reaction Cure – This effect is gained by applying shiatsu to areas different from the injured part. Indirect reaction cure is accomplished through the number technique, wherein the body is divided into sets of 12 numbers. For instance, if number 8 of one leg was hurt, shiatsu would be applied to all the number 8’s of the rest of the body. In Japan, Mr. Benko witnessed a discolored, badly bruised toe regain its natural color with the indirect reaction cure applied to the opposite shoulder.
  2. Kagaku teki ni Agaru Kōka 化学的に挙がる効果 (Chemical Targeted Effect) Chemical Reaction Cure – This effect is used to combat sudden illness or injury. Shiatsu is administered around the injured part. The chemical reaction cure is quite similar to the simple rubbing of a bruised area.
  3. Seishin teki ni Agaru Kōka 精神的に挙がる効果 (Mental Targeted Effect) Refreshing Effect – This effect is used to rid a person of exhaustion. Shiatsu is applied along the lines illustrated on the charts above.

Basic Diagnostic Techniques

There are two primary techniques used to examine a patient:

  1. Line Pulse Technique – The pulse is taken with the index, middle and third fingers. The beats of each of the pulse points are measured by two-breath time. During the two breaths, each of the pulse points must register 8 to 9 beats if the patient is in good health. If the number of beats is less or more than 8 to 9, the patient is not well. A list of rules is used to identify the area of difficulty.
  2. Observation – By observing the patient, one can gain many insights into his/her current state of health. For instance, characteristics of a person with a kidney ailment are pale face texture, dry nose, too frequent urination, low pep, and low spirit.
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