The Jujutsu System of Junji Saito Sensei
and Mike Depasquale Sr.
What is Yoshitsune Waza?
Yoshitsune Waza is the public curriculum created by my teacher Mike DePasquale Sr. together with his main teacher Junji Saito Sensei (Shihan Menkyo Kaiden Sandaikichu) of the Hakko Ryu. Saito Sensei put together a system of Jujutsu where he could share his life’s work in the study and pursuit of true Jujutsu. Together with his student Mike Depasquale Sr., they put together a system of self-defense for the public curriculum of their Dojo by combining the techniques from the following schools: Hakko-ryu, Sekiguchi-ryu, Sosuishi-ryu, Kito-ryu, Jigen-ryu, Kodokan Judo, Nihon Goshindo Kenpo, plus Saito Sensei’s family’s style of Hepi-ryu Bojutsu. It is my deep sincere wish that through your own hard training you can come to appreciate and respect the true forms and correct spirit of traditional Jujutsu training.
The First Meeting
My teacher Mike DePasquale Sr. met his teacher Junji Saito for the first time in January of 1960. At the time Mr. DePasquale Sr. was employed as a railroad police officer. One night while he was traveling to the Pennsylvania Station to pick up work papers related to freight thefts, he chanced to meet his future teacher, Junji Saito. Saito Sensei had just arrived at the station himself from Philadelphia. Saito Sensei was always described to me as being very small in stature, 5 feet tall and very slender with a full head of white hair. Saito Sensei was not very strong looking, was very soft spoken and wore wire framed glasses. This all added to his appearance and the impression one got when meeting him for the first time. Mr. DePasquale Sr. told me that Saito Sensei had in his opinion, an ability far superior to anyone he had ever met, and that ability was to teach! He had a way about him to make people listen attentively and understand as he passed on his gems of martial arts techniques.
The Kata training in Yoshitsune Waza is broken into 5 Dan grades from Shodan through Godan. Then there is specialized training done for select Shihan only. My teacher said that a good Shodan should be able to teach one technique for a year and that you only really need the first 14 Kata for self-defense.