History of Seifukujutsu

by Ray Fisher
This a composite history of Seifukujutsu based upon knowledge I received during class times, data from the manual and various handouts given to me from my teacher, Professor Ken Eddy and other sources as well. It is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of this date (12.01.2016).

The origins of Oriental medicine can be traced back almost 6000 years. The Asians originally used stones for pressing into and for piercing the acupuncture points that they felt contained “Demon” energy or congestion. The Chinese later moved on to utilize wood and bamboo needles for puncturing the flesh and for bleeding the points.Practitioners had to be careful so as to avoid infections and toxic responses. The Koreans and Japanese were also known to use stone, wood and even bone needles as well.

A time went on, the development of metals created the opportunity to use iron, brass, silver and gold needles. Each metal has its own properties of Yin or Yang and the amount of conductivity of each metal is different as well. With the advent of these needles, practitioners located over 1200 acupuncture points that they deemed medically beneficial.
Along with the use of acupuncture, the oriental cultures also developed different methods of healing treatments including but not limited to: Cupping, bone setting, hydrotherapy, moxibustion, scraping, the practicing of various Qi Gong and Tai Qi Ch’uan forms, herbology and massage.

As practitioners became more skilled, they reduced the number of points utilized to about 360 points that are commonly recognized today. There are some differences between Japanese, Chinese and Korean methods of acupuncture but for the majority of the points, there is a general consensus.

The first real compilation of Oriental medicine is believed to have been the “Nei Ching” by the Yellow Emperor of China about 2700 BC. It is said that the emperor had a wooden dummy made with the acupuncture points drilled into it and that it was filled with mercury. Thus, when the needles pieced the points, the liquid metal flowed freely.

It was during the Asuka Period (552-710 AD) that the Buddhist monks from China began to influence the people of Japan. As time went on, the medicinal practices of the Japanese folk medicine were blended into the holistic teachings of Chinese medicine. The Japanese have a way of assimilating things and refining them, so it can be said that the Chinese medicinal knowledge was “Japanized”.

These healing techniques were protected by the Samurai warriors or Bushi (warrior caste) and were heavily guarded just like they guarded and hid their fighting techniques. During this time, (1185 to 1853) the monks, priests and samurai became more and more reclusive and selective with whom they shared their knowledge with. There were great periods of unrest and conflict in feudal Japan and the various fractions kept and shared the arts only with their families and clans.
After many years of development, the monks of the mountains began to be known as “Shugenja” (men of magic). Their healing was regarded as mystical for they were able to heal men instantly on the field of battle as if they had never been hurt. This obviously gave certain clans a major advantage during times of conflict and these medicine men were held in high esteem.

The Samurai had 3 main arts that they practiced; Kubodu (weaponry), Jujitsu (empty handed self-defense) and their healing skills they used to assist their fellow warriors in camps at night, in order to help restore their strength and mobility for the next day battle.

Seifukujutsu was developed from these roots and has been practiced for about 1600 hundred years in its current form. The practitioners of this special art are considered to be the premium Miko (healers) of the Japanese culture because they use non-invasive, natural methods to achieve the end result of a healthy patient, family and community.

Seifukujutsu consists of 5 levels or stages of knowledge. The normal method of transmission of knowledge was from a master to an apprentice in a one on one basis. As the student gained experience, the master would then allow the student to do more without supervision and only then, the Master would give additional training to the student as the student proved that he was worthy.

When a Miko master accepted a student as an apprentice, the student was first taught the value of keeping the house or clinic area clean and well stocked with the necessary supplies. The first year of training consisted of being shown the “Kaifuku Amma” (massage) by watching the master or senior students perform the treatment. After about one year, the apprentice was allowed the opportunity to give the patient the Amma in preparation for the master or second level students to work the healing techniques of Seifukujutsu.

The next level of training was the 2nd level apprentices were allowed to watch the 3rd level students do more advanced treatments. Just as the second level trainee helped to mentor the 1st level apprentice, so the 3rd level students mentored the 2nd level apprentices and so on.

Diagnosis was only to be performed by students who had fully completed the first 3 levels of Seifukujutsu because this third level was considered sacred. A mistake could result in aggravating the illness or even causing the death of the patient. Once one had reached the fifth level of training, he would practice under the supervisor of the master for many years until he was awarded the title of “Isha” (physician).

To be an Isha in Seifukujutsu: one must have 2000 hours of classroom and “hands on” instructional training and an additional 1000 hours of internship in addition to general education and healing knowledge. Only at that time, were the senior students then allowed to practice without the direct supervision of an overseer. There were those in the community that were only taught the introduction (or the Kaifuku Amma) to Seifukujutsu. This was actually the case in most instances. There were times when the blind were taught the Amma for they had an extreme sense of touch and they could not compromise the modesty of the recipient or their standing in the community.

The man most responsible for introducing the art of Seifukujutsu to the western world was Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki. He was world renown for his healing techniques and abilities. Professor Okazaki was even approached by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to become his personal physician after treating FDR during the thirties.
President Roosevelt said that Professor was the only person ever to be able to give him some relief from his polio and other related ailments. Professor Okazaki declined because he believed that he could help more people by practicing in his own community rather than being assigned to the President solely. The Nihon Kaifuku Amma was nicknamed “Okazaki’s Elbow massage”. Henry Seishiro Okazaki was born in the town of Kakeda, Fukushima Prefecture in Japan on January 28th 1890. He migrated to the territory of Hawaii in 1906 and settle in Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. At 19, he was diagnosed with a lung disease thought to be tuberculosis. As a desperate measure to combat depression, he began his studies of Judo and Jujitsu. He devoted himself to training with all of his strength and being. Strangely, his intense practice led to a complete recovery of his illness.

Professor Okazaki traveled to Japan and studied Judo and Jujitsu under many different teachers and even trained in other systems as well. He returned to Hawaii and opened the Kodenkan Dojo and named the specific eclectic style he taught as Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. Breaking with oriental traditions, Professor Okazaki taught any and all races this system.His 1st school was on the island of Maui for a very short time, about 2 years. It was called Nikko Sanatorium. Then in 1929, he moved to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, where he bought the “Nikko” (Rays of the Sun) residence at 801 South Hotel Street. He later converted it into the “Okazaki Seifukujutsu Inn” (Okazaki adjustment and restoration clinic) and he also taught there his newly created style of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.

In July of 1948, Professor Okazaki suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. His senior students would come work on him; applying the restoration techniques that he had taught them earlier. From those who he had taught and helped, the circle turned back towards Professor Okazaki as his students helped their Master. Slowly, he regained some of his vitality but unfortunately, his disability continued to affect him.

He suffered an 2nd stroke in September of 1950 and another massive stroke in June of 1951, which left him totally paralyzed. He died on July 12th, 1951 due to complications from these strokes.

Professor Okazaki taught many students the 1st level of Seifukujutsu but very few attained the complete training of all 5 levels. Some of the more famous students of Professor Okazaki were Richard Rickerts, Charles Wagner, William Montero, Raymond Law, Merlin ”Bud” Estes, Sig Kufferath, Jack Wheat and Carl Beaver to name a few. Not all of these students received the full system.

Unfortunately, most people in the United States have only learned a small part of the full art. Thus, most people when they think of Seifukujutsu, they think of the “Kaifuku Amma” (massage). This is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The basic massage can work miracles and help most ailments but it is NOT the complete system of Seifukujutsu, it is only the introductory level of this amazing art.

For a quick lineage of the transmission of the Seifukujutsu system that I have been taught, my lineage is as follows:
Henry Seishiro Okazaki
Merlin Hachiro Okazaki
"Bud" Estes / Jack Wheat / Ramon Ancho
Ken Eddy
Ray Fisher
My healing teacher is Professor Ken Eddy who is the head of the Oriental Medical studies at the University of Reno, Nevada. He also teaches at Truckee Meadows Community College in California. Professor Eddy has also trained with: Professors Carl Beaver, Jack Wheat, William Montero and Sig Kufferath.

Professor Eddy has a degree in Allied Health Science and has his Isha (doctor) in Oriental medicine. He is also a 7th degree black belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. Please be aware that Professor Ken Eddy has had many other teachers in his long career in the martial arts.

As of December 2016 - my personal credentials are:
  • 8th degree Black rank in Goju-Shorei Weapons System
(Master title - awarded by Soke Dave McNeill)
  • 6th degree Black belt in Kenpo Jujitsu
(Professor title - awarded by Sifu Gary McGhee)
  • 5th degree Black belt in Okinawan Ryu-Kyu Kempo Torite-Jutsu
(Masters title - Grandmasters Tom Muncy and Rick Moneymaker)
  • 1st degree Black belt in Kajukenbo (Grandmaster's Adriano Emperado and Joseph Holke).
  • Adjunct Professor at Mesa Community College - Mesa, AZ
  • Youngest graduate in the world – Evelyn Woods Reading course 1972
  • B.S. in Geography – Arizona State University, 1985
  • Elected to Who’s Who in America – 1996
  • Elected to the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame – 1999
  • Elected to the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame - 2003
  • I am a certified practitioner of Seifukujutsu – Level II.
  • I am a Reiki practitioner - Level II.
  • I am certified in Touch for Health energy balancing – Level III.

Professor Eddy awarded me my teacher’s certificate (granting me permission to teach the Nihon Kaifuku Amma) through the American Jujitsu Institute in June of 2001.

At the time, it was the only teaching certificate ever awarded to a Level II graduate by the A.J.I. -- Professor Eddy petitioned the A.J.I. Board of Directors and received special permission in regards to my instructors’ recognition. It is an incredible honor and one that I treasure quite highly.