A history of Daiwa Ryu, Dentokan and Hakko Ryu jujutsu in the UK

In about 1984, Roy Jerry Hobbs moved to Suffolk as his latest posting with the United States Air Force. Before that he had been posted in Japan where he had pursued his passion for martial arts with vigour. As a result of this he had been awarded the grade of shihan in Hakko Ryu Jujutsu.

On arrival in Suffolk, he started teaching Hakko Ryu jujutsu and soon established a thriving class. On being posted back to the States a few years later, the club was able to continue to train under the guidance of the senior students, with visits from both Jerry and Garcia sensei, another Hakko Ryu shihan, based in Belgium.

Although invaluable, the limited contact with Hakko Ryu shihans might not have been sufficient to allow the senior students to continue to learn and enthuse the classes left in their care. Here good fortune stepped in. One of the senior students at the club, Reg Siger, discovered the Japanese Shitenoji boarding school near Bury St Edmunds was starting a jujutsu class for the general public. Three of us went along, not knowing what to expect. To our surprise we met Harada sensei and Tanaka sensei, both retired Hakko Ryu shihan, now teaching a similar style: Daiwa Ryu. For the next few years we travelled over to Shitenoji every Monday night and had the strange experience of training in a kyudo dojo set amongst traditional Japanese buildings, with a half timbered Suffolk farm house in the background. Along the way Tanaka sensei granted permission to Reg, Richard and myself to teach Daiwa Ryu jujutsu. By this time Harada sensei had been reposted to Austria by the Shitenoji school. His story continues elsewhere.

Following the death of the founder of Hakko Ryu jujutsu, his son inherited the position of Nidai Soke. The change of leadership produced some upheaval amongst some of the senior shihans in the organisation, resulting in a number of them leaving the Hakko Ryu and establishing their own organisations. Hobbs sensei set up the Kokusai Dentokan Renmei in 1994. No longer being affiliated with the Hakko Ryu hombu, the clubs in the UK renamed themselves Dentokan Jujutsu. The jujutsu taught continued as before, based heavily on the techniques of Hakko Ryu jujutsu, with a strong influence from Daiwa Ryu.

In 2013 I amicably parted ways with the Dentokan; the route they were following was different to the one I was on and by then I was Dentokan in name only. I'm now teaching Daiwa Ryu in Warborough, Oxfordshire.