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Our History and Traditions

Hoshinjutsu is seen by some as a more modern style of Ninjutsu. Hoshin was founded by the late Dr. Glenn J. Morris, a lifetime martial artist, literary scholar, and worldwide presenter.  Dr. Morris began studying martial arts while in his teens and had the great opportunity to travel the world during his time in the US military and while working within corporate America. This travel allowed him to continue studying various martial arts and select aspects of those arts that fit within his ideals of a balanced internal and external martial art.

In 1981, Dr. Morris, began working at Hillsdale College in Southern Michigan, USA.  Over the following year, circumstances lead him to assemble the previous years of training and knowledge into an academic course.  The techniques that had been learned from other martial arts were examined and dissected.  Any technique that was being critiqued for inclusion into the system was judged upon its effectiveness, ease of assimilation, and if it had the potential to inflict the most amount of pain/damage to the body and its energies. If the technique met those qualifications, it was then reassembled and modified into a simple format which could be easy for an inexperienced or beginner martial artist to learn.  Upper body strength techniques were kept to a minimum to make the course more compatible to the general public, and woman in general.  Importance was not only placed on the physical techniques but also on the strategy and transformation of consciousness involved in them.

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After the initial completion of this research and compilation of internal and external martial traditions, Dr. Morris was then introduced to the ways of the Ninja thanks to Stephan Hayes. Dr. Morris and a few of his top students attended a seminar being hosted by Stephen Hayes who was the top ranked Ninjutsu instructor in North America at that time. This was also when Dr. Morris and his students had their first chance to see and learn from Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the 34th grandmaster of what is now referred to as the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  This was truly an eye-opening experience for Dr. Morris as he and his students watched Dr. Hatsumi destroy some of their favourite and most feared techniques. Dr. Morris then knew that he was about to embark upon a long and fruitful journey, learning the ways of the ancient ninja.

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Dr. Morris began learning the Ninjutsu art, as all westerners did, through Stephen Hayes.  Mr. Hayes’s experience in other ancient traditions such as Mikko and the like gave Dr. Morris a great example of how some people were teaching the internal and external sides of the martial arts together. Through this training with Mr. Hayes, Dr. Morris and his students began to learn about the principles of the Japanese Godai, what is known as the five elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void).  A principle that would be of great importance to all those who would study Hoshin in years to come.

The system of Hoshinjutsu was being formed as Dr. Morris began teaching it at the Hillsdale College Physical Education Department, with the first class having more than twenty students enrolled. This first course took place every Friday afternoon for two hours.  Dr. Morris felt a physical education course on a Friday afternoon would draw only the most interested and dedicated students.  His assumptions were correct, in total over 300 students enrolled in this course and which resulted in achievements of at least two belt levels. Within the course, a five level belt system was developed based on the Japanese Godai.  Each belt level required students to study and do reports on classic martial arts literature such as “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi, “the Art of War” by Sun Tzu, along with learning yogic exercises, healing and physical self protection techniques.  A great emphasis was placed upon chi kung, meditation and esoteric self protection from both the Eastern and Western Traditions. This course was the roots of Hoshin, from which it continued to evolve and spread worldwide.

During that time, Dr. Morris continued his study of the art of Ninjutsu under the tutelage of Mr. Hayes.  After a time, Dr. Morris was then asked by Dr. Hatsumi to begin studying under Shidoshi Kevin Millis and another chapter in Dr. Morris’s Ninjutsu training began.  Dr. Morris and Mr. Millis created a great relationship built on a mutual respect for each others specialities. It was said that quite often when Mr. Millis and Dr. Morris were training together that Dr. Hatsumi would commonly ask “so who is the sensei today?”  Both Dr. Morris and Mr. Millis would end up pointing a finger at the other and smile and reply that the other was the instructor that day.

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In 1993, the first of Dr. Morris’s four books were published: Path Notes of An America Ninja Master, Shadow Strategies of An American Ninja Master, Martial Arts Madness and Quantum Crawfish Bisque for the Clueless Soul.  These four books discussed much about his research, along with the relationship he began to create with Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. By this time Dr. Morris had received his eighth degree black belt in Togakure Ryu Bujinkan Ninpo (what would later be called Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu). Dr. Hatsumi knew of Dr. Morris’s belief in the combination of the internal and external sides of the martial traditions.  A belief that was slowly becoming extinct among many of the new, or up and coming practitioners of Ninjutsu.  Most focused on the external sides of the traditions, while Dr. Morris continued to explore, research and teach the internal side. Dr. Hatsumi asked Dr. Morris to continue teaching this internal aspect of the arts, and help to keep them from becoming extinct. The only way that Dr. Morris felt he could truly honour this request was to teach these internal aspects in his own martial system, Hoshinjutsu.  The following exert from Dr. Morris’ book “Path Notes of An American Ninja Master”, pg 136 summaries Hoshin. “I consider Hoshinjutsu to be a close but honed-down approximation of the ancient ryus as well as a modern introductory course that enables students to enter the world of the true or combatic martial arts without fear, and to have the confidence to follow their hearts far beyond the techniques represented by sport, the color of their obis, or the limitations of their instructors.  Hoshin provides a vehicle for attaining the advantages of flow or enlightened movement without the risk of surviving endless battles with others.  It forces the issue to conquering one’s own fears while entering unknown territory in the company of friends.”

Hoshin evolved over the years thanks to Dr. Morris’s hard work, along with many honoured students around the world.  The Hoshin system became a uniquely balanced martial art focusing on both the internal and external side of the martial arts. It includes a modernized, no-nonsense self protection system conglomerating hundreds of years of warrior training derived from combative traditions from Japan, China, Russia, India, and North America. The system includes kicks and strikes, throws, joint locks, ground fighting, pressure point tactics, and the use of common, modern and traditional weaponry.  The internal aspects include the study of meditation, chi kung and various healing modalities which makes Hoshin a very eclectic martial art.

Dr. Morris was the spirit of Hoshin with his zest for life, unique personality, profound intelligence and tremendously witty sense of humour.  On April 1, 2006, Dr. Glenn Morris unexpectedly left this physical world. Upon hearing of Dr. Morris’s death, Dr. Hatsumi honoured him by awarding him with his Judan or tenth degree black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  An honour that is held in high regard among all who knew him.

Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Crest

The Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu crest symbolizes a combination of the Japanese GoDai and the chakra system of esoteric yoga. The GoDai elements of: earth, water, fire, wind and void are combined with the corresponding chakra colours of red for earth, orange for water, yellow for fire, green for wind and blue for void. Our belt system is founded by these combined elements. The yin / yang symbol in the centre of the crest represents the balance between mind, body and spirit which is reflected throughout the Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu system.

This design was developed in first few years of Hoshin and protected today to preserve the legacy of Hoshin and the lifework of Dr. Glenn Morris, our founder.

Following tradition, crests are worn on the back of the student's dogi until after they have successfully completed a Hoshin Firewalk ceremony. After achieving this right of passage, the student may wear the crest on the front left side of the dogi over their heart.

About the Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Association

The Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Association is a worldwide group of Hoshin training centres which follow the teachings and traditions of our founder, Dr. Glenn J. Morris. All of the aspects of the original Hoshin system which included: Hoshin self protection, meditation, chi kung, intention sensing, and healing arts are taught by all of our instructors. Our new Hoshinjutsu and the Godai DVD is now available which gives you a sneak peak into the Hoshinjutsu martial art, and the Japanese Godai, or five elements!

Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Association honbu is located in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada at the Kawartha Hoshin Training Centre. The association is headed by Roshi Mark Lawrence and strongly supported by the Hoshin leadership for which elected him. Mark works closely with the Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Association advisory board to continue to grow and nuture this system. As with tradition, annual Kaizen's take place in mid July to celebrate Dr. Morris - soke's birthday. These annual gatherings bring ryu members from around the world together to train and share this eclectic art and to honour our founder.

Memberships to the Hoshinroshiryu Jutaijutsu Association are paid on an annual basis, which allows students to test for ranking and participate on the discussion list.