Zanshin Ryu Jujitsu
Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu is a system of both street and sport founded by Sensei Steve Cooper of Nashville, Tennessee
The History and traditions of Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu are held at the core of two traditional Japanese martial arts, Shindo Yoshin-ryu jujutsu and Wado-ryu Karate.
Shindo Yoshin-ryu Jujutsu and Katsunosuke Matsuoka
Shindo Yoshin-ryu meaning "New Willow School" is a traditional school of Japanese martial arts, teaching primarily the art of jujtsu. The Shindo Yoshin-ryu tradition was founded late in the Edo period by a Kuroda clan member named Katsunosuke Matsuoka (1836–1898) Katsunosuke was born in Edo-Hantei, the Edo headquarters of the Kuroda clan in 1836. Katsunosuke opened his first dojo in 1858 in the Asakusa district of Edo where he taught Tenjin Shinyo-ryu jujutsu. Over the years Katsunosuke became convinced that the contemporary jujutsu systems of the late Edo period had lost much of their military usefulness, evolving into systems driven more by individual challenge matches than effective military engagement. For this reason in 1864 he decided to combine his expertise in kenjutsu and jujutsu by formulating a new system of his own creation called Shindo Yoshin-ryu, meaning "new willow school." Katsunosuke intended this new system embrace a curriculum reflecting that of a sogo bujutsu or integrated martial system in order that it be militarily applicable.
Wado-ryu Karate-Jujutsu and Hironori Otsuka
The founder of Wado-ryu, Hironori Otsuka, began practicing Koryu jujutsu under Chojiro Ebashi in 1898. From 1905–1921, he studied Shindo Yoshin-ryu jujutsu under Tatsusaburo Nakayama and was a licensed practioner. In 1922, he met Gichin Funakoshi and began to train under him. In 1924, Ōtsuka became one of the first students promoted to black belt in karate by Funakoshi.
From one point of view, Wado-ryu might be considered a style of jujutsu rather than karate. It should be noted that Otsuka embraced Shotokan and was its chief instructor for a time. When Otsuka first registered his school with the name “Dai Nippon Butoku Kai” in 1938, the style was called "Shinshu Wadō-ryū Karate-Jūjutsu," a name that reflects its hybrid character. After having learned from Funakoshi, and after their split, with Okinawan masters such as Mabuni Kenwa and Choki Motobu, Otsuka merged Shindo Yoshin-ryu with Okinawan karate. The result of Ōtsuka's efforts was Wado-ryu Karate.
A key principle in Wado-ryu is that of tai sabaki (often incorrectly referred to as 'evasion'). The Japanese term can be translated as "body-management," and refers to body manipulation so as to move the defender as well as the attacker out of harm's way. The way to achieve this is to 'move along' rather than to 'move against', or harmony rather than physical strength. Modern karate competition tends to transform Wado-ryu away from its roots towards a new generic karate that appeals more to the demands of both spectators and competitors.
Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu and Steve Cooper
The founder of Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu, Steve Cooper began his Martial Arts training in 1973. Master Cooper had the good fortune of studying with both Master Otsuka and another prominent Wado-ryu stylist, Tatsuo Suzuki (who he had the good fortune to travel and train with in Japan in 1995). During this time he embraced the old core values of traditional Wado-ryu which led him to explore different Jujutsu systems. These systems included Judo, USJA Jujutsu, Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu, Nihon Jujutsu, Small Circle Jujutsu, Miyama Ryu Jujutsu, Daito Ryu jujutsu, Danzan Ryu jujutsu, Jodo Ryu Jujutsu, Hapkido and combat tactics from the ROC army along with modern police tactics (Master Cooper spent 15 years in Law Enforcement and has done personal protection for country music stars and Hollywood actors). Master Cooper used the elements of these systems, along with his base art of Wado-ryu to form Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu in 1988. Master Cooper has continued to formulate his ideas about Zanshin-ryu with extensive training on “tuite” and pressure points from Professor George Dillman (Ryukyu Kempo Karate) and Professor Wally Jay (Small Circle Jujitsu). He states “I took the best of the best and combined it with my years of training with other great instructors and formulated Zanshin Ryu Jujutsu in 1988 as a self defense and combat system. It was always intended to evolve as fighting tactics and concepts evolve and not to be a static system where everyone does it in a monkey see monkey do fashion”. Zanshin-ryu has continued to evolve into aspects of health also. Sensei Cooper is trained in Chiropractic medicine which naturally led him to explore acupuncture. After studying in China in 2006, Sensei Cooper became more interested in acupuncture and qigong which has led him to study Dayan Qigong. His hope is to help practioners of Zanshin-ryu continue to practice to their highest level, regardless of age. Master Cooper resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he teaches both public and private lessons in Zanshin-ryu Jujutsu, Ryukyu Kempo Karate, and Dayan Qigong.
Shane Lear studies Zanshin Ryu under Master Cooper and is the "Soke Dai" or "inheritor" of the system.