About Berkeley DZR
We teach Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu, a traditional Japanese martial art. Master Henry Seishiro Okazaki founded the style in Hawaii the 1920s. Born in Japan, Master Okazaki emigrated to the Hawaiian Islands as a teenager. Stricken with a lung disease, he began studying martial arts and attributed his recovery and survival to his martial art practice. Unlike most Asian martial arts teachers, Master Okazaki was willing to teach both non-Asian people and women; photos of his student bodies include European-Americans and women. In the late 1920s, he published The Science of Self-Defense for Women and Girls, which remains in print today.
We follow the teaching and kata manual of the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation. Our students can test for Dan (black belt) rank in the AJJF. Our instructors trained in the Ray Law lineage.
About Sensei Lisa Hirsch
I started practicing Dan Zan Ryu at The Dojo (Oakland, CA) in 1982, under Sensei Mady Shumofsky. Mady was a student of Professor B. J. Maillette, who was, in turn, a student of Professor Ray Law, a founder of the AJJF and student of Master Okazaki. I continued under Elise Prowse when she became sensei.
At the end of 1987, The Dojo closed. I was among the students who recruited instructors and started Laurel Jujitsu. Our senseis were Nancy and Matt Bigham from 1988 to 1990. JoAnn Strang received her black belt in 1989 and became sensei of Laurel Jujitsu in 1990. I studied under JoAnn until 2001 and received my Shodan from her. In 2001, I again became a student of Nancy and Matt Bigham. I received my Nidan from Nancy, Matt, and JoAnn in 2001. I opened this school as in 2012, following several years off the mat.
I owe a deep and heartfelt debt of gratitude to many people: to my senseis, for all that they have taught me about jujitsu and about being a sensei; to the many black belts at The Dojo, Laurel Jujitsu, and Kodai no Bushido, for their teaching and encouragement; to the late Professor Pat Browne, whose jujitsu and personal style have been an enormous influence on my own; to Sensei Tim Merrill and Sensei Steve Balzac, for invaluable encouragment and support over the years; to Susan Liroff, my long-time kata partner, for working with me so well; to my students at this dojo.