Bill Ryusaki

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Bill Ryusaki
Born(1936-10-14)October 14, 1936
Kamuela, Hawaii, US
DiedDecember 4, 2016(2016-12-04) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, US

Mutsuto "Bill" Ryusaki was a pioneer of Kenpo in the United States.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bill Ryusaki was born October 14, 1936, in Kamuela, on the big island of Hawaii. Being the sixth child of twelve siblings (seven brothers and four sisters) his father, Torazo Ryusaki, named him Mutsuto meaning "Sixth Child." It wasn't until fourth grade when he received the name, Bill, from his teacher who was unable to pronounce his birth name.

Torazo Ryusaki held black belts in both Kodokan Judo and Shotokan Karate, and made it mandatory that all of his sons train in two styles of Martial Arts.[2]

Bill Ryusaki trained in Shotokan Karate and Judo while his brothers trained in Kendo, Aikido, and Judo. Bill's older brothers would often use him as their practice dummy. At 19 years old, Ryusaki went to study at the University of Hawaii. He soon started training in Kenpo privately with Marino Tiwanak (a famous Hawaiian Boxer).[3]

Military career[edit]

Ryusaki was drafted into the U.S. Army and made his way to the Fort Ord military base in California. He was originally a military range finder, until a high-ranking officer got word of Ryusaki's martial art skills because of a fight that broke out on base. He then became advanced infantry where he taught hand-to-hand combat at Fort Benning, Georgia.[citation needed]

Professional life[edit]

Ryusaki returned to California, where Marino Tiwanak told him to meet Ed Parker (American Kenpo). Ryusaki and Parker trained together and became pioneers of Kenpo Karate on the mainland of the United States. Parker asked Ryusaki to help with John Leoning and actor Poncie Ponce's dojo.[4] In 1962 Ryusaki opened his own dojo combining his unique style of Judo, Jujitsu, Shotokan, Kenpo, and Aikido to become the founder of Ryu Dojo, Hawaiian Kenpo. He dedicated his school to his father, Torazo, to show his love and appreciation for all that is father had taught him. GM Ryusaki holds a tenth degree (Ju-Dan) in Hawaiian Kenpo and, a seventh-degree in Judo, as well as black belts in Shotokan and Aikido. Ryusaki has trained thousands of students including Dan Guzman, Erick Schumann and family, Otto Estuardo Schumman , Benny "The Jet", Arnold Urquidez Sr., and Cecil Peoples,[5] and actor Bryan Becker.[6]

Ryusaki became successful in the entertainment industry as an actor and stuntman.[7]

Ryusaki was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame in 2003.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Ryusaki is the father of actress/stuntwoman Kimberly Ryusaki and stuntman Ryan Ryusaki.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Martial Arts Museum. "Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Japanese Martial Arts Pioneer donates uniform to Museum | Martial Arts Museum".
  3. ^ Hawaii Karate Seinekai. "Salutes:Mario Tiwanak". Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Ponce Heads a Karate Studio". Lewiston Evening Journal. 4 November 1961. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  5. ^ Sumida, Stuart. "Bill Ryusaki". Archived from the original on 17 March 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Bryan Becker". IMDb.
  7. ^ IMDB. "Bill Ryusaki". IMDb. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Japanese Martial Arts Pioneer donates uniform to Museum | Martial Arts Museum".