Before I start the history of Bojuka Ryu, I would like to begin with the immediate following info and not interject it later.  As far as I know, this was prior to his thoughts of founding the Neighborhood Karate Club:

 

After boxing for three years, he entered the U.S. Army and continued his boxing career for eight years while in the service.   He later became a combat instructor, hand to hand combat, in which he was required to learn all the martial arts in order to qualify for the U.S. Army combat instructorship, which he taught in this capacity for over fifteen years.

His training started in Germany in 1955.   His instruction was Korean karate (Tang Soo Do). Later he took training with the German Police School in Munich in judo and karate.

Upon returning to U.S. from Germany, Mr. Stewart was given the responsibility of teaching hand-to-hand combat at Fort Ord, California.  At this time he also began his studies in the Okazaki system of jujitsu and Kosho Ryu Kempo under John Chow Hoon and Prof. Tanaka. Nationally known as Danzen Ryu Kodenkan JuJitsu.   He also began his studies in the Japanese style of karate called Chito Ryu under Wallace Reumann and Aikido at this time.

BOJUKA RYU History

Eddie StewartEntrance to Bojuka Ryu dojo

The precursor to BOJUKA RYU was the “Neighborhood Karate Club” which was founded on the 16th day of July, 1970 at Marina, California, starting with 6 “neighborhood” students.  BOJUKA RYU was formally named in 1974 and incorporated in 1975. Reverting back to It’s beginnings, it started as a Chito Ryu school, founded in a garage in 1970.  The membership soon grew to the point that larger facilities were necessary. In 1973, they moved to their current location.  By 1974, it’s total membership had grown to over 200 students.  Eddie Stewart himself has been active in various forms of fighting arts, since 1945 at the age of fourteen.  His accomplishments include Boxing, Golden Glove Club Boxing, Inter-service Boxing and International bouts for eight years as a Third Degree (Sandan) Black Belt in Karate, studying both the Japanese and Korean styles and a Black Belt in competition Judo.  The teaching of Mr. Stewart includes the strong points of each of these styles, which also includes full-contact Karate.  The students who were training with Mr. Stewart were very active in competition and they began to notice a great difference in their training and fighting methods and those of others.  So, they started to ask many questions and the answers given to them was , “This is due to the fact that I have been trained in many different fighting arts.  I therefore combined them to produce the method you are now being taught, although at the time it was considered unorthodox by my instructors, to use in competition and as self defense”.  The students who were then very close to making Black Belt and wanted to continue with the fighting method taught them, requested that Mr. Stewart name their style.  After about four years with the help of his students, Mr. Stewart began to look for a name for the style.  Garland Bowers, a 4th Kyu Brown Belt in the Neighborhood Karate Club at the time, was a great help to Mr. Stewart.  After many hours of thought, the name of “BOJUKA” came into being.  Mr. Bowers then, with the   help of Mr. Stewart, began to draw the official patch which represents the art today.  In 1974, the method of instruction taught by Mr. Stewart was formally named “BOJUKA RYU” indicating it inner components, Boxing, Jujitsu and Karate.  Because Mr. Stewart formed the style of Bojuka Ryu, he has let it be known that he would be known that he will, from the 16th of July 1974 on, be known as Shihan Master Stewart and will wear the Black Belt without rank as a symbol of leadership.  Bojuka Ryu on the 28th day of December, 1975 then became Bojuka Ryu Incorporated under the laws of the State of California.  As of 16 July 1977, the 7th anniversary of the Bojuka Ryu System, there had been over 700 students who had been trained in the style.  Each student is/was registered in all forms of the martial arts taught by Bojuka, that is Karate, Jujitsu, Judo and Full Contact, Karate.  It was known at the time, that the first student of Mr. Stewart to acquire their Black Belt in the new style was Garland Bowers.  The date for his advancement/promotion was 18 March, 1976.       

 

Bojuka Ryu was  comprised of the following disciplines.  BO, refers to the boxing arts from China and the United States.  JU, refers to the arts of Jujitsu, specifically Danzan Ryu Koden Kan Jujitsu, and was transmitted to each student in the manner in which its late founder Professor Seishiro Okazaki taught it.  Master Okazaki was a Japanese of Samurai descent who founded Danzan Ryu (Hawaiian school) Jujitsu and was the first Japanese Master to accept non-Japanese students into this art.  Dan Zan Ryu is currently known throughout the world as Kodenkan Jujitsu.  Professor Okazaki also established the oldest martial arts organization in the United States, the American Jujitsu Institute which was organized in 1939, and was chartered in 1943 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  KA, refers to the Karate arts which derive techniques in a systematized fashion from the following RYU of styles.  Hand arts come from Japanese Chito Ryu Karate and Chinese Kempo Karate.  Kicking arts come from a combination of Chito Ryu Japanese Karate and Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwan Do (Korean Karate).  Blocking techniques stem from White Crane Kung Fu and Praying Mantis Kung Fu (Chinese arts).  As you can see Bojuka Ryu is a (martial) military art which is a discipline and is considered both hard and soft.  It is a progressive martial art in that techniques are constantly updated so that it is always in harmony with the needs of our modern world and its ever-changing environment.  The art of Bojuka Ryu officially came into being in 1975 at which time, Professor Lee and Sam Luke flew from Hawaii to Marina, California to observe the techniques of this art, and to make a determination as to its credibility as a new discipline of BUDO (Warrior Ways).  Before leaving the school Professor Lee promoted Sensei Eddie G. Stewart to the rank of Shihan, Master of the Art of Bojuka Ryu, above rank.  Although authorized to wear the highest attainable belt from Japan, the red Masters belt, Shihan Stewart refused to do so and therefore wore his old Black Belt as a symbol of leadership without rank.  In this martial art the highest possible rank was 7th Dan, and the rank could only be awarded after Shihan’s death or if Shihan Stewart retired.  Master Stewart was the first American to receive such a rank of honor.

Original Patch

Design

Scan of patch removed from old uniform

Previous students of Bojuka Ryu that we have had contact with, but with no photo:

Bradley Barnett, Dan Ostrom (Big Dan)

 

 

 

If any past or present Bojuka Ryu practitioners would wish their photo added to your history,

please contact us.

 

With each photo, we would appreciate a history of yourself to go along with it.

Personal Note:

At the time of the discontinuance of the Midwest Dojo, I had been advanced to Shodan at the Bojuka Ryu Midwest Dojo, under Sensei Robert Leisure, but never received my Bojuka certificate.  I also had paid for extra Bojuka patches, but never received them either.  I have also attempted to contact Shihan Stewart by email, snail mail and via prior students, but never received a response.  This all causes me to believe that there must have been an internal communications issue.

 

Dennis Wissler

 

 

Received and/or selected photo’s of Bojuka Ryu practitioners

who have had an influence on their system.

An email received from Dave L:

 

Unfortunately, I don't recall dates, but I started when it was still the Neighborhood Karate Club, it was still being called Chito Ryu, and I think we were meeting in a garage. There's a funny story tied to the meeting/demonstration when the dignitaries flew in from Hawaii. At the end of the day, when everyone was bowing out from class, a "demonstration" was given. Very few people knew this was going to happen. Garland and another person (I think Mike) staged an argument and a fight. It was very well done. At one point Mike pulled a (real) knife (with a dulled blade). Garland disarmed him, the knife went flying through the air, and landed in the lap of one of visiting dignitaries (totally unplanned). They were seated on the bench with Shihan.

The 1973 date sounds about right. Based on my age at the time, I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade when I started. That would have been in 1972 or 1973. 1971 sounds too early. I would have only been five or six years old.

Garland drew the original design of the patch on a small window at the Firestone plant in Salinas. If memory serves, Shihan has (or at least had) that window. Garland was awarded the first black belt in Bojuka, and opened a dojo in Gridley, CA. I think that was around 1975.

Dave

Eddie Nakao sent the following email:

Dear Dennis,

 

Shihan Stewart lost contact with Garland Bowers sometime in the 90's.  Last we heard he was teaching back east, Mississippi or Missouri, if I remember correctly.  If he is teaching now or not I don't know.  I talked with Leonard Sostand a few months ago.  He moved to South America and is trying to start a Bojuka club down there.  I started training with Shihan from 1977 to 1979 and did not return until about 1986 where I have been training, competing, and teaching ever since.  I will ask Shihan about the mid-west dojo situation.  I will be talking with him tomorrow (Monday) and ask him about it.  Who was the head Sensei of that dojo? 

 

Eddie Nakao

More information provided by a Bojuka Ryu practitioner:

 

I came across your website while surfing the web and noticed a letter in regards to Shihan Eddie Stewart who is the founder of Bojuka Ryu.  He is also alive and well living in Marina, CA with his wife, Tokuko Stewart.  The dojo is up and running and teaching the full art of Bojuka, i.e. boxing, karate, judo, and jujitsu as well as a few other arts that make up this art.  Most of the students compete mainly in Judo, where currently one of our students is ranked #1 in the U.S. and working towards a berth in the 2012 Olympics.  There is also a second active club in Chico, CA under the instruction of Sensei Kevin Garibaldi who was a direct student of Shinan Stewart near the time when Bojuka Ryu was started.

 

Just thought I would bring you up-to-date on the status of this art.

Partial Information received from a prior instructor of Bojuka Ryu, Robert Leisure:

 

As for the visit of Professor Lee and Sam Luke, it took place  in the very early 70’s as I remember.  Bojuka Ryu today is only teaching Judo and Jujitsu under Eddie’s adopted son.  As a Ryu, there are only a hand full of students now.  In 1984, the Ryu fragmented and almost everyone went their own way.  That is why Eddie asked me to rename what I was teaching..  I am still very active and teaching at a private dojo just outside Indy.  I only teach a hand full of students and only adults.  We are focusing on the separate arts now that make up our Ryu.  This has greatly improved my students abilities.  Our system first teaches Chito Ryu, then Matayoshi Ryu kobudo, the Daito Ryu Aikijitsu, then Toyama Ryu, then Jujitsu and Togakure Ryu Shinden Fudo Katori Ryu.  If you need anything, let me know as I support Aibudo 100%.  Keep in contact as it’s nice to hear from old friends.