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  1. #1
    thorthe power's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    Hojutsu-Ryu, the martial art of shooting

    P1 Exclusive: Hojutsu-Ryu, the martial art of shooting

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    By Jeffrey Hall

    At first glance, the concept of shooting as a “traditional” martial art seems ridiculous. After all, martial arts are steeped in centuries of tradition, mysticism, and superhuman feats of skill; how can shooting a firearm compare with this?
    If you consider principles, rather than tools, shooting is clearly a martial art. Stance, balance, focus, execution, and follow-through are the same, whether the hit is from a reverse punch or a pistol. We must master each of these elements of the technique before we can fight effectively.
    Jeff Hall (above, left), a retired Alaska State trooper, former soldier, and NRA instructor, is a life-long shooter and martial artist. He can be contacted at

    As to tradition, at what point does learning a physical skill become a tradition? I’m fairly certain that the first warrior to train with a katana was only looking for a tool that would save his life; better swords and effective techniques evolved into the formalized training protocol that became the way of the sword, but it probably developed through trial and error.
    Shooting has always been a martial art. Martial, or military, was the primary reason for technological advancement in firearms. We progressed from resin-wrapped bamboo tubes, to iron tubes, through a variety of ignition systems, to the sophisticated weapons of today. However, no amount of technology will ever replace dedicated training with professional instructors, and a lifetime of dedication to the shooting arts.
    Firearms were introduced to Japan in the 1530’s by the Portuguese. Although some purists disdained the new weapons, others embraced them. The samurai, after all, were in the war “business”, and the addition of firearms added tactical and strategic advantages to those who used them. In the 1575 Battle of Nagashino, an army of peasant conscripts, armed with firearms, defeated the classically trained and armed army of Takeda Katsuyori. This victory assured the inclusion of the firearm in Japanese military culture.
    In typical Japanese fashion, a formalized, structured training discipline soon evolved.
    Hojutsu, or “fire art,” is considered a koryu, or old tradition art, predating 1868. It usually translates as “the art of gunnery.” Since most modern shooters think of gunnery as artillery or crew-served weapons, I took the liberty of changing gunnery to “shooting.” Hojutsu-Ryu, then, is the “School of the Art of Shooting.”
    In 1999, I was teaching an NRA rifle class in Fairbanks, Alaska. In the evenings, I trained in the dojo of So-Shihan Charles Scott. Master Kyoshi Yamazaki was in town for a clinic, and I invited him to the range during a lunch break. After twenty minutes of training, Master Yamazaki was shooting tiny groups with a 1911 Colt. Master Yamazaki caused my internal light to come on regarding the similarity in firearms and other martial training; I then set out to make modern shooting a recognized martial art.
    There were initially three reasons to do so:
    • to recognize the years of dedicated training it takes to master firearms,
    • to integrate other weapons (hands, feet, sticks, knives) into the warrior’s gear bag, and
    • to strive for excellence in firearms training.
    A fourth benefit, discipline, soon became apparent – the thought occurred to me that if we can build traditional martial training discipline into a young shooter, maybe we’ll have fewer idiots on the street!
    With the help of many great martial artists and shooters, I melded the Modern Technique with traditional Japanese training structure. I didn’t invent anything – I just formalized a concept that many of us have been talking about for years. My early firearms mentors included my father (a DSC and eight Purple Hearts), Jeff Cooper, and Chuck Taylor, with later influence from Clint Smith and Louie Awerbuck, among others. Grandmasters Mark Shuey and Dr. Charles Scott also guided me along this path.
    This quest has resulted in induction into the U.S. Martial Arts and Universal Martial Arts Halls of Fame, promotion to tenth dan and grandmaster, and being named “soke,” or founder, of the art. What this means to those of you with no traditional background is that sober, life-long grandmasters agree that shooting is a martial art, and have “blessed” it, and made it legitimate in the martial arts world. As this is written, Hojutsu-Ryu is the only formally recognized shooting art in the world.
    In Hojutsu-Ryu, we train in the dojo, in gis, in weapon retention, disarming, punches, kicks, sticks of all kinds, edged weapons, and ground fighting; we adhere to traditional protocol (bowing, meditation, etc.) during dojo sessions. On the range, in normal range clothing, we start with the handgun and progress through shotgun, carbine, revolver, precision rifle, and submachine gun. Each handgun test becomes more difficult, until the sandan (3rd dan) test approaches Chuck Taylor’s Handgun Combat Master test, shooting 98% on three consecutive tests. Standards require that a single miss outside the outer scoring ring is a failure of the entire test – the shooter must begin again. We use the “SJH” or Hojutsu target (you can get these from Before beginning training with the carbine, each student must also pass the shodan (1st dan) test with a revolver (how can you call yourself a gun-guy if you can’t run a wheelgun?)
    At each level, the student must pass a written test on firearms, an oral test, write an essay on a given subject, master a kata (there are three katas, for first through third dan), and shoot accurately in compressed time frames. The written tests are on the history of the development of firearms – students have to know that the Glock did not arrive by FedEx from God (like the 1911 did!). Our goal is to develop fighters who can win when flat on their backs or 300 meters distant.
    A typical seminar will run about four days. Each morning finds us training at the dojo for two hours, practicing weapon disarming and retention, empty-hand techniques, and kata. The remainder of the day is spent at the shooting range, perfecting technique, improving speed and accuracy, and preparing for testing.
    Day four is test day. We begin at 0800, at the dojo, for kata (the only subjective portion of the testing). On the range, the shooting portions of testing begin. Three tests must be shot, in a specific order, at ranges from close-contact to fifty meters. Depending on the test, times ranged from 1.1 seconds to 90 seconds. To pass, students must have mastered speed and accuracy: 90 percent is required for shodan (1st degree black), 95 percent for nidan (2nd degree black), 98 percent for sandan (3rd black). Each overtime is penalized from five to ten points, depending on the course. After passing the shooting portions, the students must perform speed reloads, tactical reloads, and clear types one, two, and three malfunctions in compressed timeframes.
    Hojutsu-Ryu is not for everyone. It has no appeal to some traditionalists who don’t think firearms belong in martial arts. Shooters with no martial arts background don’t understand the formality of dojo sessions (it is easier to turn a good martial artist into a shooter than vice versa!). You can acquire the same skills with firearms by attending classes at any of the schools I mention at the end of the article, without wearing pajamas and having to bow. Hojutsu is more about mindset than specific technique, but I require the Weaver stance, believing it fits better into an overall fighting system. At some point, technique is less important than principle, but we need to build a solid foundation- the Modern Technique is that foundation. Again, at some point, every martial art becomes an individual art; again, solid basics have to be mastered before free thinking can take place. Some feel the standards are too high (without high standards, what value does anything have? Go buy a black belt certificate on the Internet...).
    Since the art began, we’ve had an interesting cross-section of shooters begin training. Some, like Soke-Dai Rod Kuratomi, are dedicated, life long karateka; some are police SWAT officers, some are military. Some are highly advanced in both shooting and in traditional arts and quickly master the skills; others have started a long period of training. In January of 2007, eight Las Vegas Metro firearms instructors hosted a seminar and all eight earned brown belts, including the range sergeant, Rich Fletcher.
    For those that are interested, Hojutsu provides one path, of many, to excellence in shooting and in integrated fighting. Hojutsu-Ryu has dojos in Alaska, Texas, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, and California. Classes are taught all over the U.S., and can be arranged at locations anywhere. 2008 will see seminars in Florida, Italy, and elsewhere. Students with no handgun experience should also consider classes from American Small Arms Academy, Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, Yavapai Firearms Academy, ITTS, or Front Sight.
    We are all motivated by different things. It may be NRA Distinguished Master, Handgun Combat Master, etc. If six feet of black cotton cloth motivates you to train hard, come join us in Hojutsu-Ryu- the fighting skills you learn just might also save your life.

    I found the above article on, and found it interesting. As a former SRT sharpshooter, current police officer and competitive "martial hobbiest" this training looks like it coud help improve my shooting.

    I havn't really been into the whole RBSD thing the last several years for many of the same reasons we make fun of the Phil Elmores of the I've met to many of them that were to out of shape to convince me they could make an accurate shot if they had to do so after running even 20 feet.

    This training looks like it addresses some of these issues, and I was wondering if anyone here has ever heard of...or trained in this martial art before?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    BJJ, boxing, Karate
    I have trained with Jeff Hall. I first met him when I took a few NRA Law Enforcement instructor schools. Jeff Hall was one of the instructors that the NRA sent to train other LE instructors. He was knowledgeable, easy to get along with, and had some good drills - that I have added to my favorites. I also like how he tends to combine traditional martial arts concepts to practical shooting. It makes the training more interesting, instead of the same old tired stuff. Jeff Hall also is a frequent guest speaker at IALEFI (International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors).

    I have participated in this training and have been awarded a brown belt in Hojutsu. The pistol shooting tests consist of Chuck Taylor's Combat Handgun Master test. The times are adjusted to match the rank being tested for. Jeff Hall is a strong believer in COL Jeff Cooper's "Modern Technique" and insists on the Weaver Stance during these drills.

    Mas Ayoob was in my class - and wrote an article that was published in the Dec 2010 issue of BlackBelt magazine. BTW, I found Mas Ayoob to be easy to work with as well.

    As a martial artist, I am not very traditional anymore. I am the same about firearms. I have enormous respect for COL Jeff Cooper's Modern Technique. However, I do not follow 100% of his concepts. As both Jeff Cooper and Jeff Hall like to state, they teach "A" way not "THE" way. Hojutsu taught by Soke Jeff Hall has strong traditional influences that might not be for everyone. However, I have great respect for this art and I am proud to be associated with this training.

    If you are a martial artist as well as trained in firearms, I highly suggest training in Soke Jeff Hall's Hojutsu. There is nothing else like it and his credentials are both impressive and verifiable. If you are (like me) not a traditionalist, you will still see and enjoy the value of this training.


  3. #3
    Robstafarian's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Chesterfield, VA
    How is it possible that someone else promoted him to 10th Dan in his own art? I would want to see some technique videos, and a price list, before giving it much consideration.

    If I was that serious about combat training, I'd train Sambo with Aaron Fields (in Seattle, WA) or BJJ with Roy Dean (in Bend, OR) and make regular trips to Thunder Ranch.

  4. #4
    Rock Ape's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Hojutsu isn't a ryu, it's merely warfare with firearms (gunnery), specifically and academically refers to these types of weapons:

    The website linked in the first post has several red flags for me.

    He calls himself Soke

    He's taken the concept of a Japanese system of gunnery and made something entirely modern and entirely different from what Hojutsu actually represented.

    Japanese Gunnery techniques were additional to any previously taught Ryu IE Jujutsu and other systems alive at that era. There wasn't a belt system attached to it.

    Whilst the founder of Hojutsu may well be skilled and knowledgeable. Being inducted into a martial arts hall of fame, claiming a 10th dan and title of Soke is a FUCKING BULLSHIT marketing ploy.
    "To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".

    ~Ella Wheeler

  5. #5
    Cassius's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Most of the things that bothered Rock Ape also bothered me. The OP is over 2 years old, and I considered deleting the necro, but I think it had enough content to be worth keeping. Besides, I am interested in what others think of this. My opinion is that the combination of TMA in a kimono and shooting is perfectly suited for stripping the wallets of many middle aged RBSD nerds. Throw in some Kata, and you got yourself a stew.

    In the spirit of trying not to let first impressions distort my objectivity too much, I looked for videos of this guy online, but didn't find anything on a cursory glance. I'm skeptical, but I imagine the guy can shoot.
    "No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    BJJ, boxing, Karate
    Well, this is why I don't post to these things very often. I know the guy and I am willing to put myself out there and put in a good word for him. It seems that I can always find cyber-space "experts" that seem to only look for a way to sound self-important.

    I don't know where the RBSD got inserted into this. Was that in the original article? I might have missed it. The hojutsu that I have done was just a different approach to training - that might appeal to some people. What is this "I would go find someone else I heard is better" bullshit? Jeff Hall offers training. His credentials are good. He has submitted this art for scrutiny - to associations that accept or deny inclusion of new martial arts. If firearm training - using the traditional approach to obtaining martial art rank is not for you, then skip it. It is that simple.

    I found this reference to Hojutsu on Bullshido. I realize there are all kinds of "food-court Ninjas" that ghost their way into online DVD sales. I put myself forward and spoke up for Jeff Hall. He has legitimate firearm and martial arts credentials. If you don't like his approach to training, fine. There is no need to be unprofessional if you don't like it.

    It seems that this website is used as a forum to promote self interest and slam competitors. If that is your goal, knock your self out. You will only make yourself look more illegitimate. This entire website looses credibility when your only goal is to slander a good man.

    I am a 20 year US Army veteran with 7 years on jump status (Airborne). I am a combat veteran with service in 8 different countries. I have firearm INSTRUCTOR credentials from FLETC (Artesia), Dept of Energy, NRA LED, Gunsite, Surefire, John Farnam, Gabe Suarez, and more. I have a Shodan in Goju, a brown belt in BJJ, am a former AAU boxer, and a Level 2 Army combatives instructor. I am am not the baddest guy around but I know what good training looks like.

    Hojutsu is NOT for everyone, but it is not bullshit either. More importantly Jeff Hall is NOT trying to milk money from middle aged men's wallets. If he is in your area, consider training with him. If you are only looking for an excuse for a bad attitude, I suggest you don't show up. If you do show up, I suggest you act professional and bring your "A" game, because YES - he can shoot very well.


  7. #7
    BadUglyMagic's Avatar
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  8. #8
    It is Fake's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Welcome to bullshido. So, why don't you pay for the advertising package? That way, you can post what you want and no one can have a dissenting opinion.

    As to your appeal to authority I do thank you for your service. That is sincere because, I enjoy the internet and other things because of people that served. Two of the people you find "cyber-space "experts" that seem to only look for a way to sound self-important" have served as well. In other words we have geniuses that believe in Scientology, Mormonism, ghosts, Frank Dux, Aliens and whatever else. All the accolades and experience in the world doesn't mean someone is automatically immune to BS.

    No, I am not saying the guy is BS just that the Soke HoF is a Red Flag. All of that military service and I would think you would have a tougher skin over internet words. Two days in a row of people getting upset and telling people to show up at their instructors school? Unless you are Mr. Hall, issuing passive aggressive challenges is quite reprehensible.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    BJJ, boxing, Karate
    So I guess MY opinion is not welcome on Bullshido. Welcome indeed. I spoke up for Jeff Hall. Period. That clearly was not welcome here.

    I posted to demonstrate that Jeff Hall is NOT "Scientology, Mormonism, ghosts, Frank Dux, Aliens and whatever else".

    No one is advertising anything. I did NOT begin this thread.

    As for passive/aggressive, I clearly made no challenges. You can try to make it look otherwise, but that is not the case. I suggested you try a course. If you think it might be crap, take the pepsi challenge and form your own opinion. Then again, that is not your goal, is it?

    Interesting that YOU have mentioned a thick skin. You seem to be missing it yourself. You can dish it out though. I think it is obvious what you are trying to accomplish here. There is clearly an agenda here on Bullshido.

    BTW, I think Clint Smith will be interested to hear that Thunder Ranch was used to slam Jeff Hall. I don't think he would like that very much. Maybe, he will be passive/aggressive too. Tell him I said hello.

  10. #10
    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Sinsinnatti Oh Hi Ho
    all things in Moderation
    Dear den5coat,

    Quote Originally Posted by It is Fake View Post
    Welcome to bullshido. So, why don't you pay for the advertising package? That way, you can post what you want and no one can have a dissenting opinion.
    I rarely disagree with IIF but I have to clarify and say that buying an advertising package will not actually protect you from criticism or questions.

    All signing on with an advertising package does is give you eyeballs and clicks while showing that you actually give a **** about the state of Martial Arts and it's public image and are willing to help do something about it.

    I realize of course IiF was responding to the below dribble, which is a defense tactic used more times than I can count here on Bullshido.
    Quote Originally Posted by den5coat
    It seems that this website is used as a forum to promote self interest and slam competitors. If that is your goal, knock your self out. You will only make yourself look more illegitimate. This entire website looses credibility when your only goal is to slander a good man.
    Which is odd in a way.


    Is it wrong to ask questions and bring to light things that are questionable when someone steps up and presents themselves as something extraordinary, new, or even "traditional" ?

    What is so vile about thinking and exploring information openly presented and made to inform the reader?
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Paula-Satire
    Never believe that the GOP and fellow bigots are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The bigots and Republicans have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past and that besides, they have already won

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