Professor Don Cross

Professor Don Cross, M.Ed and Rokudan with the logo for his JuJitsu-Do dojo.

PROFESSOR DON CROSS began his Jujitsu training in 1957 at the age of 10 with Professors Ray and Marie Law in Oakland, CA. Prof. Law was one of Master Henry S. Okazaki's original disciples in Hawaii during the 1930's, and one of the founders of the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation (AJJF), which is dedicated to the preservation of Okazaki's Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu System. Don received his Shodan, First Degree Black Belt, in 1964, since one had to be at least 16 to receive a Black Belt in those days. During the 60's Don had extensive training in T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Judo, Kenpo, Goju Ryu, Shotokan and Kendo. After Prof. Law died in 1969 Don moved to Sacramento, and there opened his first dojo, called Fudoshin Budokai. He continued his advanced Black Belt training under Professor Estes, who had studied intensely with Master Okazaki for nearly 10 years in the 30's. In the 70's Don also studied Sil Lum (Shaolin) Kung Fu for several years.

Professor Cross has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Sociology, a Life Standard Secondary Teacher's Credential, and a Master's Degree in Education. He worked his way through college by teaching Jujitsu through an Adult Education School in Sacramento.

In 1976 he became a member of the AJJF Board of Managers. After Prof. Estes' death in 1981, Don took over his job as Manager of Internal Relations, where he continues today. He became a Certified Massage Therapist in 1978, and is a Certified Instructor of Okazaki Restorative Bodywork Therapy by both the AJJF and the American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association. He was instrumental in the development of the AJJF Okazaki Restorative Massage Training Program beginning in 1980, and served as an instructor and a member of its Steering Committee until 1993.

Don was elevated to the rank of Rokudan, Sixth Degree Black Belt, in 1992, and now serves the AJJF on the Board of Professors. He is also ranked Yondan, Forth Degree Black Belt, in Judo by the United State Judo Association. Prof. Cross, and the other 8 Professors on the Board, are all second generation inheritors of Master Okazaki's Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu and Healing Arts System, and he has committed his life to its preservation and promotion. He practices the Okazaki Method of Restorative Bodywork Therapy and teaches Danzan Ryu Jujitsu and Judo full-time at his dojo, Jujitsu-Do Martial Art Center, in Roseville, California.


In 1957 the only martial art anyone had ever heard about was Jujitsu. All the soldiers coming back from WWII and Korea had been taught Jujitsu in basic training, and many of them by Prof. Okazaki himself. A playmate of mine was attending the only Jujitsu school in Oakland (and the only martial art school I'd ever heard of), and he invited me to come watch a class with him. When I visited Law's Judo and Jujitsu School, it was love at first sight. I was hooked, and have been ever since.

Professor Law was like a father to me, and Mrs. Law was like a mother. For 12 years I studied at Law's dojo, and every day I went I always felt butterflies in my stomach on the way there, since I was so excited about what I was going to experience.

Prof. Law was truly a great teacher. To me, he was always present and attentive to my educational and emotional needs, and ready to be of service. His personal presence was powerful and charismatic. I loved him, and I loved being around him. He literally transformed my life. He taught thru example and story. He was caring and giving all the time; a true example of kokua, of helpfulness and selfless service to others. I learned a way of being from him . . . a style . . . and he had class.

When I was 16 years old Professor promoted me to Black Belt. After the promotion I told him that I didn't think I deserved the rank, and that I was too young to wear a Black Belt. He took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes and said: "Don't worry, you'll grow into it." On that same promotion day, Professor asked me what I thought the purpose of my 6 years of training had been all about. I thought it was about self defense, and having fun, and growing up. He told me that the real purpose of the training was to make me a healer. It wasn't until after he died in 1969, and I had begun to teach my own classes, that I finally began to understand what wearing a Black Belt is all about, and the responsibility it carries.

The greatest gift Professor Law gave me was the confidence to begin teaching what I'd been taught. My first teaching assignment from him was when I was Jr. Blue Belt and had to teach some new white belts. I felt so proud to be asked to help out in this way. Professor taught me how to teach by setting an extraordinary example of what masterful teaching is all about, and by giving me endless opportunities to practice with others. He emphasized that Kodenkan means "The School of the Ancient Tradition", where the senior students pass on the traditions and techniques to the junior students.

What a marvelous tradition. As a result of my experience with Prof. Law I chose teaching as a profession, and eventually earned a Master's Degree in Education.

Now, after 37 years of practicing Danzan Ryu, and 25 years of teaching, I am realizing yet another gift Prof. Law gave me. He taught me to have the courage to pursue my dreams, even when they seem beyond my reach. He told me to do work that I love, and life will be sweet. Professor made a good living teaching Jujitsu, since he was a master businessman, and he was able to affect the hearts and minds of thousands of people in the process. I am now pursuing my right livelihood by teaching Jujitsu and Restorative Massage full time like my mentor did. I will never forget the deep gratitude I have to Professor Law for setting the stage for me to do what I love.

Text and graphics used by permission from Prof. Don Cross.

You may learn more about Prof. Cross' dojo on his JuJitsu-Do Web Page.

This page maintained by George Arrington.

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