Authentic Classical Japanese Martial Arts in Canada
The Shōfūkan Dōjō is a classical martial arts school located on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We are practitioners of Takeuchi-ryū a system that was developed during Japan’s Warring States Period. As such the training includes unique cultural and historical perspectives, as well as a martial one.
The oldest jū-jutsu system in Japan
Takeuchi-ryū (also known as Takenouchi-ryū) was created by a warrior named Takenouchi Nakatsudayu Hisamori on the 24th day of the 6th month of the 1st year of the Tenbun era (1532). The school's martial practice has continued through the centuries in three lineages. The training methodology includes unarmed combat and a variety of classical weapons, such as the long sword, short sword, staff, spear, glaive, and throwing spikes.
Takeuchi-ryū was the first system to emphasize close-combatives and in particular unarmed techniques in addition to the use of medieval weaponry. It played a formative influence on many other classical systems that followed it and the modern arts and sports from which those were developed. While it is commonly referred to as a seminal jū-jutsu style, it actually pre-dates the coining of that particular term.
Alex is student of Ono-kanchō and received the name for his school, the Shōfūkan, from him. Alex started training in the martial arts in the mid-1970’s initially with Kōdōkan jūdō, later karate, and in the years that followed a number of other martial systems. His search led him to Japan where he lived for over five years and where he discovered the rich cultural and historical legacy found in the Japanese Classical Martial Arts (koryū bu-jutsu).
Alex has been an instructor for the UBC Sports and Recreation Program since 1997 and has dedicated himself to the preservation, promotion, and practice of these arts in Canada in the years since then. In 2016, he was awarded a Shihandai associate master's licence in Bitchū-den Takeuchi-ryū.
He is the author of five publications concerning study of the Japanese language and has worked as a translator and interpreter. Alex is a lawyer who practices civil litigation and teaches law as an instructor for the Paralegal Certificate and Diploma Programs at Vancouver Community College.
Our master Ono-Kanchō’s school in Kyōto, Japan
The Shōfūkan 翔風館 is one of several schools affiliated with the Chōfūkan 聴風館, which is the headquarters for the Bitchū-den lineage of Takeuchi-ryū. Other associated schools include the Shinpūkan 新風館 (Tōkyō, Japan), the Genpūkan 玄風館 (Tōkyō, Japan), the Seifūkan 正風館 (Hawaii, USA), the Gyōfūkan 暁風館 (Oregon, USA), and the Shōfūkan 松風館 (Mirfield, UK).
As part of this network of schools, we have the privilege of regularly hosting seminars by masters from the other schools in the group, such as Tony Abry-shihan (seated second from left), the head instructor of the Gyōfūkan.
Our master Ono Yōtarō-sensei is the 16th headmaster of the Bitchū-den lineage of Takeuchi-ryū. He has been teaching this art since 1970 and his depth of knowledge is matched only by his passion for this rich tradition. In addition to being one of Japan’s most revered masters of the martial arts, he is also a world-renowned designer of Japanese gardens, which is an art he teaches at Kyōto’s Zōkei Geijutsu University. He and his work have been profiled in a number of publications, including the Washington Post. Ono-kanchō is also a master of the shakuhachi (Japanese flute).
Ono-Kanchō (seated centre) with Takagi-shihan, head instructor of the Shinpūkan (standing on the far right), Shiraishi-shihan, the head instructor of the Genpūkan (standing on the far left), Tony Abry-shihan, head instructor of the Gyōfūkan (seated second from the left), at the Chōfūkan Dōjō in Kyōto, Japan.