Professor Raymond L. Law

by Professor William Fischer

     One of the greatest moving forces of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu in the United States died on March 14, 1969.  Professor Raymond Lewis Law will be remembered as one of the channels through which the jujitsu system of Professor Henry Okazaki reachedSouthern California.  Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai salutes his memory and his contributions to jujitsu this weekend.

Prof. Law was born in 1899 in Roundup, a town in Silver Bow County, Montana.  After a varied youth and adolescence, he conceived of a promotional idea in health education, the “Health Clown,” and toured under the sponsorship of various health organizations, including the Utah Public Health Association and National Tuberculosis Association.

On July 2, 1925, he married Marie Bonita Law and moved to Northern California.  Becoming a staff lecturer for the National Dairy Council, Professor Law incorporated the “Health Clown” routine, along with magic, animal acts, and acrobatics, into his lectures.

Later, with the dawn or radio, Prof. Law created “Dario, King of Health Land,” and devised unusual sounds in certain characters to depict, for example, excursions through “Tooth Robber Canyon” near “Neglected Teeth Caves.”  The radio years were exciting, and Prof. Law played an important part in pioneering several promotional ideas for campaigning and fund-raising.

In 1938 Prof. Law traveled to Hawaii as part of a public relations effort to make the Islands popular and there met his neighbor, Professor Henry Okazaki.  He studied under Prof. Okazaki and returned to the Mainland with his Black Belt and a burning desire to share what he had learned.  He settled in Oakland and established the first full-time Danzan Ryu Judo and Jujitsu school in the United States.

In Twenty-four years, Prof. Law taught over 14,000 students and 116 Black Belts. Among his black belt recipients were Prof. Norm C. Nelson, Prof. John Congistre, Prof. Rory Rebmann, Prof. William Randle, Prof. Jim Birmingham, Prof. William Morris, Prof. Bert Aspinall, Prof. Betty Maillette, Sensei Don Cross, and many more.

Always the organizer, Prof. Law became a founding member and past president of the Northern California Judo Federation and its successor, the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation.  He created programs for schools, colleges, and police agencies.

To many, as Sensei Don Cross reminisces, Law’s Judo was a home away from home, and Ray and Marie Law were like mother and father to him and his fellow junior students.  The evening never ended with the closing bell, as students stayed to talk jujitsu and more jujitsu.  No one wanted to leave and generally it was towards midnight before the doors to the dojo were locked up.  Mrs. Law coordinated the bookkeeping, qualification cards, checking of valuables, and transportation ride-sharing.

Prof. Law so touched his students with his zeal, that many went forward to start successful and long-standing schools of their own.  His student Bill Randle, along with Prof. Carl P. Beaver, was the force instrumental in the creation of the Danzan Ryu jujitsu program in Southern California, thus making it the largest center for Danzan Ryu Jujitsu in the country today.

Prof. Law was one of the founders of the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation, he was accorded the rank of 10th degree Black Belt, a rank which had been recognized by the International Judo and Jujitsu League.  He served in the capacity of continental President of the International World Judo Federation, and was a distinguished member of the international Technical committee, Danish Sports Judo Federation, and the Austrian J.U.V.O.  He was inspirational in the creation of the Southern California Jujitsu Association and Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai.