Preferred Title: Shihan
Began training: 1986
Styles/Arts:Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido, Hojojutsu
Hall of Fame Award: 2016
Dara Masi began her study of the martial arts in 1986. After achieving Shodan rank in Jujutsu, she met with Dennis Palumbo, Shihan and began formal training in Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu. After many years of intense study, often privately with Palumbo Shihan, and many trips from New York to Denver, Palumbo Shihan awarded her the rank of Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu in 2007.
In 1994, Masi Shihan opened Suigetsu Dojo and along with the co-owner, Melanie Fine, Shihan, they established a solid curriculum of training for all rank levels. In 2006, Palumbo Shihan announced his semi-retirement, closing the Hakkosen Dojo and continuing to teach privately a select few senior students. In 2008, he named Masi Shihan the Director of Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation.
Upon Palumbo Shihan's death in 2014, Masi Shihan became Doshu of Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu (System Head and Inheritor). She is very honored to take the mantle of HMAF and continue spreading the teachings of Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu as taught by Palumbo Shihan.
Masi Shihan is a lifetime member of Jujitsu America, the National Women's Martial Arts Federation, and the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists; and a member of the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation. She is a co-founder and lifetime member of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors. Masi Shihan was inducted into the Jujitsu America Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2016 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists and inducted into the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors’ Hall of Fame recognizing 30+ years of training.
In addition to Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Masi Shihan is also an instructor of both Iaido and Hojojutsu. She is ranked at Sandan in Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido founded by Shoji Nishio Shihan and Nidan in Soshoryu Heihodo Iaido, founded by Masakazu Tazaki Sensei. She currently trains in Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido as a student of Joji Yoshida Shihan and Michele Benzamin-Miki Sensei.
Hojojutsu is a traditional Japanese martial art which includes techniques to restrain a person with rope. Hojojutsu is an obscure art, rarely taught in the United States. Masi Shihan teaches capture (Hayanawa) and transport (Honnawa) ties using traditional hemp rope of various lengths. She has developed a Hojojutsu curriculum as part of an advanced study of Jujutsu and Iaido, preserving the reality of disarm, takedown, control, and restraint.
Masi Shihan relocated to Northern California in September 2012 where she continues to teach classes in Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Nishio-ryu Aiki Toho Iaido, and Hojojutsu. She is owner and head instructor of Suigetsu Dojo, located in Placerville, CA and regularly travels around the country to present seminars for schools and national events. For more information about Masi Shihan or to schedule a seminar for your group or school, please contact us.