Japanese Martial Arts Pioneer donates uniform to Museum

BURBANK, CA – The Martial Arts History Museum was honored to receive the generous donation of the actual uniform worn by Japanese-American martial arts pioneer and icon, Bill Ryusaki. Ryusaki is the founder of a unique form of martial arts, which combines the artistry of traditional Japanese martial arts and Hawaiian techniques and movements; the art is called Hawaiian Kenpo.


During a celebration of Bill Ryusaki Day at the museum today, a uniform he had adorned for many decades was donated in front of an audience of over 100 friends, family and students.


“When I had heard of the Museum for the martial arts, I thought is was such a wonderful thing. Though it was hard to do, I was happy to give my uniform to the Museum so that it will be here for many generations,” notes Bill Ryusaki. “This honors my father, Torazo Ryusaki, because he was my teacher as well.”


The Martial Arts History Museum is the first and only museum dedicated to Asian art forms in the world. Its primary function is to introduce Asian culture to an American audience. Designed as a timeline, it reveals how Asian history became part of American history through the martial arts.


“Having the actual uniform worn by such a huge and influential icon of the martial arts is quite an honor for the museum. Ryusaki is one of those amazing individuals who have had a true, historical impact on America and his uniform will be an inspiration to all,” says museum president Michael Matsuda. “Many people don’t realize that Ryusaki is the most popular and respected teacher in Guatemala as well.”


Ryusaki was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2003 and many of his students have become icons in their own right including kickboxing pioneers Benny “the jet” Urquidez and Cecil Peoples, who is currently a noted referee for the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).


Bill Ryusaki’s uniform is now on display for visitors to enjoy.


“The martial arts has had a huge impact on American history. Today, there are over 27,000 martial arts schools across the country with 13,000 in California alone. You can find kung fu schools in Iran, Russia, Italy, Mexico and all over the world,” says Matsuda.  “The arts have also have a tremendous financial impact in the West through martial arts oriented games from X-Box and Sony Playstation. It has also influenced our television programs such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and movies such as Kill Bill, The Last Samurai, G.I. Joe, Kung Fu Panda and 47 Ronin.”


The Martial Arts History Museum is located at 2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Website is or call (818) 478-1722. The Museum is available for financial, tax-deductible donations.

Related Photos