Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo
West Windward Division
The Crest's description, explanation and usage taught by Mitose, differs slightly from some of the current descriptions. However, some current descriptions and explanations house some of the same general and basic information.
Mitose explained to me that (1) a circle with an inner circle shaped as an octagon, (2) two equilateral triangles, (3) three hand signs, (4) three nature signs and (5) on a field of black and white. Alternate positioning of the hand signs and coloring variations have historically occurred. These variations are part of the usage of the crest, as will be explained later. Let us begin the exploration of the crest with its field of black and white.
Why Black and White? These colors represent a point of reference to (1) understanding the historical link between the ancient users of this system and nature, (2) the utilization of that union for the betterment of the human, (3) the development of internal balance. Let's see how these colors assist us in reaching understanding, utilization and development.
Black denotes the "forces of nature" (i.e. lighting, wind, water, earth, fire). White denotes man's ability to convert these forces into useful tools. Lighting into low intensity heat (interior lights), wood into furniture, earth into medicine. The ancient masters used these colors as an illustration of how the natural forces can be harnessed and utilized for man's benefit. The combination of these colors was used as a symbol to represent principles that were fundamental to the monk's training; principles such as self sufficiency, tolerance and temperance.
The Geometric Crest? The crest is composed of geometric figures: circles, triangles, rectangles, etc. These figures allow us to curiously trace nature through its various windings, discover how we move and react, study symmetry and order, review and evaluate our internal and external conditioning. These useful instruments assist us in monitoring and charting our progress.
The Crest Triangles and Their Meanings? There are two equilateral triangles. The first triangle is an ascending triangle which is delineated by the three hand signs. The second triangle is a descending triangle which is delineated by the three nature signs. The two triangles and their six symbols allude to the nature and character of the person wearing the crescent.
Hand Signs: The hand signs represent three usage levels. They are (1) Identification of the duties and responsibilities of the Three Teachers, [three teachers are necessary for the lawful and traditional operation of a Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo Temple/Dojo], (2) A symbolic representation of the nature of the person wearing the Crest, and (3) Identification of the characteristic and usage of the three self defense systems.
Hoken: The hand sign at the top of the crest represents the first teacher whose duties are to open and close the temple/dojo and other relative duties. It represents morality over knowledge. This is illustrated by having the left hand over the right hand. In ancient tradition the left hand represented morality and the right hand represented knowledge. The knowledge that we cover is the knowledge to "control through pain". This hand sign represents the Koppo systems.
Kaishu: This hand sign located at the lower right of the crest represents the second teacher whose duties are to assist the first teacher in opening and closing the dojo and other relative duties. It represents the natural development of the human character. This is illustrated by both hands forming an equilateral triangle. In ancient tradition, the triangle represented the human's development from crawling on the base of the triangle with the head in front, to standing upright with the head in the proper position on top. This hand sign represents the Jujutsu systems.
Kigan: The hand sign located at the lower left of the crest represents the third teacher whose duties are to oversee the dojo when the first and second teachers are not available, and other relative duties. It represents the equal positioning of morality and knowledge. This is illustrated by both hands clasped together in a praying position. Morality and knowledge are working together in unity and peace. This hand sign represents the Koga Ha Ninjutsu systems.
Nature Signs: The nature signs represent two stages of development. They are duty and character. Each teacher has a nature sign for his or her station.
Matsuba: This nature sign is located at the upper left of the crest. It stands for the first teacher whose duty is to judge with equal regularity and justice. The character of the teacher is one of flexibility, tolerance for others' beliefs, customs, and rights. Matsuba means "pine tree" or "needle".
Take: This nature sign is located at the upper right of the crest. It represents the second teacher whose duty is to see that peace and harmony are maintained. The character of the teacher is one of strength, assistance, and support. Take means "bamboo".
Baika: This nature sign is located at the bottom of the crest. It represents the third teacher whose duty is to see that all obey the rules and regulations of the dojo. The character of the teacher is one of beauty and support. Baika means "plum flower".
Grandmaster Nimr Hassan
Menkyo Hanshi Hassan began studying martial arts in 1957, in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since that time, he has studied many different disciplines such as Judo, Karate, Aikido, Jiujitsu, Boxing, and Kempo.
In the early 70’s, Menkyo Hanshi Nimr Hassan sought out the Great Grand Master James Masayoshi Mitose, who is considered the Great Grand Master of all the Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo systems in the world.
Menkyo Hanshi Hassan was selected over other candidates to become the “ichi deshi” (disciple/only student) of the Great Grand Master and is the only non-family member taught the family’s Temple Dance/Escaping Art Pattern system. This system includes the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo system.
Menkyo Hanshi Hassan, an exponent of the martial arts when he met James Mitose, would journey to Mitose’s home day after day and train for hours in the backyard. Mitose taught Hassan the basics of Karate, which Mitose had learned from Choki Motobu, his maternal uncle, the great Okinawan Shorei Ryu Kempo Karate Master. Mitose taught Hassan Jiujitsu, which Mitose had learned from his Masters at the temple in Japan. More importantly, Mitose taught Hassan the “System”.
In 1974, Menkyo Hanshi Hassan was issued a Master Instructor’s License and presented with the Mitose family crest by the Great Grand Master James Mitose. This honor bestowed upon Hassan allows him to teach the wondrous art of Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo. Hassan has maintained the complete art taught to him and teaches it under the full title of Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo. This title reflects all three arts designated on the family crest.
That same year, Menkyo Hanshi Hassan opened a dojo under the guidance of the Great Grand Master Mitose and was given the charter and permission to promote, display, and use Kosho Shorei Ryu Coat of Arms. Menkyo Hanshi Hassan is the only surviving student in the Continental U.S. taught by Great Grand Master James M. Mitose. Also, he is the only Menkyo Hanshi who teaches the ancient and traditional Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo’s Temple Dance/Escaping Art systems.
Since 1974, Menkyo Hanshi Hassan has received many honors, awards, and promotions. The following lists some of those achievements:
Menkyo Hanshi Hassan received his Master’s Degree in Human Services and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology/Psychology.
In July 2005 he will be recognized as and given the Living Legends award by the Hawaiian Martial Arts International Society.
In 2004, he was inducted into the World Head of Sokeship Family Council Hall of Fame as the Grandmaster of the year.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Hawaiian Martial Arts International Society Hall of Fame as the Grandmaster of the year.
In 2002, he was inducted into the U.S. Martial Artists Association Hall of Fame as the Supreme Grandmaster of the year.
Also, in 2002 the World Head of Family Sokeship International Council Hall of Fame recognized him as the Humanitarian of the year.
In 2001, he was inducted as a member of the Pioneer and Legends International Martial Arts Society Hall of Fame.
In 1993, he was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the National Black Belt Association and No. 9 in the world at the National Black Belt Grand World Championships in New Orleans.
Also, in 1993, Dr. William Durbin, Soke-Koyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei, and Ann Nooner, Habshi-Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei, recognized him as the Menkyo Hanshi.
In 1991, he ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Alliance Grand Championship, Executive Division.
In 1986, he received the honorary rank of Shichi Dan (7th Degree Black Belt) from the Great Grand Master William K. S. Chow, head of the Kara Ho and United Kempo Jiujitsu Association. [Great Grand Master Chow was one of Great Grand Master Mitose’s students in 1948]. This rank was given to Menkyo Hanshi Hassan for his continuous efforts to preserve the ancient and traditional teachings of the Mitose family system.
Among Menkyo Hanshi Hassan’s notable achievements he has also taken the “system” and implemented it with great success in three Philadelphia public school systems: Wilson Elementary, Wagner Middle School, and Martin Luther King High School.
He completed an educational/behavioral research project with the Thomas Jefferson Universitiy Hospital Department of Psychiatry, and the District of Philadelphia.
He completed a five year research project with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in Psychology (W.E.B. DeBbois Collective Research Center), Columbia University, and North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Grandmaster Hassan is certified by the institution of Certified Martial Artists under the auspices of the Department of Defense as a judge and referee for that institution and the National Black Belt League.