Professor KAM Hock Hoe


Founder of Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu

The form of jujutsu practiced by the Kokusai Jujutsu Kenkyukai is called Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu this translates to something like “Panther Lineage International Jujutsu.” The name is used to differentiate our jujutsu from a number of other jujutsu organisations that identify what they practice as International Jujutsu.

The society uses the prefix “hyou-ha” to honour the founder of this branch of Bankoku Jujutsu, Kam Hock “Panther” Hoe. The professor was the founder, Soshi and headmaster of the Bankoku Jujutsu Gakuin or International Jujutsu Institute. In his younger days he was famous through out Asia for his wrestling prowess. He was a healer and a teacher; his incredible Jujutsu, Kuatsu and Hakuda skills where unique; we will not see his like again.

 

Ranks and Titles Held by Soshi

Traditional Jujutsu Ranks:

Soshi held the following Dentouteki or traditional Jujutsu ranks awarded by the Kokusai Jujutsu Daigakuin of Kyoto, Japan Japan:

  Menkyo: Kaiden Full transmission of Bankoku Jujutsu
  Menkyo: Kyoju Professor of Bankoku Jujutsu

 

Dan-i Jujutsu Ranks:

Soshi held the following Dan-i Jujutsu ranks awarded as modern (1935) conversions of the rank awarded by the Kokusai Jujutsu Daigakuin of Kyoto, Japan Japan:

  Judan Full transmission of Bankoku Jujutsu

 

  • Other Modern Ranks:

Soshi was awarded the rnk of Judan (10th Dan) in Judo jointly by the Singapore and Malaysian Judo Federations:

  • Titles:

Soshi held the following teaching titles awarded by the Kokusai Jujutsu Daigakuin of Kyoto, Japan:

  •   Odanna Headmaster of Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu
      Dentoushu Lord of the Tradition (of Bankoku Jujutsu,) what Soshi called "Prince of Jujutsu"

     

 

Soshi demonstrating hakuda kempo strike to jinchu ~ GV26

 

 

 

What follows is a brief outline of Soshi's life:

KAM Hock Hoe, Soshi, was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya on 10th December 1903. Little is know of his early years.

In 1919 Soshi began wrestling and soon afterwards started practicing Nihon Jujutsu at a small dojo in Bras Basah Road, Malaya (now Singapore.)

In 1925 at around 23 years of age, while continuing with his jujutsu training Soshi began wrestling as a professional in "All-in-American" style wrestling tournaments.

Three years later in 1928 Soshi’s jujutsu training is suddenly disrupted when most of his Jujutsu teachers return to Japan after the British Colonial Administration makes changes to immigration laws. Soshi then trained under Professor Watanabe in Serangoon Road, Singapore. Other masters he trained with at that time included, Professor Yamasaki and Professor Hiyake.

In 1930 Soshi traveled to Hong Kong and Shanghai to test his jujutsu in the wrestling ring. About this time he becomes know as "Panther Hoe, the Terror of Pahang," since that time he has been known affectionately to generations of students and patients alike simply as “Panther Hoe.”

Soshi based himself in Shanghai when he became the All-in-American style wrestling Champion of Hong Kong and Malaya while continuing his Jujutsu studies under Professor Yamanaka who was a resident of Shanghai.

 

 

Advertisement in The Star ~ 1958

 

On the recommendation of Professor Yamanaka Soshi is invited to live and train at the Kyoto Kokusai Jujutsu Daigakuin, the International Jujutsu Society of Kyoto.

Four years later in 1934, recently promoted to the rank of Sandan, the equivalent of Hachidan or Kyudan in the modern Dan-i grading systems, Soshi returns to Shanghai for a series of wrestling bouts where he becomes known as "the Contender of Shanghai."

During this period Panther Hoe was a figure of legendary status throughout Asia. He was known as an unbeatable fighter from Manchuria in the North to Java in the South and from India to Japan.

The following year, 1935 Soshi was recalled to Japan to the city of Kobe where, together with his friend and long term training partner, Master Yamashita*, he is taught the inner most techniques of Bankoku Jujutsu. Together they are tested and finally, honoured with promotion to the highest level in Bankoku Jujutsu and Kuatsu and are each given authority to begin their own collateral branches of Bankoku Jujutsu.

*
Unfortunately most of the seniors of Bankoku Jujutsu did not survive the war in the Pacific. The only known survivors were KAM Odanna in Malaya and his friend and training partner Yamashita Odanna in Japan.
Sadly neither of them were aware of the others survival, it was only when Yamashita Odanna’s son visited Australia a few years after Soshi’s passing that the Yamashita family became aware of his survival.

It seems that Yamashita-ha Bankoku Jujutsu is still extant in Japan but is now kept within the Yamashita family. All attempts to contact the family have been unsuccessful; this is a great loss to Bankoku Jujutsuan in the west.

 

   

Soshi with colleagues from the Royal Malay Police Depot ~ 1939

After this momentous event in a young mans life, remembering that he is only around 32 years old in 1935, Soshi returned to Malaya and opens Hoe’s Jujutsu Studio in Kuala Lumpur.

In 1936 Soshi joined the Federated Malay States Police Depot as a Physical Training, Self-defence and boxing instructor. He holds this position for a considerable period during which he eventually trains the instructors that took over from him. Soshi continues teaching Jujutsu and Judo until the outbreak of the war in the Pacific.

After the war Soshi immerses himself in the reconstruction of Malaya and continues teaching Jujutsu and treating patients with the healing methods of his Kuatsu.

In 1956 Soshi moves to Penang and opens a dojo at 69b McAllister Road, later moving to 217 McAllister Road. He also teaches at the International Judo Institute as a paid representative of the Kodokan Judo Institute, a relationship that ends when a Kodokan inspector discovers that Soshi, like many Jujutsu masters of his generation, continues to teach Jujutsu rather than “modern Judo.”

Two years later in 1958 Soshi purchases the International Judo Institute and changes its name to the International Jujutsu Institute. He also begins teaching Jujutsu at the Royal Air Force Base at RAF Butterworth across the causeway from Penang. He also taught at his various residences including the famous dojo in the back garden of his home in Tanjong Bunga, Penang.

   

Soshi and Lea Danna at the Chee Seng Gardens Dojo ~ 1969

The RAF handed management of the RMAF Butterworth over to the RAAF in 1958. As a result one of Soshi’s main sources of jujutsu students changed from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Australian Air Force. In 1968 Soshi accepts Raymond Lea, at that time a young RAAF member stationed at RAAF Butterworth as a Jujutsu student and by years end promotes him to an old style black belt rank.

Sadly the society has only ever been able to find one of Soshi’s ex RAF member students. Interestingly, that student to this day displays the diploma presented to him by Soshi in 1964.

   

John Feltham’s old style Ikkyu Certificate from 1964

By 1969 Soshi had promoted Raymond Lea to an old style nidan, around yondan in the modern dan-i system. In 1970 heartened by Raymond Lea’s enthusiasm and aptitude for jujutsu Soshi acknowledges Raymond Lea as his disciple and makes him Dojo-cho or instructor in charge of the RAAF Butterworth dojo.

 

 

 

Soshi’s business card presented to the author in 1975

 



Two years later Soshi accepts one of Raymond Lea’s Butterworth students, another young RAAF member named Graham Rennie as his disciple. In 1975 Soshi and Mr. Rennie publish a book on Hyou-h Bankoku Jujutsu.

   

Soshi holding a copy of the book he co-authored with Graham Rennie

   

Soshi with Master Rennie and other seniors

Now well into his seventies Soshi relocates to Kuala Lumpur in 1979 where he lives with his adopted son, Errol Perera. He continues limited but full time teaching at the Central Academy of Jujutsu into the 1980s.

In June 1980 Soshi is honoured with the award of Judan, 10th Dan by both the Singapore Judo Federation and the Malaysian Judo Federation.

Between 1981 and 1990 Soshi is effectively in retirement only teaching Jujutsu to a few private students. He is still active up until his death at home on 3rd October 1990.

The Bankoku Jujutsu Gakuin
The International Jujutsu Institute

What follows is a frustratingly inadequate history of the home of Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu, the international Jujutsu Institute. Unfortunately it is the best that can be put together based on the information at hand.

Soshi began his jujutsu training in 1919 at a dojo “down Bras Basah Road,” as the locals describe it. This dojo was opened in 1904 by Professor Akishima. It is understood he taught Akishima-ryu Jujutsu which apparently consisted on some one hundred and forty four techniques.

Little is known of Akishima-ryu other than that it consisted of some one hundred and forty four jujutsu and kuatsu techniques. Akishima-ryu, also written “Akijima-ryu” appears to have been a small personal style created by Professor Akishima; that is to say; not a part of the Bankoku Jujutsu group.

In 1905 KOIZUMI Gunji Sensei, famous as the “Father of English Judo” spent 4 months in Singapore. In “My Study of Judo: The Principles and the Technical Fundamentals;” 1960; Koizumi Sensei wrote:

 
During a four months' stay in Singapore from November 1905 to February 1906, I helped Sensei T. Akishima in conduct of his Jujutsu school and was taught the 144 techniques of Akashima-ryu and kuatsu. His method of instruction was only in the form of kata. The participators stood at each end of the dojo and after an exchange of kiai, they met in the centre for action.
The technique consisted of throws, locks and blows, many of which were of doubtful practical value. However, I owe Sensei Akishima much for his instruction in the technical essentials which were taught in the olden days only to those who were approved by the teacher.”
 

It isn’t clear whether or not Akishima-ryu was still practiced in the dojo by the time Soshi began practicing there in 1919. What is clear is that he excelled and found his life’s passion. By 1928 Soshi was training in a dojo on Serangoon Road (now Singapore) under Professor Watanabe a senior in Bankoku Jujutsu.

It is likely that Bankoku Jujutsu was a small school(s) indigenous to the Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka triangle of the Kansei area of Japan. What we have been able to piece together from fragments of many conversations with Soshi is that in the first half of the twentieth century Bankoku Jujutsu was a collection of seven co-lateral schools of jujutsu. That is, it was an organisation of seven largely independent masters each of whom had authority to develop their own “personal” branch based on the jujutsu that they learnt from the other six masters.

After years of training with the senior members Soshi was inducted into this group in 1935 and immediately set about building his personal style, what we in the society call Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu and his school which eventually became know as the Bankoku Jujutsu Gakuin or the International Jujutsu Institute.

The organisational structure of the old Bankoku Jujutsu seems to be at quite a variance from what we know of the Japanese norm to be for martial arts organisations, but this is as it was described by Soshi and there is no reason to doubt his word. While what happened back in the early to mid 1900s is of historical interest, it is clear that Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu is what Soshi and his immediate students made it, the rest isn’t particularly important.

Soshi was a colourful character, he wrestled, boxed, taught self-defence at the Royal malay Police Depot and accepted challenges from all comers. Soshi's school flourished for many years, he eventually moved to Penang where he taught at several locations, notably in Georgetown and at his home in Chee Seng Gardens as well as at the RAAF Base Butterworth which is a short ferry ride across to the mainland.

He taught many Australian services personnel, chief amongst these was Raymond Lea Danna, President of the International Jujutsu Research Society, who like his students remained a faithful member of the International Jujutsu Institute even after Soshi's passing.

The jujutsu that comes to us from Soshi is powerful, rich in technical content and effective for the purpose of unarmed self defence. That is the basis on which the society continues to research, practice and teach it.

Attribution

The body of this chapter is based on conversations between the author and a number of Soshi’s second generation disciples - The primary source is Raymond Lea Danna

From Raymond Lea’s personal collection:

1.
  Soshi wearing his Judo Judan belt
2.
  Soshi in 1939
3.
  Soshi demonstrating hakuda: part of Soshi’s Kuatsu series now missing
4.
  Advertisement in The Star, 1958
5.
  Soshi with colleagues from the RMPD, 1939
6.
  Soshi and Lea Danna at the Chee Seng Gardens Dojo, 1969
7.
  Soshi holding a copy of the book he co-authored
8.
  Soshi with Master Rennie and other seniors

From the author’s personal collection:

1.
  Soshi’s business card presented to the author in 1975
2.
  John Feltham’s 1964 Ikkyu certificate

 

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