Prof. Raymond L. Law(1899 – 1969)
One of the greatest moving forces of Danzan Ryu jujitsu in the United States died 23 years ago, on March 14, 1969. Professor Raymond Lewis Law will be remembered as one of the channels through which the jujitsu system of Prof. Okazaki reached Southern California. Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai salutes his memory and his contributions at this time of the year.
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, 1923, he married Marie Bounita Law and moved to Northern California. Becoming a staff lecturer for the National Dairy Council, Prof. Law incorporated the “Health Clown” routine, along with magic, animal acts and acrobatics, into his lectures.
Later, with the dawn of radio, Prof. Law created, “Darius, King of Health Land,” and devised unusual sounds in creating characters to depict. For example, there were 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, Prof. 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 jujitsu school in the United States.
In 24 years, Prof. Law taught over 14,000 students and 116 Black Belts. Among those recipients were (Prof.) Norm C. Nelson; (Prof.) Johnny Congistre; (Prof.) Rory Rebmann; (Prof.) Bill Randle; (Prof.) Bill Morris; (Prof.) Bert Aspinall; (Prof.) Jim Birmingham; (Prof.) Betty Maillette; (Prof.) Don Cross—so many more who went forward to teach and spread the message of Master Okazaki.
Always an 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 Prof. Don Cross remembers, Law’s Judo was a home away from home, and Ray and Marie Law were like mother and father to he and his fellow junior students. The evening never ended with the closing bell, and students stayed to talk judo and more judo. No one wanted to leave and generally it was towards midnight before the doors of 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 longstanding schools of their own. His student, Bill Randle, as well as Prof. Carl P. Beaver, were the forces 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’s decades of service did not go unrecognized. As a founder 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 both the Southern California Jujitsu Association and Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai.
Submitted by Prof. William Fischer
Also see the lineage of Prof. Ray Law on the Danzan-Ryu Lineage Tree.
Click HERE to view Prof. Law’s Instructor Notebook Index.
This page maintained by George Arrington.