Suigetsu Dojo Founders

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Dara Masi

In 1994, Masi Shihan founded Suigetsu Dojo in Long Island, New York. After relocating to Northern California in 2012, Masi Shihan teaches classes at the west coast branch of Suigetsu Dojo, which is also the Hakko Densho Ryu Hombu Dojo. She travels throughout the country teaching seminars in Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Iaido, and Hojojutsu.

Dara MasiMasi Shihan began her study of the martial arts in 1986 and was a direct student of Dennis Palumbo Shihan. She received the rank of Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu (8th degree black belt) in 2008 from Palumbo Shihan. He then passed the mantle of responsibility of the Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation to her, naming Masi Shihan as Director. HMAF is an organization dedicated to furthering the study of Hakkoryu Jujutsu throughout the world. With the passing of Palumbo Shihan, Masi Shihan now carries on the teachings of Hakko Densho Ryu through HMAF.

Masi Shihan is an instructor of Iaido. She is ranked at Nidan in both Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido founded by Shoji Nishio, Shihan and Soshoryu Heihodo Iaido, founded by Masakazu Tazaki. 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 served on the Board of Directors of the National Women's Martial Arts Federation for four years as its Treasurer and served a six year term as President of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors, which she co-founded in 1998. She is a member of the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation and a life member of and instructor for Jujitsu America. In 2002, she hosted the Jujitsu America Convention in New York.

Melanie Fine

Melanie Fine began her study of the martial arts as a graduate student in 1976. She studied Tae Kwon Do for 2 years, then began an 18 year study of Tang Soo Do under Master Maynard Stanley in Cincinnati, OH, eventually achieving 3rd degree black belt. She was Head Instructor of Karate Temple in Columbus, Ohio, for 7 years. After moving to Corpus Christi, TX, she continued teaching Tang Soo Do, and began studying Aikido and Arnis.

Melanie FineIn 1995, she met Masi Shihan, and became her student in Jujutsu. The following year she moved to New York and joined Masi Shihan at Suigetsu Dojo. She was promoted to Renshi Shihan (6th degree black belt) in 2014. In addition to Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, she studies T'ai Chi Ch'uan with Master Wasentha Young.

Fine Shihan is a lifetime member of the Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation, the National Women's Martial Arts Federation, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors, and JuJitsu America. She has actively supported the women's martial arts community for more than 40 years, serving on the Board of the NWMAF for 7 years - 2 years as Chair and 5 years as Treasurer, and served as its Archivist and camp photographer for many years. Fine Shihan was a Board member of the AWMAI during 2004 and assisted that organization during its infancy. She is a member of the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation.