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Dara Masi

Dara Masi

began her study of the martial arts in 1986. After achieving Shodan rank in Jujutsu, she met with Dennis Palumbo, Shihan and began formal training in Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu. After many years of intense study, often privately with Palumbo Shihan, and many trips from New York to Denver, Palumbo Shihan awarded her the rank of Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu in 2007.

In 1994, Masi Shihan opened Suigetsu Dojo in Greenlawn, NY and along with the co-owner, Melanie Fine, Shihan, they established a solid curriculum of training for all rank levels. In 2006, Palumbo Shihan announced his semi-retirement, closing the Hakkosen Dojo and continuing to teach privately a select few senior students. In 2008, he named Masi Shihan the Director of Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation.

Masi Shihan is very honored to take the mantle of HMAF and continue spreading the teachings of Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu as taught by Palumbo Shihan.

Masi Shihan is a lifetime member of Jujitsu America, the National Women's Martial Arts Federation, and the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists; and a member of the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation. She is a co-founder and lifetime member of the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors. Masi Shihan was inducted into the Jujitsu America Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2016 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists and inducted into the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors’ Hall of Fame recognizing 30+ years of training.

Melanie Fine Ken StagnariIn addition to Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Masi Shihan is also an instructor of both Iaido and Hojojutsu. 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 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 relocated to Northern California in September 2012 where she continues to teach classes in Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, Nishio-ryu Aiki Toho Iaido, and Hojojutsu. She regularly travels around the country to present seminars for schools and national events.

Melanie Fine

Melanie Finebegan 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.

In 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 Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu in 2014.

Melanie Fine Ken Stagnari In addition to Hakko Densho Ryu Jujutsu, she studies and instructs in T'ai Chi Ch'uan and received Teacher Certification in Yang Style Tai Chi from Master Wasentha Young. She is also certified in Hakko Densho Ryu Shiatsu as an instructor, as well as Zheng Gu Tui Na Medical Massage.

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. She was inducted into the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors Hall of Fame in 2016 recognizing her over 40 years of martial arts training.