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Hepi-Ryu Batons and Police Tactics

In past articles for Arresting Solutions, I've written about a wide variety of batons that are used, may be used, and should not be used in police tactics. These weapons included the 4"–8" yawara stick, the 12" security baton, the 24"–26" police baton, the 3' riot baton, the 4' staff, and the 6' staff. One of the more problematic aspects for those wishing to learn some or all of the various size batons and staffs is locating competent, qualified instructors. A perspective student may have to explore different instructors from different systems and styles in different locales to receive instruction. There is, however, a style which includes many of the above weapons within the system's curriculum. That system is Hepi-ryu (The Serpent/ Snake School).

As a brief background of this style, Junji Saito, a direct inheritor of the ryu through family lineage, was taught this system in Japan (in addition to Sekiguchi-ryu and Hakkoryu JuJutsu styles of which he was Shihan, and Judo. He eventually came to the U.S., combined elements from the various styles, and formed Yotsume JuJutsu). Hepi-ryu weaponry includes the use of the 3' staff, the cane, the 2' nightstick, finger sticks (yubi-bo), and the 6' staff. A student begins by learning the unique striking, blocking, and grappling methods of the longer weapons. S/he is then taught the smaller weapons. There are five Dan grades, each having their own associated weapon. Hepi-ryu has its own system of JuJutsu techniques as well.


This writer has minimal first-hand experience with the techniques of Hepi-ryu, so an evaluation of the many techniques cannot be made at this time. However, given the fact each weapon has its own system of techniques, it would seem that learning even one would be quite extensive and more time consuming for the average officer than may be practical. The advantage one has is that learning more than one weapon can be done at the same dojo, with the same instructor, where there would be a consistency of movements and technique approaches from one weapon to another.

As to where an officer could go to receive training in these complements to batons and staff already available to law-enforcement, the choices may be limited. Saito shihan had no offspring to pass the mastership of the ryu to, and as such, went outside the family to bestow the late sensei, Michael DePasquale, Sr. with the honor. DePasquale sensei's son now heads the style out of hombu headquarters in NJ. It is assumed that his qualified students would teach the style as well. Despite geographic difficulties which may be encountered in locating a Hepi-ryu instructor, an officer studying and training in this style has the opportunity to learn a wide variety of 'police weapons" from one instructor in one place. For the officer who may be pressed for leisure time, this could be a great find

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