Welcome to

Sensei JoAnn Strang

4148 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 530-5043

About Laurel Jujitsu
Ongoing Jujitsu Classes for Women & Girls
Self-Defense Classes
Events and Demonstrations
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Healing Arts






Jujitsu and Self-Defense


Laurel Jujitsu has offered jujitsu and self-defenses classes to women and girls since 1988. We teach Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu, a beautiful martial art that is an extremely effective and varied self-defense system.

Our History

Laurel Jujitsu was created by students from The Dojo after The Dojo closed in 1987.

Our self-defense class and much of what we teach in our beginner's jujitsu program are based on classes developed by Professor Betty J. Maillette, Rokudan (sixth dan), who taught in Oakland from 1962 to 1980.

After a decade of teaching at the Oakland Y, Sensei Maillette founded The Dojo in 1972 in the Laurel District of Oakland.

Her student Mady Shumofsky was Sensei of The Dojo from 1980 to 1986, when Mady turned the school over to her own student Elise Prowse.

Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu

Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu was developed by Master Henry Seishiro Okazaki. He was born in Japan in 1890 and move to Hawaii as a young man. He became ill with tuberculosis and began to study judo and other martial arts to aid in his recovery. He credited his studies with his return to robust health. He studied in the Hawaiian Islands, then traveled to Japan to continue his learning. He returned to Hawaii and in the 1920s opened the Kodenkan dojo.

Unlike most Asian martial artists teaching in Hawaii at that time, Okazaki opened his dojo to non-Asians and women. He wanted his style to be taught all over the United States, and encouraged his mainland students to open dojos when they returned to the mainland. The American Judo & Jujitsu Federation, to which Laurel Jujitsu belongs, was founded in 1949 by Professors Merlin "Bud" Estes, Ray Law, Rick Rickerts, and John Cahill.

What We Teach

Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu is a large and varied, primarily defensive, martial art system. Jujitsu (like judo and aikido, of which it is the parent art) uses leverage, momentum, and balance against an attacker. It's an ideal style for women because it doesn't rely on strength.

Our beginners' program includes rolls and falls, basic escapes and holds, beginning throws, defenses against many common attacks, and basic kicking and striking. As students progress, they learn the lists of Dan Zan Ryu:

  • Yawara, basic joint-locking techniques
  • Nage, throwing techniques
  • Goshin Jitsu, self-defense combinations
  • Shime, mat techniques such as pins and constrictions
  • Oku, combination arts
  • Kiai no maki, weapon defenses and other advanced techniques
  • Shinnin no maki, black belt techniques

Dan Zan Ryu also includes Okazaki seifukujitsu, also known as restorative or long-life massage, a full-body, energy-balancing technique that Okazaki developed and practiced throughout his life. Many current and former Laurel Jujitsu students have taken classes through the AJJF Danzan Ryu Seifukujitsu Institute.

About Sensei JoAnn Strang

JoAnn Strang, sandan, has practiced jujitsu since 1984. She has been Sensei (head instructor) of Laurel Jujitsu since 1989. Her Sensei is Professor Bob Hudson. Her instructors include Mady Shumofsky, Elise Prowse, Nancy Bigham, Matt Bigham, Vern Brekke, Tanja Brekke, and Professor Tom Jenkins. JoAnn also holds the rank of shodan in Goju Ryu karate. She has taught jujitsu and self-defense to hundreds of women.

Sensei Strang is a licensed acupuncturist, a registered nurse, and a certified massage therapist. She teaches Okazaki Restorative Massage in the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation's Okazaki Seifukujitsu Institute.