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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Donn Draeger


Donn Draeger knew Koga ryu ninja master Fujita Seiko. He authored numerous books that were some of the first few sources available in the west. One of these books was on ninjutsu entitled "Ninjutsu: The art of Invisibilty. Prior to this most martial arts texts were written in Asian languages. The books he authored became among the most reliable sources available in the English language.

Draeger served as "Martial Arts Coordinator" in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" where he also doubled for Sean Connery. The film's climax, and several incidents throughout the film, made exciting use of the ninja and set forever in the publics mind the image of a black garbed assassin.

He vitalized the academic field of study called hoplology when he founded the International Hoplology Society (IHS) in late 1950s. Specific stories and anecdotes about Draeger can be learned in Martial Musings a book by long time friend and co-author Robert W. Smith.

He continued his practice of the martial arts throughout his life. He studied with many Asian masters, partly as a result of being stationed in the Pacific Rim during his tenure in the Marine Corps, and partly through living in Japan for more than a decade. Draeger was a member of Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai, the oldest Japanese cultural organization for the study and preservation of classical martial arts. He was also the first non-Japanese practitioner of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, achieving instructor status (kyoshi menkyo) in that system. He also held high ranks in Shindo Muso-ryu jodo, in judo, and in kendo, being awarded the highest rank of Menkyo Kaiden in Shindo Muso-ryu posthumously.