If you have seen any good action and/or martial arts films during the 80’s and 90’s, chances are, you know this man! A martial arts legend as well as a respected stunt performer and choreographer, it is with sadness as WFG has learned that Master Bill Ryusaki has passed away at the age of 80.
Born Mutsuto Ryusaki on October 14, 1936 in Kamuela, Hawaii. His father was a trained martial artist and as a result, trained in the arts of Shotokan Karate and Judo and later, Kenpo Karate, which would be his foundation. After his military service, where he would become a hand-to-hand combat instructor, he would continue his Kenpo training with the legendary Ed Parker, the father of American Kenpo.
Bill would start out in the film industry as a stuntman in many films beginning in 1958. He did stunts in films like Taras Bulba, Planet of the Apes, The Wrecking Crew, and many others. He would appear prominently on screen in 80’s films such as Big Trouble in Little China, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, and Point of No Return, the remake of the French action film La Femme Nikita.
Bill has worked with some great talents from Sylvester Stallone to Jean-Claude Van Damme. He even did some stunt choreography, notably in the underrated 1989 comedy Ninja Academy amongst others. Martial arts became his true passion, as he became a well-respected martial arts legend as well as known for his accomplishments in the stunt industry.
World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Bill Ryusaki.
As a final tribute, here is Ryusaki along with a fellow thug about to take on Michael Winslow’s Jones in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, courtesy of YouTube user Nizzinny (Fast forward to 1:10 in the clip):
Rest in Peace, Master Bill Ryusaki.
We have lost a great man i send my deepest condolences to the ryusaki family
I was under master bill in the north Hollywood days on lankershim Blvd he was a tough, I’ll really miss him
Is someone going to update the Wikipedia page of him? Please? It’s not updated yet. Also, I feel bad because only $720 was donated to him when he was alive so he could go to his sister’s funeral. T_T
I worked at a Police Department and took a Report for some Kempo items that were stolen from his vehicle.
A week later while I was on vacation he showed up because he and I had talked about the old Ryu Schools and old Hawaiian systems.
I was shocked to see that he has gone away. Maybe he and Brah Israel and Bobby Lowe and the other Hawaiian Pioneers of Martial Arts are walking the white sandy beach of Paradise.
E Pi’ i Ke ala hui pu’ me oe
E pa’ ka makami ma kou kua
E alohi’ mehana ka’ la maluna o kou alo;
A na’ ua ma’lie maluna o kou mau ma’la’
A hiki i ko’ kaua hui pu’ i’a
Na ke akua i ho’ amau ia’ oe i ko poho kona lima.
I am saddened to learn of Sensei Bill’s passing. My relationship with him goes back to 1962 when he opened a small dojo on the corner of Ben Ave. and Victory Blvd. in North Hollywood. Judo lessons were $7.00 a month and he wouldn’t teach students Karate until they were at least 16 years old. Most importantly, Sensei Bill instructed his students on the spiritual aspects of martial arts, and for this I will never forget him.
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