The program taught at Makoto Kai is Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, a system of martial art originally developed by Professor Henry S. Okazaki. Professor Okazaki was a native of Japan and emigrated to Hawaii in 1906. He previously studied many different types of martial arts and eventually developed a composite style of Judo - Jujitsu that he called Danzan Ryu, or Sandalwood Mountain System. Professor Okazaki established a dojo in Honolulu and was also one of the first Asian masters to accept students of all nationalities. The lineage of Makoto Kai traces back to Professor Okazaki through one of his students, Ray Law.

Professor Ray Law was one of four of Professor Okazaki's students who came to California to establish their own dojos and propagate the Danzan Ryu system. These four Professors also founded the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation, Inc. (AJJF) in 1958, of which Makoto Kai is a proud member.

The lineage of Makoto Kai continued through Professor Betty Maillette, who studied with Professor Law and later founded the first school of jujitsu and self-protection for women. Her dojo, called The Dojo, operated for 15 years in Oakland, and was later reorganized and opened as Laurel Jujitsu. Sensei Cynthia Frueh, who would eventually establish Makoto Kai in Woodland, studied at The Dojo after Professor Maillette had retired. At the time Sensei Cynthia was there, the school heads were Mady Shumofsky and Elise Prowse.

Sensei Cynthia Frueh founded Makoto Kai in her garage in Woodland, CA in October 1990. She moved the school to the First Street location in January 1992, where it is located today. In April 1999, Sensei Cynthia attained the rank of Yodan, or fourth degree black belt. Sensei Cynthia retired from active Jujitsu training in 2005.

Sensei Katie Murphy Stevens started training during the first month Makoto Kai was open. Sensei Murphy became school head of Makoto Kai with Sensei Cynthia in 2002, shared school head duties with Sensei Nerissa Freeman when Sensei Cynthia retired from the mat in 2005 and assumed sole school head duties in 2012. Sensei Murphy was promoted to the rank of Godan, fifth degree black belt, in 2014.

The name of our school traces back to the early days of The Dojo, when there was a club of advanced students that was called Makoto Kai. The club dissolved in 1977. Sensei Cynthia felt that it was fitting to revive this name in consideration of the source of our knowledge. Makoto means sincerity or honesty, both in terms of philosophy as well as the intent of performing a technique. Kai simply means club.

In the tradition of Professor Maillette and Laurel Jujitsu, Makoto Kai started as a school with a special focus on teaching women jujitsu and self-defense skills. It is now open to anyone - women, men, boys and girls - with the desire and dedication to learn the beautiful and challenging art of jujitsu.