Founder of the Eight Directions School:
Professor Byron Walker founded the School of Eight Directions in 1994.
In this school, he taught a rendition of Kodenkan jujitsu infused with
elements of other martial arts he had studied throughout the course
of many years.
Professor Walker was a consummate warrior.
As a courier for the U.S. Department of Energy, he was a member of an
elite paramilitary unit that protected the transport of nuclear weapons
to points of deployment throughout the country. Members of this unit
were commissioned as Federal law enforcement officers, S.W.A.T. team
qualified, and highly skilled in small unit fire-and-maneuver operations.
The convoys of nuclear cargo they protected were subject to highjacking
at any time, and they were prepared to defend that cargo with their
Those who, by profession, stand ready
to sacrifice their lives in the service of others - soldiers, police
officers, and firefighters - are warriors by definition. In their professional
endeavors, they tend to train with utmost seriousness because their
lives depend upon how well they perform their jobs. If their profession
involves the use of martial skills, they approach their martial arts
training accordingly. It bears note, however, that Professor Walker
was a martial artist well before he began his career with the DOE. Yet,
even then, he approached his martial arts practice with profound intensity.
Before he was a warrior by profession, he was a warrior in spirit. His
dedication to excellence in the martial arts was a constant source of
inspiration to his students.
Professor Walker was diagnosed with terminal
cancer in 2002. Prior to his death, he authorized two of his senior
students, Jerry Strickland and Michael D. Jones, to use his school name
and emblem for their martial arts school.
We who had the good fortune to train
with Professor Walker strive now to perpetuate his example in hopes
that the spirit of his teaching will continue in the School of Eight
Eight Directions Philosophy:
The philosophy of the Eight Directions School is symbolized in the school
emblem. The three-line drawings, tri-grams, which form the outer perimeter
of the emblem, are those developed by the ancient Chinese to denote
the various elemental conditions of the universe. When combined, they
make up the sixty-four hexagrams of that comprise the Chinese classic
text, the I Ching. They represent the knowledge handed down by
preceding generations of teachers and the versatility of the martial
arts. Each technique flows into another to suit the circumstances at
hand-defense, attack, empty-handed or armed.
The octagon, which forms the inner perimeter,
represents the eight cardinal directions, the stepping patterns and
angles of attack and defense and directions used in breaking an opponent’s
posture for throwing. The octagon, made up of 360 degrees, is also a
circle, never ending and continuous.
The Yin and Yang symbol contained within
the octagon represents constant universal change-hard and soft, negative
and positive, internal and external. This denotes the manner in which
martial arts are performed: yielding and passively or unyielding and
As a whole, the Eight Directions emblem
represents a system in which the senior members instruct the juniors
in an ancient tradition of continuously flowing, interchangeable and
versatile techniques. They may be used for health and well-being or
for both unarmed and armed combat, in the street or on the battlefield.