View Full Version : kyusho jutsu- use of the term in koryu

John Lindsey
20th March 2002, 22:41
Another thread here on e-budo is discussing kyusho jutsu and I was wondering if the use of the term (as a jutsu) can be seen in koryu, or is it more of an accepted fact that the use of kyusho was integrated into the striking arts and thus no need think of it in terms of a separate art?

Paul Steadman
25th March 2002, 09:25
Hello John,

The term 'tsubo,' comes to mind in regards to some koryu jujutsu, but I'm not sure. I'll do a little research and find out.

You posted: "...the use of kyusho was integrated into the striking arts and thus no need think of it in terms of a separate art?"

I don't think that originally, in classical Okinawan karate-jutsu (toide) at least, that kyusho-jutsu was a seperate art in and of itself. Kyushu, atemi, tai-sabaki, torite (toide), the original kumite (ie: yakusoku-gumite & te-gumi) etc were all component parts of the kata. Due to the popularity of sports karate-do over the years, the original principles, philosophies, rationale, techniques, kata, teaching/training methods and applications have been lost. Now with the renewed interest in classical Okinawan martial arts due to the pioneering work, research, seminars and writings of people like Patrick McCarthy-Sensei etc, everyone wants to get on the band-wagon unfortunately. Now we have clowns that sign their letters or articles with: Shihan Lefty Stankowicz 5th Dan Karate, 2nd Dan Kyusho-jutsu, 3rd Dan Atemi-jutsu, 4th Dan Torite-jutsu etc, etc, etc.


Paul Steadman

29th March 2002, 22:39
John ;),

Another great topic !

I hope not to splinter the conversation too much, but I wonder if anyone can share thoughts on shitojutsu/koshijutsu and koppojutsu; in particularly formalised systems.

Does anyone know if any other schools exist, that are technically similar to Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu or Koto Ryu Koppojutsu?

Additionally, would it be true to say that these schools are unique in their technical character?

George Ricard

PS Happy Easter to you all from Down Under (really down under cause I live in the southern most state:D).

2nd April 2002, 01:36
This is just off the top of my head so its value is near next to worthless, but IMHO, kyusho-jutsu as a term has been popularized only very recently in the West.

Older koryu schools in Japan will have other names for it, including koppo, atemi, satsuppo, kappo, and in our own case, satsu-katsuppo. The number and sometimes the attack points also differed from ryu to ryu.

Wayne Muromoto

Nathan Scott
2nd April 2002, 02:50
This may or may not be related, but I've been sitting here trying to get a solid definition of the term "torite".

The kanji seems to translate literally as "removing of the hands", as in, techniques used against someone who is grabbing you (self defence).

I've been going through the Heiho Okugisho, and in one section it lists techniques under the category of: "Kenpo - yawara, torite". In this case, torite is used in addition to yawara (jujutsu). Some people translate torite as joint locking, and some relate it to kyusho. Traditionally, does this term have a more specific application, or is it a catch-all?

BTW, the kanji used for "Kenpo" is old (on page 20), and I don't have a kobun jiten yet. If anyone happens to know if this is the same kanji as "kempo" ("fist law"), I would love to hear from you as well!


2nd April 2002, 03:25
BTW, the kanji used for "Kenpo" is old (on page 20), and I don't have a kobun jiten yet. If anyone happens to know if this is the same kanji as "kempo" ("fist law"), I would love to hear from you as well!

To my eyes this looks like an older version of the same kanji, but coming from me that doesn't mean a whole lot.

2nd April 2002, 07:37
Hi Nathan-
The torite was an old name for the Japanese police in one era I believe, and it was an old name for jiujitsu based possibly on a translation of the Chinese Chin Na, Seize Control, Torite being seizing or taking or throwing hands.

I think a lot of these terms were probably interchangeable. I had heard it may have also come from Odori te, dancing hands, but I don't know.

In Okinawa the term Toide, which is simply Okinawan pronunciation of Torite, is used for the Aiki and jiujitsu like techniques which some say are from the kata of karate and others say, are from Jigen Ryu martial arts.

Its sometimes hard to find the connections, but similarities abound in idea if not always in form or mechanics.Removing hands may be a way to say reversals as in Gyakute, or may refer to hazushite, a priciple of some Okinawan styles of removal of various and sundry grips and holds in the most painful and efficient manner imaginable.:-)

But I digress.Is Torite a translation of chin na, or at least the chin ( seize) part of chin na, na being to control? I don't know.Is it originally from sumo or its predecessor sumai which also made its way to Okinawa along with the warrior-king Tametomo, but never left Japan?That too, is possible.

Go far enough back, and discover there may have been many connections.
One thing for sure, torite, in its various manifestations, was a grappling type art, generally done standing and used against aggressive persons both armed and unarmed.Some of it was apparently designed to be utilized against aremd and armored individuals and thus te waza, attacks directed to the wrist, hands and fingers, were prevalent, with momentum throws.


Nathan Scott
2nd April 2002, 18:21
Hi Rennis,

Thanks for looking. a second source has also confirmed this. The problem, as you probably know, is that (I believe) "kenpo" is the more accurate translation. But I'm a big fan of spelling it "kempo", since it is so easy to confuse this with "kenpo" (sword law) without the aid of kanji to refer to.

Mr. Vengel, thanks for your thoughts on torite. It sounds kind of like classical jujutsu! The context in which torite appears to be used in Heiho Okugisho is in reference to defense against someone trying to grab your sword(s). Maybe those are the torite and the unarmed jujutsu is the yawara - at least how the author was using them.


2nd April 2002, 20:03
Nathan and all...

This might only be true for my own ryu, but the torite/toride forms found in my classical Japanese grappling style as compared to Okinawan tuide (which may have some relationship to Japanese toride) are primarily aikido-like in very general terms, i.e., standing techniques of arresting and subduing someone using joint and elbow locks, not necessarily to kill him but to bring him under control. My guess it that they were classified as such (in my style, at least) because a definition of the term can also mean "to capture or subdue-techniqes" (toru=take, de or te=hand, or technique). So they were often arresting techniques, or law enforcement self-defense, using joint locks and pressure points, etc., i.e., samurai or civil law enforcement.

This is separated from the other categories of our "jujutsu" curriculum (the term probably being a later catch-all for "grappling"), which are roughly separated into atemi (striking basics) using attack points (satsukatsuppo), hade (kata that use striking and grappling), toishi-hade (stuff that seem more vicious, like really doing a number on a guy in combat) and kumi-uchi ("grappling"). There are also the lightly armed methods called kogusoku, which focus on grappling with a short sword.

Each koryu may have had a different take on such terms, and perhaps it wasn't until about the Edo period that the terms like yawara and jujutsu became used as generic words for grappling. Such ryu may have also begun to use the generic terms because they began to engage in grappling matches, so whether you did toride, etc., to the audience, they all looked like they were grappling, i.e., okay, ya'll did some sort'a yawara or jujutsu because in those matches, pretty soon they pretty much started to look the same (given rules and regs, techniques do become limited to certain subsets), as interchanges between different schools led to discarding of some forms, and the creation of new ones that were quite similar across the board because they worked in those contests. Still, stylistic differences remained from ryu to ryu as part of their kata forms, while contest jujutsu remained in a constant state of change and innovation, until the advent of the Kodokan judo system. And that's another story.

Wayne Muromoto

3rd April 2002, 00:18
Mr.Wayne Muromoto-
That too, is interesting and needed information.Torite/Toide/Chin Na have long been associated with police arrest techniques, among other uses.I believe that one thing the Chinese arts call these are 'capture Skills.'

Also to Mr.Nathan Scott- That further clarifies the use of the term as you have it. Classical jiujitsu probably does equal torite.The torite being against grabs for the swoprd and yawara being unarmed techniques, is one I hadn't heard, but makes sense as a division, inside a ryu.Yawara having a meaning of circling, harmonizing, and torite being taking, show perhaps a different sppirit of technique, as well as different applications.

As far as the weapons aspect here, I have reason to believe that the beginning of the locking or seizing category in Chinese arts that may have given birth to the Japanese and Okinawan arts,was a defense against close in grabbing including of weapons, or a means of seizing and locking someone's weapon whilst proceeding on to finish the mission, and arresting them.Disarming them of course being essential in this, whereas in destroying an enemy's earthly span of existence, disarming was not necessarily a prelude.

Seems that the Chinese arts refer to Chin Na as the art of showing mercy to one's enemy and hurting or killing is done as a last resprt only, while in the dian xue or atemi waza category, one is going for a painful takedown, knock out or fatal conclusion.

Chinese were economical.Why kill someone if you could get useful labor or ransom from them?Chin na may not have been all that altruistic.The Japanese Torite, on the other hand, were police who used the jitte, at times, to entangle the swords of unruly warriors and the like.This technique may, too, have given birth to some torite waza.Okinawan sai jutsu also has some such applications.

Where did it all start? Well, classical jiujitsu is probably the first place that an actual entire art or arts, was devoted to the locking , seizing, holding techniques, as distinct from the purely throwng arts like sumai, sumo and shuai chiao, which last later incorporated striking and locking techniques to becomeitself a style of 'Kung Fu' or ch'uan fa.

What us Okinawan stylists are not sure of, is where exactly all the different Okinawan Toide stuff came from. Surely it is possible and even likely, that classical Jiujitsu Ryu such as done by Jigen Ryu, may have some input. Recently, I have been told that more modern styles such as Hakko-Ryu may have some influence on Okinawa in certain quarters. This I do not have direct evidence of but it cannot be ruled out.

If only some manuals of Okinawan Toide had survived, other than the Bubishi which shows what are apparently Chinese techniques.Not jiujitsu locks, either, mostly.

Anyhow, to the best of my current knowledge, the term Kyusho-jutsu was coined by Okinawan Tenth Dan Taika Seiyu Oyata, after coming to the U.S., to describe a type of technique he had learned from an old Okinawan warrior who was of Chinese descent.

Jintai Kyusho of course means the vital points of the human body and usually as Mr. Muromoto mentions these were called by atemi waza or tsubo or other names.In China they were called dian mai and dian xue.

That's about all I have on derivation of torite and such.
Regards to all,