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Thread: Effectiveness of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu

  1. #1
    Lil Dave Guest

    Default Effectiveness of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu

    I have read that aikijujutsu is superior to jujutsu. What makes aikijujutsu so good? How is it different from jujutsu, and what types of techniques are involved (immobilization, atemi, etc.)? I'm not asking this in a comtemptuous tone, I'm honestly wanting to know. Thank you for any assistance that may be rendered concerning this.

    David Buck

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    Dave,

    As a longtime practitioner of both arts I think you are mistaken in your perceptions here. Aikijujutsu is not really superior to jujutsu. It simply operates on a more intricate and sophisticated level of priciples. This is good and bad. It requires much less physical exertion and strength but also requires much greater precision and infinitely longer training time for practical execution. Extreme subtlety is the name of the game in genuine aikijujutsu.

    My own opinion is that for most practitioners a lifetime of study will still not give them the tools to actually apply pure aiki jujutsu in a street confrontation. This does not mean that the art is lacking but that those of us who are normal humans are. The art requires almost superhuman martial ability to master and just as most of us could never be a concert pianist regardless of how much we practice, most of us will never really master high level aikijujutsu either. Where I think exposure to aikijujutsu really shines is in helping an advanced student of another art more deeply understand the principles that drive the art he is currently familiar with. Although I dont believe I will ever master aikijujutsu, my training in aikijujutsu has forever changed and improved the way I approach the other arts I have spent so much time training in. I will continue to train in aikijujutsu treating it sort of like avanced education. It martially improves everything I do. But if accosted on the street The Wado ryu and Shindo Yoshin ryu that form my martial foundation will be what I call upon to meet that challenge, ..... again enhanced and improved by those aiki elerments that have crept into and effected my overall martial understanding.

    I hope this makes some sense.

    [Edited by Toby Threadgill on 07-16-2000 at 12:15 PM]

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    Default Kudos

    Greetings Dave,

    The quality of Mr. Threadgil's reply is outstanding. I could not agree with him more. By the way, there are some interesting photos of Mr. Threadgil in the latest issue of Aikido Journal. This is a publication I highly recommend and which may shed more light on the history, techniques and qualities of Aikijujutsu, which you seem to be looking for.

    Regards,
    TommyK
    Tom Militello
    "You can't hide on the mats." Terry Dobson sensei.

  4. #4
    Aaron Fields Guest

    Smile

    As a ju-jutsu guy (limited exposure to aiki-jujutsu)my two cents worth is focus. Ju-jutsu is a blanket term with great varience between the focus of individual ryu-ha. I always cringe with "this better than that" debates. I agree with Toby that aikijujutsu on the whole (excuse the generality) seems to be more esoteric. I am not meaning to imply inefficient, just a larger focus on the ki elements of the practice. In regards to precision of technique, I'm not sure that ju-jutsu waza always or inherently require more muscle. Refinement of technique is the overall goal of all budo/bu-jutsu, and for that matter everything in life. I believe that the question as usual comes down to the individual.

  5. #5
    Lil Dave Guest

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    Just so you guys know, I read that aikijujutsu was better than jujutsu in a book, so I was stating what I had read, but had no basis for accepting or refuting. I do appreciate this clarification. So, am I to understand that aikijujutsu is within the 'blanket term' of jujutsu as far as techniques, but it is how the techniques are actually performed that differentiates it them(or, in other words, one's mental focus when performing the movements is different).

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    Dave,

    In Daito-ryu, jujutsu techniques are basic techniques and aiki techniques are advanced techniques. They actually are completely different. Aiki techniques can be added to jujutsu techniques to make them more effective. Thus we have aiki + jujutsu = aikijujutsu.

    How the techniques are actually performed does differentiate them, but the distinctives are not purely mental. I disagree that there is a larger emphasis on the "ki" elements in aikijujutsu. Toby is correct when he says that aikijujutsu is very subtle and requires much more precision. I always say that aikijujutsu is easy to do (it requires almost no effort), but is very difficult to learn (because it requires a lot of effort).

    However, I'm not convinced that it takes "infinitely" longer to learn, nor am I convinced that only super-humans can master it. It does require a serious dedication, and a good teacher. But I think that anyone who has a qualified teacher and willingness to learn can achieve proficiency with proper training and practice.

    While aikijujutsu is esoteric (known by only a few), it is not a not a mystical art, but is rather quite rational. And although the techniques sometimes appear to be super-human or magical, they are based on sound principles of physics, physiology, and psychology among other (secret) things.

    A simple description of jujutsu techniques would include primarily skeletal locking techniques using simple leverage, to control or throw the opponent, choking techniques, and with the exception of various striking techniques, jujutsu generally requires that you somehow grab or take hold of your opponent in order to execute the technique.

    Aiki techniques do not rely on skeletal locking (kansetsu waza), or grabbing hold of the opponent in order to control or throw the opponent. Aiki techniques use small circular motions to effect subtle and complex levers, along with the opponents natural (and predictable) reactions to manipulate the opponent into defeating himself. There's much more than that, but that's the simple description.

    Hope that helps.

    Brently Keen

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    Default Depth of Options

    Toby and Brently’s posts reinforce the feeling that I have had that one should have a depth of options at one’s disposal especially if we are aficionados of the aiki arts. At the top I would put aiki applications that can dominate an individual with a minimum of effort and a maximum of skill. But rather than aiki as the only option there should also be options ranging through jujutsu on to striking and down to biting gouging and general thrashing about. Of course if you end up biting and gouging there is nothing to be proud of, but one still needs to know how to do it if it is needed. A well rounded artist would have layers to their technique ranging from the gross physical through refined leverage to rarefied aiki.
    Sometimes I notice a tendency in class to stop and restart a technique in practice if it is not working and uke is nice and backs off. I think it would be good from time to time to practice shifting levels - you blow the technique move to another technique and/or switch levels of force/finesse on the continuum.
    Doug Walker
    Completely cut off both heads,
    Let a single sword stand against the cold sky!

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    Doug wrote: "Sometimes I notice a tendency in class to stop and restart a technique in practice if it is not working and uke is nice and backs off. I think it would be good from time to time to practice shifting levels - you blow the technique move to another technique and/or switch levels of force/finesse on the continuum."

    Absolutely, Doug. While we don't do the practice you discribe with beginners we sure do it with more advanced people. During the randori type training uke can counter attack if tori's technique is flawed. Now the key is to keep it from becoming a competition between uke and tori. Once the attack speed is set both parties should stay with in that realm of training, i.e. uke counters and is successful it should be simply because he speed up, it should because he properly matched his training to the situation. Even this can be open for debate between an uke and tori that train alot together and have alot of trust with their partner (also both have to be willing to accept the occasional accident). When both parties realize that regardless of who does the finishing technique they BOTH learn, it becomes a valuable training tool.

    As far as not taking pride in bitting and gouging, I suppose not, but then there isn't alot of pride in fighting today. Fighting kinda means you failed at something else, like de-escalation techniques, situational awareness, etc. Personally I have always taken a very survival first outlook, while I know others wish to view fighting in a more noble light. To each his own. I wish to expand on this but think I better stop, one never knows when their words might be taken out of context and read before a jury. Peace.

    mark

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    Brently,

    I agree with your statement here with an addendum:

    You stated:

    "However, I'm not convinced that it takes "infinitely" longer to learn, nor am I convinced that only super-humans can master it. It does require a serious dedication, and a good teacher. But I think that anyone who has a qualified teacher and willingness to learn can achieve proficiency with proper training and practice. "

    If you go back and read my post my differentiation between aikijujutsu and jujutsu included "to actually apply pure aiki jujutsu in a street confrontation"

    To "learn" aiki no waza and execute it successfully ( even extremely well) in the dojo is one thing. To actually apply pure aiki no waza in a violent street confrontation is something else entirely. A vast minority of individuals involved in aiki training have any exposure to the psychochemical stress responses experienced in a violent street encounter. One of the first things you lose when under psychochemical stress is the fine motor skill & coordination absolutely required in the execution of high level aiki. Each of us training in aiki needs to ask ourselves if we could actually apply pure aikijujutsu with a 230lb goon bearing down on us, possibly armed!

    The complexity of aiki is one reason simple joint locking and rather elementary principles of leverage were taught and used more commonly during battlefield engagement in koryu jujutsu. The simplicity of jujutsu is what makes it so attractive in application. I'll again say the study of high level aiki principles have improved everything I do but I doubt that I'll live long enough to be able to master pure aiki at a level that would allow me to physically engage in a violent street confrontation and walk away unscathed.


  10. #10
    Lil Dave Guest

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    I understand where you are coming from, but I have to say that I don't think learning aikijujutsu any better will help you become prepared to use aiki techniques. Isn't this the same problem that the bushi had, being able to handle temselves in (potentially) life and death situations? Once one learns to maintain mental stability in the face of your entire body screaming, "KICK HIM OR RUN!" wouldn't any level of aikijujutsu be applicable? The question is whether higher level aikijujutsu will help train you to do that, or if you must train some other way.
    How could you train yourself to be calm in the midst of all this? You can't reasonably put your life in danger (upwards of) dozens of times on purpose just for training. Is anyone aware of how the bushi trained for this, or was it a 'sink or swim' deal?

    Dave Buck

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    Toby wrote:

    If you go back and read my post my differentiation
    between aikijujutsu and jujutsu included "to actually
    apply pure aiki jujutsu in a street confrontation"
    ______________________________________________________

    Toby-san,

    With all due respect, I did read your previous excellent post carefully, and I meant what I said in that context. I am still convinced that anyone with a "qualified teacher and willingness to learn can achieve proficiency with proper training and practice."

    I would emphasize these points: "a qualified teacher",
    "a beginner’s mindset", "proper training and diligent practice".

    I would also agree with you that application of aikijujutsu techniques in the dojo, and application in a violent street confrontation are very different things. But there is also a significant difference between kata training and real combat on the battlefield as well.

    The vast majority of koryu bujutsu founders felt the kata training method was the most effective method of training and preparing for actual battlefield conditions. And the focus of these systems was more often than not on the development of the proper mindset and psychological attributes necessary for battle. Techniques were secondary to principles, and the effectiveness of the kata method for instilling these principles into the attributes of the samurai has been demonstrated throughout Japanese history.

    Contrary to some popular opinions these days, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu is a koryu bujutsu. And the training method that was transmitted from Sokaku Takeda, while lacking in a formal structure, did have specifically designed purposes ingrained into both the training method and the techniques themselves. These purposes are the same as the explicit omote, and implicit ura teachings contained in kata training methods utilized by other koryu bujutsu systems. The so called secret "okuden" nature of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu is systematically transmitted from teacher to student (as in all living koryu) not through the contents of the densho, but through hands-on training and experience, isshin denshin, and kuden.

    I also agree that : "A vast minority of individuals involved in aiki training have had any exposure to the psychochemical stress responses experienced in a violent street encounter." But, I would add that a vast minority of individuals involved in ANY kind of training have had much experience with the kind of psychochemical stress you're talking about.

    As I said above, the koryu bujutsu were created for this very purpose; preparing samurai for "lethal force engagements" to use more modern terminology. These systems were designed for close quarter combat with weapons, and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu is no different in this regard except that aikijujutsu is more subtle and sophisticated than most other systems. The softness, sophistication and subtlety of aikijujutsu however, grew out of practical necessity. I suggest a rereading of James Williams' excellent article in Aikido Journal, "Martial Aiki Past and Present" for an excellent presentation of this subject.

    "One of the first things you lose when under
    psychochemical stress is the fine motor skill &
    coordination absolutely required in the execution of
    high level aiki."

    I agree that fine motor skills and coordination are impaired when under psychochemical stress, and the execution of aiki requires a precision that is only possible with a calm and emotionally detached mindset that is not impaired by such stress. BUT, proper Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu training is designed to facilitate the attributes (proper mindset) necessary to render the effects of psychochemical stress as negligible. That is among its primary purposes and objectives.

    One of the first things you will become able to do as you become proficient in aikijujutsu is to remain confident, calm and relaxed even while under duress. It is a characteristic side effect of training in aikijujutsu. The adept aikijujutsu practitioner is trained in such a way that prepares him to not be adversly effected psychochemically by stress.

    "The complexity of aiki is one reason simple joint
    locking and rather elementary principles of leverage
    were taught and used more commonly during battlefield
    engagement in koryu jujutsu."

    I beg to differ, I think that the reasons most systems resort to simplicity is because they are trying to compensate, adjust and react to effects of psychochemical stress. It is because of the effects of psychochemical stress that simple techniques and systems are prefered over complex systems, not because of the complexity of aiki. It is also felt that complex techniques take too long to learn, and if the exponent has not trained in methods to handle stress, and is not prepared mentally and emotionally for the realities of combat then they will lose the fine motor skills and coordination necessary to execute complex movements. Therefore simplicity is prefered by many systems.

    However, the reason aiki is practiced is to be able to prevail against skilled opponents, even those who are bigger and stronger than us. This requires more sophisticated and subtle methods as well as a confident, calm, and detached mindset. It doesn’t concern me if they are possibly armed. Imagine my opponents surprise when he discovers (too late) that I'm armed as well!

    I'm under no illusion however, that I will walk away from any violent street encounter unscathed, but my training in aikijujutsu has prepared me for the possibility. I'm still relatively young, and I don't believe that I'm particularly gifted, I've certainly a long ways to go before I master aiki, but I've reached a level of proficiency in which I'm confident enough to accomplish my objectives (not just in the dojo), and if I (a very normal guy) can do it, and teach others as well, then I think just about anyone with the right teacher, and a willingness to learn can become proficient with proper training and enough practice.

    This was something that was strongly impressed on me by Okamoto sensei, and that was that he felt if he could do it then so could I. Gambatte ne!

    Respectfully,

    Brently Keen


    [Edited by Brently Keen on 07-21-2000 at 04:36 AM]

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    Excellent posts from all! I learn a lot from you folks.

    Getting back to Dave's original question, I would have to ask "better for what?" Fishing? Needlepoint? Making love? Tournament competition? Bar fights? Close-quarters combat? Greater spiritual insight?

    I will put this idea out there: aikijujutsu is jujutsu. The comparison-question, as stated, is irrelevant. Just like asking, "Which one is superior: Goju Ryu or karate?" Goju is a style of karate. Aikijujutsu is a style of jujutsu.

    Jeff Cook
    Wabujitsu

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    Jeff,

    In Daito-ryu, jujutsu and aikijujutsu are two very different things. Aiki is not a subset or style of jujutsu. Likewise jujutsu is not a subset or style of aikijujutsu. Aikijujutsu is most definitely not jujutsu. They are apples and oranges.

    Brently Keen

  14. #14
    Aaron Fields Guest

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    Another point (just to stir the pot, though my post is a bit off the original thread),
    The koryu of the past that rely on completely on kata training in the dojo had real application practice on the battlefield. If they learned their lessons in the dojo and on the field they lived, if not.. As has been stated in this thread, most people involved with budo/bujutsu do not have use of force experience (thankfully.) Therefore, it seems that today, people with "kata only" training are missing a component of training which the "kata trained only" of the past had.



    [Edited by Aaron Fields on 07-21-2000 at 01:37 PM]

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    Brentley,

    I could be convinced of your point of view. Can you elaborate, both in a historical context and a nuts-and-bolts context?

    Jeff Cook
    Wabujitsu

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