How Can You Study?
Within our Dojo, classes in Shinwakan Aikijujutsu are conducted through private, or semi-private lessons, much like western guitar lessons or those with a person fitness trainer. This ensures that student's get significant attention through one-on-one training with the instructor. Progression is based on the motivation of the student, and often faster than in other class formats. Please contact us.
Traditional Japanese Aikijujutsu:
Aikijujutsu is a traditional form of self-protection, descended from the feudal-era close quarter combat methods of the samurai. The name itself translates as the "art of harmonization", and indicates that the exponent does not resist the power of the attacker directly, rather, they yield to it, harness it, and use it to defeat the opponent. Therefore, Aikijujutsu can be applied with minimal strength and can be used by anyone, male or female, young or old, to successfully defend themselves against an aggressor.
About Our Style:
At our school, we offer instruction in the Shinwakan Aikijujutsu. Our lineage is based primarily on the teachings of the Hakko-ryu school, which was founded by Okuyama Ryuho Soke in 1941 after receiving his teaching certification in the Daito-ryu school of Aikijujutsu.
The techniques of Shinwakan Aikijujutsu are closely related to Hakko-ryu, and by extension, the parent art of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and also modern Aikido, but it is the influence of Asian medicine, and a strict moral code that distinguishes our lineage from these other related schools.
It is important to note that, unlike other lineages of our style, Shinwakan Aikijujutsu is unique in that additional direct and important influences on our curriculum include those of other schools outside of Hakko-ryu, namely, Kokamishin-ryu Jujutsu, Aikijujutsu Gyakute-Do, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, and classical (Koryu) Jujutsu.
Aikijujutsu includes the formal study of various Tehodoki (escape techniques), Kansetsu Waza (joint locking techniques), Nage Waza (throwing techniques), Osae Waza (control techniques), Shime Waza (strangulation techniques), Newaza (ground defenses or grappling), and Atemi Waza (striking and kicking techniques), among other aspects. Thorough study of these techniques, leads to a deeper understanding of the underlying principles (Gensoku), technical variations (Henka), and application of the principles (Oyo Waza). This makes it possible to respond to a limitless array of attacks and results in a very comprehensive self-defense system.
Our style of Aikijujutsu is taught in a very systematic fashion. There are approximately 200 formal techniques, arranged into seven sets. It is within these formal teachings that the founder’s knowledge is passed down from generation to generation. These are:
Shodan-Gi (First Grade Techniques)
Nidan-Gi (Second Grade Techniques)
Sandan-Gi (Third Grade Techniques)
Yondan-Gi (Fourth Grade Techniques)
Shihan-Gi (Model Instructor Techniques)
Kaiden-Gi (All-Passed Techniques)
Daikichu-Gi (Great Pillar Techniques)
Within these sets of techniques, the focus is on learning the core principles, which can then be applied to modern self-defense. The purpose of the formalized structure is to teach students the core principles in the most expedient and efficient manner possible. This is how most classical (Koryu) schools were transmitted in Japan, and although we are a modern style of Aikijujutsu, we operate very much in the classical model.
Study is very structured. Students begin training learning proper etiquette, how to fall and protect themselves (Ukemi), as well as other basics. Next, students are introduced to the first of the formal techniques (Shodan-Gi). When the instructor feels the student has sufficiently understood and can perform the technique correctly for their level, they are taught the next technique. In conjunction with this, students are exposed to the underlying principles of the formal waza, and practice applied self-defense techniques to deepen their understanding. And so it goes. Students generally progress at their own pace, and are not pressured to learn any faster or slower. Grading is based on a student’s progress in the formal techniques, with additional requirements being secondary to mastering the inherited teachings.
To supplement empty-hand techniques, students of our school also study retention and disarming techniques with various weapons, including the knife (Tanto), sword (Katana), and staff (Jo), as well as others. There are formal solo and paired Kata (forms) for the sword and staff taught to intermediate students, and advanced students also practice various forms of empty-hand freestyle training, where their techniques are pressure-tested in a more realistic self-defense environment.
Our Aikijujutsu classes utilize the modern Kyu-Dan grading system, with classical licenses awarded to advanced students.
Kyu graded students are collectively called Kyusha. Students begin at the grade of Rokkyu (6th-Grade) and progress through five more Kyu grades to Ikkyu (1st-Grade). Colored belts (Obi) are not used in our style. All Kyu ranked students wear a white belt prior to testing for Yudansha ranking (Black Belt).
There are seven levels of Black Belt in Shinwakan Aikijujutsu (1st-Dan to 7th-Dan). The last three are tied to advanced instructor training, or Shihan (model instructor), Kaiden (all-passed), and Dai-kichu (the great-pillars), and successful candidates are awarded the purple instructor belt unique to our lineage (i.e., Hakko-ryu and its off-shoots).