Samurai aikijutsu

tommieslade

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I want to learn Samurai aikijutsu. The problem is there is not anyone here in our community or surrounding towns/cities that teach this. The closest in in Virginia(the upper part). Being from Wilson NC, there is no way I can make this trip on a consistent basis if at all. Anyone have any ideas?
 

Sukerkin

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Examine the possibilities available to you in your area.

If you can't travel to where the art you want to study is being taught then you have to cut your clothes from the cloth you have - perhaps by training in aikido and iaido?
 

arnisador

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Start with what you have nearby. Try to attend seminars or hope later you can move nearer to a school.
 

Ken Morgan

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Okay, I'm sorry but this is the first time I've heard the phrase, Samurai aikijutsu, what the hell is it?
 

Chris Parker

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Hi,

The term "Aikijujutsu" is used by a few organisations and systems, the most promiment I know of is Toshiro Obata's group. He has at least one book out (called "Samurai Aikijujutsu", if memory serves) which is probably the origin of this thread, I assume?

But, you're right Ken, it's not really a common term. Schools such as Daito Ryu use it, but it appears to have only used it later in Takeda Sokaku's career, earlier licences use terms such as Jujutsu more commonly.
 

Ken Morgan

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As soon as I hear the word samurai in any martial art I have alarm bells going off as to legitimacy. We all know that samurai is a social class, a warrior class, but still just a class like the nobility, or the peasants in the West.

As well I always think of JSA when I think of the warrior class of Japan, so Im assuming Samurai aikijutsu, has to do with Aikido and iaido/kenjitsu? Im also assuming the jo and sword work the aikido boys and girls do is not the same thing?

Im not judging the validity of anything, its just after ten years in the JSA, when I hear something new, my ears perk up a bit. Curious is all.
 

Chris Parker

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If I recall correctly, the Samurai class is the highest of a 4-tier system the Japanese utilised up until the end of the Tokugawa Period. From lowest to highest, they were:
- Merchant (considered the lowest because they actually didn't contribute to society, but instead profited from the work of the next two tiers).
- Artisans (actors, musicians, anyone who created something).
- Peasants/Farmers (those who provided the food and material goods that sustained the economy of fuedal Japan).
- and Samurai (the warrior class, up to and including the Daimyo and Shogun, this was the group who, theoretically at least, protected the lower classes who provided the infrastructure for the entire country).

So you're absolutely right, in terms of a martial art's name, the term "samurai" doesn't exactly lend itself credibility. However, I feel this term, as used Tommieslade, is primarily taken from Obata Sensei's book title, and therefore not a particular system.

As for thinking of sword arts in particular when thinking of "samurai" arts, that in and of itself needs a bit of clarrification. On another thread here, the original Samurai arts were discussed, and I posted a brief history of the development of the Japanese warrior arts. Basically, they began with archery, then later the focus switched to pole-arms (in some armies, the naginata was favoured, a very few preferred the nagamaki, but during the Sengoku Jidai the most favoured weapon for the ashigaru and samurai alike tended towards a straight spear [su-yari], to the point that the style of armour changed to better defend against this weapon. The sword only really came to prominence as a samurai's definitive weapon with the Tokugawa Shogunate decreeing that the wearing of Daisho was a privilige afforded only to the higher samurai class).

If we are taking the name from Obata Sensei's book, he is a holder of many different dan rankings and licences from a number of arts, including Aikido, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, and Toyama Ryu Battojutsu. So, yes, it probably is refering to these arts.

The jo and sword work in Aikido is taken from a number of sources, primarily Yagyu Shinkage Ryu for the sword, and some Kukishin Ryu for the sword and Jo (at least in spirit, if not technical detail), and is something that Ueshiba Sensei focuses on/developed later in the history of Aikido. By the time he began to really imprint it into Aikido training, he had taken the principles he was taught and adapted it to the philosophical base he had formulated for his Aikido, making it very different from most other schools use of the weapons (especially the Jo). It is also said that only the Takemusu/Iwama Ryu version of Aikido is the "complete" version, including the full compliment of Aikiken and Aikijo kata.

Hope this helps clear things a bit, I have been told that I sometimes just confuse things...
 
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Sukerkin

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I don't know who told you that, Chris. I've ever found your posts to be elaborative and contributive to the matter at hand :rei:.
 

Chris Parker

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You know, I try... Did you want to know a particular reference for something in the above post? I've probably posted similar in another thread here, actually.
 

Sukerkin

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:D I think you misunderstand me, Chris. It was a simple compliment taking as it's springboard the last line of your post above :tup:.
 

Chris Parker

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Please be assured, I felt no doubt or offence in your skillful and deft compliment, I was simply wondering if more information may have been required/requested. I'm a little used to blank stares and questioning smiles when I start talking like this to my students...
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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Coining a term Samurai Aikijutsu or even Samurai Jujutsu is kinda of misleading and misrepresenting.
Here are people calling their arts Samurai Aikijutsu and Samurai Jujutsu:

http://www.budovideos.com/shop/customer/product.php?productid=16413&cat=&page=11

http://www.nextag.com/588531514p/zz2zB4z23/prices-html


The use of Jujutsu and Aikijujutsu,Aikijutsu would have a Ryu name such as Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu,Kito Ryu Jujutsu and so on.

Though the Samurai class may have practiced these arts they did not call it "Samurai Aikijutsu" or "Samurai Jujutsu"
To be fair the use of Samurai Aikijutsu or Samurai Jujutsu may be a term used as a marketing method or an easier way to identify Jujutsu methods of Japan vs. Brazilian Jujutsu but who knows what goes on in the guys who do these things.
 

Ken Morgan

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may be a term used as a marketing method [/quote said:
That's exactly what i thought when I first heard the term.

Shrug, whatever turns em on. It all sounds great when you're trying to sell it to the fifteen year olds.
 
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tommieslade

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Thank you for your answers. Thank you for setting me straight on the correct terminology. I am not sure that really helps. There are only a few arts here. One is Tang so doo, Tae kwon do, and a kuntaw. These I have no interest in. I do know I am interested in the martial arts the samurai practiced, that is not taught anywhere close to here. But thanks for your replies anyway. God bless you continously.
 

Chris Parker

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Okay, then let's approach this from another angle...

What exactly are you after from your martial art experience? You say that you are attracted to the "martial arts the samurai practiced", the questions here would be what about the samurai arts do you want (eg. weaponry, unarmed, historical apsects etc), and exactly what are you thinking of when you think of the samurai martial arts?

The first question is one that applies to any art you wish to study, but the reason I am asking the second one is that what many people think of as "samurai arts" are a little off-base, to say the least. If you will indulge me, I will go through some of the thngs you may want to consider, as well as some details you may not be aware of.

To begin with, an assumption. I believe you are after the unarmed methods, as the term you originally used is Aikijutsu (as shown above, this is not a common term). So the question becomes whether you are after Japanese unarmed methods, or if you are after the historical arts. To let you know, unarmed arts used by the samurai are a rarity, and the only way to get unarmed arts that may possibly have been used by samurai is to look to the Koryu systems. And they will not be easy to find, even in Japan.

As a note, the reason I say "may possibly" is that even if an art is Koryu, there is no guarantee that it was a "samurai" system. For example, the Asayama Ichiden Ryu, according to some of it's histories, was founded by warrior-farmers, not samurai. Most samurai systems focused on weaponry, with the possbility of unarmed combat methods as a secondary, or supplimentary system. These include Kashima Shinryu (primarily sword with jujutsu as a secondary art), Tatsumi Ryu (primarily sword with jujutsu as a supplimentary art), Yagyu Shingan Ryu (primarily armoured combat with various weapons which later developed an unarmed syllabus), Kukishin Ryu (a weapon school focusing on naginata early on in it's history, focusign on bo later, and adding the unarmed of Takagi Ryu).

Then we need to establish what you mean by a samurai art exactly. The first arts to be used and formalised by the warrior class were based on mounted horsemanship, and later on pole-arms (naginata, with some schools and groups having a prediliction for nagamaki, although still quite rare), then moving into spear in the Sengoku Jidai (and spurring the development of new types of armour to deal with these weapons). The use of sword as the primary weapon actually waited until peacetime, with the Tokugawa Shogunate decreeing that only the samurai could wear the daisho (two swords) as a badge of their rank in society.

So do you mean those used by Japanese warriors on the battlefield (which as I said will primarily be weaponry arts), or those used and learnt by the samurai (ruling) class. Remember, though, that during the Edo period, many samurai began to teach the commoners as a way of making a living as their use on the battlefield was no longer a major factor. This lead to what was refered to as "commoners jujutsu, or yawara". A number of Koryu systems could very easily be this "commoners" art, rather than a true samurai art. If you are after a Japanese historical combat system, that may not be a problem, but if you are after samurai-specific for some reason, it is going to make it harder still.

But there are options. Probably the main one would be one of the Ninjutsu organisations. I would probably recommend either the Genbukan over the Jinenkan or Bujinkan here (or, more accurately, the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei, a separate but connected group to the Genbukan). The main reason is that the KJJR separates out the samurai/jujutsu systems, and keeps them apart from the "ninjutsu" arts, whereas the other organisations focus on distilling a set of skills from the entirety of the systems they teach. The Genbukan/KJJR have teachers and schools in a large range of locations, so there is a chance there may be something viable close by.

Which brings us to the last thing. Where exactly are you located? Your profile doesn't give any information, maybe if you let us know then someone here might be nearby, or know of something you haven't found yet. Or maybe something within reasonable travel time.

I wish you luck and success in your journey, and if you have more questions, ask away!
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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I would be surprised if anyone was teaching Aikijutsu because it is not a common art and I thought was one of the highest levels in Daito ryu.
I thought Ueshiba only learned Daito Aikijujutsu and not Aikijutsu.

Chris I am unsure how much of Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei comes from The Jujutsu systems. There is obvious overlaps of the Genbukan Ninpo and Kokusai jujutsu techniques,slight varations,some of the techniques for the Ninpo is done at a different kyu in Kokusai and some of the techniques in Kokusai are done at a different kyu then in Ninpo. I don't think we can say that the Ninpo done in the Genbukan is pure Ninpo or the Jujutsu done in the Genbukan is pure Jujutsu.

IMO Kokusai is a more advance curriculum.
 

Chris Parker

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Agreed, it is not a common art, nor a common name for an art, so I don't think many schools using the name would be found either. As for Daito Ryu, there are differing names used for the system depending on when the particular licence issued by Takeda Sokaku were written. From memory, the earlier licences used the term Jujutsu, this was followed by Aiki, and later Aikijujutsu. So I don't think it is a "higher" level part of Daito Ryu, just the term used from later in it's history (Ueshiba Sensei apparently had various menkyo which had the different terms at different times, indicating Takeda Sensei's changing description of his art, rather than different names for different ranks. I believe some of the licences were re-issues with the name change).

As for the KJJR not being "pure" jujutsu, I agree wholeheartedly. I just also feel it is the closest, and probably most likely course of action for our OP. Many schools can be claimed as both samurai and ninjutsu in origin, so the overlap is expected. For the record, my school itself focuses on what we refer to as the "Ninjutsu" schools - Togakure Ryu, Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, and Kukishinden Ryu. Now, I personally class Kukishinden Ryu as far more of a samurai school, rather than a ninjutsu school, although it has both in it's history, and it should be noted that without Kukishinden we would have little to no weaponry syllabus. So the cross-over could very easily be to have a more well-rounded syllabus, or simply to make it much less confusing for the majority of students who are members of both the Genbukan and the KJJR.
 

howard

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"Aikijutsu" is not a level of Daito-ryu. The modern curriuculum is divided into six scrolls. The last of these, the menkyo kaiden, represents the complete transmission of the system. The second scroll is called "aiki no jutsu" in Japanese; perhaps this could be a source of confusion.

The scrolls themselves contain the individual techniques that make up the modern curriculum. The first scroll, the hiden mokuroku, contains the 118 core techniques of the modern curriculum. Students who demonstrate proficiency in all of these techniques (in addition to meting other requirements) are eligible for the modern rank of 5th dan in the mainline organization.

Ueshiba may have learned both Daito-ryu jujutsu and DR aikijujutsu. Perhaps some of his students would have known and would have documented this. His teaching license (kyoju dairi), which he received from Takeda Sokaku in 1922, was in DR aikijujutsu, and aikido is based on aikijujutsu. The current teaching approach followed by the "mainline" branch of the art, under Kondo sensei, teaches aikijujutsu from day one. The method of applying aiki in each technique is taught in detail.

From browsing through the results of googling "aikijutsu" I infer that most schools that teach something with this as part of its name are hybrid arts, usually created by westerners with some experience (one hopes, at least) in a legitimate style of jujutsu or aikido.

Daito-ryu suffers from a large number of impostors who have no connection with any legitimate branch of the art, yet claim to teach "aikijujutsu". There are very few legitimate DRAJJ schools in the US. You can find a list of those recognized by the mainline tradition on their website (www.daito-ryu.org), on the "locations" page. There are also Takumakai and Kodokai schools in the US, but these two branches of the art really avoid the public eye.

To the OP - the art calling itself a form of "aikijutsu" may include techniques from aikido, aikijujutsu and other arts, and may be a valid style of jujutsu. But I'd be wary if they claim any link to Daito-ryu aikijujutsu.

Hope this helps.
 

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