Aikijutsu is an unarmed combat art derived from Daito-ryu aikijujutsu and closely related to Japanese swordsmanship. In many other martial arts, strength and speed are emphasized in nearly every situation. Aikijutsu utilizes a softer and slower type of movement, with power added only after the attainment of excellent form. Many of the techniques, when done properly, require only a few ounces of pressure to yield rather spectacular results.
Students of aikijutsu learn to neutralize attacks by throwing or pinning an opponent, most often by means of locking one or more of the opponent’s joints. Because the opponent is controlled through a mechanical linkage, rather than by application of pain, aikijutsu is a matter of skill and not brute force. The objective of the art is to gain absolute control of an attacker, both physically and spiritually, allowing the possibility an opponent can be deterred or restrained with minimal harm. The art provides a wide range of responses to aggression, and is especially appropriate for study by women, law enforcement officers, and those who enjoy the challenge of sophisticated technique.
According to legend, aikijujutsu was created in the 12th century as a secret art of the Minamoto clan. Training in aikijujutsu was first opened to the general public by Takeda Sokaku in the early 20th century, and at that time the art became known as Daito-ryu. More than 30 varieties of aikijujutsu and aikido are taught today, embodying a wide range of technical and philosophical approaches to the art.
Although aikijutsu and aikido share a common heritage, there are distinctive differences in the arts. Modern aikido has been shaped to a large degree by the esoteric religious beliefs of its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, an aspect that does not in any way apply to aikijutsu. Within the Yamate-ryu, we believe philosophical insights are best engendered by honest sweat in the dojo.
As a supplement to the unarmed practice, Yamate-ryu incorporates training with the bokken (wooden sword), jo (four-foot staff), and tanto (wooden knife). The use of weapons in aikijutsu is intended to inform and enhance the unarmed techniques, rather than purely for combative purposes.
Itten Dojo aikijutsu practices are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. In addition, there are open mat periods throughout the week during which students can receive individualized help. Prospective students of aikijutsu must be at least 14 years of age. Required training equipment is limited to a proper uniform and a bokken.