Aikijutsu is a sophisticated grappling 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 proper form. Many of the techniques require only a few ounces of pressure to yield rather spectacular results. Aikijutsu is especially appropriate for study by women, law enforcement officers, and those who enjoy the challenge of sophisticated technique. For insight to the myriad benefits of training in this art, read Posture and Movement in Yamate-ryu Aikijutsu.
As a student of aikijutsu you will learn to neutralize attacks by throwing or pinning an opponent, most often by means of locking one or more of your opponent’s joints. Because the opponent is controlled through a mechanical linkage, rather than by application of pain, the “internal” martial art of aikijutsu is a matter of honed intent and skill. The objective of the art is to gain absolute control of an attacker, both physically and spiritually, allowing the possibility an aggressive individual can be deterred or restrained with minimal harm, while also providing the tools for more devastating, decisive actions should circumstances warrant.
While the benefits of training extend far beyond self-defense, the foundation of Yamate-ryu is practical skill. The techniques of aikijutsu are not designed for sport-style, competitive sparring; rather, the techniques are the result of hundreds of years of research into the means of defending against armed and unarmed assaults. The art will provide you a wide range of responses to aggression, from avoidance to escape to physical counters commensurate to the severity of an assault and consistent with legal and ethical considerations. We supplement our practice of physical skills with study of such things as violence dynamics, threat assessment, and verbal de-escalation, relying on the works of experts like Ellis Amdur, Marc MacYoung, Jenna Meek, Gavin de Becker, and others.
Because relatively few of us are likely to face unprovoked, physical violence, worthwhile training must offer more than combative skills. The benefits of Yamate-ryu beyond self-defense include inexhaustible intellectual challenge, enhanced self-discipline and focus, and a moderate to intense, total-body workout. The nature of the training develops confidence, strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and grace. Exposure to classical strategy provides insights that can be applied to every area of life. For example, developing the ability to resove conflict — whether internal or external — is a skill as timeless and valuable as the strategies we study.
Ukemi, the abilities needed to receive a technique, is probably the most practical self-protection skill — there is a 100% likelihood of falling at some point in your life. To see the sophisticated means we use to teach these indispensable skills, see our videos, “Teaching Ukemi: The F. J. Lovret Method,” and “Teaching the Solo, ‘Aerial’ Breakfall.”
Prospective students of aikijutsu must be at least 14 years of age. Required training equipment is limited to a proper uniform and a bokken.
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