Japanese Martial Arts of Self-Defense

Aikido 合氣道

           Aikido, “Way of life in harmony with internal energy”, uses the energy and momentum of the attacker to defeat them with little effort while preventing injury to the attacker. Promoting peace and harmony is a major component in Aikido. This is one reason Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, also known as O Sensei, great teacher, in the early 20th century. Ueshiba studied a martial art called Aiki-Jujutsu under one Takeda Sokaku. Ueshiba also studied Ju-Jutsu as well as the weapon arts of sword (Ken-Jutsu) and staff (Jo). Ueshiba derived Aikido from these main influences.


          The practice of Aikido includes ukemi (falling), movement (tenkan), striking technique, ki development, grab and strike defenses, and classical techniques designed to teach the basic principles. Practitioners of Aikido (Aikidoka) will also add weapons use and defense to their repertoire. The weapon aspects learned throughout Aikido training are the Jo, Ken (Sword), Hambo (Short staff) and Tanto (Knife). Aikido is performed by utilizing circular movements while blending with and redirecting the energy of an attacker resulting in kazushi (off-balance) and a throw or joint-lock for control. The training involved with Aikido is just as mental as it is physical. Aikido emphasizes the ability to relax mind and body, especially during stressful situations such as multiple attackers. Aikido by itself can be a very effective form of self-defense.


“In Aikido we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge, but do not try to suppress or control an opponent unnaturally. Let attackers come any way they like and then blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it”. - Morihei Ueshiba 


Iai-Jutsu 抜刀術 / Ken-Jutsu 剣術

Iai-Jutsu, “Art of Drawing the Sword”, focuses on withdrawing the katana from the saya (scabbard) with speed and accuracy to prepare for battle or to cut the opponent immediately after drawing the sword. Equally as important is learning to return the katana to its saya in a graceful and disciplined manner. Just as in Iaido, this is practiced via drawing and sheathing drills, striking drills, and katas or "forms". The katas promote the development of accuracy, speed and power while maintaining focus and awareness. Iai-Jutsu is the practical, combat method of controlling a sword. 

           Ken-Jutsu, “Sword Art of War”, emphasizes use of the katana once it is unsheathed and ready for battle. With this art, effective striking and blocking techniques are stressed to teach one to defend against an oppenent with another katana, jo staff, sai or any other weapon in era of the Samurai. Also involved is the use of the Wakizashi (Short Sword) and the Tanto (Knife) as well as numerous disarming techniques aimed at defeating a combatant. Kendo is also practiced as it does not focus on ending your opponent, but a more peaceful, sporting approach.


            These are the sword arts of the Samurai. Both of these arts are studied together for true proficiency. All of the cuts and movements are designed to teach someone to move, defend and cut down an attacker with speed and efficiency. Although the need for the Samurai is now extinct, the arts they trusted with their lives will live on through the martial artists of today. Learning the way of the sword will greatly supplement previous and current martial arts training. Along with use of the katana, nomenclature, sword cleaning, ukemi (falling) and physical conditioning are expected during training. Learning the sword arts requires much discipline, determination and focus.  


“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself; If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you” - Miyamoto Musashi, author of the Book of Five Rings.


 Kempo-Jutsu 拳法

            Kempo-Jutsu, “Fist Law Art of War”, is the striking and blocking art of the Samurai. The Samurai used Kempo-Jutsu as a means of defending themselves on the battlefield in the event they were unarmed or disarmed during combat. Kempo is used mainly in conjunction with Ju-Jutsu as a means of disabling an opponent in order to more easily implement joint-locks and throws. Kempo is very direct and serves as an effective martial art for self-defense.  


            Kempo is very similar to Karate. It employs a wide variety of blocks, kicks, and punches combined with refined technique which is designed to debilitate an attacker. Defenses against all types of strikes, grabs, attacks, and weapons are practiced. Standing and ground defense tactics are taught as well. During the training process, a student will expect striking and blocking drills, ki and body conditioning exercises, sparring and physical training activities to promote health, power and strength. 

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."  - Bruce Lee


Ju-jutsu 柔術

             Ju-Jutsu, "Gentle Art of War", is comprised of joint-locks, throws, grappling and submissions aimed at destroying an opponent. Used in conjunction with Kempo-Jutsu, Ju-Jutsu was utilized by the Samurai for survival in the event of battle without the accompaniment of weapons. This art is associated with the well-known sport of Judo. The main difference between the arts is sport vs. survival. Judo is performed by throwing your opponent with proper kazushi (off-balance) and or making them submit to a lock or hold. Ju-jutsu is Judo except that it focuses on forcing an attacker to the ground with an intent to injure and concentrating on vital areas of the body to achieve victory. 

           Ju-jutsu is practiced by learning proper falling techniques, kazushi and leverage. Throwing and kazushi drills will hone your coordination skills and will increase you speed, power and stamina. Along with weapons defense, grappling and ground-based fighting is pertinent to Ju-Jutsu and is relavent to basic self-defense as well since physical confrontations can quickly and easily end up on the ground. 

"You win battles by knowing the enemy's timing, and using a timing which the enemy does not expect." - Miyamoto Musashi


Self-Defense Combatives 防衛

  Self-Defense Combatives is a course designed for anyone who wants to learn self-defense or take their existing martial arts training to the next level. We focus on practicality and principles surrounding self-defense. We will also instruct on more practical or technical methods to applying martial arts techniques. We dedicate this course to the reality that is the unrelenting and brutal world in which we live. Random and not-so-random attacks of violence strike when you least expect it. During this course, expect to experience blocking and striking drills, prevention and escape techniques, basic principles for survival, weapons defense and retaining tactics, rape defense, psychological training, multiple attackers, protection of others, etc.

           Some people are convinced that going to a 1-hour free self-defense course can prepare them for an actual attack scenario. There are plenty of martial artist that will tell you otherwise; that even years of martial arts training may not have you "ready". If something were to happen right now, while you're reading this, would you know what to do? Could you protect your family? Are you... ready?