Jujutsu & Aikijujutsu

What is Jujutsu?

The term jujutsu is the name given to the unarmed combat systems of the Japanese samurai of feudal-era Japan.  The underlying principles and movements of jujutsu come from the techniques of the Japanese samurai sword arts.

The term “ju” refers to suppleness, flexibility, or gentleness.  The term “jutsu” refers to an art or system, generally taken to mean a martial or military art.  Essentially, jujutsu is an unarmed combat system utilizing a series of blocks, strikes, joint locks, chokes, or throwing techniques.

It is important to realize that the definition of “ju”, as the Japanese saw it, dealt with suppleness and flexibility, not of the physical body, but of thought and response in dealing with aggression.  There was and is no pre-conceived doctrine in jujutsu.  An attack is dealt with according to the power, intent, and method of the attacker.  There is no reliance on strength and size alone.  Jujutsu functions according to the basic scientific principles of physics, anatomy, physiology, and psychology.


What type of jujutsu do you teach?

Our dojo teaches Yamagawa Bujutsu Renmei Aikijujutsu.  This can be translated as the “Mountain river martial arts training school”.

Yama Gawa Bujutsu Renmei was created by Kyoshi Robin Hamerdinger in 2016 after nearly 35 years of martials arts study.  She made the difficult decision as much of the root organization (Shingo Ryu Bujutsu Kai created by Dr. Mike Sadler) began to retire and leave actively training students.

In this endeavor, Hamerdidinger-kyoshi was sponsored by the Dai-Nippon Seibukan of Japan and The international Kodo Butoku Renmei.


How does Yamagawa aikijujutsu differ from other styles of martial arts?

The strongest difference between our art and other modern jujutsu systems is that we draw from not one but two major arts of “koryu” lineage  or “ancient stream.”  Koryu refers to an art that predates the Meiji Restoration in 1868.  Our art encompasses the philosophies, concepts and techniques of go-ho (hard style) and ju-ho (soft style) as embodied within the koryu arts of Kito Ryu and Yoshin Ryu.
This blending of the hard and soft arts is what separates us from the other jujutsu styles of today.  It gives our art a true flexibility of response and direction that can flow and change according to an attacker’s nature.  These concepts permeate our techniques of footwork, body shifting, striking, blocking, joint locking, and throwing.
By the definitions of the old koryu systems, our art can be classified as jujutsu at the go-ho level and as aikijujutsu at the ju-ho level.  Why this classification?  The given definition of jujutsu is an art using a series of blocks, strikes, joint locks, chokes, or throwing techniques for self defense.  These energies are usually considered go or hard, if only by comparison with the softer or ju arts.  They require some degree of strength in order to accomplish the techniques, although the strength needed is applied using scientific principles to achieve the maximum effect with the least amount of energy.
Aikijujutsu, on the other hand, is an art that primarily utilizes joint locking techniques to generate pain induced motion and off-balancing or kuzushi in an opponent.  This unbalanced energy is then redirected to its possible conclusions by the user.  This harmonization of energy or aiki allows for a much lesser application of force than the go user and yet allows much of the same locking, choking, and throwing techniques than the former.
Striking techniques, while not as powerful as those used in go, are used to stun, disable, and/or add to the unbalancing effect on the opponent and enhance the control mechanism through pain to the opponent.  Blocking techniques are also designed to redirect and continue the energy of the attack rather than simply meet it and bring it to a halt as is common with go techniques.

A few days before his death, Kozan, a Zen Buddhist monk, called his pupils together, ordered them to bury him without ceremony, and forbade them to hold services in his memory.

He wrote this poem on the morning of his death, laid down his brush and died sitting upright.


Empty-handed I entered the world

Barefoot I leave it.

My coming, my going —

Two simple happenings

That got entangled.

Kozan Ichikyo
died February 12, 1360, at 77

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