Over the eons of time much has been written about the martial arts, a lot of it just a reinterpretation of something already written. This section is written for my students to gain an understanding of the training they will receive at the JoBu Shin Kan. This section contains information gathered by me, over the last 30 years of training in the Martial Arts. The original part of this information is my understanding and interpretation of what I have been taught. Concepts and principles have blended and taken form into what I teach as DanZan Ryu Jujitsu. The JoBu Shin Kan then is the synthesis of my lifetime in the martial arts.
This information came from conventions, seminars, blackbelt classes, handouts and reading I have done over the years. Much of what is in here comes from memory and as such has "become my own" information. When the original source is know, credit is given. The rest came from someone who has been a teacher to me and my own study and research. My apologies to my teachers for not giving credit for specific information as they gave it to me. Most of this has long since been lost in the fog of my memory. If anything here is inaccurate or misstated I accept full responsibility as this information is my understanding of the material presented over the years.
Special thanks are given to the following:
To my Senseiís
James Moynahan, my first Sensei. My father Arthur J. Estes, who started me on this magnificent journey into the world of martial arts and who served as my Sensei for many years. Without his early training and guidance my martial arts career may never have become what it is today. Prof. Robert Hudson, who picked up where my father left off and who has guided me into the esotericís of life as well as the martial arts. Prof. Tom Ball, whose guidance and direction and personal insights have helped to open my eyes to the possibilities and potentials of martial art training.
To other important instructors:
Prof. LaMar Fisher, Prof. Tom Jenkins, Prof. Jane Carr, Prof. Gene Edwards, Prof. Sig Kufferath and Sensei Tom Lang, all who have made important contributions to my martial art training.
and to the following Systems and Organizations
The American Judo and Jujitsu Federation, The Kodenkan Yudanshakai, The Daito Ryu Aikijutsu Kodokai, United States Judo Association, DanZan Ryu Jujitsu, Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, Wing Chun Gung Fu, Kodokan Judo, Shudo Kan Karate and Shorinji Kempo.
To my students, who provided the energy for me to continue on this long and difficult path. Without the students there would be no Sensei.
The following is from a handout given to me by my Sensei, Professor Robert Hudson:
When you first walk into a Jujitsu Dojo, you see people performing an art that is very foreign to the western eye. This is because its history is Japanese and its evolution is based on Japanese type warfare. In many ways, it doesnít seem to have a practical relationship to self-defense either, but rest assured it does.
The founder of this system, Seishiro Okazaki, based his system on a particular principle. This is a principle called Kokua, which means to cooperate and help one another. This principle makes our system of Jujitsu, in particular, stand out and makes it a very desirable one as well. This principle or attitude comes to be understood through discipline and hard ship.
Present day Budo (martial ways) seeks a real peace and proves the spirit of mutual welfare. In the mind of the Japanese, this knowledge is earned through a process of severe hardship and great effort bring great joy and cherished human relationships. This is the world of Budo and Jujitsu.
These principles are in this Jujitsu Dojo. You have a financial commitment. But money is not the real cost for understanding the way of Jujitsu. Rather, it is the duty of each student to accept the hardships of the practices youíll be learning here. And, you must view these hardships as special rights given to each student. The arts of Jujitsu are earned, not given.
Approach your Dojo with the understanding that only through study and practice will the arts prove themselves to be effective. You must always desire to develop mind and body by not neglecting daily practice of the art, whether at the school or elsewhere. Apply the principles.
Sensei Bob Hudson
These words apply to the JoBu Shin Kan as well. The arts of Jujitsu are not "bought." Tuition is paid to cover the expenses of running the dojo. You are paying for a place to practice and train. The arts will be given to you as a gift from sensei, when you show through attitude, spirit, dedication and maturity that you have earned the right to receive them.
Welcome to the JOBU SHIN KAN Martial Art School. We are happy that you have selected us to begin or continue your martial art training. The martial arts were originally aimed towards life preservation and self defense, but today people from all walks of life, each with their own set of reasons for wanting to, train at the JOBU SHIN KAN. Some want to learn self-defense, others seek to become physically fit and others want to develop discipline and mental fitness. Still others want to have fun. What ever the reason you choose, you will find others just like yourself studying at the JOBU SHIN KAN.
Although our techniques are based on centuries old knowledge, it is our application of that knowledge that sets JOBU SHIN KAN MARTIAL ART SCHOOL apart. We realize that each of you possesses different natural abilities; size and strength will vary from person to person, etc. That is why once you have acquired a strong foundation in the basics, our program is individualized to match your physical capabilities in order to maximize your self defense skills. Should the need ever arise you will possess a firm understanding of exactly what it takes to both mentally and physically defend yourself or your loved ones.
At the JOBU SHIN KAN we are not only interested in self defense skills but in the development of each person as a whole. Master Okazaki taught that the practice of Jujitsu was "first a way to perfect the character and second to develop self defense skills." Another famous teacher once said "these are tools of everyday life, what you learn here, you can apply elsewhere."
The purpose of this manual is to introduce you, the new student, to KoDenKan/DanZan Ryu jujitsu. To quote master Okazaki, "since the fundamental principle acquired through the practice of jujitsu had been elevated to the finer moral concept called judo, the way of gentleness, it may well be said that the primary objective of practicing judo is perfection of character, and second a self-defense system."
In this school you can train to earn the coveted black belt. Once this goal is achieved the advanced training begins. Your rank also will be registered by the AJJF, the oldest certifying body of jujitsu in America.
To achieve the black belt you must realize that martial arts are not a mere distraction or hobby. Discipline can bring bumps, bruises and pain; but the joys received and personal friendships earned are timeless and constantly renewing.
NOTE TO STUDENTS:
As students new to Jujitsu, you will find that you will have almost as many old habits and patterns to unlearn as you will have new concepts and techniques to learn. The story of the Japanese Zen Master who was visited by a university professor wishing to inquire into the nature of zen illustrates this point well;
"It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about zen as he was in impressing the master with his own opinions and knowledge. The master listened patiently, and finally suggested
That they have tea. The master poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the cup overflowing until he could no longer contain himself. "The cup is full, no more will go in," said the professor. "Like this cup," the master said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you zen unless you first empty your cup?"
Thus, emptying one's mind of past habits and attitudes, and opening one's mind to new concepts and ideas is crucial to the serious study of Jujitsu.
What is Jujitsu?
JuJitsu (ju jitsu, ju jutsu, jujutsu, jiu jutsu, jiujitsu) is a Japanese system of philosophy, combat, and self-defense. It is one of the worldís oldest martial arts, being the forerunner and mother art of many modern day martial ways.
Jujitsu is a Japanese term literally meaning "practice, art, technique, or science (jitsu) of pliancy, suppleness, gentleness, or flexibility (ju). All of the terms, however, represent a general principle in utilizing a way of applying a technique, both armed and unarmed, in using any portion of the human anatomy as a weapon in combat.
Jujitsu can therefore be defined as a generic term applied to an integrated system of combat that incorporates numerous methods of fighting not particularly similar in appearance.
In the varied array of the jujitsu repertoire, one finds an elaborate system of combat including methods of striking, kicking, throwing, choking, strangulation, joint-locking, bone-breaking, restraining, grappling, nerve techniques, immobilization, self-defense, weaponry, tying techniques, resuscitation methods, massage and restorative arts, and a strong emphasis on a mental meditative discipline. It is quite evident with this comprehensive repertory of techniques in the framework of Jujitsu that the array of strategic possibilities would be quite infinite.
How does Kodenkan/DanZan Ryu Jujitsu Compare with other Martial Arts?
The following is an article written by Professor Ken Regennitter and appeared in the American Judo and Jujitsu Federationís publication The Kiai Echo.
Ask someone who has only studied Kodenkan and has little exposure to other martial arts, he will of course tell you that Kodenkan is best. But, to get an objective answer, you must ask someone who has had a wide range of martial art training and is considered a master of more than one form of the arts ( of course only a fool would claim to have mastered any martial art. There will never be a time in your life that you can not learn something from someone about your art). I claim not to have mastered any art, but after more than 35 years of training in many arts several organizations claim me as a master and I have earned black belts in many styles of Jujitsu, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Kendo, and Aikido so I feel I am in a position to make a comparison of the martial arts I have studied.
Kodenkan Jujitsu is the most complete and best martial available in America today. And with the possible exception of a few styles of Kung Fu taught in China, only to Chinese, Kodenkan Jujitsu is as good and effective as any form of martial art in the world and better than most.
Remember that Professor Okazaki studied all forms of fighting and learned thousands of techniques and rejected enough to start several good styles of Jujitsu, but they were not good enough for Kodenkan. While other styles talk or hint of secret arts and delayed death arts normally they do not exist or have been lost, but in Kodenkan they exist today and are being taught. There are no weak or ineffective arts in Kodenkan Jujitsu, although some arts in some Kodenkan Schools are not being taught effectively.
At my Shime No Kata Clinic at the Convention I took a couple of nice friendly arts and taught how mean they could be. I taught that Gyakujuji Jime (Shime) could be used to make your opponent submit or pass out even before they reached the mat and Shiho Gatame can be a very punishing art not only used to hold your opponent down and take his ear off, but could be used as a neck-breaker. Remember that these arts were developed for use by a Japanese Warrior standing in the middle of a battlefield. If you can not use Kodenkan Jujitsu to defend yourself against another Jujitsu, Karate, Kung Fu, or other martial art it is not the weakness of Kodenkan Jujitsu. Do not lay the blame at the feet of Okazaki, it is your own weakness. Do not start looking for a better art, start looking for ways to make yourself a better student of Kodenkan Jujitsu. I am well aware that many of the people that practice Jujitsu do not place self-defense as the number one reason for learning and if it was not for the hundreds of people who learn just for the joy of learning or for Kata Tournaments we would not grow. However, I wonder if it is fair to them or the system to give a blackbelt to someone who really can not use the art for the reason it was developed for; Self-Defense.
I am grateful for the many Masters and Instructors who took the time to teach me their arts over the last 35 years which gives me the opportunity to make this comparison, but I also wonder what I have missed by not being where I could have studied Kodenkan Jujitsu for 35 years under a Master. But if you have the chance of studying Kodenkan for 30 or 40 years, go for it, you do not need anything else.
Some thoughts on training for the beginning Jujitsu Student
At the core of Master Okazakiís teaching concerning Jujitsu, we may identify at least two fundamental threads:
Self-improvement/Perfection of Character through the mental/physical jujitsu training.
A commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict through a position of power developed through the self defense training of jujitsu.
An understanding of this is found in the following verse:
The greatest warrior is not the warrior that has
fought 100 battles and won them all, rather the greatest warrior is that warrior
that has never had to fight.
When you begin to learn the art of jujitsu, do so with an open mind. Stick to the curriculum as it is designed to guide you through the complete course and provide you with a solid grounding in jujitsu. If you have had training in another martial art you are to be congratulated. We ask you not to forget that system and it's techniques. We do ask, however, that you empty your cup and learn DanZan Ryu with an open mind.
When you have mastered DanZan Ryu, you will find that what we have been teaching you is a progressive curriculum. Each art or set of arts leads to the next set. Each set of arts refers back to former arts as you progress through the system.
As explained under the section describing DanZan Ryu, you will have the responsibility to follow the KoDenKan Way. As you progress through the arts it will be your responsibility to teach those who have joined after you. This will help them learn and help you by giving you the chance to analyze the arts while explaining them to those with lesser experience. This is also the reason that your rank requirement progress sheet asks if you have recommended anyone to join the club. Without new students coming in, part of your training would be lacking.
Jujitsu practice begins the moment you enter the dojo! Students should endeavor to observe proper etiquette at all times. It is proper to bow when entering and leaving the dojo, and when coming onto and leaving mat. Approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class, students should line up and sit quietly in seiza.
The only way to advance in jujitsu is through regular and continued training. Keep in mind that in order to improve in jujitsu, one should be to class at least two times a week. In addition, insofar as jujitsu provides a way of cultivating self-discipline, such self-discipline begins with regular attendance. The question is often asked, how can I practice by myself? Naturally, jujitsu is best learned with a partner. There are ways, however, to pursue solo practice. One can "shadow" techniques by simply performing the movement with an imaginary partner. Even purely mental rehearsal of the techniques can serve as an effective form of solo training. Another way of training on your own is to review your notebook. By reading and adding to your notebook, you are in effect rehearsing the techniques.
Your training is your own responsibility. No one is going to take you by the hand and lead you to proficiency in jujitsu. Part of jujitsu training is learning to observe effectively. Therefore, you should always try to figure the technique out for yourself by watching the instructor and others.
Training in jujitsu encompasses more than techniques. Jujitsu training includes observation and modification of both physical and psychological patterns of thought and behavior. In particular you must pay attention to the way you react to various sorts of circumstances. Thus part of jujitsu training is the cultivation of (self-) awareness.
The following point is very important: Jujitsu training is a cooperative, not competitive, enterprise. Techniques are learned through training with a partner, not an opponent. You must always be careful to practice in such a way that you temper the speed and power of your technique in accordance with the abilities of your partner. Your partner is lending his/her body to you for you to practice on - it is not unreasonable to expect you to take good care of what has been lent you.
The fact that jujitsu training is cooperative facilitates the abandonment of a competitive mind set which reinforces the perception of self-other dichotomies. Cooperative training also instills a regard for the safety and well-being of oneís partner. This attitude of concern for others is then to be extended to other situations than the practice of jujitsu. In other words, the cooperative framework for jujitsu practice is supposed to translate directly into a framework for ethical behavior in oneís daily life.
Sometimes in the course of training the question comes up, I am unable to perform the technique, now what? The following should provide an answer for this question:
Ask the instructor, perhaps you are doing something incorrectly.
Jujitsu techniques, as beginners practice them, are sometimes idealizations. No jujitsu technique works all the time. Our techniques are meant to be sensitive to the specific conditions of the attack. However, since it is often too difficult to cover all the possible condition-dependent variations for a technique, particularly for beginners, we adopt a general type of attack and learn to respond to it. At more advanced levels of training we will see how to take these generalized strategies and apply them to more specific attacks and situations.
Jujitsu techniques often take a while to perform correctly. Ask your partner to offer less resistance until you learn to perform the technique a little better.
Finally, many jujitsu techniques cannot be performed effectively without the concurrent application of Atemi. For safetyís sake atemi is often omitted during beginners practice. As your training progresses, these other steps will be given to you until you have the complete art.
Jujitsu training may sometimes be very frustrating. Learning to deal with this frustration is also a part of your jujitsu training. Students need to observe themselves in order to discover the root of their frustration and dissatisfaction with their progress. Sometimes the cause is a tendency to compare oneself too closely with other students or instructors. Notice, however, that this is a form of competition. It is a fine thing to admire the talents of others and strive to emulate them, but care should be taken not to allow comparisons with others to foster resentment, or excessive self-criticism. Therefore, always remember the following:
Make no judgments, make no comparisons, and delete the need to understand. Ponder on these things.
If at any time during your training you become too tired to continue or if an injury prevents you from performing some movement or technique, it is permissible to bow out of practice temporarily until you feel able to continue. If you must leave the mat, ask the instructor for permission.
It is common for people to ask about bowing in jujitsu. In particular, many people are concerned that bowing may have some religious significance. It does not. In Western culture, it is considered proper to shake hands when greeting someone for the first time, to say "please" when making a request, and to say "thank you" to express gratitude. In Japanese culture, bowing (at least partly) may fulfill all these functions. There are several forms of bows, not all of which will be discussed here. However, we will describe the bows most used in the DanZan Ryu Jujitsu classes and why they are performed. As stated above, the bow is used in place of the handshake or salute. It is a sign of mutual respect. If one were to offer their hand to another for respect it would instead be a challenge. Extending a hand to another martial artist is similar to sticking ones chin out daring a boxer. Yet a mutual respect must be demonstrated, a mutual respect must be felt.
Incorporating this particular aspect of Japanese culture into our jujitsu practice serves several purposes:
It inculcates a familiarity with the important aspects of Japanese culture into our jujitsu training.
Bowing may be an expression of respect. As such, it indicates an open-minded attitude and a willingness to learn from oneís teachers and fellow students.
Bowing to a partner may serve to remind you that your partner is a person - not a practice dummy. Always train within the limits of your partnerís abilities.
The initial bow, which signifies the beginning of formal practice, is much like a ready, begin uttered at the beginning of an examination. So long as class is in session, you should behave in accordance with certain standards of deportment. Jujitsu class should be somewhat like a world unto itself. While in this world, your attention should be focused on the practice of jujitsu. Bowing out is like signaling a return to the ordinary world.
When bowing either to the instructor at the beginning of practice or to oneís partner at the beginning of a technique it is considered proper to say "Onegai Shimasu" (lit. "I request a favor") and when bowing either to the instructor at the end of class or to oneís partner at the end of a technique it is considered proper to say "domo arigato gozaimashita" (thank you).
Protocol and etiquette
Proper observance of etiquette is as much a part of your training as is learning techniques. Please take the following guidelines seriously.
1. When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.
2. No shoes on the mat.
3. Be on time for class. Students should be lined up and sitting seiza approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class. If you happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza at the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join the class. If you are in a situation that regularly requires you to be late to class, speak with Sensei so he can excuse your lateness.
4. If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission. Never just leave the mat. Bring your notebook and a water bottle to the edge of the mat at the beginning of your class.
5. If you need to sit on the mat, do so at the edges, and do not lean against the wall or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either sit seiza or anza.)
6. Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice. Wedding ring may be worn, but if they have sharp edges they must be taped. So called friendship bracelets that cannot be removed must also be taped.
7. Please keep your finger and toe nails cut short.
8. Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic - Jujitsu.
9. If you are having trouble with a technique, do not shout across the room to the instructor for help. Approach the instructor at a convenient moment, bow and ask for help. Always address instructors as Sir, or Ma'am. Sensei is always addressed as Sensei and Sir. After receiving your instruction always bow and say thank you. Students shall stand attentively while being address by Sensei.
10. Carry out the directives of the instructor promptly. Do not keep the rest of the class waiting on you!
11. If a student senior to you gives you instruction that you believe to be contrary to what Sensei would give, follow the directions of that instructor until you can discuss it privately with Sensei, and then let Sensei make the correction.
12. Under no circumstances are you to make corrections or take over the teaching of a group unless directed to do so by one of the senior instructors. No one is to introduce any techniques to any student without Senseiís express permission.
13. Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class.
14. Keep your "Gi" clean and in good shape, and free from offensive odors. Avoid excessive wrinkles in the Gi. The Gi should always be folded properly when removed. The obi should always be tied, either around the folded GI, or knotted and placed in the Gi bag. The complete Gi and Obi (belt) should not be worn to class. The Gi pants may be worn, but the jacket should be properly folded and the obi tied around it. The Gi can then be carried to class openly, or in a Gi/sports bag. If you are not sure of how to fold the Gi, ask one of the blackbelts to show you.
15. Please pay tuition promptly. If for any reason you are unable to pay tuition on time, talk with Sensei. Sometimes special rates are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Donít ever stop training because money is an issue. Always discuss it with Sensei and let him work with you.
16. Change your clothes only in designated areas (not on the mat)!.
17. Remember that you are here to learn, and not to gratify your ego. An attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is therefore advised.
18. When the term "Matte" is heard, or Sensei claps his hands, you must immediately stop what you are doing and move to the seiza position.
19. Kneel and maintain a straight position when Sensei is demonstrating to the class.
20. Students who bring guests must introduce them to Sensei or Sempai. Guests will be accorded due respect and furnished with seating arrangements by the host student. The student is responsible for their guest's behavior, and will see to it that dojo protocol is followed by the guest.
21. No student shall teach the arts of the Jobu Shin Kan, DanZan Ryu Jujitsu to anyone not affiliated with this school without express permission from Sensei.
22. Students shall not practice any technique that has not been formally introduced to him by a qualified instructor
23. No students shall unjustly or non-constructively criticize the arts of another student.
Points to Ponder
As I meditated and thought of my training of the last 46 years I wondered what would be of value to you, the new student of the JoBu Shin Kan. As I look around I see what a fast food, instant gratification society we have become. We flit from one thing to the next all the while believing that we have accomplished something. I am constantly amazed at students who, after a year or two of training, decide that the art they are studying is not any good or is not the latest craze. While one may learn some techniques in that time frame, it takes much more to learn the martial arts. Before you will enjoy the ecstasy of becoming a proficient martial artist, there is much work to be done. The first step is to practice the physical techniques until you have learned to control the ego. Sadly, most students do not achieve this first step yet they leave with a list of techniques that they can athletically perform. While the student may be able to perform the physical movements, they have no clue as to the philosophy, strategy and application of each of the techniques.
In the martial arts, the first level of black belt is called "Sho" Dan not Ichi Dan. Sho means beginning. This is the level where the basics have been learned. There are many more levels to learn. As I was preparing for my Yodan exam I realize that with the achievement of this level I would have completed the core techniques of Dan Zan Ryu Jujutsu. Back then I understood that as I would now mature as a martial artist I must develop the hidden strategies and philosophies contained in each of these techniques, from Yawara through Shinyo.
It is incomprehensible to me that someone can stop short of this level and say that they understand Jujutsu or be able to compare itís effectiveness to another art. If you have not achieved the top level of techniques of an art, how can you compare it to another art of which you have not achieved the top level.
My goal as Sensei then is to help each of you achieve Yodan. Donít just set your goal to be a black belt, as it is only the beginning. Set your goal to learn all the techniques of Dan Zan Ryu. To stop short means never to realize the secrets of Jujutsu performed at the intuitive level. You will just become another martial athlete.
Let me share with you a letter from an unknown Sensei from another era to his students:
I have taught you the secrets of the martial arts, and you have become adequate warriors. You are now carriers of the living art - for all martial arts are living arts; they grow and change and conform to the needs of each generation of Sensei and disciple. As with all living things, some generations can be stronger or weaker than their ancestors. You must ensure that the living art never becomes weak.
For our style to live on, you must one day share its secrets with others as I have shared them with you. First, however, you must prove yourselves fit to carry on my name and the style. Go into the world to test your knowledge by fire and by blood. Should you survive long enough for your beards to gray with age, then you will know that your art is strong; then you will know that you are worthy to teach the art.
But if you should fall from the path, do not disgrace me by teaching your weak version of the art. Better that the style should die than become a tree that appears great for its age, but is rotten and weak inside.
Go now and begin your training in the Martial Art of DanZan Ryu Jujitsu. Use this introduction as a guide book to the JoBu Shin Kan. Make a commitment to spend at least a year working on this goal before you decide whether continue or stop. Better to not start at all than to quit before you even understand what it is you are giving up.
Prof. Herb LeGue shared the following with me:
The Martial Arts cannot be practiced as a form of entertainment or distraction. They are a serious undertaking which does not necessarily mean a sad one - - far from it. You cannot approach them tentatively with your fingertips, with a mere touch of the lips, or with superficial layers of thought or heart. It would be better never to become involved, but if you do, it is essential to carry on to the end, until oneís being is regenerated to the point of being made a warrior - - a complete warrior. As soon as your naked feet have entered a Dojo, you have entered forever. If you give up, if you waver, you risk finding yourself weaker than before. An important risk and a handicap which is difficult to compensate for.
Prof. Dennis J. Estes,
Sensei of the JoBu Shin Kan Hoku