Monday, August 27, 2007

Judo and aikido from jujitsu

Nathan at TDA posed the question the other day, "What aspects of total combat are not present in your martial art." That got me to thinking about an essay that Tomiki wrote about the derivation of aikido and judo from jujitsu. The jujitsu schools were more complete systems, containing aspects of virtually anything that could be useful in a battlefield scenario when disarmed. The modern martial arts specialized in parts of the jujitsu systems, or if you want to look at it that way, they took out some parts.

Aikido is much the same as judo because the origins of both reside in the ancient schools of jujutsu. If we generally classify the kinds of techniques (waza) in the ancient schools of jujutsu, there are four categories:

  • Nage-waza (throwing techniques)

  • Katame-waza (locking techniques)

  • Atemi-waza (striking techniques)

  • Kansetsu-waza (joint techniques)
Among these, many nage-waza and some katame-waza have been collected into the system of training that is "competition judo" (judo kyogi), and various atemi-waza and kansetsu-waza have been collected into the system of training that is "competition aikido" (aikido kyogi).
So, basically, Tomiki is saying here that judo took the throwing and locking techniques from jujitsu while aikido took the joint manipulation and striking skills. Of course, there is some cross-over of skills. Judo does have joint manipulations, but that is restricted to the elbow, so in general, aikido has a greater variety of joint manipulations. Tomiki viewed aikido throws as forms of atemi. Basically you get in a strong place when uke is in a weak place and hit him so that he falls. So, judo in Tomiki's thinking had a greater variety of throws while disallowing strikes. Aikido also has several pins and holding techniques, but not nearly the variety found in judo. So for the most part Tomiki's generalization holds: aikido is striking and joint-twisting while judo is throwing and grappling.
Why is it necessary for this division to take place? Kano restricted judo technique in order to create a randori system that was functional but still safe. Techniques that could not be thrown full-force all the way into the ground were excluded from judo. Thus striking and joint-twisting had to be disallowed or restricted. This is actually a strength of the judo system because even though there is less variety of technique, everything is acid-tested. Everything can be thrown full force against complete resistance in a competitive situation, so if uke hits the ground, tori is assured that the technique works.
Having mastered both judo and aikido, Tomiki took the remains of jujitsu that Kano was not able to make use of and began working on a way to create a randori system that would acid-test the striking and joint techniques like Kano's judo randori did for the throwing and grappling techniques. By the time of his death, Tomiki had come up with a ruleset for tanto randori that allowed competitive testing of techniques.
A lot of people still practice this tanto randori, and that's okay. We prefer to practice an open-hand randori very similar to the push-hands practice and competitions you can see Tai Chi practitioners doing.
In every generation of martial artists, folks come up with the bright idea, "Gee, I'd like to pull the judo techniques back into aikido randori," or "Gee, I'd like to pull the aikido techniques back into judo randori," but so far no one has come up with a good way to do good, vigorous free randori with both technique sets and still be safe. You basically have to sacrifice part of the technique set or practice in an unrealistic way (pulling punches, stopping and starting, etc...) in order to stay safe.

1 comment:

  1. "Fugakukai, under the direction of Karl Geis, continued looking at different ways to do this randori and finally came up with a system of open-hand randori very similar to the push-hands practice and competitions you can see Tai Chi practitioners doing."

    I would love to see some video examples of that.


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