Jujitsu and the Shindenkan
Jujitsu specializes in close techniques like joint locks, chokes, throws, holds, and grappling techniques, but it also includes strikes, kicks, blocks, and efficient movement to foil and counter attackers. Jujitsu is not only a system of self defense, however, but an excellent way to educate the mind in peace, confidence, and control while developing the body in a healthful way.
In class, students practice techniques together, but contact and force are strictly controlled. Safety is first priority. Jujitsu practice is excellent exercise, and anybody can tailor the workout to his present level of fitness. Jujitsu is perfect for anyone regardless of age, size, sex, or strength because its techniques use leverage and efficiency of movement rather than relying exclusively on strength or speed.
History of Jujitsu
Jujitsu, also written jujutsu or jiu jitsu, is the ancient hand-to-hand fighting art of the samurai. Recorded as early as 230 BC, Jujitsu had its renaissance during the Edo period of Japan (1603-1868) after Tokugawa Ieyasu formed the Tokugawa Shogunate and brought unification and peace to Japan. This era saw the gradual evolution from weapon styles to weaponless styles, and hundreds of ryu (styles) of Jujitsu flourished, each emphasizing different techniques. With the collapse of the Shogunate and the restoration of the Empire after the Edo period, samurai were outlawed and Jujitsu almost disappeared. A few schools still practiced in secret, however, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, aikido (stressing spiritual and less destructive aspects) and judo (emphasizing health and sport aspects) were were developed from Jujitsu.
The Shindenkan and the art of Kamishinryu
The Shindenkan is both an organization and the location where the art of Kamishinryu is taught. Just as a dojo houses the very environment
where students train, the Shindenkan, as an organization, houses the hierarchical structure that helps to promote and preserve the art of
The Shindenkan is devoted to helping our students discover what budo means to them. This is done with great care and respect to the traditional Japanese arts that are being transmitted to our students. These teachings help guide each student in becoming a versatile martial artist.
Budo no Godo - Five Paths of Our Martial Way
At each requirement level a unique training emphasis is revealed to the deshi (student, dedicated one).
The overall training becomes a multi-layered path leading the deshi from physical methods to internal principles.
Budo no Godo can be viewed as a set of teachings taught within each ranking level the student progresses through, and as a parallel path of learning, up to and through each black-belt ranking.
Part of the Shindenkan's Budo no Godo is listed below:
The Form of Movement
Represents acquiring basic skills within each facet of training. The techniques lead a student from larger (gross) movements into tighter and more refined movements and closer work with uke. The weapon taught to the student at this level is the hanbo, which is taught as a close quarters weapon, the students mind and spirit are being molded as to the whys of what our art is about.
The Sphere of Movement
Represents a refinement of the basic skills acquired. The student learns to expand the tighter circle into an encompassing sphere. The 2-D circle (at shodan) now becomes a 3-D sphere. The weapons basics that are taught are bowaza. This continues the expansion concept from close in hanbowaza to extended bowaza. The movements of nage are more circular to find the sweet spot, the weakest point, within each attack. If this approach were used at shodan the student's movements would appear uncontrolled because of the lack of mechanical basics and internal knowledge of the principals involved. It is only through controlled movement combined with internal concepts can this single point be found. Nage extends the movement in order to find ukes weakest point.
The Focus of Movement
The students mind is developed much like that of a swordsman. The jujutsuwaza represents the same quality and influences as that of the sword. At sandan level the student training within batto-do brings these qualities to the forefront. Therefore, the weapon of training emphasis is the Iaito.
Practice with swords leads initially to mastery of self and later to mastery of interactions with others.
Shizuya Sato sensei (9th dan, Nihon Jujutsu, Hanshi) produced an article concerning the difference between Budo and sports. In the article he states, "Budo and sports have many similarities, and among them are regular physical training, correct understanding of technical principles, and determination to succeed. The similarities end at this point, however, for in Budo, the practitioner strives to develop the mind, the body and the heart, ideally devoting his entire life to the principles of Budo."
Budo, at the very least, is an ethical code that traditionally based martial arts today teach. One can see it in action by the respect given to instructors, fellow students and to the art itself.
Bushido, the practice of budo, was an ethical standard that guided the samurai of Feudal Japan. Through bushido, the samurai were taught benevolence, courage, honor and dedication. Even though budo transcends geography and culture, the foundations were laid by the koryu (ancient systems) of Feudal Japan and remain at its heart today.
"That the principles of budo apply to daily life are not realized at the level of understanding physical technique alone. The study of budo must be pursued for a lifetime for the 'deeper' meaning to develop. ... It is the duty of everyone practicing traditional Japanese martial arts to consider and endeavor to understand these principals, to look beyond form and see the underlying substance inherent in budo." (Takano sensei, Kendo Mejin, 10th dan).
Budo's principles are not limited to any one art. Numerous practitioners from every walk of life and various martial arts have shared their teachings and viewpoints about the subject.
The Shindenkan is dedicated to advancing the art of Kamishinryu, the years of friendship and support of Robert and Linda Kelly, to the memory of Albert C. Church and to the advancement and promotion of Japanese budo.
Petit sensei began his training with Church sensei in 1971, first training under one of his black belt instructors then eventually under him and Kelly sensei directly. It was Church sensei's goal for his students to train within a combined martial structure, therefore, Petit sensei earned separate black belt rankings under the Kamishinryu system. By 1979 Petit sensei moved to Texas. In 1980, he received a late night phone call from Robert and Linda Kelly informing him of Church sensei's death. Linda Kelly is Church sensei's oldest daughter.
Robert Kelly for personal reasons has chosen not to teach publicly the art that he inherited from Church sensei. In late 1995, Robert Kelly signed and sealed a letter of "lineage transmission" giving Petit sensei full sponsorship, permission and backing to carry on the Kamishinryu lineage teaching as Head Family.
Shindenkan Budo Renmei, was organized in the year 2000 to promote the art of Nippon Kobudo Kamishinryu.
Kamishinryu's teachings are jujutsu in nature and consist of a cohesive blend of Japanese based martial arts. The art emphasize's the control, joint locking, chocking, throws and fluidity of jujutsu with effective atemiwaza.
Atemiwaza requires that the student develop proper body mechanics to establish an effective "delivery system". Once this foundation is developed, the student extends the body mechanics into wider spheres of principle based application. These spheres of application require that the student learn the principles behind what makes technique work, therefore, mere emulation of physical technique will not allow the student to become an effective martial artist.
A few of this system's principles are briefly listed below...these principals are not listed in any particular order:
-teaches the foundation of mechanical leveraging.
-always draw to and proceed from...points of strength.
-keep in/yo active within everything.
-channeling aiki flow.
-dissipate power naturally, not abruptly.
...ebb and flow of power
-the dual nature of postures.
Kamishinryu traces part of its modern heritage back through Church sensei's association with Okuyama sensei, Hakko Ryu Head Family. Hakko Ryu as a traditional martial art has direct lineage influences from Daito Ryu. It combines the grappling skills of ancient Japan, with striking nerve/meridians within the body. While living in Japan in the late 1960's, Church sensei trained at the Hakko Ryu hombu dojo with Okuyama sensei.
Within Japan, jujutsu is the largest traditional soft style martial art today. Jujutsu uses principles of countering an attack by using the opponent's strength against himself. Striking techniques (atemiwaza) based on pressure points, are used along with joint manipulations and throws to subdue and control an opponent. The fundamentals of jujutsu are very simple to learn and truly is a martial art for all ages. On the other hand, the advanced methods of jujutsu take years of dedicated study.