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    Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu - interesting article by Martin Savage


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    Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu - interesting article by Martin Savage Empty Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu - interesting article by Martin Savage

    Post by noboru Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:59 am


    Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu

    Martin Savage is a long standing B.J.A. Dan grade located in Northern Ireland. On joining the BJC in 2006 his Dan grade status with the B.J.A. was fully recognised and Martin chooses at this time to continue his grading with the B.J.A., which we respect.

    The term Goshin-Jutsu translates directly as Body Defence Art or more colloquially as Self-defence Techniques.

    The Kodokan committee set up to produce the Goshin-Jutsu  began work in September 1952 and was led by Nagaoka, Mifune and Samura Sensei and included Oda, Kurihara, Nakano, Ara, Ito, Ebii, Kawakami, Kikuchi, Kazuzo, Koyasu, Sawa, Suzuki, Takahashi Kisaburo, Takahashi Hamakichi, Nagahata, and Otaki Sensei. The influence of Nagaoka Sensei was however an indirect one because he died in November of that year but his earlier contribution to the development of Kime-No-Kata was important in the establishment of the more modern Goshin-Jutsu. There were at least 25 members on the committee but it varied in size over the three years that it took to complete the task. One of the most well known names from that group is Kenji Tomiki Sensei who along with Otaki Sensei went on to give the first public demonstration of the Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu at the Budokan in 1956 and later established Shodokan Aikido, more commonly known as Tomiki Aikido in 1967. Other Sensei who were part of the committee and who went on to be household names in Judo were Kotani and Kudo Sensei.

    The Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu is not called Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu no Kata in the same way as we have Nage no Kata, Katame no Kata, Ju no Kata and Kime-No-Kata etc. This would imply that the Kodokan did not initially intend that it be a kata but rather a collection of self-defence techniques grouped together to represent defences against several kinds of attack which were more contemporary than some of the Kime-No-Kata. It is however now ranked among the official Kodokan Kata although some traditionalists believe that Jigoro Kano Shihan would not have included it in his system because it doesn’t contain any of the higher ideals which were so important to him and which he incorporated into the other Kata. The influence of Tomiki Sensei can be seen in the predominance of techniques which we would usually associate with Aikido and  as Jigoro Kano described Aikido as the “Ideal Budo” this would lead us to believe that he might have been quite happy with including Goshin-Jutsu in his Kodokan Judo syllabus.

    There are those of course who do not rate the techniques in the Kata as being useful for self-defence but they are failing to see beyond the demonstration facet of the Kata in a similar way as those who regard the Nage no Kata and Katame no Kata as being irrelevant to competitive Judo. They have probably only seen the Kata in it’s demonstration form and have never used it to develop self-defence skills. The first public demonstration of the Goshin-Jutsu presented  it as it was intended, a self-defence system devoid of most of the trappings associated with Kata and as such it was a  performance with little aesthetic value but no one who has seen it can doubt its effectiveness.

    The Goshin-Jutsu was meant to supplement and complement the waza in the Kime-No-Kata, Kime Shiki, Ju no Kata, Koshiki no Kata and Goshin Ho increasing the number of defence techniques available to the Judoka to allow him to deal with a variety of life-threatening situations. These defences could be interchanged as suggested by John Cornish in his 1984 booklet on the Kata and this would further increase the repertoire of possible responses.

    Another criticism of Goshin-Jutsu is that the gun defences are not very effective and  this is borne out by an experiment carried out by the Tokyo Police with a pellet gun in which they found that in 90% of the cases the defender would have been shot while trying to execute the defence. I think that anyone who is faced with a gunman determined to shoot them will probably get shot. However I think that it was Kyuzo Mifune Sensei who said “these methods are techniques of the last resort” and as such they should not be viewed  as some miracle device certain to disarm the gunman safely. He is also reported as having said that you should look into the eyes of your assailant and determine if he has the will to shoot. If he has and his concentration wavers then you should attack first.

    Mental training in the form of Mushin (a mind free from anger, fear and ego and open to everything. It is often translated as no-mindedness), and Zanshin (The mind that maintains awareness in case of further attacks), would come as the Judoka became more efficient in the execution of the various waza and began to use them against random attacks instead of the attacks coming in a specified order as they do in the Kata. Another extension could be the use of the defences against attacks coming randomly in quick succession from different assailants approaching from different angles.

    Ideally all Judoka should undertake to gain proficiency in Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu to help move their Judo from what Jigoro Kano Shihan described as “narrow” Judo or totally competitive Judo to “wider” Judo or Jodan Judo which is more encompassing and a truer reflection of the art he developed. Admittedly the sport judoka will have developed skills such as speed, balance, timing and strength along with the ability to sense any weakness in his opponent’s balance, however he will only be familiar with attacks launched from the closest of  Ma-ai whereas with training in the Goshin-Jutsu, not only will he gain proficiency with  a variety of Atemiwaza and Kansetsuwaza not seen in Shiai  but he will be exposed to a variety of Ma-ai peculiar to each group of attacks.

    The Reigi or etiquette in this Kata is less formal than that employed in the earlier Kata created by Kano Shihan perhaps reflecting its more contemporary and utilitarian nature.

    The Kata consists of 21 Waza broadly divided into two sections; 12 Toshi no Bu or unarmed attacks and 9 Buki no Bu which are attacks with three weapons. The Toshu no Bu are further divided into 7 Kumitsukaretabai or attacks when held and 5 Hanaretabai which are attacks at a distance. The Buki no Bu consist of three defences each against Tanto no Bai (Knife attacks) Tsue no Bai (stick attacks) and Kenshu no bai or pistol attacks.

    The Kata extends the standard Judo curriculum by including wristlocks while excluding neck and leglocks. This is a measure of Kano Shihan’s regard for Aikido because it was true to its principles and avoided the overuse of strength. The kata includes Aikido waza such as Ikkyo (similar to Ude Gatame), Kote Gaeshi and Kote Hineri (wrist twists), which could be applied effectively after a relatively short period of time unlike most Judo Nagewaza which would take the student quite a while to become proficient enough to be able to use them confidently.

    In B.J.A., E.J.U. or I.J.F. Kata  competitions, the standard against which all Kata are judged is the Kodokan DVD series supplemented by a list of rules issued by the I.J.F. As in  all events which are judged in this way, such as gymnastics and ice skating, despite the guidelines there is a fair degree of  discrepancy between the judges and competing  Judoka in relation to their interpretation of these criteria. This is a fact of life and although as competitors we can moan about the lack of consistency, the reality is that kata was not devised to be competitive and the difficulties experienced in judging are in no small way due to it having that role imposed upon it.

    Almost as much time has elapsed since the Goshin-Jutsu was devised until the present day as there had been from when the Kime-No-Kata was established until the Kodokan decided that a more modern self-defence system was required. Some people now believe that the Goshin-Jutsu is now an anachronism in the same way as Kime-No-Kata was thought as obsolete in 1956. Certainly guns, knives and sticks still exist as threats but other weapons such as clubs, bottles, chains, nunchaku, peppersprays and tasers also have to be contended with in the 21st century. Judo has a limit to what it can achieve  in terms of defence against weapons and while it is possible that an attacker with any weapon may be subdued if he makes a mistake, the margin for error is very restricted and damage could still be inflicted even if a direct hit with the weapon is avoided.

    This is not however a valid reason for abandoning Goshin-Jutsu as a method of self-defence. The various defences within this and the other Kata previously mentioned, while not all encompassing as a self-defence system certainly leave someone who has practiced them richer in terms of Judo knowledge, more complete as a Judoka and most important of all safer on the street.

    Martin Savage, September  2010.

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    Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu - interesting article by Martin Savage Empty Re: Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu - interesting article by Martin Savage

    Post by Jonesy Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:48 pm

    Great article. I quoted it before in one of the other threads in response to Hanon's rant against this kata.

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