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The Oriental Society

Hontai Yoshin Ryu Koryu Jujutsu session with Sensei J. Carroll and Carlos Bermudez

The Oriental Society had a large turnout for this interactive session of Hontai Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu. Sensei Carroll had trained under the 18th and 19th Soke (grandmasters) in the famed Sohonbu dojo in Japan by invitation by Inoue Kyoichi Munenori Sensei, the 19th Grandmaster. He is currently a 4th Dan black belt in the martial art. HYR Jujutsu is in the Koryu style which incorporates Toshu (unarmed), Kodachi (short sword), and Iaijutsu (Japanese sword) fighting methods. In general, Sohun means armed combat. Throughout the session groups of boys received a live demonstration of all methods and then were able to try it out themselves in training pairs (albeit with extremely varying skill levels).

We were shown various nage (throws), ate (striking), gyaku (joint locking), shime (strangling), and toritsuke (restraining), with Mr. Bermudez, in the Japanese code of respect and subservience to masters, being viciously hurled from one end of the dojo to the other. These were five of the six principles of Jujutsu. The aggressive grunts and vociferations by the two demonstrators were explained to be a means of weakening the enemy by expelling air, and showing irascibility. It then moved into methods of knife-defence and blocks, and then into the use of the Katana (Steel Samurai sword). The boys used wooden knives to practice their attack and defence techniques (such as the circular arm block) – one rather frightful encouragement from the Sensei was to ‘break the tops of your opponents ribs to they crack’. In fact, HYR Jujutsu has a large focus on attacking weak joints and bone segments in the body to be most effective in things like grapples.

Oriemon Shigetoshi Takagi, born in 1635, founded HYR Jujutsu: it is one of the only martial arts with an unbroken lineage of headmasters to the present day. Its aim is to preserve the tradition and the history of Kobudo, one of the oldest cultures of Japan: this meeting showed us that it is very much on its way: a testament to the flourishing arts of the Nihon Kyokai. This was certainly a wonderful way to start the summer term.


DATE POSTED: 01 May 2009

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