Here at Eastwind Budo Life Centre, we practice Yamanaka-Ha Shindo Ryu Ju Jutsu.
Aiki Ju-Jitsu, the mother art of modern-day JuJutsu & Aikido – it is a graceful flowing art, utilizing your intrinsic energy to pin, lock, throw, and control an opponent through leverage and balance.
This guiding principle not only applies to diverse arts of different genealogies, such as Karate or Aikido, but to those that share a common heritage. Such is the case with the organized structure of jujutsu within the Dojo.
This Dojo recognizes three fundamental branches of jujutsu within in its ranks. These include:
- Schools / Styles of jujutsu practiced by affiliated members of the Federation;
- Schools that practice the Yudansha Jujutsu Federation (YJJF) curriculum; and
- Yamanaka-ha Shindo Ryu Jujutsu
Affiliated schools of jujutsu (As noted in category “1” above) are those dojo and organizations who are full members of and practice their own respective form of jujutsu. These schools must, however, meet the adequacy standards published by the Honbu (headquarters). This helps ensure that practices, procedures, values, and standards used within each of these schools meet the criteria for professionalism, martial art tradition, and core values prescribed by the federation. Conversely, it allows the Federation to remain true to its guiding principle of recognizing the inherent worth of all martial arts without undue interference into the operational aspects of a dojo.
Affiliated schools are full members of the Federation and have the privilege of utilizing its resources. For example, many of the schools supplement their jujutsu training with the YJJF curriculum as well as elements of Shindo Ryu.
The YJJF Curriculum
The YKKF utilizes a subsidiary organizational configuration called the YJJF, which focuses specifically on jujutsu. The YJJF has a published syllabus that is open for use by any federation dojo. The syllabus follows the modern kyu / dan-i system with prescribed standards for each level.
This syllabus is based, in part, on the standards of the JuJitsu International Federation (JJIF), which is the governing body for sport jujutsu in the World Games. This organization is seeking to have its system of jujutsu accepted as an Olympic sport. Within each country, there is a representative body for the JJIF.
Yamanaka ha Shindo Ryu Jujutsu
Finally, the YJJF has a very traditional jujutsu school, which practices Yamanaka Ha Shindo Ryu Jujutsu. Although it is essentially a gendai (modern) school of jujutsu, it is practiced in a traditional fashion and is based on koryu (ancient / old school) conventions. Historically, Shindo ryu has been practiced mainly at the federation honbu. It is non-competitive. Like many of the older martial art traditions, it uses the classical menkyo (license) ranking system.
The mokuroku (catalogue – syllabus) is separated into five progressively higher levels of teaching. These include:
- shoden (entry scroll/ transmission),
- chuden (middle scroll/ transmission),
- joden (high scroll/ transmission),
- okuden (hidden scroll/ transmission),
- kuden (oral transmission of the secrets).
Schools wishing to teach Shindo Ryu jujutsu must have a teacher that had been licensed as Menkyo Shihan. There are three levels of license beyond this.
As a gendai jujutsu ryu (modern jujutsu system) the Yamanaka – ha incorporates a den (scroll) licensing system as well as the more common kyu / dan-i ranks.
Dan ranks are awarded strictly for technical ability. There are no dan-i (technical ability) ranks above hachidan (8th) in Shindo Ryu to respect the memory of Shintani Sensei who had achieved kudan (9th) from Otsuka Sensei. Yamanaka Sensei, as head of the Yamanaka-ha Shindo Ryu holds the rank of kudan.
There links of dan ranks to a teaching licenses are not automatic. Licenses are granted to allow appropriately qualified teachers to teach the art (to/at the respective level) and teaching titles are awarded to note the expertise in teaching the art and service to the art. Thus, persons can achieve a high technical rank but have no right or authority to teach the art. Conversely, persons may have a lower dan-i rank (technical ability) than another but be licensed to teach the art.
In any event, no level of teaching license is awarded to any person who has not achieved a godan (5th) in technical ability and has successfully completed the shodan, chuden and joden levels, at minimum. Most have completed or are nearing completion of Okuden as well.
With respect to the highest license, the Menkyo Kaiden, it is awarded at the sole discretion Yamanaka Sensei. Persons attaining the rank of Menkyo Kaiden have achieved a minimum technical ability rank of shichidan (nanadan – 7th black belt), have been granted the teaching title of “Kyoshi” and have successfully completed all scrolls and kudan.