Sunday, September 30, 2012

Like a Beginner

This has been a good week for training.  Besides teaching my regular Tomiki aikido class, my Daito Ryu class entered its second week.  Systema pushed my boundaries physically and mentally. 

 Hussey Sensei stopped by for a visit.  Every time he comes by I shut up and listen. While he comes from Seidokan lineage, I like showing him Tomiki kata and setting him free.  He fried our minds with principles and theory.  Suddenly the techniques were working smoother and more effortless than ever before.  He showed us relationships in the techniques I had never seen before.  Although I have been working these techniques since the mid 1990s I can still feel like a beginner.   I still strip away all my previous ideas and start again.

In my Daito Ryu class I have regained the child like fascination for this art form.  Every time I train in it now, the power of its ideas become obvious, and I see things in the motions I never saw before.  It is like I am looking at these techniques with new eyes for the first time, even though I have done them all thousands of times before.

Systema continues to challenge me.  I did all those getting punched in the stomach exercises you see on the youtube videos.  It is all about relaxation and finding where you can get rid of the tension.  We had a intense back and forth session taking and giving solid hits.   At this point I don't find the giving hits to be as nearly as fascinating as taking them.  Really the art form is atemi-ukemi.  It is a newer level of training for me, being more fascinated with getting hit, than trying to hit.  Like I said, it is a level of ukemi I have only really started exploring this past year, and it is well worth taking a deep look at.

Despite training since I was 11, I am not an expert in the martial arts.  I am merely a passionate student.  Every time I hit the mat I return to a place where I stare at the problems wide eyed like a beginner.  These arts are  rich and complicated enough where there is never an end point to it.  There are simply many chances to begin again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Daito Ryu AikiJuJutsu in Austin, Texas

Interested in Aikijujutsu but not sure what to look for?  Aiki Jujutsu is often a abused word.  Many schools just adopt it because it sounds cool, or works for their advertising.  According to traditionalists aikijujutsu means it comes from Daito Ryu teaching lineages.

Spencer Burns writes, "By my own observation, when a school claims to teach aikijutsu or aikijujutsu, it usually means one of four things (in descending order of legitimacy):"
  1. The school is related to (or part of) Daito-Ryu.
  2. The school teaches an old and subtle style of jujutsu and uses the word aiki[ju]jutsu to distinguish itself from harder or more modern jujutsu styles.
  3. The teacher has learned both Aikido and jujutsu and is combining them, possibly trying to resynthesize more traditional aikijujutsu.
  4. The school teaches straight-up jujutsu with little aiki but is using the word to stand out from other schools.
Teaching a seminar at Windsong Dojo

 I am proud to announce a Daito Ryu AikiJujutsu study in Austin, Texas.  We are only one of 2 groups I would consider aikijujutsu according to the lineage requirement.  Currently we are the only Daito Ryu AikiJujutsu class in town.  I am a humble student of the art, and am just leading a study group for those that are interested to have a place to study.

Eric and Ota senssei - 2003

In case you are curious,  here is a little about me and my history in Daito Ryu.

My Daito Ryu training

Monday, Wednesday  6:00p-8pm
@South Austin Aikido

Contact Eric:
                      text 512-947-9585

Other clubs in town
I offer you all the information I have so you can find the club that meets your needs

Main line Daito Ryu

  There was a Katsuyuki Kondo study group in town some years back ran by Rick Fine, but sadly Fine sensei retired from martial arts.  His group dispersed.  Despite me trying to pull him out of retirement, as of yet seems to have no urge to teach again.

Hakko Ryu

  There is a Hakko Ryu group in town, for those interested in another flavor of traditional jujutsu.  Cole sensei is a great guy, a friend and training partner.  Hakko Ryu is a decendent of Matsuda lineage Daito Ryu.  Even though they focus on jujutsu elements of training, they are pretty close to Daito Ryu.  I consider this group to be a sister dojo to the Austin Daito Ryu club.  This is the only other club in town I feel can legitimately called aiki-jujutsu.(2019 update, this group disbanded)


Fraudulent schools

Frauds are common - especially in aiki-jujutsu.  Beware of schools claiming teachers of high ranks in Aiki-jujutsu,  In Austin there are no legitimate high ranked teachers in any branch of aikijujutsu.  They often will demonstrate fancy certificates and lineage pedigrees.  Unless you know the red flags to look for, they can be very convincing.  If you find a school claiming aikijujutsu and/or Daito Ryu please feel free to contact me if you need help verifying their credentials.  Be skeptical.  research.  Buyer beware.  or join the Daito Ryu facebook group that I moderate.  On the Facebook group we have members from most lineages, have fluent Japanese speakers and can verify lineage claims.

Non Daito Lineages of Jujutsu

 For those seeking traditional jujutsu with a aiki flare from other lineages

Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai

There is also a Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai group outside of town (Elgin maybe?).  I also have not not seen their techniques as they run the school in traditional very private manner.  I have trained with the head of their system, Toby Threadgill, and I am sure they have quality stuff.  Although the head of the system has trained in aiki for decades, he does not call his system aiki jujutsu.  It is a traditional jujutsu system.

 Martial arts of Austin

 Martial arts of Austin has a aikijujutsu study session among his other classes.  It mostly seems like a family friendly MMA gym. I have not seen them train traditional jujutsu yet, but Charles the instructor is a friendly and knowledgeable guy.  He says his style is a sogo bujutsu style, which means a collection of martial skills.  He does not have any information up on his specific lineage, which I wish he would.  He told me his jujutsu is a lot like Yoshinkan Aikido.

(2019 edit)  In 2019 this group started advertising they were the only aikijujutsu group in Austin, which is incorrect.  To be fair they altered there advertising when I approached them.  On Facebook they continue to dodge questions about lineage, even though they allude to teaching the art aikido came from (Daito Ryu).  I really like these guys, and I wish they would get their branding straight, so they can answer the lineage questions.  Those of us in AikiJujutsu treat the lineage question seriously.

martial arts of austin

Larry Sanders

There is a fellow named Larry Sanders who claims to be a master of aikijujutsu.  I have not seen him train yet, but would like to.  The following is the only information I could find on him.  Unfortunately it is negative. Meet the guy and judge for yourself.

Larry Sanders