Monday, September 14, 2015

I have posted links to the Yawara list and Shime No Kata list on this page.  Both of these lists were considered part of the Shoden (Beginner's) course of study in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.  The Yawara emphasize hand arts, such as releases from grasps, and techniques which attack the hands, wrists, and arms. I have heard Professor Chubb say, "The spirit of Danzan is in the Yawara."  If I understand his meaning correctly, he means that the underlying tenets of the style can all be observed and practiced using this list.  The emphasis is on leverage, not strength--intelligence, not brutality.  Essentially, Popeye, not Bluto.

The Shime No Kata comprise forms of "constricting."  They include pins, strangles, chokes (if you don't understand the difference between strangles and chokes, Email me), ground-fighting strategies and techniques, etc.  I love this list!  When I hear people talk about Brazilian Jujitsu, or Gracie Jujitsu,  I think of the Shime list.  The Brazilians have merely managed to do a better job at battle-testing, adaptation, and, especially, marketing!

Danzan purists get too caught up in staying "true to the art" than is in their own best interest.  I can't imagine that Okazaki, who cobbled his style together from numerous personal experiences, training in many different styles, would have objected to the notion of an evolving style, improving as innovation allowed.  Are we a closed personality cult, devoted to the "original teachings of our leader," perhaps destined to extinction?  Or, are we a style that will widen it's perspectives, and remain open to new ideas, whether measured in terms of efficacy, or simply in the underlying message of the style?

My experience, so far, leads me to conclude that there exist certain underlying concepts in this style.  My teachers, from the delightful, self-effacing Imi Okazaki-Mullens, to those that have taught me personal lessons they may not even be aware of, such as Senseis William Randle, Michael Chubb, Bryan Stanley, Joe (and Jody) Ristrom, Roger Medlin, Jon Jacques, David Williams, James (Sr. and Jr.) and Rick DeHaven, Amy Charlebois, Len Riley, Tracey Charlebois, Tom Jenkins, Tom Ball, Kevin Colton, Barry Posner, etc., have all taught me important lessons I can recall immediately, and who share some common ideals: they all honor their roots, but look for deeper meaning, some truer understanding!  Their quests, inherently, have led to innovation!  I cannot damn as "not Danzan" that which reflects the best of human intentions--of personal improvement, combined with the zeal to share it with our students.  They, my teachers, remind me that I should worry less about the turf I protect, and more about the message I choose to share.
Class size is picking up.  That's good!  Unfortunately, the class roster does not reflect our increased enrollment.  That's bad!

Remember, everyone, we owe the Boys and Girls Club it's due for hosting this class!

Renshi Craig, and the YMCA/Boys and Girls Club, are kind enough to provide a clean, warm, comfortable place for us to do what we love!  As Sensei, I have not asked a single penney for teaching in 30 years.  Please make sure you are up to date with the facility that allows us to use this excellent space!  If we don't hold up our end of the bargain, we will lose our right to use the dojo.