Levels of Training/Combat Engagement
In Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu
Andrew Yiannakis, 7th Dan (USJJF)
The most effective way to prepare for combat (or self defense) is to train at a level that brings the student as close to the real thing as possible. Real combat takes place in distance, close quarter and ground fighting situations. It could involve punching, kicking, throwing, strangling, joint locking and pressure point applications. To prepare for this a considerable amount of training must focus, therefore, on unrestricted live sparring in distance, close quarter and ground fighting contexts if a student is to grasp what it takes to survive a real combative situation. Anything less may provide the student with a false sense of confidence which could result in disaster.
It is important to keep in mind that not all training in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu is intended to prepare one directly for combat or self defense. In fact, to achieve the higher goals of the art it is often necessary to include other forms of training such as kata, meditation, and a study of the correct application of system principles***. Such an approach induces introspection, helps develop insights, contributes to discovery and personal understanding and helps harmonize the mind and body. Interestingly, these very same attributes and understandings also help provide a sound foundation for developing more effective combative skills. Thus, techniques and training routines from levels 1, 2 and 3 should also be viewed in this light.
A student who develops a sound foundation as a result of training at levels 1, 2 and 3 is then better prepared to incorporate (and profit from) training from levels 5 through 10. Thus, engaging in aiki no kata, and in kata training in general, is an important and essential precursor which helps "tune" the mind and body and paves the way for more complex levels of training and learning. Students (and some instructors) who don't appreciate the value of such forms of training may deprive themselves of important foundational learning, skills and insights which could limit future progress and growth in their art.
LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT
(e.g., "tiger walks the elephant" and Ryoku No Kata, among others)
* "Context" refers to distance, close quarter or ground fighting
** "No rules" means that jujutsuka may use all weapons and techniques at their disposal in multiple contexts, and when striking moderate contact is permissible. The face and groin are always out of bounds, however.
*** See "System, Philosophy and Principles" file