Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Hakko Denshin Ryu; S&M Anyone?
You really have to be sick to enjoy this stuff as much as I do; why else would I willingly—eagerly—submit myself to the chokes, joint locks and other various ministrations of my friends both in Japan and the U.S.? Maybe I should be questioning the sort of friends I have! All’s fair in love and Budo, though, and my friends are always willing to submit themselves to equal punishment when the time comes.
I have written previously of my experience traveling to the dojo of Soke Yasuhiro Irie, founder of Kokodo Jujitsu, but I have not yet touched upon the Hakko Denshin Ryu Jujitsu I have practiced in the States. Hakko Denshin Ryu traces its roots to Okuyama Yoshihara (1901-1986) who dedicated his life to the study of various styles of bujutsu and oriental medicine. Okuyama Sensei, through government contacts, was introduced to Shihan Toshimi Matsuda and later to the founder of Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, Shihan Somi Takeda. As Takeda Sensei grew older, Okuyama Sensei found himself taking on more and more of the responsibilities for the daily running of the Daito-Ryu association. By 1939, when it became apparent that the leadership of Daito-Ryu would be passed to Takeda Sensei’s son, Tokimune Takeda, Okuyama Sensei began to split from the Daito-Ryu Association. He was interested in establishing himself as a master in his own right and, in 1941, performed a ceremony proclaiming the birth of Hakko-Ryu at the Shiba Tenso shrine.
On August 5th, 1997, an organization of Hakko-Ryu Shihans from around the world appointed three directors for the further advancement of the art. In a spirit of cooperation, directors Michael LaMonica and Antonio Garcia named both the American and European styles Hakko Denshin Ryu, the Heart of the Eighth Light.
In his life, Soke Okuyama Yoshihara studied Keiraku therapy (circulation medicine using the meridians of the body), Shiatsu (finger pressure medicine) and Amma (massage). The unique and most powerful feature of hakko-Ryu and its offshoots is the combination of the martial practices with the founder’s deep understanding of the body and its pressure points and meridian lines. A practitioner of Hakko Denshin Ryu is able to deliver varying degrees of pain to control an attacker; as one progresses in the art, the techniques require less effort and cause increasing amounts of agony. Unlike with many other martial arts, however, the techniques of Hakko Denshin Ryu leave no lasting physical damage.
In this video of my friend
Sam and I,
Sam has grabbed me katate dori (single, same side wrist grab). I circle the hand he has grabbed up and around and bring it to rest on top of Sam’s arm… effectively turning his hand sideways. I use my free hand to hold Sam’s hand trapped and create a point of locked joints. This can be used to move Sam around as it creates a rather sharp pain through the wrist. Then, I drive my arm forward and across the back of Sam’s elbow, turning his arm and shoulder toward the ground.
Once Sam is on the floor, there are any number of pins I can use to hold him still. Our Sensei, Matt Pinard, is showing me one such pin. If you listen closely, I ask Sam if it hurts at the end of the video…. He says that it does… actually, he says, “haiiii” in a rather cute voice.
In this second video,
Matt and I
Are reviewing two techniques we worked on this particular evening. In both techniques, you drive your knuckle up into one of the meridian lines underneath your friend’s arm. This line is referred to as shabori, I believe. I am still learning the vocabulary related to Hakko Denshin Ryu.
In the first technique, I simply throw Matt away from me. In the second technique, however, I keep control and bring Matt to the ground. Then, bracing his arm against my knee, I continue to drive my knuckle deeper while sliding it up his arm. Another nice little trick is to start cutting the knuckle toward the side of your friend’s arm while continuing to press it into the meridian. I use the term “cut across” because it does create a pain similar to having someone cut you with a hot knife.
Pinard Sensei and Sam are both great people to train with. We laugh as much as we cry during these sessions; as I say in the introduction of this blog: if you can’t laugh, then you’re not in good enough shape. This has been only the briefest of glimpses into Hakko Denshin-Ryu Jujitsu. If you practice Aiki-Jujitsu, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. If you don’t train in this art, though, it’s really worth the pain. As the pain fades away, it leaves you feeling a little giddy and exhilarated. Or maybe I am just a little sadistic….