Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Kenpo of Omoto Ryu Jujitsu

Omoto Ryu Budo is an art of many fascets, Ninjutsu is what it is best known for through me but, among others it is known for it's application of Kenpo in its Atemi-waza. Now when I say Kenpo you must understand what Kenpo is...

Kenpo is different between America and Japan. If you say you study Kenpo in Japan most Japanese will ask you if you study "Chinese Kenpo" And if you say no... They then ask if you study "Okinawan Kenpo." The reason for this is that Kenpo is a purely Japanese term.

Kenpo literally means "Fist Law" which many in the West associate with Chinese Temple Boxing. However, this has a far more mundane meaning. It is the focus and domination of striking principles and techniques. Literally, the Law of Striking with the fists. Striking arts did not become big in Japan until Funakoshi brought Okinawan Karate to Japan and changed the Kanji to mean empty hand rather then Chinese hand, as it means in Okinawa.

 Thus, any striking are is referred to generically as Kenpo. Fujita Seiko was a Soke in Na Ban Sato Ryu Kenpo which means Sato School of Foreign Killing Fist Law or Foreign (non-Japanese) Vital Point Striking Art in a more polished definition. It was said the Samurai who founded Na Ban Sato Ryu Kenpo learned the art in Okinawa. So we need to address the difference in Okinawan Kenpo, Japanese Kenpo and Atemi-waza in Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido etc.

Most Japanese arts were developed for warfare based on the Sengoku period. During the Tokugawa Shogunate peace made it possible for new schools to develop and new arts to exist. Many of the New arts were untested.

So Samurai deployed to Okinawa and even Korea came back with knowledge of Foreign arts. And Many of the arts had influence from Chinese arts. Named Kenpo in generic terms as unlike the Japanese arts which focused on grappling due to the fact of fighting in Armor making striking less effective than throwing someone to the ground to be stomped or killed with a weapon, making breaking an arm, fingers or choking someone to death all possible and a more highly effective option. By contrast this also has its roots in Chinese martial arts. Chin Na is a Chinese grappling art and involves not only Joint manipulation and destruction but, Dim Mak against acupressure and acupuncture points and grabbing and tearing of muscles and ligaments.

All Chinese Kenpo (to use the Japanese term) contains some Chin Na, but is best known for it's application of striking. Hence Kenpo Fist Law means governed by the fist or striking methods.

In regard to Omoto Ryu Jujitsu, the Atemi-waza is heavily influenced by Kenpo. Now this is not the Kenpo Karate we are used to in the US. American Kenpo Karate began with Ed Parker, Ed Parker was a student of William Chow who begin calling it Kenpo Karate as opposed to the Kosho Ryu Kenpo Jujitsu he was first taught. Omoto Ryu claims not connection to the lineage of Ed Parker or to Kosho Ryu Kenpo.

Kenpo in Omoto Ryu Jujitsu refers to the principles and concepts of striking arts upon the Jujitsu system. The techniques of Omoto Ryu are unique in that they are driven by one thing. Practicality... Practicality is the primary concern of Omoto Ryu. Whether you believe the Omoto Ryu is an art made up by me, taught to me by people who embellished their own history or really is a system first developed by warriors of Koga/Koka City and modified through ages as it was used by members of the Yakuza and the Kokuryukai is irrelevant (I find these claims questionable myself but, hey). There is no Soke of Omoto Ryu Budo.

In fact, being blunt Soke is a bit of a joke as a martial arts rank. It is a socio-economic (pedagogy) term to denote a familial heir to a trade... There are Soke in tea making, pottery and blacksmithing. When martial arts were no longer used in battle after the Sengoku period, Tokugawa Shogunate period that marked peace many new systems developed out of untested ideas. And many new systems were developed under the propriety ownership of certain forms of music, stories and verses in songs. Similar to modern copyright laws but, under the exclusive ownership of the Soke and the family in a system called iemoto seido. As such information was withheld to certain members based on status in the original iemoto family, social status and so on. Of course, the many new systems which were developed for commercial teaching of martial arts, using the iemoto system insured members of the Bushi/Warrior class would have greater training them say a farmer. A wealthy merchant could gain greater knowledge based on how much he could afford to pay to learn the art, compared to the farmer.

Now why doesn't the Omoto Ryu have a Soke is a good question? You have to understand what a Soke is and what it means... There is a wonderful article on Koryu.com about this very subject. In essence, certain families controlled all the art, poetry and music within an area. So these families would exert influence over anyone else doing similar work in their area. In terms of martial arts a Ronin could be hired as a Junior Instructor in an area for an established school, even though they were not of that particular lineage. However, prior to 1868 when Japan was organized into a modern nation, under the Meiji Restoration few such schools existed using the iemoto seido because of the many new forms of martial arts and new methods of training be devised by clever instructors. After the Meiji era however, many systems developed using the iemoto seido as the Meiji Restoration brought with it a change in warfare, the warrior class which ruled their own pockets of the nation was replaced with a central (federal) army made up of conscripted citizens, trained in boot camps and armed with muskets. So many martial arts adopted the iemoto seido to both pass on traditions and retain control of who taught the art both to preserve the tradition and to maintain it's traditional roots.

Omoto Ryu is not concerned with maintaining tradition in the strict since of techniques and histories passed from one person to the next. Quite the opposite the Omoto Ryu is concerned with practical application of techniques. As such many non-Japanese concepts can be applied to Omoto Ryu Atemi, and in Japanese tradition this would be referred to as "Kenpo." Body mechanics and such which makes use of the concepts of "Okinawan Kenpo" and combines them with Japanese Jujitsu. Under Sensei Martin these methods added old school USMC Hand-to-Hand combatives, boxing and wrestling. Under me adding Jeet Kune Do philosophy and modern military training & weapons. The school which withholds knowledge is not a school but a scam for extorting money from others keeping them enrolled and scamming them if their money to learn the "secrets of the arts." Under Kiyoshi Omoto Omoto Ryu was very much about Weapons with Jujitsu taking a backseat to using those weapons. Jujitsu with a semi-focus on striking and associated biomechanical actions as well as, conditioning the hands and feet for striking.

Now Omoto Ryu Budo is taught by me as Black Dragon Ninjitsu... There is no Soke.

No comments:

Post a Comment