There are five(5) fundamental principles that are a major part of Hakko Denshin Ryu. They are:
- Atemi Waza (light strike to the body)
- Gakun (a type of hand movement)
Stance & Balance
These two principles are directly related to each other. As with any martial art style, you always want to maintain proper, solid stances in order to stay balanced. You must always be in control of your center of balance in order to accomplish any technique. Keeping your knees bent to lower your center is key to having a good stance and maintaining good balance.
Where many other styles may teach you powerful blocks and devastating strikes in order to “outgun” your attacker, Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu stylists are taught to yield to the strength of an attacker and use that strength against him. This is not to say that powerful blocks and strikes are not effective…they can be very effective when having to defend yourself. The philosophy behind Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu is: “…no challenge, no resistance and no injury…” Thus, blocks and strikes that can cause serious harm to someone are not conducive to the art.
The striking techniques in Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu are very different than strikes of many other styles. Other styles may teach striking to vital points in order to immobilize an attacker. As stated previously, this can be very effective- but it is rarely necessary. If you were to break someone’s elbow while defending yourself, you may be held liable if it can be proved that it was not a necessary action. This makes Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu techniques valuable to the law enforcement community because aggressive behavior can be controlled without using brutal techniques.
Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu strikes (atemi) are directed at meridians within the body. These meridians are easiest described as bundles of nerves that run like little cables or ropes all over the body. Various lines affect the primary organs of the body. By striking gently to these lines, an attacker will be stunned or distracted momentarily to give you the opportunity to gain control.
The Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu grip is a very powerful grip. The little finger is accentuated and the forefinger is extended. Gakun is accomplished by dropping your hand from a level position and squeezing with your little finger. Initially, this type of movement is used to apply wrist techniques. Later students learn to use Gakun as a type of atemi on meridians in the wrists.
Basic Waza (techniques)
Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu techniques are taught in a progressive system. Beginners learn techniques from a kneeling position so that they can focus primarily on hand movements. Later, the techniques are taught from standing and students learn to incorporate lower body movement with the hand movement. Body weight, balance and relaxation are of prime importance when progressing to standing Waza.
The training system is broken down into 4 Dans (degrees). Because this is only meant to be an introduction to Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu, only the Shodan(1st) level will be discussed.
There are 21 basic Shodan techniques. Within these techniques, there are 7 principles that students learn. Through repetition, students gain an in depth understanding of these principles, and can then use them effectively when they have to defend themselves in the street. (This is referred to as “Henka” which translates to “variations”). Another term is “applying the principles in self defense”.
Shodan is the most important of all the degrees. Basic movements are taught, so that the same movements can be used with the principles of the more advanced degrees. Click the following link for a more in depth look at some components of the Shodan Basic Waza.