Senshin-ryu Jujutsu is the martial art system taught at the Mizukan Dojo. This system is considered a gendai sogo bujutsu, or modern composite martial science, which emphasizes goshin-jutsu, or self-defense. sen means river or stream; shin means heart or spirit. River spirit system (senshin-ryu) is so named because of the principles associated with the flowing of a river. Nothing can interrupt the flow of a river. When an obstacle is encountered, the river automatically adjusts by finding a new path around the obstacle. The strength of the river one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Evidence of this is available all over the globe (for example the Grand Canyon was cut out by the Colorado River).
Goshin-jutsu is defined as the science of dealing with an attacker who is armed (or unarmed), together with methods of using minor weapons such as the tanto (knife), hanbo (3 feet staff), and tessen (iron fan). Basic methods found in Jujutsu include: striking, throwing, projecting, immobilizing, joint locking, and pressure points. Jujutsu techniques are effective at all combative ranges including: long range, such as kicking; mid-range, such as punching and striking; close-range; such as grabs or mugs, and ground fighting (ne-waza).
Senshin-ryu is affiliated with Katsujin-ryu Jujutsu, which is the part of the Katsujin-ryu Bujutsu system within the Kokusai Gendai Budo Renmei (KGBR).
Though Senshin-ryu is a gendai (modern) Jujutsu system with an emphasis is on self-defense, it is none the less structured and taught like the various Nihon (Japanese) Traditional (dento) Jujutsu ryuha. As such classes utilize Japanese terminology and etiquette (Reigi), and the curriculum of the ryu (defined in the Mokuroku of the ryu) includes various weapons at the more advanced levels (i.e. ken [sword], tessen [iron fan], hanbo [3 ft. stick], jo [4 ft. staff], tanto [knife], and kusari fundo [weighted chain]). Historically Senshin-ryu is a blending of Tenjin shin’yo-ryu Bujutsu and Aikijujutsu.
The philosophy taught at the Mizukan Dojo is based entirely on principles of the human body: physical (physics and kinesiology) and psychological. The basic idea is that as long as you abide by the principles that are taught--then the physical techniques are irrelevant. We’re all required to operate within the realm of the human body, which is bound by the laws of physics. An example is that as long as you move off the line of attack, it’s not very important weather you punch, apply a joint lock, or run away, just as long as you have removed yourself from harms way. Principles range from the very obvious--moving off the line of attack; to the very obscure--the void. Principles can relate to physical movement, the mind, your vision, or any combination of the above.
Not all principles apply to every situation, but in order for a technique to be successful it must utilize at least one of the principles taught in senshin-ryu Jujutsu. You don’t have to have knowledge of the principles in order to make a technique effective, but your understanding of the principles can enhance any particular technique, from being effective to being devastating. Principles are not techniques themselves. Karate practitioners and Jujutsu practitioners take advantage of the same principles, they just apply them differently.
Softness, adaptability, strength, patience, conformity--all ideas which are present in the Eastern mind, and indeed in the mind of the Jujutsu practitioner when thinking of the theory of Water. Water never struggles with any object that it encounters! It exhibits tremendous patience and adaptability in its engagement with any obstacle it faces during the natural ‘downhill flow.’ Rather than rising in direct conflict with an adversary, the Jujutsu student seeks to join with, or adapt to the attacker and their motions, in order that the ‘clashing’ so commonly seen in many martial arts, is avoided. Although this is a demonstration of a keen ability to adapt, it is important to realize water never changes itself. The Jujutsu practitioner must learn to adapt in this way.
If a stream comes upon a rock in its downhill flow, it merely goes around it. If this rock is too large for the water to go around, the water will be patient, collecting until it rises to a level, which allows it to flow over or around this obstruction. Similarly, as we “go with the flow” in the execution of our techniques, when we are pushed, we pull; when we are pulled, we push. In comparing an opponent’s defense to an obstacle, a rock for instance, it should be noted that although the water can simply flow over or around the obstruction, it also eventually permeates every pore and completely engulfs the obstacle. This type of counter-attacking ‘mind-set’ is practiced in Jujutsu through the very nature of the techniques and combinations, which we train with every day.
Softness is another characteristic of water that relates to the understanding of Jujutsu. We must accept the fact that softness has the capacity to win over hardness. It has been said that, “stiff and unbending is the disciple of death, while soft and yielding is the disciple of life.” If you think of a Willow tree; during life, its branches are flexible and resilient; but after death, they become hard and brittle. When thinking of water, however, it may be made to break up, but invariably, it will join together again.
Water has no shape. If you put it into a box, it becomes square; put it in a circle, it becomes round; freeze it, it becomes solid. Although constantly adapting to its environment, water remains basically unchanged. As for water’s forcefulness, one need only observe a high water fall to be reminded of the force behind this very same soft and adaptable, yet forceful liquid.
A Jujutsu principle that is concerned with the maximum use of force at one time can be easily explained when compared to the flow of water out of something like a fire hose, for example. One person can easily remove the hose from a fire truck; in this instance, it is light and flexible. However, when it’s connected to a hydrant and water is forced through it, this same hose becomes very heavy and rigid. It now demands three people to handle it due to the concentration of water at one point beyond the nozzle of the hose. Jujutsu compares a persons ‘Ki’ power to the water in a fire hose. You should be able to concentrate all of your power in one direction toward one point.
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