Dakentaijutsu and Jutaijutsu

By Pertti Ruha

The omni-directional movements and direct body skills that are developed in kosshijutsu and koppojutsu can tactically be used in two ways;

  • Yawara 柔 soft
  • Daken 打拳 striking with “ken”
Takagi Oriemon, founder of Takagi Yoshin-ryu, from the series Biographies of "Our Contry's Swordsmen" (Honchô kendô ryakuden) (1911)
Takagi Oriemon, founder of Takagi Yoshin-ryu, from the series Biographies of “Our Contry’s Swordsmen” (Honchô kendô ryakuden) (1911)

Ken is a broad concept and I’ll come back for it later.
With the approach of “Daken”, percussion and striking (tataki utsu or kōda; 叩打) are used on the opponent, while the man who applies “yawara” rotates, snares and twist the opponent’s articulations (or lack thereof).

The term “yawara” or “” comes from, in connection with the previously mentioned book “Sanryaku” which states that “soft skills govern the hard” (jūyoku seigō; 柔能制剛).
There is a phrase that is well known in martial arts circles and they usually refer to it as a reference to the idea that soft techniques (jūjitsu) will always triumph over harsh methods.
But that’s only half the story, for in the paragraph after the Sanryaku attributed it to”

“That which is hard and soft are in a state of increasing knowledge! Anyone who can be strong and weak is in a state of increasing growth! If you are only soft and weak, you are on the decline. If you are only strong and fierce, one becomes inevitably destroyed.”

Sanryaku here describes the battle of Tao, into harmony between hard and soft. The taijutsu is a direct expression of the Tao and includes both hard and soft parts, uses both weakness and strength in their tactics. In the oldest original documents we have called it jūtaijutsu (science of the supple body; 柔体術) also “Jūppō sesshō no Jutsu” (science of negotiation in ten directions; 十方折衝之術).

An example of yawara and hojojutsu being applied
An example of yawara and hojojutsu being applied

Daken Taijutsu (science of striking with the fists; 打拳体術) is also based on this Tao, but one of the former principals, probably of Izumō Kanja Yoshiteru who lived in the 1300s, had developed the concept a step further by breaking it down into nine components which are codified into kangi (defensive strike; 扞打), gogi (protection skills; 護技), hakugi (sweeping skills; 掃技), etc., that you build up to result in “Aite wo Kudaki oru“, ie “destroy the enemy”. A politically incorrect interpretation of this principle is that “crackdown on those who can not defend themselves.”

Three of our schools are focused on dakentaijutsu and jūtaijutsu; Takagi Yōshin-Ryū, Kukishinden-ryū and Shinden Fudō-Ryū.
Another name that appeared on Kukishinden-ryū dakentaijutsu is Kijin Chosui-ryū dakentaijutsu. Takagi Yōshin-Ryū now goes under the name jūtaijutsu but was called dakentaijutsu in the 1600s. According to legend Shinden Fudō-Ryū teaches that it has the same origin as Gyokko-Ryū, ie kosshijutsu.


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