True Self-Defense Starts Here!

Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu Kai

琉球 拳法 古武術 会

What New Students Need to Know

Entry level students of Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu begin their training with an overview of the Academy, the key personnel, the training program, and history. Physical training begins with instruction on the basics of Kumite Jutsu, Kata, Weapons, Bogu Kumite, stretching, strength training, and heavy bag work. As a beginner, the student is provided the opportunity to assess whether to pursue this form of martial art with commitment. In terms of equipment requirements, the initial cost to begin training is high in this level.

Responsibilities of students:

Read and study the available written material; remember and pass examinations on the subject matter.
Continue practicing outside the formal training session of the dojo.
Attend recommended symposiums, workshops, conferences, conventions, and competitions.
Volunteer and assist in the cleaning, general maintenance, teaching, and other aspects of training at the school.
Acquire the relevant equipment for the level at which you are training.

Training Safety Precautions

To prevent, or reduce the extent of, injuries during training, the student must follow the guidelines, below, before and during training.
1. The student must follow the instructor's directions, guidelines, and explanations; and, if uncertain, request clarification.
2. The student must not get ahead of the instruction; regardless of the skill the student may possess.
3. The student must offer no resistance; and, must allow each maneuver to be freely executed, during training, to allow for the perfection of the movement.
4. It is essential for the student to be free of any jewelry (rings, watches, etc) that might interfere with the training and/or possibly result in injury.
5. The student must understand that strikes are to be simulated, especially, during the initial learning stages. It is not important to be quick; nor, to place any power into the strikes.
6. The student and his partner must establish a signal system to inform one another when to stop applying pressure during training drills.
7. The student must undergo an adequate amount of warm-up and stretching exercises to reduce the possibility of injury.
8. The student must always wear the appropriate protective equipment during training.
9. Every so often, the student must inspect his personal equipment to ensure that it is kept in serviceable condition. If the instructor deems the equipment not adequate, or unsafe, the student will cease physical training until the problem is corrected.

Training Objectives

Academic: To provide the student with a historical overview of Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu, and its role in the spread of modern Martial Arts. To provide the student with the knowledge to recognize and avoid violent confrontations. To provide the student with the ability to de-escalate a potentially violent situation. To provide the student with the necessary anatomical and physiological education to understand the physical effects of his practical training. To provide the student with the R.O.E. (Rules of Engagement) of Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu. To provide the student with the moral guidelines involved in the usage of this deadly art.
Practical: To present a series of routines, methodologies, solo and partner drills, kata, and kumite that will provide the groundwork for the student to successfully defend himself during physical assault. To provide the student with a sequence of goals in order to enhance his will power, and build his self confidence. To provide the student with a healthful framework within which to increase his health and prolong his life as he learns this intricate art.

Therefore let every man that is desirous to practice this Arte', endeavor himself to get strength and agility of body, assuring himself, that judgement without this activity and force, avails little or nothing. Giacomo di Grassi, 1570.

This advice is timeless and applies across the board to all self defense arts. In order to achieve perfection in any craft or skill, practice, and more practice, and still more practice is required. The Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu training program is no different. The exercises, drills, and forms enhance the flexibility and strength necessary to achieve our goals. Therefore, they are repetitive, difficult and long. Discipline forms the core of the Ryukyu Kenpo Kobujutsu training program. This art requires a commitment to training outside of class time.

Basic Principles

The following briefly describes the basic fighting principles that the student must know, and apply to successfully defeat an opponent.

a) Physical Balance

The ability to maintain equilibrium and remain in a stable fighting position during an engagement. This is critical for deploying a defensive maneuver or posture, and for launching an effective attack against the opponent. There are two aspects of balance that the student must possess:
1. The student must develop the ability to move the body, utilizing such concepts as: stepping patterns; ensuring that the legs do not lock out, and, generally, are kept about shoulder's width apart; lowering the body's center of gravity; static and dynamic balance.
2. Through training and experience, the student must be able to move his body during an engagement maintaining balance and stability; while, at the same time, exposing the opponent's weak points.
b) Mental Balance

Not allowing fear, excitement, or the adrenaline dump to overcome the ability to concentrate or react skillfully during a fight.

c) Distancing

The relative distance between individuals engaged in a fight. The student must learn how to position himself at a distance that is most advantageous. Adjustments to this distance is continuous during the engagement and ensures that the student maintains the most beneficial range between himself and the opponent.

d) Timing

The student must learn, though experience, the best time, during an attack, to move to a favorable position, or employ his counterattack. If the movement is too soon, the opponent will be able to respond and set up a counter, or, adjust his attack. Conversely, if the student moves too late, the opponent will be successful in delivering his attack; usually at the moment the student is most vulnerable.

e) Positioning

The location of the student in relation to his opponent. Moving the body to a place that allows for simultaneous attack and defense is the goal of positioning. Many, but not all, times this is accomplished by moving somewhere off the line of attack. Movement to an accommodating position will require accurate timing and distance perception.

f) Momentum

Momentum describes the body's tendency, while in motion, to continue in the direction of motion; unless, acted upon by another force. The greater the mass or speed of the movement, the greater the momentum. This is a principle that can be effectively exploited during attacks. The student can control the momentum of an attack, redirect the momentum behind the strike, and, provided the student understands the principles behind momentum, the following can be acted upon:

1. The student can use the opponent's momentum to advantage; by moving in, along, or to the side of the opponent's attack.
2. The opponent's momentum can be exploited by forcing it to extend further than expected.
3. The student can use his own momentum to maintain pressure on the opponent; and, assist with his attack.
4. The student must, also, be aware that the opponent can use the student's own momentum to the student's disadvantage; and, therefore, should avoid placing himself in an awkward or vulnerable position.

Basic training that must be internalized:

1. Basic exercises and movements.
2. Footwork.
3. Competency in techniques.
4. Ability to redirect and/or manipulate your opponent.
5. Ability to direct your opponent without physical contact.

If self-defense training is to be effective, it must be multi-layered.

By this we mean that a wide variety of skill sets, knowledge, self-awareness, and behaviors are involved. Many, that at first glance, might not be obviously related to what you think of as self-defense. But each adds an important layer onto the whole of the subject, and therefore, your safety. As such, you must consciously focus on these layers if you wish to be safe from violence. Truthfully. self-defense is not a specialized skill that you only use in one context.

Self Defense is: Life Skills.

These are skills, talents and abilities that you will use in a myriad of ways every day of your life. What's more, as they are basic people skills, using them will improve your quality of life. Use them and you will find yourself in far fewer conflicts, you will be more popular, work will be easier and you will get along with people much, much better.

Self Defense is taking these same skill sets and, with some slight tweaks, applying them in a slightly different context. Properly applied, you will never have to use physical force to protect yourself because you will never find yourself in a situation where violence is likely.

Violence is an Extreme.

What people do not tend to recognize about extremes is that they don't just happen. It takes time and effort to make such a long journey to this wild place. Putting it bluntly, he must work to get there.

Furthermore, extremes are based on normal interactions, over-emphasizing certain elements and intentionally deleting other tempering influences. This means, that any extreme is based on that which you already know. It is just blown all out of proportion. It is so distorted that, you may not recognize it as such - especially the part about tempering influences being left out. There are several reasons for this failure; the most common ones are anger, emotion, or stubbornness on your part. These don't have to be regular states with you either. Giving in to them, just for a moment, can put you on the path towards violence. Lose control of yourself with the wrong person and you will be shot, stabbed, beaten or raped.

The trick for avoiding violence is recognizing it and the path that leads there.

By knowing the elements that are commonly used in this extreme - and what their normal proportions are - you will be able to see when they are being blown out of proportion. It takes time to get to an extreme, when you see these elements being distorted - even by yourself - you will know you are on the pathway to violence.

Our approach is to acquaint you with these elements so you can recognize this distortion - and its significance - early enough that you can extract yourself from a situation without having to resort to physical violence. It is far, far easier to stop, take a deep breath, turn and walk away than it is to physically combat your way out of an attack.

Four layers of self-defense training

The following is a simple model for explaining what is meant by effective self-defense training must be multi layered.
1.) Common sense - Do you even want to go there? (This point includes knowing what behaviors will put you into conflict and moral/ethical issues involved with use of force) What are the standards you must abide by?
2.) Diplomatic - Do you need to hit or can you resolve this another way? Can you talk, negotiate or trick your way out of it? (This point also includes knowing the legal ramifications of hitting; and, weighing the repercussions against the need of the moment.)
3.) Strategic - When and where to hit for maximum results appropriate for the situation (justifiable use of force).
4.) Tactical - How to hit (physical application).

As you can see the issues become larger and more complex the further away one gets from just the physical. Many so-called self-defense courses/martial arts schools do not address these higher level skills because they assume they already are in place. We do not. Countless incidents of violence could have been avoided if they had been.

Why must these layers be included?

There are several reasons


First: You cannot focus on only one aspect and expect your self-defense to work. For example, physical application is the most basic and simplest skill set. It is also the last ditch, extreme response. If a situation goes physical it generally means you have not applied the other skill sets correctly. You have allowed the situation to develop to an extreme. Unfortunately, physical force is also the most unreliable of responses. And, as you are now in an extreme, if it fails, you are in deep trouble. It is literally jumping out of a plane with only one parachute that has a 50/50 chance of not working.

The multi-layer approach is your back-up. To be more specific it is having options that prevent you from ending up in that situation. Including, not going parachute jumping in the first place, but if you do, knowing how to pack your chute so it will open. By having these layers, you have control and influence anywhere along the process. It is also knowing the further down that path you go, the more extreme the danger and the more likely you are to lose control of the situation.

Second, there is commonly an underlying assumption of self-righteousness regarding so-called self-defense. To begin with there is a drastic difference between self-defense and fighting; and, it is a difference that you need to know. Bottom line: It will not be immediately apparent to the responding officer that you are the victim who was obviously only defending himself against this horrible person. While police will often arrest both parties in a fight they are almost guaranteed to arrest the winner. If you have successfully defended yourself, that means you. Furthermore, your claim of self-defense is going to be seriously undermined if you were an equal participant in the problem - no matter how self-righteous or justified you felt you were. As there are serious legal ramifications to this subject, you had better make sure that you weren't part of the problem.

Third, the effects of violence will last a life time. It doesn't matter if you are the victim, the perpetrator or even if you were just defending yourself. Exposure to, and participation in, violence will change you. Often, not for the better.

In the long run, these levels will give you the coping skills necessary to deal with the changes violence will cause. Your entire life is a long time to justify, or, self-righteously put the blame on another. It requires coping abilities that are beyond the capabilities of many people. In other words, while in the short run, self-righteousness and anger can protect you, over time guilt, shame, moral pain, and trauma over what you did will eventually creep in.

In the immediate, these levels will help you get through the emotional/adrenaline stressors that come with having to defend yourself. Contrary to popular belief, an overwhelming majority people cannot just flip an emotional switch and find and apply effective self-defense moves in a crisis. Combat is a traumatic psychic shift. One, that if you do not have specific training to prepare you for, you might not be able to make in time to defend yourself.

Fourth, they remove doubt. If you have established standards by which to judge when you are legally and morally justified to use violence in your defense then you will be able to act with grim, un-conflicted determination towards achieving the goal. This is not an emotional or subjective reaction, it is reacting to a known and identified threat.

Fifth, relates back to both the second and fourth reasons, but is distinct enough to be its own reason. By knowing these other issues, you will greatly assist yourself in communicating with the police and defending your actions in a court of law as to why you felt it was necessary to use physical force. Violence doesn'y happen in a vacuum. Legal repercussions are as much of a danger as the physical assault. This, is why you need to understand that aspect and how to survive the court battle as well as the violent encounter. If you cannot articulate why you felt it necessary to use physical force, the authorities will turn it into a your word against his. Unfortunately, as he is now injured the weight of the argument is on his side. That in the eyes of the law makes you the aggressor (read: the guilty party).

Also, never underestimate how an attorney can turn your words against you. You might have been utterly, and totally, correct in your assessment that physical force was required to protect yourself. However, if you cannot articulately supply facts that list A.) his behavior according to established standards of jeopardy behavior; and, B.) what you did to de-escalate/avoid the altercation, an attorney will twist you around like a pretzel on the stand. He will turn your self-defense pleas; and, have you babbling, well he looked at me mean! for the reason as to why you put his poor innocent client in the hospital. After he has ripped your self-defense stance apart, he will make you look like the person who intentionally started the violence.

Sixth, knowing about these layers will help you to develop negotiating skills and conflict avoidance. This doesn't mean that you run like a rabbit. It simply means that you have a wider set of tools at your disposal to find ways to resolve potential conflicts and problems without resorting to extreme measures. These are known as people skills. The better you become at them, the less likely you are to find yourself in a violent situation. Avoiding violence is the very least these skills can do for you. More realistically they will dramatically improve the quality of your life. At home, work and in your social life, you will achieve more of your goals with less conflict and stress.

A point we feel strongly about is: effective self-defense training focuses as much on your responsibility for your words/actions and the legal restrictions/repercussions of violence as it does your right to hit.

Apparently, most self-defense instruction (at least the ones we have encountered) assume that these layers and skill sets are already in place, In doing so, they ignore addressing the issues that lead up to physical violence. Some of these programs teach extreme physical violence and often lethal force. Without these warnings and knowledge they are doing their students a grave disservice.

Simply stated, any program that gives you the idea you that you are justified in doing or saying anything you want and that the training will teach you how to fight if someone takes umbrage, isn't teaching self-defense. It is at best encouraging and reinforcing dysfunctional, selfish behavior and at the worst setting you up to get your brains blown into a fine pink mist if you behave that way towards a truly violent and dangerous person.