Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Aikido to AikiJujutsu

This is excerpt from an article that appeared in Black Belt Magazine years ago. It's about a law enforcement officer who was trained in aikido, became disillusioned with his training, and went back to aikido's roots, aikijujutsu, to find what he was looking for. To read the whole article, click here.

Aikijujutsu vs. Aikido:
The Transition From Deadly Combat to Gentle Self-Defense

By Gail E. Nelson 
A black belt and years of martial arts training do not guarantee survival on the streets. Some even say these skills may be absolutely useless in real-life combat situations.

Bernie Lau, a retired Seattle police detective and aikijujutsu instructor, founded the Washington Budokan after his 20 years of aikido training failed to support him in a life-threatening situation. Until the incident occurred, Lau found aikido to be helpful in his day-to-day police work. Aikido served him well even earlier on the evening of the incident, when he and his partner responded to two routine calls.

First, the pair entered a bar where a burly drunken man was smashing tables and chairs. With disciplined ease, Lau subdued the drunk and held him in an arm lock until a transportation unit arrived. Later, not far from the bar, a prostitute was fighting a man while trying to steal his wallet. Again, with quick motions, Lau subdued the prostitute and placed her under arrest. Lau used sankyo, a wrist-twist restraining lock taught in aikido.

Later that evening, however, Lau received a call that was to change the course of his aikido training forever. He and his partner were dispatched to a disturbance on the waterfront, where a 250-pound lumberjack, who was intoxicated and looking to fight, was provoking bar customers. When the officers arrived, the lumberjack challenged them to try and take him. With 20 years of aikido experience behind him, Lau met the challenge with strong confidence. He attempted several aikido techniques, but the moves barely fazed his opponent. The lumberjack was just too strong. During the melee, Lau’s partner was seriously injured by a kick to the face from the lumberjack. Backup units were called in, and after seeing Lau's injured partner, the officers overreacted and the lumberjack ended up in the hospital.  

Lau eventually built a traditional dojo and formed an organization dedicated to the study, training and further development of aikijujutsu for combat and defense tactics suitable for self-defense and law-enforcement work. It is a private organization whose members consist of law-enforcement officers, military personnel and selected individuals. The organization has been in existence for 10 years, and training and research continue to this day.


Bob Patterson said...

Great find!

I'm on vacation and checking the blogs while my wife gets ready.

I've been considering aikido...

Problem is I'm in the middle of a job hunt and am also between martial arts schools.

If this round of hunting fails I'm stuck here for another year. So, I'll have to make some sort of decision.

This article really makes me re-consider spending the money on it.

Rick Matz said...

I think the prudent course is to decide what it is you are training for, and finding someone who can teach that (by observing the students). The specific martial art is irrelevant.

It's about finding the fit.