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A Non-Implemented Taiho-Jutsu Curriculum

When S.A.C. personnel were trained in Japan, an important aspect of their complete Combative Measures program was Taiho-Jutsu.  It was not simply the techniques of Taiho-Jutsu alone, but the philosophy and approach as to why the techniques were in fact chosen, and why they worked, which was reflected in all aspects of the program.  When many of the Airmen left the service, they continued martial arts careers in one or more of the many arts.  Two of note were Charles Plaines and Larry Lent.  Plaines Shihan not only continued with Taiho-Jutsu, but expanded the course taken into a belt rank system, used today by the U.S.T.J.F. he founded.  What is most noteworthy is that Plaines remained true to the principles of Taiho-Jutsu he learned in Japan, and this reflected throughout the entire kyu/dan system.

Larry Lent was another who continued in the martial arts, and taught, in addition to JuJutsu, Taiho-Jutsu.  A Taiho-Jutsu purist, the roots and foundations of all he taught remained true to that which he learned in the S.A.C. program in Japan.  Like Charles Plaines, Larry Lent also developed a complete belt rank system, where all techniques adhered to the Taiho-Jutsu principles and concepts.  One day, while looking for some papers for Lent Shihan, I came upon a Taiho-Jutsu belt rank curriculum which appeared to be a forerunner, at least in the planning stages, of the system he eventually taught.  After speaking to former student older than I, there has never been any indication that this program was anything more than an early plan.  I did, however, find the program somewhat intriguing, and wish to present it as an interesting historical note.  It is the opinion of this writer that this program did not measure up to the program Plaines sensei taught, or that which Lent sensei himself taught when I began training with him over forty years ago.


The first belt requirement, the Yellow Belt, was awarded after successful completion of the Taiho-Jutsu course.  The curriculum after this initial belt was comprised only of throwing, takedowns, restraints and come-alongs, and mat work.  No strikes or blocks other than those he taught in the Taiho-Jutsu course were included.  One of this reasons this is interesting is that Lent's hand speed was lightening fast, and his kicks were blinding in their delivery.  The notion of an advanced system of Taiho-Jutsu without these harder techniques seemed like a very humane system.  Admittedly, it limited the options an officer had to choose from in select situations, but it nevertheless could be an effective style, given the basic Taiho-Jutsu course as the foundation. 

For those in law-enforcement, this style could have been a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, the officer would have the benefit of the basic course as a more-than-adequate foundation, with advanced techniques added.  Further, the more humane the techniques, the less chance for allegations of "police brutality" to be made.  On the other hand, as stated above, it did omit some techniques the officer could choose to utilize.  While they may not have been necessary, it's always nice to know options are there.  Additionally, learning advanced techniques simply to further one's knowledge would have been curtailed by the omission of the techniques mentioned. 

Regardless of the merits or shortcomings of this never implemented program, it remains an interesting piece of Taiho-Jutsu history from one of the great U.S. pioneers.        

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