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The Taiho-Jutsu Instructor

Regardless of the branch of law-enforcement one is in, one thing is vital — the officer should be afforded maximum safety as a result of his/her training. While there are no guarantees that this will occur, or that following the training the officer will implement that which was taught effectively, the odds are increased if the training was received from a competent Taiho-Jutsu instructor. How then, are we to define "competent Taiho-Jutsu instructor"?

Despite the fact that Taiho-Jutsu is deeply rooted in the Japanese martial arts, one does not have to be a "martial artist" to be a competent instructor. As an example, the very first instructor of the senior author of this article suggested, after seven lessons, that the Shihan of the system teach the remainder of the course. This first instructor was credentialed to teach the basic course. He had no formal training in any other martial art. Yet, his form was as flawless as this writer has seen. Techniques were executed smoothly and properly. One would think, by merely observing him teaching, that he held advanced training/rank in some martial art. We see by this example that one requirement for "competency" is excellent technique.

A second qualification is teaching skills. We all know of sensei who may be excellent practitioners or competitors, but lack the qualities which would lead to being considered a good teacher. This requires a true understanding of the techniques, their purposes, and applications. It also requires an understanding of the student. While most Taiho-Jutsu students of the course are in law-enforcement in some capacity, this does not mean that one barks out commands as if in a military environment.


Understanding where a student is coming from, where a student is at present and any limitations or possible obstacles the student may have or bring is what understanding is all about.

Referring back to the first instructor, that man held a third degree black belt when lessons began. This rank was not awarded for knowledge and performance of advanced techniques, but rather, as a modern interpretation of the old menkyo system in the martial arts, where despite one's technical and/or fighting prowess, a separate teaching document was required before one could go out and teach. Advancement in rank was awarded not merely for time in rank, but for teaching excellence.

Third on the list is clarity of goal. This means that the instructor needs to be realistic in his/her expectation of what the outcome of taking the course should be, both in general as well as for each individual. Is the goal to produce warriors? Should each officer be able to kick or execute a takedown without error? Is a common goal achievable despite individual differences? These are but some of the goals that need to be clear in the competent Taiho-Jutsu instructor's mind to maximize both the course's and the officer's potential. When these three criteria are met, we have a true, competent Taiho-Jutsu instructor.

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