logo   t

The Training Milieu for Taiho-Jutsu

There are two basic training environments for individuals training in Taiho-Jutsu. One would be wherever and whatever a given law-enforcement or military agency deems the training area. The second concerns the area the non-recruit may train in, and this is the focus of this article. The reader may at this point be saying, "What's the difference? As long as you get the training, who cares?!" On the surface this seems valid, but there is something more to the total environment than meets the student's eye.

Taiho-Jutsu is a Japanese art. Nearly all Japanese martial arts are taught at a dojo, sensei and students are in gi, and whatever rituals are said to be the policy of the dojo, those are the rituals the students will follow. It's all very logical, and a pattern which has been followed for hundreds of years in the Japanese arts. There is, however, an alternative. To elaborate, there is a school of thought which states that the traditional dojo is not the proper setting for training and learning the Taiho-Jutsu (or any police tactics) course. The training area should be devoid of the trappings of the typical dojo, since they are not relevant to the purpose of the training, and may even serve as a distraction. Further, there should be no bowing, even with the understanding that this has nothing to do with any religious belief but rather is a respectful gesture. If a sign of respect needs to be displayed, a handshake is all that is necessary. All counting, commands, etc. are to be done in English, not Japanese (or any other language). 


Continuing with this break in tradition, there is also the absence of the gi. Initially, loose clothing and tennis sneakers may be worn. As the training progresses and students feel more comfortable with the techniques and the body movements, they may wear more "formal" clothing, until such time as the instructor feels training should continue in full uniform. Full uniform means just that – regulation uniform, including any and all utility belts with all attachments, as well as gun and holster (for safety sake, the general rule is each weapon should be checked by at least two people to ensure it is not loaded). Regulation shoes replace sneakers or running shoes. Now the question arises, does this really make a difference?

The answer, according to many, is "yes". Law-enforcement is at the training facility to learn a very specialized police tactics course. If the surroundings are those of a Western, familiar setting rather than an Eastern-style dojo, a different mindset and feeling is often found to be prevalent. A dojo represents a certain type of tradition, regiment, and ritual. A non-dojo setting, particularly when working out in regulation uniform, more closely approximates the day-to-day street setting an officer will find him/herself in, and the body will respond accordingly. It is far easier to execute many techniques in a loose fitting gi than the assigned uniform and accompanying equipment.

Which then is the best setting for Taiho-Jutsu training? Ultimately, it's up to the student, who should seek whichever style of training s/he feels most comfortable in. 

Return to Table of Contents