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Principles for Taiho-Jutsu

Unlike the mythology surrounding many martial arts systems, there is no mythology surrounding taiho-jutsu. No samurai exiled himself to a cave in the snowy mountains and woke up under a waterfall with a vision of taiho-jutsu’s techniques. The course was carefully thought out, and brilliantly put together by some of the greatest practitioners in the martial arts. The course, however, was redacted from other arts, which had a myriad of principles accompanying them. Just as the taiho-jutsu course is a short, most effective version of complete art systems, so too are the principles in taiho-jutsu a shortened, most effective list of what may be found in the more extensive kyu/dan rank system.

The principles below are not intended to be an exhaustive list of every principle found in every art, and do not specifically cover every possible scenario in the taiho-jutsu curriculum. They are simply principles and concepts which my taiho-jutsu shihan learned in Japan and passed down to those he taught, with his personal modifications. They constitute basic rules meant to insure maximum efficiency and effectiveness while preserving the safety of the officer employing the “art of arresting techniques”. Note– the principles below apply primarily to an unarmed officer defending against a perpetrator.

12 Basic Principles
for Taiho-Jutsu

1. Strike High, Follow Low; Strike Low, Follow High.
When you strike an assailant around the neck or head area, the area will go back and the groin area will come forward. When you strike from the solar plexus down, the upper body will come forward.

2. Cross A Man's Arms in Front of Him.
Any time you can cross a man’s arms across his body in front of him, he will be unable to strike you with his other hand.

3. Go With Pressure.
If you attempt to fight force with force, and the assailant is stronger, you'll be the loser. Instead, give way to force by going with it, faster than he is applying it. He will then be off-balance and easy to subdue.


4. Get Out of the Line of the Attack.
Never leave your body in the line of attack and rely on a parry alone. Your body should move one way, and the parry the other, resulting in a defense that is twice as fast.

5. Never Stop Force With Your Body.
Move your body out of the line of force, allowing it to bypass the target (you!), placing the assailant off-balance.

6. One Elbow or Two Hands–Reaching Distance.
If an assailant grabs you from behind, and one of his elbows is in front of you (e.g., rear forearm choke), or both his hands are in front (e.g., your arms are pinned from behind), his testicles are within reaching distance.

7. Wrist Side
When an assailant has an arm around you from behind (e.g., rear forearm choke), his wrist will always indicate the front of his body.

8. Maximum Efficiency With Minimum Effort.
Always use your most against his least (e.g., your kick against his testicles).

9. Use Right Weapon, In Right Place, At Right Time.
You have twelve weapons to use on fourteen vital areas. Know which goes where to be most effective.

10. Safety Range
Against an assailant in a fighting stance, maintain your safety range. If his primary weapons are his fists, back away to where your primary weapons will be your feet. If his primary weapons are his feet, at the proper time move in to where he no longer has “knock-out” power.

11. Feign Fear.
There is no better way to position your body for defense and attack, and place your assailant off guard, than to feign fear. Leave ego behind.

12. Focus All Blows and Parries.
For maximum efficiency, speed, and power, it is essential to focus your blows and parries into a short burst of speed, rather than a long-traveling strike which will dissipate the power.

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