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A Question of Purity

Prior to the advent of the mixed and multiple martial arts phenomenon we witness today, there was a sense of "purity" sensei and students had about their individual arts. For example, the Goju stylist was proud of his ryu, and wouldn't dream of including a Tae Kwon Do kata into his repertoire. An Isshin-ryu practitioner would never incorporate Wing Chun techniques into the system, nor would a Shorin-ryu karateka be found practicing Moo Duk Kwan. Even the "original" mixed martial artists, the JuJutsu practitioners, had their loyalty to their styles. One would never spot a Hakko-ryu man using Yagyu Shingan ryu moves and kata. In all these examples, a goal was to preserve the purity, the uniqueness of a style. How does this relate to the Taiho-Jutsu course?

Taiho-Jutsu fits into this category, and doesn't. It fits in that out of the very many police tactics courses that may be found, Taiho-Jutsu, as taught by the USTJF, maintains its uniqueness, thus remaining "pure". However, the Taiho-Jutsu course has in fact evolved, with a major modification made to the course in the mid-1960s. While it still maintains its unique and distinctive philosophy and ideology to its techniques, there are additional techniques in the course than found in the original one. This is something, even today, rarely seen done in the traditional martial arts styles.

The questions which flows from this become, how often can changes be made? Who makes the changes? If a certain segment rejects the changes made by the National Police in Japan, can they still be considered Taiho-Jutsu practitioners, or does it become as absurd as some of the "new" styles created by breakaway groups seen abounding these days? If today the Tomiki-style of aikido as originally taught to S.A.C. personnel has been replaced by the Yoshinkan style, is the course still "pure"?


Let us use the following examples, and preface it all by stating I am, for the most part, a Taiho-Jutsu "purist", having been a long-time student of a product of one who was a product of the S.A.C. program in Japan, in addition to him being a JuJutsu Shihan. I was additionally trained in a non-USTJF Police Tactics program, which included areas not included in the USTJF course. Some examples are non-vehicle prisoner transport, and bringing a resisting individual out of a vehicle. Not only may uniformed police officers find themselves needing to do this, but certainly correction officers encounter this regularly, as well as some in the security field. The U.S. Marshall Service is noted for their training in these areas. Should this then be incorporated into the Taiho-Jutsu course? If so, does that affect the "purity" of the system? Is it still considered the "pure" Taiho-Jutsu course?

In the opinion of this writer, the answer is a qualified "yes". The course can have the changes mentioned, yet still be considered pure. This, however, is only true if the basic principles and philosophy and approach to techniques are adhered to, as set up in the original Taiho-Jutsu course. [See “Principles for Taiho-Jutsu”, “Concepts in Taiho-Jutsu” and “Approaches to Teaching Taiho-Jutsu” for further discussion.] This has been the case since medieval times with the Japanese police. Modifications and changes have regularly taken place to accommodate times and conditions. As long as the underlying philosophy and teachings of the course are not corrupted, it remains "pure".

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