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S.A.C. Training, Taiho-Jutsu,
and the Formation of Jakata

Martial arts training is an interesting phenomenon. In traditional circles, many students and former students will relate stories of how difficult and painful training was, how grueling the regimen, how brutal the instructor. More often than not, those who stayed with the training, and/or went on to become instructors themselves, will say the training made them a better person, or gave them a warrior spirit. There are some on the other side of the coin, however, who have nothing but distain for the training they received, including the instructor, for a variety of reasons. Regardless of which category one is in, training was something that left an impression.

If one reads the opening chapters on the taiho-jutsu pioneers in the U.S. in the book, Taiho-Jutsu: Arresting Arts of Police and Military, by this author, a brief outline of the S.A.C. Combative Measures training will be seen. To say it was not easy is an understatement. The program had martial arts instructors from many disciplines e.g., judo, karate, aikido, taiho-jutsu. While it would be very easy to have a chaotic and disjointed course of study with the various individual arts for those in the program, this was not the case. One of the fascinating and beautiful aspects of the program was that there was an underlying ideology and approach to the program as a whole, which made it greater than the sum of its parts. In brief, the techniques had to be the high percentage techniques, i.e., those which would work almost always and under any and all conditions, on any terrain, regardless of clothing type. “Best defense” was taught, rather than a myriad of defenses against the same attack. Whether the technique was passive or aggressive, no matter the art, taisabaki was ever present, always allowing for maximum safety of the defender. Nowhere was this more evident than in taiho-jutsu training, where the general pattern was to get out of the line of attack while blocking, counter with a weapon of your own, and takedown and/or restrain the attacker. From this writer’s perspective, this was the soul of the Combative Measures program.


As mentioned earlier, training leaves an impression, and this was most evident in a course formulated by Larry Lent, which he called, Jakata. Jakata began as a self-defense course for the “average” person, that is, the individual who was not a warrior, and wanted self-defense now rather than invest the years learning a traditional martial art. As such, Lent went through the entire Combative Measures curriculum, coupled it with his expertise in jujutsu, and wound up with a 15 hour course in pure self-defense. Sensitive to the needs of the “average” person described above, Lent taught Jakata requiring no uniforms, no falling or throwing, no ritual or ceremony; just plain old effective self-defense. The goal of Jakata was not to have a graduate of the 15 hour course stand to-to-toe with an experienced martial artist and spar to see the victor. Rather, by properly using the techniques taught, accompanied by taisabaki, feigning fear, and the element of surprise to name three of many principles taught, the goal was to stop the attacker and get away from the situation intact. The course was “guaranteed” in that if either instructor or student felt it was not adequately learned at the completion of the 15 hours (one sixty minute lesson a week for 15 weeks), the student would be taught at no cost until the material was learned.

This course proved most successful, and eventually led Lent to modify the more intensive aspects of the S.A.C. program, and formulate a Jakata Taiho-Jutsu course. This new program had the core 15 hour course as the foundation, with the addition of various and appropriate “police techniques”. Additionally included was the use of the 24" to 26" baton. All techniques, including the baton, maintained the “purity” of the original Combative Measures program as a whole, and the taiho-jutsu aspect in particular (see past article: A Question of Purity). Following successful completion of this course, a student would be able to enter the complete taiho-jutsu belt rank program if s/he chose to.

Looking back, it is most clear how the intensive S.A.C. training, particularly the taiho-jutsu component, directly influenced the establishing, effectiveness, and popularity of Jakata, for both civilians and police.  [Note: the course was additionally taught to the students at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for many years, with Lent Sensei as senior instructor.  This author served as his assistant.]


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