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Tanaka's Goshin-Jutsu and Police Self-Defense

Prior to elaborating on the title of this article, clarification is in order.  The Goshin-Jutsu spoken of here is not the Goshin-Jutsu of the Kodokan curriculum, as described in some detail in a 2006 article for Arresting Solutions.  The Goshin-Jutsu in this case is a system of self-defense formed by a Japanese Shihan, Tatsu Tanaka, in 1952.  Once U.S. authorities permitted the teaching and practice of martial arts again following World War II, Tanaka Sensei reopened his dojo, and resumed teaching Ju-Jutsu.  What he found was many students were flocking to the "new" art of Judo, rather than going to learn what was felt to be the harsher and cruder techniques of Ju-Jutsu.  In order to "compete" and attract students, Tanaka Sensei pooled the techniques of the ryu he was master of, along with two other ryu he taught, and eliminated the "dangerous" techniques from them.  Strikes of all kinds were eliminated, as were the dangerous throws, takedowns, and joint techniques.  What was left was a method of self-defense which included modified older Ju-Jutsu and newer Judo throws, joint techniques not designed to immediately break or dislocate the joint, atemi pressure points and exercise. 

Interestingly, Tanaka Sensei's students often made headlines capturing criminals in the area.  As a result, many in law-enforcement began studying the ryu, which Tanaka Sensei simply named, Goshin-Jutsu. 


In order to encourage students and put them in a proper state of mind for study, Black Belts were awarded after six months.  Though appreciative of the intention, students rejected the Black Belt, and donned White Belts instead.  Following the first promotion to Shodan, all subsequent Dan rankings took the traditional length of time to earn. 

How is this Goshin-Jutsu to be evaluated as a police self-defense system, as well as a JuJutsu style?  It seems as if Tanaka's Goshin-Jutsu resembles Taiho-Jutsu prior to Taiho's incorporation of Karate in the 1960s.  Although there are far more techniques than in the Taiho-Jutsu course, the lack of Karate-style blocking and striking decreases the style's efficiency and effectiveness against an aggressive assailant.  While it may be more effective than the pre-1960s Taiho-Jutsu course, it does not seem as effective as the post- 1960s course.

As a JuJutsu style, including the Taiho-Jutsu Kyu/Dan curriculum, its value is like any other JuJutsu ryu.  People are generally drawn to styles which are compatible with their personalities and lifestyles, and societal belief systems.  If these factors lead one to a more aggressive system with many "hard" techniques, Tanaka's Goshin-Jutsu is not the style to choose.  If, however, one is more attracted to a softer, more defensive style, then Goshin-Jutsu is a wise choice.

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