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Torimonojutsu and Torite:
Arresting Techniques of Aikijujutsu

If one were to survey the various martial arts most commonly practiced today, an interesting phenomenon would be seen. Many arts, even those which had no more than a minimal amount, now have an abundance of control and restraining techniques as part of their curriculum. There are some who attribute this to the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts. Whether this is accurate or not, the reality is that these techniques are being seen and practiced by many more frequently than ever before in the martial arts.

Despite this widespread use, it is important to note that there is a difference between the generic use of restraints and control techniques, especially in a competitive arena, and these same techniques when used in police defensive tactics. One art which has historically always had these techniques as part of its curriculum, and applies them in a method designed for "arresting" is Aiki Jujutsu. Within this art, which has a wide variety of categories of armed and unarmed techniques, are those referred to as Torimonojutsu, and Torite. While a historical look at this art and its leading ryu is truly a fascinating experience, the focus of this brief article will be on the philosophy behind the movements, which is what distinguishes it from the above mentioned "generic" techniques. 


Torimonojutsu refers to those specific arresting techniques developed in the Edo period in Japan, and were used extensively by police. Torite refers to those techniques which one utilizes by "moving into" position before being attacked. These movements are additionally used preemptively by an officer who views one as "suspicious", or against one who is believed to be carrying a weapon. In both these categories, we see a minimum of aggressive techniques on the officer's part. It seems that even in days of yore in Japan, excessive force could find an officer facing charges.

The purpose of the arresting techniques was to limit an assailant's movement before proceeding with the arrest. A quick arrest without causing injury to the assailant was the goal. When necessary, atemi was in fact used, but only against an overly aggressive individual who posed a real threat to the officer. Included in all of these moves was taisabaki.

Lastly, there was the use of two weapons (among many which were taught in Aiki Jujutsu) specific to arresting techniques. These were the keibo, the short stick, and the jo, the four foot staff. The curriculum for these was comprised of blocks, strikes, and locking methods. The keibo had/has more of these techniques in its study, and this is reflected in the use of the baton today in law-enforcement of most countries.   

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