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What Can Taiho-Jutsu Learn from Professional Wrestling?

Many years ago, when I entered college, my roommate turned out to be a former high school wrestler. Since I was a fairly new JuJutsu and Taiho-Jutsu Black Belt, we began our friendship with something in common. One day, we decided to move our furniture aside, and have a "contest" — his Greco-Roman style wrestling vs. my katame-waza (more commonly referred to as ne-waza). The fact that he outweighed me by nearly 40 lbs. mattered not. After all, I was a Black Belt! The reality of my competing against a wrestler on his terms was irrelevant. After all, I was a Black Belt! Suffice it to say that after our brief encounter, I developed a new-found respect for the art of wrestling. This led me to research other styles of that art, e.g., Catch-As-Catch Can, and Professional. Many years later, I purchased a book on the "Finishing Techniques" used in Professional Wrestling, and realized it would be a valuable addition to the advanced Taiho-Jutsu techniques of the Kyu/Dan curriculum.

Prior to continuing, I wish to state that I am fully aware of the history and less-than-honest aspects of the entertainment form we call Professional Wrestling. While some of the wrestling performers are in magnificent physical condition and many remarkably agile, not all are truly competent wrestlers. All this, however, does not negate the value and legitimacy of many of their techniques. It is this aspect of Professional Wrestling I wish to focus on.


In Taiho-Jutsu, when an officer is attacked, the general response is evade/ block, counter, takedown/restrain. In the belt rank system, there are a number of options the officer has to accomplish this. Regardless of which techniques are chosen, the sequence is almost always the same. There are instances when things do not go as planned. For example, an officer may slip on snow or ice, or lose footing in the sand. The confrontations may then develop into a struggle on the ground. In other instances, the assailant may be the one to slip onto the ground. While Taiho-Jutsu certainly has techniques to cover those circumstances, there are times when body position or opportunity better lends itself to some of the techniques which are most effective from Professional Wrestling. These techniques are not only effective in terms of restraints, but have an approach similar to Taiho-Jutsu's come-alongs, i.e., if the person does not resist, the pain is minimal. If there is great resistance, the assailant in essence is increasing his/her own pain from the technique. Many of these techniques are not considered "legal" in competitive wrestling. However, street encounters are not governed by rules and sportsmanship. The painful nature of these "Finishing Techniques" against the feet, legs, arms, and hands are often necessary to subdue the assailant.

As mentioned above, while these techniques are not necessary for even the advanced student of Taiho-Jutsu to learn, they do in fact seem like potentially valuable supplements and complements to enhance the knowledge of the officer, thereby helping to ensure his/ her safety.

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