FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Is Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu a form of modern taihojutsu?

No.  Modern taihojutsu was created in the 1940s to meet the specific needs of the post-WWII Japanese police force. It is an amalgamation of techniques from judo, aikido, jujutsu, karate and kendo.  However, before the creation of modern taihojutsu the Otake family had in essence developed their own taihojutsu system of arrest/self-defense tactics specifically for use by the hereditary dōshin of their family.  This system predates modern taihojutsu by several generations and should not be confused with it.

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Is Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu the same thing as Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu?

No.  Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu is the martial system/tradition of Shihan Miyoshi Otake, which combines his family's arrest/self-defense tactics (jujutsu and weapons) with the Daito Ryu he learned from Sokaku Takeda (see History section).  While Dōshin Ryu was/is influenced technically by Daito Ryu, it is not Daito Ryu, nor does it teach the Daito Ryu curriculum, nor does it claim to be a branch of Daito Ryu, nor is it affiliated with any of the various Daito Ryu organizations.

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Is Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu like Aikido?

Not really.  Both are jujutsu systems that share, at least partially, in Daito Ryu's technical tradition; however, prior to WWII the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), became a devotee of the Omoto Kyo Shinto sect of Onisaburo Deguchi (1871-1948), which greatly affected him and forever changed his view and practice of the martial arts.  As a result, he removed much of the martial emphasis from his teaching and turned his newly created art of Aikido into more of a spiritual path teaching peace and harmony.  Dōshin Ryu, however, is not a spiritual path, or a philosophy, or a sport for that matter.  Instead it remains focused on the practicality of the feudal policing from which it sprang, and therefore tends to be very pragmatic and less concerned with aesthetic value.  So while Dōshin Ryu and Aikido do share some common technical lineage, the similarity ends there.

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Is Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Not really.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is derived primarily from Judo's ne waza (ground-fighting), and while Dōshin Ryu does contain some ne waza, it is a relatively small portion of the overall curriculum.  Dōshin Ryu is what some would call "stand up" jujutsu, and as such it is far more like classical jujutsu (from which it is derived).

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Is Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu affiliated with any larger martial arts associations?

No.  Shihan Otake was a private man and uninterested in such things, as is Shihan Merrill generally.  However, in the 1980s Shihan Merrill's friendship with Hakkoryu Jujutsu practitioners Shihan Dennis Palumbo and Sensei Ron Ramirez did result in his becoming a charter member of Shihan Palumbo's Hakkoryu Martial Arts Federation (despite not being a practitioner of Hakkoryu Jujutsu).  His membership in the HMAF has become inactive, though.  Since then Shihan Merrill (and thus Dōshin Ryu) has not joined any martial arts associations or federations.

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What types of unarmed techniques are taught in Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu?

The unarmed curriculum of Dōshin Ryu is based on the following eight foundational pillars of the system:

  • Kansetsu Waza: joint locking and/or breaking

  • Nage Waza: throwing

  • Shime Waza: choking/strangling

  • Uke Waza: blocking and/or redirecting

  • Atemi Waza: striking vulnerable areas with the hands and/or feet

  • Shinkei Waza: striking and/or manipulating nerve centers

  • Osae Waza: pinning

  • Ne Waza: ground-fighting

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Does Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu include weapons training?

While the unarmed portion of Dōshin Ryu's curriculum is its main focus, the system does include basic weapons training as well.  Some of these weapons include:

  • Jutte (single-tined truncheon)

  • Manrikigusari (weighted chain)

  • Ken (sword)

  • Jo (short staff)

  • Hanbo (short stick)

  • Tanto (knife)

  • Naginata (halberd)

  • Yari (spear)

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How long does it take to earn a Black Belt in Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu?

Dōshin Ryu is a complex martial art and it is therefore impossible to predict the speed at which an individual will achieve certain milestones.  Progress is based on the individual; students are not competing against, nor compared with, each other.  Instructors evaluate students every time they train and testing/promotion will occur when the individual is ready to move ahead.  However, the study of Dōshin Ryu is a lifelong endeavor, there is always more to learn and/or existing knowledge to polish.

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What is the ranking structure of Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu?

Dōshin Ryu has adopted separate systems for kyu/dan ranking and instructor titling.  Dan ranks and instructor titles are awarded independently at Shihan Merrill's discretion.  The kyu/dan and instructor title structures are as follows:

 

STUDENT LEVEL (Mudansha)

Level  Rank    Uniform
Shoden (First Level)  Sankyu (3rd Step)  white belt, white gi, white pants (white hakama optional)
Chuden (Middle Level) Nikyu (2nd Step) green belt, white gi, white pants (white hakama optional)
Okuden (Upper Level) Ikkyu (1st Step) brown belt, white gi, white pants (black hakama optional)

 

ADVANCED LEVEL (Yudansha)

Level  Rank    Uniform
Okuden (Upper Level) Shodan (1st Degree)  black belt, brown gi, black pants (black hakama optional)
Okuden (Upper Level) Nidan (2nd Degree) black belt, brown gi, black pants (black hakama optional)
Okuden (Upper Level) Sandan (3rd Degree) black belt, brown gi, black pants (black hakama optional)
Okuden (Upper Level) Yodan (4th Degree) black belt, brown gi, black pants (black hakama optional)
Okuden (Upper Level) Godan (5th Degree) black belt, blue gi, black pants (black hakama optional)
Hiden (Secret Level) Rokudan (6th Degree) black belt, blue gi, black or brown pants (navy-blue hakama optional)
Hiden (Secret Level) Shichidan (7th Degree) black belt, blue gi, black or brown pants (navy-blue hakama optional)
Hiden (Secret Level) Hachidan (8th Degree) black belt, blue gi, black or brown pants (navy-blue hakama optional)
Soden (Inheritance Level) Kudan (9th Degree) gray belt, blue gi, black or brown pants (gray hakama optional)
Soden (Inheritance Level) Judan (10th Degree)* N/A

*While officially in the dan ranking structure of Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu, Judan (10th Degree) is technically impossible to attain.  It reflects perfection of technique and since learning is a constant state of training in Dōshin Ryu, Judan remains unattainable (nobody is perfect but God).

 

INSTRUCTOR TITLES

Level Title* Rank (minimum)
Sensei Tashi Shodan (1st Degree)
Sensei Renshi Sandan (3rd Degree)
Shihan Kyoshi Godan (5th Degree)
Shihan Menkyo Kaiden Shichidan (7th Degree)

*Instructor titleholders may wear a half black, half gray instructor belt, which consists of a black outer side and gray inner side.

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