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Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-Jujutsu Paperback – 1 Aug 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Masters Press,U.S. (1 Aug. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570281211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570281211
  • Product Dimensions: 27.6 x 21.3 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,712,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Synopsis

Aiki-jujutsu, a traditional martial art with roots in Japan's ancient past, is the jujutsu system that gave birth to the modern aikido.

From the Author

AN INTRODUCTION TO AIKI-JUJUTSU AND MY BOOK
Aiki-jujutsu is a traditional Japanese combative discipline that has the potential to transform its participants. This transformation takes place of course in the realm of one's newly developed skills of self-protection, but it is also possible to experience profound spiritual realizations. I was once asked by a jujutsu instructor why I had "tacked on" this spiritual emphasis to what were arts of combat, and if I had not added this dimension to the arts that I was teaching, why was this dimension there to begin with? Over the passing years, I have reflected on that question many times. One of the issues that we have to deal with throughout our lives is the certainty of our own demise. Many of us have tried to put it out of our consciousness, with the thought returning only occasionally--perhaps late at night while lying awake, with no activities to distract us from the inevitable outcome of life. It is a fear that never leaves. Resolving this fear is vital for any person wishing to be at peace. In fact, it is this fear which has prompted religions and philosophies throughout history, for by encountering this ultimate fear, we in turn face other anxieties as well. We are then forced to consider what lies beyond our limited physical form and discover our spiritual natures. We have come to see these subjects, however, as being solely the domain of mystics and priests. At least, many of us find it strange to discover them outside the sphere of philosophy . . . especially in a martial discipline. Still, what better place to encounter one's mortality than in a combative art? Traditional martial arts involve, ultimately, the potential death of one or both participants. This is not facing death in the abstract--sitting alone with one's eyes closed, as in certain forms of meditation--but rather in the face of a rapidly approaching fist or weapon. In fact, if one does not come to grips with the true makeup of the human spirit, while at the very least, considering the issue of dying, it is impossible to make real progress in aiki-jujutsu. Of course, one can cultivate technical skill and appear formidable within the relatively safe confines of the dojo, or "training hall." However, when faced with a violent and potentially life-threatening attack, even in the dojo (but especially in daily life), few of us have the mental constitution to handle such an assault. We will "freeze" unless the mind has also been deliberately trained to deal with violence and the reality of human mortality. This mental training is essential for combative effectiveness, and it is not an issue that will simply "take care of itself " by engaging in hard physical practice, despite the fact that some martial arts teachers have tried to convince of the public of just that myth. Beyond combative efficiency, aiki-jujutsu gives us the opportunity to see ourselves clearly and to face our fears in a way that few people in society experience. These are not issues that have been "tacked on" to the Japanese martial arts, but are inescapable aspects that lie at the very heart of these disciplines. Nonetheless, one still needs a proper understanding of aiki-jujutsu to grasp the art. Misguided effort will not unlock the mysteries of aiki-jujutsu; and therefore, authentic instruction is vital. This book is an introduction to a dynamic and subtle martial discipline. The first half of "Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu" is an overview of aiki-jujutsu in general, while the second portion illustrates the techniques of Saigo Ryu, since this is the system of aiki-jujutsu with which I am most familiar. With the increasing popularity of aikido, a martial way that is derived from aiki-jujutsu, aiki-jujutsu itself is being drawn into the limelight. However, aiki-jujutsu training was not readily available to the public for most of its history, and this situation has only recently begun to change. Thus, reliable information about the art is limited, but the public's interest in this discipline is growing. Clearly, any little-known art that has managed to capture the attention of the public is in danger of being distorted and/or misunderstood. This has, unfortunately, already started in the case of aiki-jujutsu . . . before it has even had a chance to establish its legitimate principles. Hence, the need for a comprehensive, English-language introduction to the art is vital, and I have written my book for this reason, and because a number of senior Japanese and Western martial arts teachers have requested such a book. Aiki-jujutsu's essence is contained in its name. Ai means "to meet," or alternately, "harmony" and "union." Ki describes the vital life energy that animates all living things as well as all of Nature. Ju can mean "gentle," but in this context it is more readily translated as "yielding," "flexible," or "non-resistant," while jutsu indicates an "art." Thus, in aiki-jujutsu, one discovers an art with which to master conflict by means of harmonizing with the life energy that animates the opponent and pervades Nature. Through this all-embracing state of harmony, then, it is possible to overcome an opponent, or even to face the "tests" life sends our way, by arriving at a state of non-resistance. Students learn to manifest harmony by studying rigorous, effective self-defense techniques such as throws, pinning methods, grappling, strangle holds, and the use of Japanese weapons. These pragmatic combat arts are based on the state of "aiki," and they are depicted in my book. This state, however, is not passive but actually extremely dynamic. For example, imagine trying to push a ping-pong ball under the water with one finger. The ball will seem to yield to the force of the finger, only to whirl away and pop up out of the water again and again. Its unsinkable quality comes from non-resistance, not passivity. Through the study of genuine aiki-jujutsu we can become like this floating ball, responding quickly and flexibly to life's changes, yet never being overwhelmed by them.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu is an uncommon martial arts book. It is distinctive for several reasons:

1. It treats the Japanese martial arts and aikijujutsu as actual arts and not merely some sort of physical mayhem.

2. It discusses the history, theory, philosophy and techniques of aikijujutsu and Japanese martial arts in a well-written, intelligent and even scholarly way.

3. It actually offers more in its descriptions of martial techniques than the all too typical, "Now I move my right foot forward . . ." sort of explanation. The author provides extremely detailed and clear descriptions of how to perform the large number of techniques depicted in this book. Far too many martial arts books only describe what is obviously taking place in the photos, which is just that-obvious. H. E. Davey explains points that are essential for success and still not immediately apparent by looking at the pictures. This book contains one of the most thorough series technical instructions of any martial arts book I've read.

4. It presents the seemingly esoteric concept of "aiki" in a manner that is clearly explained, pragmatic and yet still containing a deep spiritual dimension. Aikido practitioners would be well served by taking a look at this book. One of the best descriptions of what aiki is and how to use it that I've found.

Way too many martial arts books tend to be superficial, poorly written and concerned with mostly how to pound someone into the pavement. Unfortunately since they are so lacking in content, scholarship and intelligence they frequently fail in that regard too.

This book is far removed from the average mediocre judo, aikido, etc. books out there. Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu is a rare find in the world of martial arts manuals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
"Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-Jujutsu," by H.E. Davey. Masters Press 1997.

"Aiki-jujutsu is a traditional Japanese combative discipline that has the potential to vitally transform the lives of its participants. This transformation takes place of course in the realm of one's newly developed skills of self-protection, but due to the nature of the art, it is also equally possible to experience profound spiritual realizations."

So begins H.E. Davey Sensei in his ambitious and sincere effort to introduce to us the traditional Japanese art of aiki-jujutsu. He does so in three well-articulated and well-illustrated sections, and helps substantiate his material with detailed references, notes, and a helpful glossary. It is an enjoyable and informative read.

In Part One, "The Mysterious Origins and Roots of Aiki-Jujutsu", Davey Sensei shares with us the fruits of his personal research in the US and in Japan, seeking the roots and heritage of a system he learned from his father, who studied Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu directly under Saigo Kenji Soke. Besides identifying and tracing relations between major schools of aiki-jujutsu, the author attempts to debunk and address misconceptions and stereotypes.

Part Two, "Discovering the Hidden Powers of the Mind, Body, and Aiki", probes mind-body connections and tapping into aiki, which Davey Sensei defines as "union with the life energy (Ki) of the universe". Much more than physical technique, aiki is identified in this chapter as a psychology and a philosophy of action and of life.

But "where's the meat?" you may be asking. Once the reader is prepared by historical and philosophical overture, Davey Sensei delivers the "meat" as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF AIKI-JUJUTSU BY H.E. DAVEY
Review by Nicklaus Suino
(Nicklaus Suino holds black belt ranks in several traditional Japanese martial arts, including Nihon Jujutsu, and has written three books for Weatherhill and several articles on budo and budo culture. While living in Japan, he received a 6th-degree black belt in Eishin Ryu Iaido from the current Eishin Ryu headmaster. He currently teaches Judo,Jujutsu, Karate and Iaido at the Institute of Traditional Asian Martial Arts.)
Legitimate sources for information about traditional martial arts techniques and history are rare. Few exist in English. This new book by accomplished martial artist and historian H.E. Davey, published by Masters Press, will join the list of perhaps two dozen works about the martial arts written in English that are essential reading. It is exemplary in many respects.
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF AIKI-JUJUTSU is written in three aiki-jujutsu"; Part Two is called "Discovering the hidden powers of the mind, body and aiki"; and Part Three is "The explosive power of aiki-jujutsu techniques." The book is a quality 8 by 10 inch softcover, 156 pages, generously illustrated with clear black and white photographs.
Part one is more than simply historical information on aiki-jujutsu. It is instead an excellent overview of Japanese martial history, likely to be very useful for students of either the martial arts or history. The author's understanding of Japan's evolution is impressive, and he communicates clearly the interdependence of the culture and the martial ways of that country. One particularly welcome aspect of Mr.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Rich in Detail and Methods 12 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu is an uncommon martial arts book. It is distinctive for several reasons:

1. It treats the Japanese martial arts and aikijujutsu as actual arts and not merely some sort of physical mayhem.

2. It discusses the history, theory, philosophy and techniques of aikijujutsu and Japanese martial arts in a well-written, intelligent and even scholarly way.

3. It actually offers more in its descriptions of martial techniques than the all too typical, "Now I move my right foot forward . . ." sort of explanation. The author provides extremely detailed and clear descriptions of how to perform the large number of techniques depicted in this book. Far too many martial arts books only describe what is obviously taking place in the photos, which is just that-obvious. H. E. Davey explains points that are essential for success and still not immediately apparent by looking at the pictures. This book contains one of the most thorough series technical instructions of any martial arts book I've read.

4. It presents the seemingly esoteric concept of "aiki" in a manner that is clearly explained, pragmatic and yet still containing a deep spiritual dimension. Aikido practitioners would be well served by taking a look at this book. One of the best descriptions of what aiki is and how to use it that I've found.

Way too many martial arts books tend to be superficial, poorly written and concerned with mostly how to pound someone into the pavement. Unfortunately since they are so lacking in content, scholarship and intelligence they frequently fail in that regard too.

This book is far removed from the average mediocre judo, aikido, etc. books out there. Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu is a rare find in the world of martial arts manuals.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and well presented 17 Jun. 2001
By Paolo Marino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First of all, I don't practice Aiki-jujutsu, but I have ten years of experience in Aikido, which is derived from it, so I think that my viewpoint on this book can be sufficiently objective.
This book describes the historical origins of this style, clearing up many of the myths and misconceptions about budo in general, ju-jutsu, Aikiju-jutsu, Aikido and their respective relationships.
After the historical presentation you get a part devoted to explaining aiki, the use of body and mind in Aikijujutsu, and finally a technical section which first explains in great detail a fairly small number of techniques then presents a larger sequence of diverse techniques without explaining them.
All in all I found this book informative, balanced and well focused. Even if the title could make you think that this is one of those "learn XXX in YYY lessons from me, the self-appointed grand-master of ZZZ style" I found that the author has certainly done his homework, I liked most of his explanation of many points which may be useful in my own Aikido practice.
I'd like to stress that this is not a "technical" book, and you should not buy it for learning techniques (even those which are explained in detail will at bes give you an idea of the principles of this art, not any real knowledge of how to perform them). This is ok for me, because I believe that martial arts are learned by doing, and books are a very poor substitute for actual practice with a good teacher.
On the other hand, if you ever need to teach, or even just explain what aikido and its related styles are about, I think this book fits the bill nicely. I also liked that the author does not try to "sell" its particular style as the ultimate combative (or philosophical, or health-promoting) system. He obviously likes AikiJuJutsu and believes in it, but does not get overboard with it.
All in all, a good read if you want to learn more about the ideas and principles behind this family of martial arts.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Aiki-jujutsu Book! 7 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Review by Nicklaus Suino
(Nicklaus Suino holds black belt ranks in several traditional Japanese martial arts, including Nihon Jujutsu, and has written three books for Weatherhill and several articles on budo and budo culture. While living in Japan, he received his 6th-degree black belt in Eishin Ryu Iaido from Fukui Soke, the current Eishin Ryu headmaster. He currently teaches Judo, Jujutsu, Karate and Iaido at the Institute of Traditional Asian Martial Arts.)
Legitimate sources for information about traditional martial arts techniques and history are rare. Few exist in English. This new book by accomplished martial artist and historian H.E. Davey, published by Masters Press, will join the list of perhaps two dozen works about the martial arts written in English that are essential reading. It is exemplary in many respects.
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF AIKI-JUJUTSU is written in three parts: Part One is entitled "The mysterious origins and roots of aiki-jujutsu"; Part Two is called "Discovering the hidden powers of the mind, body and aiki"; and Part Three is "The explosive power of aiki-jujutsu techniques."
Part one is more than simply historical information on aiki-jujutsu. It is instead an excellent overview of Japanese martial history, likely to be very useful for students of either the martial arts or history. The author's understanding of Japan's evolution is impressive, and he communicates clearly the interdependence of the culture and the martial ways of that country. One particularly welcome aspect of Mr. Davey's writing is that he rigorously documents the sources of his information, a detail that is all too rarely found in martial arts books. His subchapter entitled "Myths and Misconceptions" is also very helpful in presenting information about aiki-jujutsu and dispelling some stereotypes held by martial artists.
Part two is divided into three subparts, dealing with mind, body and aiki, respectively. The "mind" section discusses mental aspects of martial arts practice both from the point of view of a layperson (indicating how a positive outlook can improve one's life) and from the point of view of a martial artist, familiar with the concept of ki, or intrinsic energy, and its relationship to technique. The "body" section discusses the important role of relaxation in practice, and how this relaxation may not be the sort most of us are familiar with. Continuous practice, Davey observes, is crucial to teach the body how to move in harmony with the forces of nature. "Aiki" means harmonious energy, although the author's detailed discussion of the concept shows us that there are much deeper ways to understand this word, encompassing such concepts as eye-contact, breathing, distance, balance, and concentration. One of the most interesting aspects of Davey's discussion of aiki is its relationship to strategy in conflict, where he describes how an advanced martial artist can control his opponent's actions even before a clash.
One small difficulty in reading these first two sections is that the photos are labelled by number, and it is sometimes difficult to find the photo that is being discussed in the text. While numbering works well in the technical section (each photo is labelled "fig. 1," fig. 2," etc.), short descriptive captions might have worked better in the textual portions of the book.
Part three contains detailed descriptions of selected aiki-jujutsu techniques, clearly illustrated with photographs. The photographs do a good job of showing select portions of the techniques Davey explains in his text, although like any still photos of moving techniques there are limits to their effectiveness. One can only hope a companion videotape is in the works! In any case, the selection of techniques include many that are familiar to practitioners of aikido and jujutsu, and many that are unique, or at least done in a way that is unique to Davey's impressive aiki-jujutsu. The explanations are detailed, more so than many other books, and sprinkled with useful advice about how to make the skills more effective, more efficient, or more dynamic.
For students of the martial arts in general, and especially for students of aikido, jujutsu, and aiki-jujutsu, this is a must read. It will be useful as well for anyone interested in Japan and its martial culture, even non-martial artists.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
True Aiki-jujutsu 20 Jan. 2002
By Brett Denison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu" is a significant contribution to martial arts literature. Very little accurate information is available on traditional Aiki-jujutsu in Japan, let alone here in the United States. Much of what gets passed off as Aiki-jujutsu is frequently Aikido with atemi-waza (striking techniques) added, or a blending of modern Jujutsu with Aikido. Neither of which accurately represents true traditional Aiki-jujutsu.
Davey sensei has spent the majority of his adult life studying, training, and researching traditional Aiki-jujutsu-and other Japanese cultural arts. This effort is very evident in this text.
The book is presented in three sections, starting with a historical overview of Japanese martial arts in general, and Aiki-jujutsu specifically. Davey sensei presents the historical information in a very unique way; empathizing the key figure sin the evolution of the style along with the resources and references that support the information presented.
The second section presents a detailed explanation of the key principles that differentiate traditional Aiki-jujutsu systems, with specific focus on Saigo-ryu Aiki-jujutsu. Of the hundreds of books and articles in print today, this section provides one of the best presentations and explanations on the concept of Aiki that I have ever read. Davey sensei presents the material in a very realistic and tangible fashion, without losing the reader in deluge of meta-physical or quasi-religious verbiage.
The final section of the book presents a set of techniques from the Saigo-ryu system of Aiki-jujutsu. Davey sensei approaches this section with a very traditional flavor. The first chapter in this section presents a very small set of techniques, but provides very detailed explanations for them, providing the reader with a good understanding of the characteristics and distinguishing features of Aiki-jujutsu. The following (and final) chapter presents many additional techniques, but with only superficial explanations. This approach is very common in Japanese cultural arts, where a student will be taught the first kata or set of techniques within a system and will stand a significant portion of time training and understanding the basic movements and underlying principles of the techniques-establishing a strong foundation for the rest of the curriculum. By establishing this foundation, it is not necessary to go into as much detail for the subsequent techniques.
The overall layout of the book is very professional and the included photographs are clear and very easy to follow. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in traditional Aiki-jujutsu, Jujutsu, or Japanese cultural arts in general.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An Important and Serious Book 16 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-Jujutsu," by H.E. Davey. Masters Press 1997.

"Aiki-jujutsu is a traditional Japanese combative discipline that has the potential to vitally transform the lives of its participants. This transformation takes place of course in the realm of one's newly developed skills of self-protection, but due to the nature of the art, it is also equally possible to experience profound spiritual realizations."

So begins H.E. Davey Sensei in his ambitious and sincere effort to introduce to us the traditional Japanese art of aiki-jujutsu. He does so in three well-articulated and well-illustrated sections, and helps substantiate his material with detailed references, notes, and a helpful glossary. It is an enjoyable and informative read.

In Part One, "The Mysterious Origins and Roots of Aiki-Jujutsu", Davey Sensei shares with us the fruits of his personal research in the US and in Japan, seeking the roots and heritage of a system he learned from his father, who studied Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu directly under Saigo Kenji Soke. Besides identifying and tracing relations between major schools of aiki-jujutsu, the author attempts to debunk and address misconceptions and stereotypes.

Part Two, "Discovering the Hidden Powers of the Mind, Body, and Aiki", probes mind-body connections and tapping into aiki, which Davey Sensei defines as "union with the life energy (Ki) of the universe". Much more than physical technique, aiki is identified in this chapter as a psychology and a philosophy of action and of life.

But "where's the meat?" you may be asking. Once the reader is prepared by historical and philosophical overture, Davey Sensei delivers the "meat" as well. Part Three is "The Explosive Power of Aiki-Jujutsu Techniques", and includes a technical analysis and sampling of specific techniques. These are expertly demonstrated by the author and his obviously well trained students, revealed in clear and sometimes sequential photographs, often juxtaposing correct and incorrect technique. This last part demonstrates the substance alluded to in the previous parts. In fact, readers without some form of previous jujutsu training will likely find the last section, "Aiki-jujutsu: A Sampling of Unique Techniques", too technical to easily follow or replicate.

Davey Sensei's book, his first, and the first (as far as I am aware) in English on aiki-jujutsu, is an important and serious work, a genuine contribution to the available literature on Asian martial systems. For purists and traditionalists, the work could have been enhanced with kanji inscriptions of Japanese terms in the glossary, but that lack could be balanced by the ready accessibility of the text via its publisher, Masters Press, in most major bookstores. This is a work that serious martial practitioners, particularly those in Japanese ryu, will want to have for their own.

Reviewed by Stephen M. Fabian, Ph.D. (Fifth-degree black belt Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu; USA Branch Director for Hontai Yoshin Ryu and USA Representative of Inoue Soke, 18th Generation Headmaster of Hontai Yoshin Ryu)
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