I am a martial arts veteran of twenty six years, Co-Founder of the Totejutsu Association of America (TAA) and Co-Founder of Northwest Martial Arts (NWMA) dojo in Bothell Washington. Brent Yamamoto and I created the system of arts called Ki-Totejutsu which is primarily based off of Ryukyu Totejutsu (Karate) and Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido as these were our primary areas of study. We formed this new organization not to invent something new, because these arts are not new, but rather to facilitate the growing interest of adapting concepts of relaxed power to Karate training.
The focus of my teaching has been on practical uses and development of Internal Power, rather than competition style of martial arts. Many schools offer a mixture of martial arts, but the TAA and NWMA offer an integrated method of instruction. Over the last decade, I have worked to incorporate all of my arts and I teach them in a way that is accessible and easily applied.
I began learning martial arts seriously in January of 1988 and later I became a live-in student with the Chief Instructor for North America for Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido where I practiced for over forty hours a week for five years. After graduating from this program, I began to pursue studies in other systems including swordsmanship and Jujutsu along with my regular Karate and Aikido training. It was in this time where I became aware that all of the arts were connected, and that there was simple glue that bound all arts together; Internal Power. If one truly understood a technique, they should be able to perform it immediately.
Relaxed power developed through mind and body coordination training is used in all of my arts, and has always been a focal point in my pursuits. Utilizing the minimum amount of power (for the maximum amount of effect) necessary to throw an opponent, block an attack, or strike down an opponent has been my ideal of mastery.
Masters do not have to move quickly, nor do they have to get out of the way of an attack if they don’t care to. Using the principles of Ki-Totejutsu, one need not be physically strong or even fast to perform the arts well.
Strength and speed both diminish in time, but with proper structure and proper procedure, internal shifting of weight can magnify power in ways that look impossible or even magical to the novice. This internal way of practice becomes stronger with age, not weaker.
The main distinction of our style from other Japanese Karate is that there is absolutely no emphasis on Sports. We don’t practice tournament style Kata, nor tournament style sparing. We use short stances to facilitate natural movement. We don’t use long stances like Zenkutsu Dachi, and we don’t rotate our hips while punching. This might seem very unusual to practitioners of Sport Karate however, twisting the the torso and not the hips creates devastating power.
Our primary Kata we practice are Naifanchi and Sanchin (One Shurite, one Nahate). Both of these kata demonstrate a distinct fighting style, and we incorporate both into our practice. Although we encourage our students to primarily practice only these two kata, we do practice others such as all five Pinan, Ananko, Seiunchin, Basai-dai, Chinto, Tensho, Gekisai, and Niseishi.
The majority of our practice is spent understanding proper body structure, allowing us to “shut off” the solar plexus making us immune to punches or kicks to this target. Proper body alignment also allows us to shift our weight internally as to hide our movements, and to hit much harder as a result. Ki-Totejutsu is about 80% hand technique and 20% foot technique. We don’t kick above the waist, and most of our kicks are to the knees or groin, or used for take downs.
The four major principles of Ki-Totejutsu:
1- Correct Structure
2- Relaxed Power
3- Hide Technique
4- Move your hand first
Each of these principles requires a book to thoroughly illustrate, so I will have to save that discussion for another time.
Chotoku Kyan–> Kudaka–> Ito–> Krohn
O’Sensei–> Koichi Tohei–> Koichi Kashiwaya–> Krohn
Come visit our dojo in Bothell, Washington: www.nwmartialarts.com
Special Thanks to White Crane Photography.