Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book review - Taiho Jutsu The Art Of Arrests

This blog was supposed to be a review of the Taiho Jutsu Minnesota – Takedowns Seminar.  With answers to the big questions I asked last blog and training advice on how to implement what we learned.

Man plans God laughs

I have been working on that class for over 6 weeks.  My whole family was excited to have a long weekend in Mankato (Grandma Ronny’s birthday was that weekend too).  I was going to Roll with Rudenick Sensei at his Judo Dojo in the morning, eat lunch then teach all afternoon at Gus’s Dojo.  Then eat dinner and drink a couple of adult type beverages.  Perfect weekend, a little bit a Valhalla right here on Earth.

But instead…..

Thursday night after class I had some water and my stomach felt funny.  Lise drove home from the Dojo and I had to focus so as not to puke all over her car.  The second I walked into my house that focus was broken and I got sick.

Violent spasaming, convulsing, like a guy changing into a werewolf in a movie type heaving sick.  This continued from when I walked in the door at 11pm ever 30-45 minutes until 6am Friday morning.

Wow that sucked!  As miserable as that was, what was worse was the realization that I wouldn’t feel better in time to salvage my kickass weekend.  Even if I did it wouldn’t be fair to expose Cops and other Dojos to what ever demon virus that had beat the living shit out of me for the last 36 some odd hours.

So a Taiho Jutsu Minnesota – Takedowns Seminar review blog will be coming.  Just not today, but it has been awhile since I blogged. 

Instead of training I read, so this blog will be a book review.

Taiho Jutsu
The art of arrests

By Steven Kaplan and Jeffery Kaplan

Steven Kaplan studied martial arts under Larry Lent a graduate of the grueling Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program at the Kodokan.  This book explores the Taiho Jutsu that emerged from that program and compares and contrasts Taiho Jutsu to other Law Enforcement defensive tactics and Military combative measures programs

What I liked
The history of the US Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program.  Phil Porter Sensei was an American pioneer in Japanese martial arts and a graduate of the SAC program.  Through Porter’s student (my teacher) Steve Jimerfield the SAC program directly influenced what I teach.  So it was very interesting for me to learn more about this program, and fun for me to recognize major portions of it.

The emphasis placed on tai sabaki
How tai sabaki is the link between the different father arts of Taiho Jutsu (Judo, Aikido, Karate)
How that tai sabaki can be enhanced with traditional weapons training (Kenjutsu, Jojutsu, Tanto Jutsu)

You may notice that I have blogged on those topics in the past.  It was cool for me to read my ideas supported by a different source.  (Everybody love to be right…right?)

What I didn’t like
The book gets a little Ameri-do-te like.  Best of all, worst of none.  Why Taiho Jutsu is great and this art (insert art here) is ok but not as good as Taiho Jutsu over and over again.

I agreed with most of what he wrote, and I love Taiho Jutsu.  I teach Taiho Jutsu full time.  But even I was like Ok enough is enough already Taiho Jutsu is great we get it.

Also the nearly non stop defining the difference between the “short” program and Taiho Jutsu as taught in a Dojo setting with a Kyu / Dan system was tedious.  Even then, flipping back and fourth between the two variations was confusing.

To compound this repetition there are at least 2 chapters “Improvisation in Taiho Jutsu” and “Advice against a Boxer” that are repeated verbatim twice in the book.

This book would have been much better if they had a professional editor with no martial arts experience proof read and check for understandability.

All and all I enjoyed this book

If you are interested in the history of the US Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program or Japanese martial arts I would suggest reading this book.

You can get nearly the entire book here for free

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe


  1. I truly appreciate the restraint you showed at NOT vomitting all over myself or my car. I knew there was trouble when you refused to eat a homemade protein bar :(

  2. You're welcome.
    If my will had been weaker I would have filled your little car full to the brim