The Basic DanZan Ryu Jujitsu Techniques

"If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother teaching them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking."
- Buckminster Fuller

DanZan Ryu training is conveyed through a series of carefully composed lists of techniques. Each list encompass the basic essence of certain skills one needs to master. These are also referred to as ‘boards’ of kata techniques. The first five lists are taught below black belt level: Yawara (basic holds and escapes), Nage (basic throws), Shime (basic ground techniques), Oku (deeper combination techniques), basic kicks, strikes and parries; and Goshin Jitsu (basic self-defense techniques). The remaining lists, taught to blackbelts only, include advanced combination techniques; defenses against gun, knife, staff and sword; iron fan and stick arts; advanced kicks and strikes; resuscitation techniques (kappo) and a complete system of restorative massage techniques.

Including the basic falling techniques (sutemi wasa), basic strikes, parries and kicks the lists taught below Black Belt level are:

  1. Yawara: basic hand techniques
  2. Nage: basic throwing techniques
  3. Shime: basic mat techniques
  4. Oku: advanced combination techniques
  5. Goshin Jitsu: basic applied self-defense techniques


The importance of good posture and good footwork can not be overemphasized. As the old masters used to say: when posture is perfect, the movement that follows is perfect too. Without good posture a technique lacks a certain quality. “If you don’t have good posture, your practice will be like a lame horse trying to pull a cart.”

Kata form, the need for kata form
and the reason for variations

“First we form our habits. Then our habits form us.”

To avoid overwhelming and confusing the beginner with the multitude of self-defense techniques, in JuJitsu we use one basic way of performing each and every technique. This basic way is referred to as the “Kata” or form. There are an infinite number of ways to perform a technique and its practical applications. Yet, by establishing basic forms (katas) certain physical principles necessary for learning self-defense can be taught most efficiently to a wide range of students, while serving as a basis of common understanding. Most importantly the concept being taught and used will remain intact over time with minimal distortion.

Practicing Kata is like practicing a meditation to perfect the elements of a technique (also called an “art”). The concepts of certain elements remain the same from art to art and must only be adapted to that particular art. Breathing must be perfect, full of Ki, abdominal, relaxed and methodical. The timing of the stages of breathing are adapted to each art so as to provide maximum effectiveness. Yet if the breathing is too mechanical, done by rote, effectiveness will be lost because there is insufficient flow with the current situation. So - in our practice we study the specific - we will move just so, breathe just so, feel just so, follow exactly this pattern; over and over and over - seeking perfection of form and action, inner being and outer world, motion and stillness. We will never end our study of the specific - since from this study come certain habits of motion and attitude which are the foundation of effective self-defense.

Once a student achieves this understanding it can be used to experiment, to find variations - which leads to realizing certain generalizations that help to achieve a more in-depth understanding of the underlying elements of the Martial Arts, of life - of eternity.

This is the underlying teaching philosophy that has been practiced and perfected as part of a centuries old tradition. Although it is one of many paths, it has been retained for one simple reason: it has been tested over and over and has been found to work!

Uki and Tori

“Appreciation is what makes the good qualities in others our own.”

Most of what we learn in JuJitsu is learned while practicing with another person. The person executing a technique is called "Tori", and the person on whom the technique is applied is called "Uke". When practicing on the mat, Tori and Uke are an interdependent pair that help each other in learning the techniques. It is important to develop a certain harmony between Tori and Uke, while retaining a state of mental vigilance.

When a technique is practiced as a basic form, Uke supports Tori's actions to promote learning. When practicing applications of these techniques, Uke teaches Tori by gradually taking advantage of Tori's mistakes.

One will never learn to flow when one has to learn under pressure and anxiety, because that kind of training makes one defensive (although pressure can be used to test if one flows). One can not be a good martial artist when one is defensive (to some extent one good criteria to determine a good style, may be whether it creates non-defensive individuals).

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If you have any questions about Jujitsu, please contact,
Burkhard Bohm, Sensei (530) 836-2208


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Burkhard