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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yama Arashi: The Man, the Technique, the Sticky Point

(Judo's version of yama arashi taken from

I found a somewhat contentious article that I thought about posting strictly for academic purposes only. I'm not really inclined to favor one art over the other since IMHO techniques, by themselves, are the last determinants for a successful outcome of a fight.

The subject centers on a technique that figured prominently during the days when Professor Jigoro Kano was trying to establish his new martial art (and later a combat sport) called judo which was based on the older jujitsu styles and traditions. This culminated in a match where the newer judo style was pitted against the other established schools of jujitsu and it seemed to have come out on top.

Inevitably there have been discussions and analyses as to how it managed to beat those older schools. One pervading thought coming from the jujitsu side was that Professor Kano engaged his top student at that time, Shiro Saigo who was a talented practitioner with a strong jujitsu background even before taking up Kano’s judo. His signature technique to dispatch his opponents was yama arashi ("mountain storm") was said to be so effective and efficiently used by him, it became his moniker. Unfortunately it was said to have been "lost" from the development of the martial curriculum of the later arts.

The book “Samurai Aikijutsu” by Toshishiro Obata which I happen to have, gives some historical perspective and information as to how this technique could have been executed. It is important to note though that certain techniques might have been named differently or had variations when executed depending on the particular style of jujitsu. Soke Obata’s reference was from the well-known Daito-Ryu school which was the prime source of another recently-evolved art, Aikido.

FWIW, the article below comes from the voice of a judo practitioner. However it does have very strong points to consider. The above animation is what judo recognizes as yama arashi, yet as the article shows (the technique from Soke Obata's book is featured and one from the Tenjin Myoshin Ryu style) jujitsu’s version is markedly different.

The article below -

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