The Kodenkan Judo of Master Okazaki

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Introduction to Shinin no Maki

The original Kuden (oral instruction) to Shin In no Maki

After much training and discipline, one is ready to be taught the Black Belt Arts of Danzan Ryu. The individual to be taught for the first time is not expected to be an expert in the basics of the system, but is expected to be able to demonstrate proficiency in these basics. If one teaches as Professor Okazaki originally taught the system, one would be taught in the following manner:

  • One is first taught the Sutemi list, which comprises rolls and falls.

  • As one learns Sutemis, one is also taught Yawara or twenty basic hand Arts.

  • Progressing, one is taught twenty basic throws and then basic constriction arts. A list of throws for children was also taught. This completes the training in the fundamentals of the system.

  • Next, one is taught Oku (which are basic combinations) and advanced Yawara, as well as many of the Kiai No Maki Arts. This completes the intermediate curriculum.

Having developed proficiency in the basics of Jujutsu, one is then ready to be taught the first of the black belt lists. However, proficiency alone is not sufficient for deciding whether to teach someone these Arts. The individual must be of the proper mind, as well. Since many of these Arts are quite dangerous, those who are taught should be both mature and technically competent. Carelessness or lack of concentration on the mat is not allowed. People can and do get hurt in the practice and learning of the Martial Arts. It is a contact Art. For this reason, safety is emphasized. To progress, one must eventually get to the point where one can practice with realism. This means that one has sufficient self-control so that one does not hurt one's partner. It also means that when one is the receiver of a technique one is able to protect oneself by a Sutemi in the event one's partner makes a mistake. Mistakes are part of learning. What is important is that people do not become injured as a result of carelessness or frivolity.

Now, Black Belt classes were always conducted with silence on the mat. There was no idle talk or socializing. People came to practice and work out. After the class, there was always time for socializing and discussing the things that were learned and sharing the experiences one enjoyed during that class. It is true that those who do not know how to do these things need to ask questions to learn. But once they have been taught it is expected that they will practice in silence, or else they are not on the mat to practice for the right reasons. Again, since Black Betters are expected to practice with realism, they must be first completely focused on their practice. Any lack of focus on their part and someone can become injured. Since safety comes first, their lack of focus is not to be tolerated and so they are not to practice in the Black Belt class until they demonstrate their willingness to practice in the proper manner. Moreover, these individuals are detracting from the practice of others and they should leave the mat (or be asked to leave, if necessary) because they have not come to practice with the proper attitude.

It is always the instructor's responsibility to ensure that the Martial Arts are being practiced safely. As we have said, at the black belt level the student is expected to practice realistically but at the same time, safely. (This is called putting Shin into one's Art.) If any individual is not practicing with safety in mind, then it is the instructor's responsibility to dismiss that person from the mat. They are not to be allowed back on the mat to practice until they understand how they are to behave and practice.

Not everyone is taught these Arts. This is because not everyone has the fortitude to learn the basics well enough to progress to this level. How many have come and gone during the time one has been conscientiously studying and practicing? They thought that Jujutsu would be fun, would be quick to learn, and would be a good place to socialize. They are no longer here because they came for the wrong reasons and they never learned the right reason for staying. Those of you are here to practice and learn these Arts have shown that you have had the fortitude to persevere and, more importantly, that your instructor feels that you have demonstrated the proper attitude and competency.

Professor Okazaki taught that the practice of Judo is for the perfecting of one's character. Thus, it is more than an activity where one socializes and has a good time. By all means, this is part of being on the mat, but it is not the principle reason for being there. Those who make these reasons the principle reasons do not stay long. Those who stay begin to see a change in themselves. The longer they stay the more of a change takes place. If one practices Judo all one's life, then this becomes a process (and a process in the Orient is called a Way). Where one was shy and withdrawn before, one is now more confident. Where one was uncertain and hesitant, one is now more assured. Where one was quicker with a reply to some small slight, one is now more forgiving. This is due to the skills and confidence one has acquired in learning Judo. But one should not take these skills and abuse them. This is forbidden. Those who are taught the Black Belt Arts are those who can be trusted not to abuse what they have been taught. It is for this reason that many are 'weeded' out early on. They come to learn these Arts so that they may take advantage of others, so that they may become the bully, rather than for their protection and the protection of others.

Professor Okazaki taught that with advancement in Judo, one acquires more responsibility. This responsibility is that the use of the knowledge given will be used only for one's own protection, the protection of one's family or for the protection of those in need. Not everyone possesses this knowledge that has been imparted or this skill that has been developed. Therefore, the person who learns Judo is a special person. If a stranger is being accosted and a Judo person sees this, they should first assess the situation. If they are able to deal with it, then they should take immediate action. If the danger is too great, then they should immediately get assistance. Knowing Judo does not make one superior to others. This is dangerous thinking. However, knowing Judo may give one an edge over others. It is said, therefore, never underestimate one's opponent. One should also know one's own weakness. Remember how little one knew when one first stepped on the mat and think that as much as one now knows, this may still be little compared to someone else. This is why arrogance is forbidden. It is for one's own safety and to insure that these Arts are not abused.

Now, when one practices Shin In, one should try to blend harmoniously with one's partner. As smoke is captured by a breeze and becomes part of the breeze, so too is one's practice supposed to be with one's partner. As a ball turns smoothly because it is round, so too must one turn with one's partner. One must become one with one's partner so that there is neither Tori nor Uke, there are only two individuals who have come together so smoothly that one cannot distinguish one from the other. This, then, is the purpose of the practice of Shin In No Maki. Now, one is to take this knowledge that one is to be taught here (and which one will learn in the future), and go back to the basics and see where this teaching can be applied. One should also try to apply the things they learn in these classes to their daily life, as well. Only by doing this can one grow in one's Judo practice.

All Shin In classes begin with the Shin In bow. The purpose of this bow is to foster courage and help instill the fighting spirit. One immediately executed the first of the Shin In Arts - Isami Tasuki Nage.

(This concludes the introduction to Shin In No Maki.)

(Note: This is the introduction as taught by Professor 'Bud' Estes to the author.)  

1990, 2002, 2009 David A. Scheid, All Rights Reserved

Prepared by: David A. Scheid