I often get asked about our Dakentaijutsu, or striking methods, and how they are similar to, or differ from, Karate. In many ways they are very similar. Dakentaijutsu means striking body art, and is our method of delivering punches, kics, and various other strikes. As opposed to Jutaijutsu (more modern is Jujutsu or Jiujitsu) which is joint manipulation and submissions, and includes Nage Waza (older combat version of Judo) which is throwing. Karate and our use of Dakentaijutsu may appear similar on the surface, but there are some key differences I think is important to cover:
* Dakentaijutsu developed alongside Jutaijutsu, so they are built to work with each other. They are quite literally two sides of the same coin. Whereas many modern sport martial artists will earn two different systems and blend them together, like Karate or Muay Tai and BJJ or Judo, in our system they were never separate and are designed to work together. A strike sets up a throw, sets up another strike, sets up a submission.
* Dakentaijutsu utilizes the whole body to strike with. Our Dakentaijutsu striking techniques can be used to cover great distance very quickly, or deal with threats in a confined space. There is a key alignment with the structure of the skeleton that enables the great power that comes from our strikes while using very little effort. Thus, it is extremely efficient: Maximum power, minimum effort to generate the power.
* There are a variety of ways to shape the fists and other parts of the body (head, elbow, knees, toes, heels, etc.) for striking. In fact, the basic level of learning Dakentaijutsu has 16 different ways of shaping the fists and other parts of the body for striking. We don't just do push ups on our knuckles to condition them, we do pushups on our knuckles, fingers, thumbs, extended fore-knuckles, and sides of the hands in order to develop the strength in the ligaments of the hands to be able to perform our striking, or Dakentaijutsu. This allows a Bujinkan practitioner to be able to adapt to various situations with different ways of striking.
Shane Sensei is a licensed Shidoshi in the Bujinkan and member of the Shidoshi-Kai. He has trained in the Bujinkan since 1998 and regularly travels to Japan for training.