Devin just received his blue belt in Jujitsu this May! Nice work, Devin!
Doug received his green belt in Jujitsu this April. Both of us are working on the next step. We have a lot more to go, but are still learning many things and refining old techniques.
Devin performed several kata for his 2nd grade class in school, as well as throws and self defense. The self defense techniques often end with throws; he performed 3 knife techniques and 1 gun technique. Everyone was very surprised by how good he was!
Here he is in the middle of the throw called Ogoshi (Hip Throw).
Doug knows 15 kata and Devin knows 10 kata, including a few weapons kata. Kata are pre-arranged fighting techniques that use scenarios such as multiple attackers, gun and knife defense, and some require the use of martial arts weapons. Doug has 2 "bo" kata which uses a long staff, and Devin has 1 bo kata. Devin just started "sai" kata recently, and Doug has 1 sai kata.
Doug & Devin started taking Karate classes in October '05, once a week for awhile. After a month or two, we started to go twice a week. Doug tries to attend more classes and takes as many as 4 times per week.
Here is Doug countering an Osoto Gari attempt.
And here is an example of a successful Osoto Gari.
And a slightly more advanced throw, called Tai Otoshi.
And another more advanced throw, Harai Goshi (Hip Sweep).
For belt promotions, testing is required which consists of roughly 10 higher belts (usually) performing surprise attacks on a student, one after another. Some of the attacks are chokes from all sides, wrist and collar grabs, bearhugs from all sides, headlocks and mugger's hold, chicken wings, full nelsons and gun and knife attacks.
Devin is still going twice a week, as well as his brother and sister, and we are practicing at home when we can. Doug is attending classes 2-4 days per week. Devin is doing very well for his age, and his brother and sister are starting to learn the basics now. All of the kids enjoy Jujitsu practice, especially the ukemi (falls). Knowing how to fall is important for class on the mats, although falling on a hard surface requires similar techniques. Below is an example of tumbling over a 'bridge'. Devin is first, followed by Jared & Lianna.
In addition to the tests are pre-arranged fighting techniques or forms that teach you how to defend and counter-attack against multiple attackers (3 for the first few). Learning this "kata" is not the only part that must be done. There are also applications where you actually perform the technique against 3 attackers (limited contact). This is where the importance of distance and timing becomes more complex and more obvious. You often find yourself missing an attackers leg for a lower block and finding that your blocks have been positioned incorrectly during training, or don't match the opponent's body type. Improvising is critical when doing applications since your attackers consist of many different body types, whose legs and arms and torso are much different than the average person's. Shown below is an example of the class performing kata together.
The best part about this style of Karate and Jujitsu is that the style is designed for self-defense as opposed to sport competition, with the emphasis on learning and training in self-defense situations. However, these techniques are common among self-defense styles. By that, I mean that these styles of martial arts are for everyday people that want to learn how to defend themselves efficiently. We also learn how to injure attacker's and how not to injure partners. The goal is to do your best, learn the accuracy and efficiency of the techniques and master them. Kuzushi is required, which is off-balancing of your opponent for the throws. Throwing any alert person would not be possible without it.