Recall from the last blog that after training with Phillipe Boiron, Jan de Jong developed an ambition to visit Japan to train. In 1969, at the age of 48, he realised that ambition. While in Japan, De Jong was a uchideashi (live-in student) of Minoru Mochizuki. The photograph to the right is of De Jong and Mochizuki during this time.
Mochizuki was a remarkable man. He trained under many modern day martial art greats, including Morehi Ueshiba (founder of aikido), Jigaro Kano (founder of judo) and Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan karate). He was graded 10th dan aikido, 9th dan jujutsu, 9th dan judo, 8th dan iaido, 5th dan kendo, and 5th dan karate, in addition to the various traditional certifications of mastery he received. Mochhizuki was the first to teach aikido outside of Japan when he taught in France in 1951. He developed his own composite martial system named Yoseikan Budo which includes elements of judo, aikido, karate, and kobudo. Even though he is not well known for teaching jujutsu, the only book he ever wrote was entitled Nihonden Jujutsu.
Mochizuki was born in Shizuoka, Japan on 7 April, 1907. He commenced learning judo at the age of five. He explains how he came to learn Gyokushin-ryu jujutsu in Stanley A Pranin's Aikido Masters: Prewar Students of Morihei Ueshiba:
I also practiced an old-style jujutsu art called Gyokushin-ryu jujutsu. This system used a lot of sacrifice techniques and others that were very similar to those of aikido. At that time, the Gyokushin-ryu teacher Sanjuro Oshima lived very near my sister. The teacher was quite saddened to see the classical styles of jujutsu disappearing one by one and was determined to see to it that his own art was preserved - so much so that he requested that I learn it from him. I would go to his house and would be treated to a fine meal. I didn't have to pay any fees to study and they actually gave me dinner. That is how I came to study jujutsu.Mochizuki explains that Gyokushin is written with characters which mean 'spherical school'. He quotes his former teacher when explaining the significance of the name:
A ball will roll freely. No matter which side it is pushed from it will roll away. Just this sort of spirit is the true spirit that Gyokushin-ryu seeks to instill in its members. If you have done this nothing in this world will upset you.The Yoseikan dojo was established in Shizuoka in November 1931. Mochizuki had been ill with pleurisy and pulmonary tuberculosis and his brother and some others built the dojo to encourage him to stay in Shizuoka rather than return to Tokyo once he got out of hospital. Yoseikan can be loosely translated as 'the place where the right path is taught' (The Art of Jujutsu: The legacy of Minoru Mochizuki's 'Yoseikan' by Edgar Kruyning).
Mochizuki explains how he discussed his composite approach with Ueshiba (who was less than impressed with his emphasise on combat victory):
I went overseas to spread aikido and had matches with many different people while I was there. From that experience I realised that if was very difficult to win with only the techniques of aikido. In those cases I instinctively switched to jujutsu, judo, or kendo techniques and was able to come out on tope of the situation. No matter how I thought about it I couldn't avoid the conclusion that the techniques of Daito-ryu jujutsu were not enough to decide the issue.
The first copy of the brilliant but now defunct magazine, Fighting Arts International, I purchased had Mochizuki on the front cover. I'd never seen a photograph of him before but I knew instinctively it was him because he was so similar to De Jong in many ways. In the article by Harry Cook, he explains that 'to recieve a black belt from the Yoseikan it is necessary to study at least three of the major arts and have a working knowledge of as may systems as possible.' I've never really understood how that works as there is Yoseikan budo, Yoseikan aikido, and Yoseikan karate being taught around the world. In any event, De Jong said he was awarded shodan in Yoseikan aikido and Shotokan karate and that he also trained various weapon arts including kenjutsu.
After having been training at the Yoseikan for a couple of weeks, De Jong was summoned down from the living quarters upstairs to watch some students do a grading one morning. The student seated next to De Jong nudged him and told him to pay attention as he was next. Remember, in those days they didn't have grading sheets to refer to, it was all rote learning. When it was his turn, De Jong undertook the examination and passed. When he sat down the same gentleman nudged him again and advised him to pay attention to the next grading as well. That day he successfully graded three grades in Yoseikan aikido.
It wasn't all hard work. De Jong explained that his Japanese fellow students would go into town to have dinner and a few drinks. They were impressed with his drinking ability which didn't say a great deal as De Jong suggested they couldn't hold their alcohol. He said he had to support, if not carry, some of his training partners back to the dojo on more than one occasion.
Recall from the war years that De Jong had an aversion to cold weather due to his Hunger Winter experience following WWII. It reared its head in Japan when his fellow uchideashi opened the window at night for some fresh air, which was a little too 'fresh' for De Jong who would close the window.
De Jong explained that the aikido/budo which Mochizuki taught had a lot in common with the jujutsu he had learnt from the Saitos (see previous blogs). He recognised the bodymovements (taisabaki) which Mochizuki taught in an analytical appoach based on Kano's analytical approach. Gerry Carr, in Sport Mechanics for Coaches, provides an analytical approach to teaching and correcting sports skills. Step 4 is to divide the skill into phases. Kano did this with his kuzushi-tsukuri-kake (unbalancing-fitting in-technique execution) phases of judo throwing techniques. De Jong did this after returning from Japan in his taisabaki-kuzushi-waza (bodymovement-unbalancing-technique) approach (more will be explained on this in future blogs). De Jong said that Mochizuki preferred his o irimi senkai (major entering rotation) and changed his to that of De Jong's while De Jong preferred Mochizuki's and changed his to that.
De Jong only trained with Mochizuki for less than six months. However, he would later request an instructor be sent from the Yoseikan to Perth and his jujutsu grading system would be significantly influenced by his Yoseikan experience. These will all be the subject of future blogs.
Mochizuki pasted away on 30 May 2003 age 96. De Jong passed away the same year on the 5th of April age 82. Two giants of the martial arts world, upon whose shoulder's I'm attempting to stand and see further, coincidentally passing away within months of each other.
Recall from above that Nihonden Jujutsu was the only book Mochizuki, the budo/aikido/judo master ever authored. The title is translated as 'Traditional Japanese Jujutsu' and it was published in 1978. I recently saw a copy of this book on ebay with an asking price of US$4,000.
De Jong, Maggie (his daughter), and myself had been teaching for Jan-Erik Karlsson in Lund, Sweden. An annual event, both the European teaching tours and teaching in Lund. We had a rare day without teaching and De Jong, being older and always pushing himself on these tours, was taking the opportunity of relaxing in the sun outside Karlsson's house with its sea views. I on the other hand was taking the opportunity of rummaging through his martial arts library. Lo and behold, I found a photocopy of a book with Mochizuki's photograph on the front which I recognised from the abovementioned magazine article. It was in Japanese, but, I couldn't help but recognise so much of the content with what we'd been taught by De Jong and which made up so much of the grades De Jong had introduced. I felt like Indiana Jones finding the Ark of the Lost Covenant. De Jong's teachings were much sought after around the world and here was a book with some of them in it
Karlsson was most generous in giving the copy of this book to me once I'd gushed over it. When we returned to the land of Oz (Australia), I gave a copy to De Jong. Again, lo and behold, a few years later he began teaching a third dan grading which included 20 sacrifice throws and 20 takedown techniques in the instructor's class held every Friday night. He would give all the attendees a photocopy of the techniques he was going to teach that night, which, I recognised as coming from Nihonden Jujutsu. I never spilled the beans and we would often exchange rye smiles as he introduced these new techniques. The existence of the book was never disclosed to his instructors and, often much to the surprise of the instructors including the senior instructors who had been my instructors, De Jong would often get me to demonstrate the techniques when introducing them to the instructors class for the first time. I would like to think he selected me because my technique and understand was so good, however, I suspect it was because he knew I'd seen the techniques before and had been playing with them over the years
A few years ago I acquired a rare two set DVD produced of Mochizuki's teachings. Again, this is so exciting because it is another reference point for many of the things De Jong taught. You can see similarities and differences, which, as explained in a previous blog, the identification of is the core of all learning.
These DVDs also demonstrates one other thing. The training we received at the Jan de Jong Self Defence School, and the capabilities of some of its students/instructors, was world class. There is a DVD of Greg Palmer's second dan demonstration grading which involved six of his students, all non-black belts, which I would consider at least technically equivalent of the Mochizuki DVD performed by black belts. De Jong was always one for precision. Twitch a foot in a particular technique and you'd fail that technique in a grading.