My Firsthand Experience with the Juko-Kai and Combat-Ki
I would like to take this time to type an article about my first hand experience with the Juko-Kai members, itís founder, and the organization as a whole. I know you might be thinking this has been done over many, many times on the internet. Nope, this hasnít. I wanted first hand experience about who these people are and what they do. I didnít want to be a part of a forum that talked back and forth about this issue or that issue. So I was invited to their recent 50th Anniversary. I would like to tell you what I learned. I am not a Paper Dragon or Internet Warrior. I was not a Juko-Kai member. I was a Martial Artist who never claimed to be the best, or toughest guy around but wanted to see for myself what all the controversy was about with the Juko-Kai. Let me give you a very brief summary of my experience in the Martial Arts so you know you arenít dealing with a nut case.
I have been studying Martial Arts for over 32 years now. I am 41 years old now. I have several Black Belts or Menjo in a few arts with Godan (5th Dan) being my highest. It is safe to say I have been around the block a time or two. If I can see it and you can prove it, then it is real. If I canít see it and you canít prove it, itís crap/junk and I want nothing to do with it. I am practical. If you donít like what I have to say, guess what? TOUGH! I went, I saw, and I got the T-shirt. Did you? For those who have open minds and hearts and are true Martial Artist and not wannabeís, then you might learn something from what I experienced, not from what I was told.
My experience with them begins in the airport. When I finally connected with their members and we are leaving the terminal, 3 of them stopped right away to help an older lady find her contact lens she lost. I bet they looked for 5-10 minutes before they had to stop cause they had to go. One of them said their heart went out to this woman and they wanted to stop. Because they are like a family, they all stopped to help. Being human is the first lesson in Martial Arts. Realize you are human and then you can learn. Compassion makes the world a better place. Martial Arts will always take second place to compassion.
Many of my experiences are very personal for me. I am only sharing a small number of them. Come to find out, they are very personal, good people. If you have a question, they are more than glad to help. They only hurt those who try and hurt them. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. Their Masters were top rate/first class Martial Artist. I saw some of them doing randori (free fighting) and these were the masters. Trying to get one another with all of their heart and never taking anything personal. They were skilled on both ends of the spectrum. Some of them would get hit hard or got their groin grabbed and they just laughed about it. Hey, I am kind of crazy too and I laugh sometimes too but when I am getting hit, I personally didnít find it funny. These guys did. That is crazy!
Next was their Combat Ki segment. This young, skinny girl comes out from a line of people and walks up to the Master of Combat-Ki to stand beside him and is hit full power in the throat while walking up to him. Her response was to smile. He started talking about the Combat Ki and stuff and then another Master came out and put him in a head lock. The Master being locked grabbed him in his groin and tried to knock him off balance by attacking his legs. Then the Master grabbed his groin and they kept fighting and the one that was grabbed laughed all the way to the floor. When he got back up and started talking again someone asked if there where any questions about what he was talking about. I raised my hand. Everybody looked at me cause I was an outsider. A critic you could say. I told them I had seen things like this in the past with Karate Masters and such. It was like they were getting themselves ready and then taking the blow. I was told later that type of training was the lowest level of their Ki/Chi training. I told them my students and I were wondering if they could do these things when someone was moving? I personally felt that all of this stuff was worthless unless you could do it while fighting but I kept that thought to myself. I wanted the truth but didnít want to be rude while getting it. Soke Rod Sacharnoski invited me to personally come and see for myself, He even video taped the whole thing. The first thing I did was hit one Combat Ki Master in the groin with a palm heel strike. They angled it perfect so I could really get in there you could say. This guy just laughed at me when I hit him with all I had. I even used Kiai as well. I did that twice. Another master came out and did the same. It was like fun to these people who glowed and smiled every time I hit someone.
Soke Sacharnoski then asked me to do something they had never done before publicly. He asked a 17 year old and a 22 year old to come out. These young boys liked like twins and were brothers. I was asked to hit the 17 year old in the chest with all I had. I didnít want to in my heart. I am being honest, but I came here for a reason and this time it was put up or shut-up. Put-up works better for me so I got in a Boxing stance. I won 1st in North Carolina in Kickboxing when I was 16 years old and liked boxing a lot, so I got ready. I hit the kid in the chest and knocked him back about 3 ft. I chased him after I hit him and hit him with another cross strike using my fist to the chest. I hit this kid 3 times while chasing him as he was falling backward. Afterwards the kid just smiled. Seriously people. He did it while moving cause I moved him by hitting him and chasing him as he was falling backward. Did I have more knowledge than this kid, of course I did. It doesnít make a difference if I could kick his butt or not, he took 3 vital shots to the chest from me while moving. They proved it works.
Next, I kicked his brother in the groin, Soke gave a compliment on those for I lifted the kid in the air with them, maybe a foot or more. I would need to see the tape myself to say exactly but lets say I kicked him pretty hard. He just smiled at me. Soke complimented me on my kicks and then went on to explain a few things as I went over to the side shaking my head. No offense but they convinced me and I wasnít a Juko-Kai member. Just a guy with a few Black Belts who has been around the block a time or two.
Next I saw many demonstrations. Some were people doing very old Kata from Okinawa and some doing weapons demos with traditional Okinawa weapons and Chinese Weapons. Then I saw guys doing Randori (free fighting) with various unrehearsed techniques. I also saw some that were rehearsed as well. It is easy to tell. Then there was this Master of Judo and Jujutsu there who did a nice clinic on ground fighting/mma. I even had the opportunity to see two Juko-kai Masters go full throttle on the floor trying there best to get one another. I call that kind of training real fun.
Next we took a break. I was introduced to Soke Sacharnoski personally. He was very nice to me and asked what I did and how long I had been training. I told him I studied many arts but spent most of my time in Ninpo/Ninjutsu since 1983. His eyes got kind of big and he looked at my belt. I reckon he was looking for something specific, when I told him I was a Godan and wasnít one of these people who chase rank but love to train. He smiled and we went over to the side to talk more.
He told me about him being given the honor of being given an honorable 10th Dan (Judan) from Grandmaster Hatsumi, but how after that, many people said many cross things about him and he really didnít want to be a part of the politics and all so he left the Bujinkan alone. I could tell from the look in his face it really hurt him to say that. He even talked about the stack of certificates he had obtained while earning his way up the Kyu levels and the Dan levels. Let me tell you something. This man was not only a first class Martial Artist but a first class person as well. He has a heart of gold. I didnít witness some massive hypnotism that day, but I did witness someone who truly cares about those in his organization.
During our lunch, he served us a really nice lunch which we all really enjoyed. We had a chance to talk with others from all over the place. Many flew in from everywhere you could think of to be a part of this 50th Anniversary. During this time I had the chance to see an old friend I hadnít talked to in some time. I didnít know if he saw the Combat Ki stuff I went through, but he was very nice and honorable and went to say, ďHelloĒ to Soke Sacharnoski. I donít know how he would feel about me mentioning his name but lets just say he is one of the oldest, highest ranked Bujinkan teachers in the USA. We spoke for a while and even talked about the Combat-Ki. He said it was some pretty wild stuff and it personally wasnít his cup of tea for his training was different but he had respect for those who did it. Soke Sacharnoski even mentioned him to others and spoke of the respect he had for him. Even if Martial Artist do something different and you might not have an interest in such things, it is always good to show respect and honor to those who deserve it.
Next was the awards which were given out. Soke Sacharnoski said this would be the hardest part. It was! I have a bum knee and had to stretch it out occasionally as I sat on the floor. He went from his Master students in the art to others who had been given awards for their heart and dedication to the arts. Here is an important thing to say about his credentials. There are ways to tell if someone is a fraud. I paid very close attention to things I saw and heard around me. There were many that day that were given awards but were told that they were missing some that would come directly from Okinawa for the ranks they had received. Think about this for a second. Why would ranks be coming from Okinawa to America directly to students homes? Because he is connected with Okinawa Masters and did train with them most of his life if not all of it. This is not the language or attitude used by frauds. Believe what you want.
Next he spoke openly about a Master student of his who made a mistake by wearing jewelry while in Japan. Soke had received phone calls about how they didnít appreciate it or like it. He was telling others so they could learn from his mistake. The Master even nodded and smiled for he knew this as well. He wasnít ashamed but humbled from the experience. There is a difference.
While more awards were given out, many of his Shihan had to do something dealing with the renewal of their status. Juko-kai stuff I reckon. I donít know about that but I did catch it when he said he wasnít going to mention any names but some people didnít do as they were asked and theirs would not be renewed. Soke said they had a standard to meet and they didnít meet it. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have a teacher that just smiles at you, even when you are doing wrong, or would you rather have one that is stern but cares about your commitment? That is what I saw. A fair Grandmaster as well.
After the event was done, I went over to the Soke again as we talked more. One thing I did tell him was that I had met Grandmaster Hatsumi on a few occasions over the years. I told him that it really doesnít matter what the Bujinkan thinks about him. It is only important what Grandmaster Hatsumi thought about him. He was the only one who mattered. He was looking down but looked up and smiled. I really hope he understood what I was saying. I think he did. I thanked him for inviting me to train. He told me that they normally donít let outsiders come to such events or partake in their activities but that he saw I was humble and a good Martial Artist who spoke from the heart. He invited me to come back again and we shook hands. There are many other teachers I had experiences with from the Juko-kai. Some I plan on training with in the future. There were some that prefer to keep things on the down low you could say. I spoke with one of their highest ranking people. I told him about the article I wanted to write dealing with my experiences. He told me they didnít care about what others thought and wanted to know why I wanted to. I told him I wanted to tell the truth about what I saw and experienced. If people couldnít handle it, then that would be their fault. It was my hope that someone might read this article and know exactly what a Martial Artist should be like in the real sense of the word. Maybe I connected with someone. I sure hope so. This is for that one person. Many thanks for listening to my rant.
This sub-forum is MABS. An essay on how much you like a style, set of people, instructor has no place here. If you would like to re-post it in the review section, Traditional Forums or YMAS Im sure it would be happily received. (If you used paragraphs)
It would be prudent of you to read the forum stickies before posting.
What is it that you're trying to tell us with that story (whose vital points, I assume, cannot be proven in video form or anything of that kind)?
You've got a very interesting writing style Reiho...I'd say that's the longest non sequitur I've ever come across on Bullshido.
*Subscribing, for when it gets moved*
When life gives you lemons... BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!
"what's the best thing about aikido then?"
"To be defeated by your enemies, to be driven by them from the field of battle, and to hear the lamentations of your women." ermghoti
Me too. This has all the makings of a big train wreck filled with heretics, virgins and nuns.
Thread started obviously punches like a *****.
Who's got the Coles Notes of the OP?
Sheesh.. the kick to the groin crap is just a straightforward trick that even I learnt as a lowly spotty green belt decades ago.
You don't need to be soke to pull that one off.