Quote Originally Posted by Malo View Post
The soke of Yanagi Ryu is the direct descendant of Iwanaga Gennojo Masamitsu, and is still teaching in Kansai Japan. Don Angier and his style have no connection to the koryu Yanagi Ryu. Check out. Don Angier created a name for his own style that uses the name of an already existing koryu -- but the style Angier's people are teaching bears no resemblance to the true Koryu Yanagi Ryu which actually has a longer name Shin Getsu Muso Yanagi Ryu.
To clear up Don Angier i will say a few things.
I have personally trained with him, however my personal sensei was one of his top 3 students, who i was his solitary student for several years and recieved several hours of training at a time, not just mere 45 minute sessions shared with other students.
I received certification with Don Soke's signature.

I will clarify 2 things, First, Don's art is named Yoshida - Ha Shidareyanagi Ryu Aikijujutsu Bugei, NOT Yanagi Ryu. Yanagi is the Japanese word for "willow" and is common for multiple Aiki arts. Shidareyanagi is the Japanese word for "weeping willow." Yes they are different types of trees and different lineages and different MA's.

Second, Soke is a word of Anglo Saxon origin and means "legal jurisdiction," and during the shogun era it was applied to the clan leaders that passed down their authority through family lines. Shidareyanagi Ryu comes from the Yoshida family and was under a blood decendant of the Yoshida family until WW2 when the Soke was transported to California as a war refugee. The art was not allowed outside of family members, but the Soke had no family and Don begged him for training. The Soke ignored Don until he realized that there would be no heirs or family, so he drilled Don for endless hours until he learned the art and then to ensure there would be no problems with relatives back in Japan, he legaly adopted Don as his only son, and gifted him with the Soke responsibilities of the art. NO he did not change the art and did not use the title Soke to have fun (it is extremely fun!) But the title was granted purely with the understanding that it was the "RESPONSIBILITY" to preserve the art as it is.

Don was going to let the art die without a successor because he could not find a student that would keep the integrity without flavoring it with other styles. Nevertheless, before he died he eventually was able to train a relative named Jeremy, who was deemed worthy to inherit the "responsibility" of maintaining the pure art of Shidareyanagi Ryu (Ryu just means "style").

I will verify that it is a very difficult art that involves much focus and structural manipulation. During the begining of my training my feet hurt and not my wrists. It took months to learn to stand correctly and hold my feet in contorted positions before learning wrist locks.

It is not for the faint of heart and it is not for those who are unwilling to suffer through the boring stuff and being fed the fun stuff little by little.

It is also not for you. No disrespect, but it is only taught by invitation after research into a prospective student's background, with the exception of seminars that contain basic fun looking maneuvers or police training of basic takedowns for law enforcement purposes.
If you have been to seminars you have a couple tools to use in self defense, but in the grand scheme you know nothing of the actual things that make it work.

With general MA techniques you must use some strength and pain to control your opponent. The goal in Shidareyanagi Ryu is to control your opponent with no need to cause your opponent pain. If you maneuver your opponent into the correct position the tendons simply don't work and you are unable to move and you don't know why because you don't feel enough pain to figure out the source of your immobility. He may be holding your hand, but it is your legs that can't move so you fight against the hand that is holding you when the real escape is to sit on the floor to unchain the domino effect your skeleton is in.

Don did not believe in ki or chi to make the moves work, but only scientific mechanical positions that make it effective.

If he were here today he would laugh at this thread like reading a comic book. And if someone questioned the validity or genealogical background of the art, he would look at you with a sweet smile and say, "I'm French, why do you ask? Do i look like a Jamaican or somethin?"