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Ground Integration - Blue Jū Jutsu


Taika Seiyu Oyata had many solutions for ground type situations. If you look at his early demonstration videos you will see that Taika always took students to the ground and pinned them if he was not doing a fuzz-out or knock-out type demonstration.  In a few rare situations he would leave them pinned supine (face up) but in most he would roll them to prone (face down). From conversations with him, this was greatly influenced by his being selected to train the Japanese Police Force in the 1950's and 1960's on Okinawa. A close friend of his was a policeman there and later became one of its leaders. In later years, he quit doing demonstrations as these were usually at the beginning of tournaments which he quit around 2001. Additionally he suffered a spinal injury which made it more difficult to gracefully continue to the ground. This was much later corrected with a surgery a few years prior to his death.

Ground Ideal 1

Taika's first rule of ground, or Ideal 1, was that you should be the one controlling things to the ground. He very much had the police perspective of get them to the ground yourself. You be the one controlling the encounter. Though not always possible, this is whey we call these Ideals and not Absolutes.

Ground Ideal 2

Taika's second rule of ground, or Ideal 2, was that you should end in a heads-up position and control them so they cannot continue their attack. A heads-up position offers the practitioner a 360° view of the environment around them, and thus the ability to react to other attackers. A lot of fights occur in social environments like a bar or social event like a festival. Most people attend these with friends and/or family. Unlike in a tournament or match, there is no referee in real life to keep you safe and nobody there to keep friends or family from interfering in or joining in the fight.

Taika Seiyu Oyata & Sgt. Lee Richards with Okinawa Chief of Police at Police HQ - 2002

At a typical Oyata seminar, Taika was teaching every range of student from white belts in his or other arts to a range of black belts. Experience levels at a seminar were from months to decades. Typically at these events he didn't finish techniques he was teaching, all the way to the ground. Time and attendee experience didn't allow this. So those only exposed to seminars did not see much of Taika's ground game, particularly those that only saw him a few times after his back injury. At his dojo and home he was more likely to discuss such topics, and get more in depth with a few students than a large event.  Over the years in the dojo he had demonstrated numerous techniques for things such as tackles, and explained things about tuite from a ground position. At his dojo and home he was much more open to questions and discussions which is what has lead to Lee Richards understanding of the ground game. In 1998 Lee began training in Law Enforcement BJJ (Blue Jū Jutsu) and became a certified instructor in it through NLETC. From 1998 until Taika's death in 2012 Lee constantly asked Taika questions related to ground and many of these queries are the basis for the Basic Principles of Tuite as well as the higher principles.

Ground Ideal 3

Positional Paradox: As an example, Tuite on a wrist from standing causes the subject to adjust either their knees or ankles (lifting or buckling). In a back lying position such as mounted or with a subject in either an open or closed guard, the opponent's knees are already bent. Creating the standard Reactionary Retreat of buckling their knees will do little but further drop their weight upon your own body.  Wrist locks tend to be difficult to impossible for those who do not understand the Positional Paradox Principle. Though an opponent's straight arm does not preclude the students ability to submit a subject, it does make it much more difficult, particularly for the novice and intermediate student, to succeed. Obtaining a bent arm of the the wrist you are manipulating is paramount at early levels of training. 

Ground Ideal 4

Reactionary Retreat and the Directional Arrow Concept: Generally, an opponent's body tends to react in the opposite direction their fingers are pointed during a wrist lock.

  • If the fingers are up, their Reactionary Retreat is down.

  • If the fingers are down, their Reactionary Retreat is up.

  • If the fingers are left, their Reactionary Retreat is right.

  • If the fingers are right, their Reactionary Retreat is left.


Most extension techniques a beginning student learns from standing, are performed mostly with the fingers pointed up. That puts their reactionary retreat down and further into you when they are mounted or in your guard. If you rotate their wrist to where the fingers point a different direction, then they will want to dismount. Video Example If you visually the forearm as an arrow shaft and their elbow being an arrow head, you point the arrow head where you want the opponent to go.

Student Path

All students at approximately Yellow Belt level begin working on Tuite to the Ground and later work on Tuite from the Ground. In today's ever influenced world of MMA, BJJ and various media produced fights, the odds of a fight going to the ground continue to increase. Oyata's principles applied to the ground or specific ground related principle are a core part of the OyataTe experience.

Below are a few Fundamental Principles and Discussions related to Taika Seiyu Oyata's Ground Principles.

Tuite: General Principles of using wrist locks from on your back with the subject within your guard (closed or open).

Kyusho: An example of how to properly strike a particular spot on the lower leg and redirect with Oyata's Kyusho Principles.

Tuite: General Principles of using wrist locks when a subject has you in Side Control.

Tuite: General Principles of wrist locks from within someone else's guard.

Tuite: General Principles of using wrist locks from a North/South Landing.

Throw/Takedown Defense of an Over/Under Grab

Kyusho: General Principles and Concerns of Kyusho while Grounded

Tuite from Ground: Fundamentals Seminar November 2022

Blue Jū Jutsu is a training paradigm that only techniques and principles should be studied and practiced that are safe for use in real encounters, not in the safe confines of a tournament ring where only one on one situations occur and a referee is maintaining security. Techniques such as a back lying arm bar, for example, are not performed as they leave the student exposed to additional attackers.

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