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Hojojutsu Knowledge

A Definition of Hojojutsu

Hojojutsu (hojo-jutsu) is a Japanese martial art, that came into popularity in the 1400s. Hojo-Jutsu incorporates rope as both a weapon and a means of restricting and securing an enemy. With the passing of time, the use of rope on the battlefield moved into law enforcement and remains part of the training for Japanese police today. Although now it is most commonly refered to as Torinawajutsu.

The meaning of ‘Hojojutsu’

The words ‘Torinawajutsu’ and ‘Hojojutsu’ are different pronunciations of the same kanji (Japanese letters or alphabetic symbols). Both terms are nouns identifying the martial practice of utilising rope to capture and secure an opponent.

Hojojutsu as a martial Art

Whilst Hojojutsu is mainly known as the fore-runner of Kinbaku and Shibari, this discipline is still practiced.  The martial art has a focus on fast take-downs, and for this reason hojo-jutsu techniques are actually starting to make their way back into SM and D circles where the speed of a tie and even the force of capture is being coveted more readily. Here, techniques known as Newaza have been borrowed from other martial arts disciplines, however, when used within the context of hojojutsu, the terminology Yukawaza is more acurate in discribing floor techniques utilising rope.

There are particular ropes preferred by those practicing Hojojutsu:

  • Traditional natural fibre rope is still preferred but this is evolving
  • The use of rope with a diameter of 4-6mm
  • The use of coloured ropes is rare, however black is very common
  • Lengths vary, starting ‘typically’ at 3.5 metres

 

Further Identifiers

  • Hojojutsu practitioners focus on speed of technique and still adhere to traditional ‘rules’ surrounding the martial art
  • Hojojutsu is still practiced within law enforcement in Japan resulting in the use of knots being less of a concern in modernised techniques 
  • Rope is utilised as a weapon  

These characteristics, do not define Hojojutsu as a discipline, they are merely preferences that can be seen when observing the hojojutsu  communities. As with all generalisations, individuals should not be judged against such criteria.       

 

Traditional Hojojutsu Rules

Over time four common rules were established around hojojutsu:

  1. Do not to allow a prisoner to escape the tie
  2. Do not cause any physical or mental injury
  3. Do not allow the technique to be seen
  4. Be sure that the tie demonstrates a high level of skill  

The third ‘rule’ is followed less since knowledge has become a commodity to be traded in recent decades. But some martial arts centers still expect discretion from their students