Midori Ryu jujitsu is a system built around principles rather than techniques. The student learns to understand techniques by emphasizing their underlying principles.

Principle Number One: Use the assailant’s kuzushi. When the assailant attacks, the attack has both direction and energy. For example, if the attack is a fast and hard straight punch, the direction is towards you and the attack carries a lot of energy. This direction and energy, or kuzushi, in Midori Ryu is maintained or enhanced. We do not seek to stop the attack so that we can initiate our own; rather we allow the assailant’s kuzushi to continue so that his or her own attack is self-defeating. This brings us to our next principle.

Principle Number Two: Extend the assailant’s attack. We continue the attacker’s motion (both direction and energy) until he or she will fall unless undertaking another action to regain balance. To do this we fully must accept the attack. The assailant’s speed drives the speed of our acceptance. We do not seek to add speed or power; attempting to add, we only end up subtracting.

Principle Number Three: Gake occurs the moment the assailant attempts to regain balance. We accomplish this either by placing our body as a barrier so the assailant cannot regain balance or by using the assailant’s physiological limitations so that he or she, in essence, creates his or her own barrier while we continue to direct the assailant in the circular line that all attacks follow until the line (and therefore the assailant) intersects with the ground or another obstacle. Many students have ended up attacking my fist with their solar plexus.

Principle Number Four: The assailant’s body must be “overloaded.” In order to foster the assailant’s fervent efforts to violently intersect with an obstacle, such as the ground or my fist, we “overload” his or her balance. An assailant often can regain balance despite our efforts to continue his or her motion if we only seek to continue that motion in a straight line. However the assailant’s motion is circular, so we must continue that motion simultaneously in two directions to continue the circle. Many times I can help the assailant continue this circular motion by overloading key muscle groups with motion in two directions. Many joint locking or breaking techniques use this principle, in addition to certain throwing techniques.

Principle Number Five: Control yourself. Let’s end at the beginning. From the beginning of the attack through its conclusion we must control ourselves. This means relaxing through our hara, moving from our hara rather than our limbs, and breathing through our hara. We cannot accept the assailant’s attack until we can control self. In fact an advanced Midori Ryu technique involves extending control of self to controlling the assailant, forming an unbreakable connection.

These principles are enough for a lifetime of study. As I focus on them during practice I continually am amazed at insights they bring in my efforts to master the gentle art of jujitsu.