Mark Raugas practiced modern jujutsu derived from Karate, Judo and Aikido, from 1989 to 2004. Since that time he has focused his martial arts practice on Chinese Internal Martial Arts and classical Japanese kenjutsu. The first internal martial art he learned was Gao Lineage Bagua from Robert Galeone, a Bagua student of Allen Pittman. Mark later taught one of his jujutsu students, Ben Lawner, the Gao Bagua, and in doing so they re-examined their previous modern jujutsu practice, paring it down and reworking it to be compatible with a combative approach derived from Gao Style. The result is called Gassankan Jujutsu ( 月山館 柔術 ) and contains a condensed curriculum of locking and grappling, analogous to qinna and shuai jiao in Chinese martial arts, and can be a beginning practice that is compatible with a subsequent study of internal martial arts. Gassankan Jujutsu is an independent art and is not part of any larger organization and is best viewed as a mixture of internal and external martial arts.
Gassankan Jujutsu has a focus on grappling and self-defense and is very fluid and spontaneous, with a wide variety of combative applications that can be efficiently applied from many different scenario. It serves as a basic curriculum for locking and throwing that we integrate with elements of Gao Lineage Baguazhang. Gao Lineage Baguazhang is a form of Cheng Style Bagua that was developed by Gāo Yìshèng (高義盛) in the 1920's. Gao Yisheng studied Bagua primarily with Sung Zhangjun and Zhou Yuxiang (who was a student of Cheng Ting Hua). Zhang Junfeng was one of his most famous students, who brought the art to Taipei.
Lineage Diagram of Gao Bagua influence from Bob Galoene and Paul Cote,
and modern jujutsu sources from Aikido, Judo, Hakko-ryu, Daito-ryu, and Shorinji Kempo.Blue dotted lines indicate partial lineage with incomplete information.
Elements of locking and throwing and grappling are derived from modern jujutsu practices focused on self-defense. These practices are derived from techniques adapted from the root arts of Aikido, Jujutsu, Judo, and Aiki-jujutsu.
Gassankan Jujutsu is organized into eight sections of forms called kata. Each kata is a short form practiced with a partner to develop locking, grappling, and throwing skills in practitioners who are learning Baguazhang. Bagua often presupposed an existing skill set in its practitioners; some view Baguazhang as a "finishing school" of martial arts. This curriculum is designed to provide a basic skill set in close quarter combat that can be further enhanced and refined by a study of Bagua.
There are 64 jujutsu kata arranged in six sections:
- Kansetsu Waza: 14 kata
- Nage Waza: 16 kata
- Goshin Waza: 17 kata
- Shime Waza: 5 kata
- Nagare Waza: 6 kata
- Tanto Dori: 8 kata
Kansetsu Waza consist of locking and seizing methods (in Chinese, called qinna). Applications are taught from basic grabs and punch attacks so that a student can understand anatomy, distance, and posture when grappling at arm's length.
Nage Waza are throwing techniques and provide a foundation for students to learn how to off-balance and throw an opponent. A syllabus of basic attacks and responses is maintained so the students can have a basis for understanding throwing and falling. These same waza will be performed more spontaneously in grappling and self-defense applications once the students have shown basic proficiency against simple attacks.
Goshin Waza consist of self-defense techniques focused on developing skill at standing grappling. Applications build on or are variations of kansetsu waza, nage waza, and atemi.
Shime Waza are submission techniques that are taught only once a student has demonstrated proficiency at the previous kata. They are only taught to advanced students.
Nagare Waza are transitioning or connecting techniques. Nagaru means "to flow" -- nagare waza flow from one technique to another as needed. A practitioner can respond to an attempt to counter or reverse a hold, keeping control firmly but retaining sensitivity to change as needed.
Tanto Dori or "knife taking" is a more advanced set of goshin-waza focused on an attacker with a dagger or knife. They are performed at close range and have a very direct character focused on controling the weapon arm and neutralizing the attacker.
Introduction to Bagua
In addition to the 64 jujutsu kata above, we introduce a subset of Gao Lineage bagua. Hsien Tien Bagua is circular Bagua Zhang. Along side our core jujutsu kata, we maintain a practice of circle walking, single palm change, and eight mother palm changes from Gao Bauga. This practice provides an introduction to internal martial arts, focusing on posture, balance, structure, and an ability to spontaneously and smoothly change direction in response to an opponent's actions. Hou Tien Bagua is linear Bagua Zhang. Gao Yisheng developed a set of 64 linear tactics from Zhou Yuxiang's 41 linear bagua forms. Gassankan Jujutsu includes the practice of a subset of 36 Linear Tactics that integrate well with modern jujutsu. These tactics provide a theory of response in striking and grappling, allowing for the waza learned above to be applied in a variety of circumstances.
There are three diploma issued in Gassankan Jujutsu:
- Shoden is a mokuroku or "catalogue" of techniques awarded when the 47 techniques of kansetsu waza, nage waza, and goshin waza sets are practiced at a sufficient level of proficiency.
- Chuden is a mokuroku awarded when the remainder of the formal curriculum is practiced with sufficient skill. A chuden-level practitioner may teach with permission, but gradings must be conducted at the main dojo.
- Okuden is a menkyo or license to teach the art and issue ranks without supervision. It signifies completion, where the art is thoroughly understood, including teachings private to the school, not listed above. The practitioner can act independent of their teacher.
While a modern art, Gassankan Jujutsu models its rankings after classical approaches, as the modern kyu/dan system is prone to rank inflation and subjective interpretation.
Benjamin Lawner is ranked chuden. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA.