Gassankan Jujutsu ( 月山館 柔術 ) consists of a condensed curriculum of locking and grappling, analogous to qinna and shuai jiao in Chinese martial arts, designed to 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. It is best viewed as a mixture of internal and external martial arts. It has a focus on grappling and self-defense and is very fluid and spontaneous, with a wide variety of combative applications.
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. 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 internal martial arts.
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.
Gassankan Jujutsu was developed over ten years through an examination of Aikido and Modern Jujutsu through the lens of Gao Lineage Bagua. Ben Lawner lives in Mt. Lebanon, PA, and holds a chuden mokuroku.