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Ellis Amdur has pursued the study of East Asian martial traditions since the late 1960s. This commitment has a direct influence on the workshops, training and counseling that he offers through Edgework, and also presents its own intrinsic benefits.

Classical Japanese Martial Traditions

Ellis Amdur is a licensed instructor in two koryu (classical Japanese martial traditions), the Araki-ryu Torite-Kogusoku and the Toda-ha Buko-ryu. Amdur has included considerable detail about these two schools, as well as a number of others, in his book, Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions

The Araki-ryu is a rugged system that specializes in close combat. It could be termed, “grappling with weapons.” The body dynamics of Araki-ryu are identical to that of body-to-body wrestling, and requires the same kind of fluid adaptability to rapidly changing force.  Therefore, skill at some kind of grappling is a requirement for entry into the ryu.  Details about this school, including dojo locations and entry requirements can be found at the Araki-ryu Torite-Kogusoku website.

The Toda-ha Buko-ryu specializes in the use of the naginata, a long pole-arm with a curved blade against a variety of weapons. Details about this school, including dojo locations and entry requirements can be found at the Toda-ha Buko-ryu website.



Click on image for larger view.

Toda-ha Buko-ryu bojutsu

Araki-ryu kusarigamajutsu

Other Training History

Ellis Amdur has trained in a number of other martial systems over the years, most notably Aikido with Terry Dobson, Yoshio Kuroiwa and Yasunori Kuwamori; Kodokan Judo at Tokai University's Fifth Branch High School; Muay Thai at Koei Gym in Tokyo and Brazilian jiujitsu. For many years, a primary focus of his training was xingyi chu'an (studying varying lengths of time with Su Dong Chen, and Chris Bates).  He has studied different forms of t'ai chi with Madame Gao Fu and Qian Timing.

Aside from his ongoing koryu training, Amdur has most recently been training in two new areas: the basics of Arrestling, under the instruction of Don Gulla and many other seniors in the system, and a focus on principle-based training regarding integration of the body so that it is used most efficiently, something he discusses in detail in his book, Hidden in Plain Sight

Concerning Aikido

Ellis Amdur has served as a kind of technical advisor to several aikido instructors to assist in developing a practice method which would lend itself to more effective atemi, counter-techniques and the development of students' abilities in more free-style practice, all of this without compromising the essential structure of classical aikido.  Amdur's core concept is that all aikido techniques can be placed on five essential vectors of movement.  This concept radically shortens the amount of time in which people can learn aikido techniques, counters, atemi (striking methods). Counter-techniques, in particular, rather than something "pre-planned" based on the technique the opponent is attempting, become a natural unconscious response, as soon as the practitioner finds themselves "placed" on one of those vectors.

 Photo courtesy of Niels de Vries

—Kendo World