Aiki Jujutsu Vs. Kyudo: Key Differences Broken Down

Aiki Jujutsu Vs. Kyudo: Key Differences Broken Down

Today, we'll be putting an end to the age-old argument between Aiki Jujutsu and Kyudo. Online, people often argue back and forth on the superiority of these two disciplines.

Some argue that Aiki Jujutsu is more fluid and instinctive, while others claim that Kyudo is more powerful and straightforward. But the question remains: which one is truly better, and why?

Let's delve into it!

Aiki Jujutsu and Kyudo are two different disciplines that remain popular even after hundreds of years have passed, in no small part thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of martial arts practitioners.

The two martial arts, while having different origins, share some similarities in terms of technique and philosophy, but there are still some distinct differences that set them apart.

Aiki Jujutsu is a grappling-based martial art that emphasizes the use of joint locks, throws, and strikes to subdue an opponent. It emphasizes blending with an opponent's movements and using their force against them.

Techniques involve redirecting the force of an attack and using it to throw the opponent off balance, which is the essence of the art.

On the other hand, Kyudo is a Japanese martial art that focuses on archery. Kyudo emphasizes the development of mental and physical discipline, precision, and grace in the archer.

The aim of Kyudo is not only to hit the target but also to perfect the form and technique of the archer. Kyudo is more about the journey than the destination, and the focus is on developing a state of mind known as "meditative concentration."

Another key difference is the use of weapons. Aiki jujutsu typically does not incorporate the use of weapons, while Kyudo, naturally, makes premier use of bows.

In summary, Aiki Jujutsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and subduing opponents through joint locks and throws, while Kyudo is a discipline that emphasizes archery, physical and mental discipline, and the development of a state of meditative concentration.

If you are still interested in their differences or maybe want to know which art you should study, read on to learn more about Aiki jujutsu and Kyudo.

What We Know About Aiki Jujutsu

What We Know About Aiki Jujutsu

Aiki Jujutsu utilizes harmonizing an opponent's energy with your own internal energy in order to redirect it according to your needs. This is done by blending with the force instead of colliding with it, which would stop it in its tracks.

A practitioner of Aiki Jujutsu uses the striking and evasive techniques of Kempo-Jutsu to position their body close to their opponent before following with linear, diagonal or circular movements to redirect the opponent's energy.

The throwing techniques of Aiki Jujutsu are almost completely dependent upon the Atemi of Kempo-Jutsu. That's for good reason though: with proper application of techniques, an Aiki Jujutsu practitioner can accomplish particularly stellar feats.

In most cases, applying an appropriate Aiki Jujutsu throwing technique will disrupt the opponent's balance and send them flying.

The history of Aiki Jujutsu can be traced back to the Shinmei-ryu school of swordsmanship founded by Takenouchi Hisamori in the early 1600s. One of Hisamori's students, Takeda Sokaku, is credited with developing Aiki Jujutsu from the techniques he learned from Hisamori.

Sokaku passed on his knowledge to his son, Takeda Tokimune, who continued to teach and develop the art until his death in 1943.

Morihei Ueshiba continued to develop the art, creating Aikido, a modernized version of Aiki Jujutsu.

Aiki Jujutsu can still be used for self-defense or as a form of physical and mental exercise. It teaches control over one's own body and mind as well as efficiently using an opponent's energy against them.

What We Know About Kyudo

What We Know About Kyudo

Kyudo is a traditional Japanese martial art that dates back centuries.

Often referred to as "the way of the bow," Kyudo is distinguished from other archery styles by its emphasis on proper form and technique. Kyudo practitioners use a variety of different bows, each of which is designed for a specific purpose.

The most common type of bow used in Kyudo is the yumi, a longbow that typically measures between two and three meters in length.

To actually shoot with accuracy, Kyudo practitioners must undergo years of training and practice. They must also learn to control their breathing and focus their mind on the target.

By mastering these techniques, Kyudo practitioners can achieve a state of mental and physical harmony known as "zen." And that's crucial in this martial art: tultimate goal of Kyudo is not to score points or defeat opponents, but to develop self-discipline, concentration, and grace.

Of course, this is only a brief history and understanding of Aiki Jujutsu and Kyudo. If you want to go deeper into either art, be sure to check out the following posts:

Now, back to the comparison...

Let's look at the origins of the respective disciplines and then compare the key elements of their practices. You will be able to understand some of their similarities and differences a bit better afterward.

 Aiki JujutsuKyudo

Another thing I think is important to look at is the different rankings and levels in each art. if you are looking to take up either Aiki Jujutsu or Kyudo, whether as a hobbyist or to compete, you need to understand the different levels of proficiency and what is required for testing and ranking.

Aiki Jujutsu Rankings & Levels

For beginners, there is the 10th Kyu White Belt. This signifies that the student is just starting their journey in Aiki Jujutsu.

As they progress, they will move on to be a 9th Kyu White Belt with Yellow Stripe, which is earned after two or three months of training. The student will then move on to an 8th Kyu Yellow Belt, and so on.

The amount of time it takes to earn each belt will increase as the student becomes more experienced. Eventually, after years of training, the student will earn the coveted Black Belt.

There are several degrees of Black Belt in Aiki Jujutsu, with each degree requiring a certain amount of training time. Shodan-Ho (Junior Black Belt) is earned after 40 to 46 months of training, while the first degree Black Belt, Shodan, is earned after 42 to 48 months.

The higher degrees of Black Belt, Nidan (2nd Degree), Sandan (3rd Degree), and Yondan (4th Degree), require even more years of training.

Here's a handy table to help you understand things better:

10th KyuWhite
9th KyuWhite
8th KyuYellow
7th KyuBlue
6th KyuGreen
5th KyuGreen
4th KyuPurple
3rd KyuBrown
2nd KyuBrown
1st KyuBrown

Kyudo Rankings & Levels

There are a fair number of ranks in Kyudo--nine of them in total, in fact. To advance through the ranks, you'll need to pass various tests and examinations given by a Kyudo association or federation.

The highest rank of kyudan is typically only achieved by those who have dedicated their lives to the practice of Kyudo.

Take heart though! That doesn't mean it's wholly unattainable. Unlike other martial arts, it's also possible for an individual to hold different ranks in different disciplines within Kyudo.

For example, someone may hold the rank of "chuden" in the discipline of target shooting, but only hold the rank of "shodan" in the discipline of ceremonial shooting.

Aiki Jujutsu Vs. Kyudo Attire

This section simply compares the clothing and uniforms that practitioners wear in combat.

Aiki Jujutsu Attire:

Aiki Jujutsu Attire:
Aiki jujutsu attire 2 - Anon (2022). Retrieved 27 October 2022, from - The front panel is tied first (persons: Rikiya and Konami).

In terms of attire, Aiki Jujutsu practitioners typically wear a traditional dogi and hakama. This allows for better gripping and movement during techniques.

Kyudo Attire:

Kyudo Attire:

Kyudo practitioners wear a kyudo uniform, consisting of a haori (a kind of coat) and hakama (a divided skirt). The colors and patterns of these garments vary depending on the school or organization to which the practitioner belongs.

For example, the All Nippon Kyudo Federation has standardized the uniforms worn by its members, such that all haori are black with white abstract cranes printed on them, and all hakama are black with white stripes down the sides.

What A Typical Aiki Jujutsu Training Session Looks Like

What A Typical Aiki Jujutsu Training Session Looks Like

A typical Aiki Jujutsu practice session may start with a few minutes of warm-ups, such as joint rotations and light stretches. This is followed by practicing techniques, which may include throws, locks, and pins. The session usually ends with some relaxation exercises and a cool-down.

One of the most commonly used techniques in Aiki Jujutsu is the wristlock. This involves controlling an opponent's wrist and using their own momentum to throw them off balance.

In addition to physical technique, Aiki Jujutsu also emphasizes mental and spiritual development. This includes cultivating a strong mind-body connection and developing qualities such as patience and awareness.

What A Typical Kyudo Training Session Looks Like

What A Typical Kyudo Training Session Looks Like

When you arrive at a Kyudo practice class, you will be greeted by the sensei (instructor). You will then bow to the sensei and take your place in the dojo (practice hall). The dojo is typically a large, open space with a dirt or sand floor. There may also be a target at one end of the room.

Once everyone is in the dojo, the class will begin with some warm-up exercises. These exercises may include stretching, jogging in place, or doing push-ups and sit-ups. The purpose of these exercises is to prepare your body for the physical activity to come.

After the warm-up period, the sensei will begin to teach the basics of Kyudo. This will include instruction on how to stand, how to hold the bow, and how to draw and release the arrow. The sensei will also demonstrate proper form and technique.

Once everyone has brushed up on the basics of Kyudo, the class will move on to practice drills. These drills may involve shooting at targets or straw men, or practicing specific techniques such as drawing or releasing the arrow.

At the end of the class, there will be a cool-down period. This may involve stretching or light calisthenics. The purpose of this period is to help your body transition from physical activity back to rest.

If the last few sections have been a bit full-on or a bit too technical, you will like this next section! Why? Because who doesn't love a good martial arts flick?

Both Aiki Jujutsu and Kyudo have been featured in a number of films and TV shows, so if you want to learn more about them, then entertain yourself with the following 👊

Aiki Jujutsu Movies

Aiki Jujutsu Movies

These are some of the top movies and shows with Aiki Jujutsu in them:

  • The Bourne Identity (2002)
  • Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
  • The Protector (2005)
  • The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
  • Ong Bak (2003)
  • Daredevil (TV series, 2015-2018)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • Arrow (TV series, 2012-2020)
  • John Wick (2014)
  • 13 Assassins (2010)
  • The Raid (2011)

In the movie Ong Bak (2003), the main character, Ting, played by Tony Jaa, uses a combination of Muay Thai and Aiki Jujutsu to take down his opponents. Ting's Aiki Jujutsu techniques are evident in his use of joint locks and throws to neutralize his opponents' attacks and take them down.

In the TV series Daredevil (2015-2018), the main character, Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, is a skilled martial artist who uses Aiki Jujutsu in his fights.

Murdock's Aiki Jujutsu techniques involve making full use of his incredibly enhanced sensory perception, utilizing opponents' momentum against them and redirecting their attacks.

In the movie The Wolverine (2013), the main character, Logan, played by Hugh Jackman, is shown using Aiki Jujutsu techniques in his fight scenes.

Logan's a mutant with supernatural abilities, but he still manages to use Aiki Jujutsu techniques, include using joint locks and throws, to take down his opponents with maximum efficiency.

In the TV series Arrow (2012-2020), the main character, Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, uses a variety of martial arts styles in his fight scenes, including Aiki Jujutsu.

Kyudo Movies

Kyudo Movies

Some movies that have Kyudo in them that you may have heard of include:

  • The Last Samurai (2003)
  • 47 Ronin (2013)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • Gintama (2017)

In The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise's character, Nathan Algren, learns the art of Kyudo while being captive to a group of samurai led by Katsumoto (played by Ken Watanabe).

In 47 Ronin, Keanu Reeves' character, Kai, also learns and practices Kyudo as part of his training to become a samurai in service to Lord Asano (played by Min Tanaka).

In The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman's character, Logan/Wolverine, practices Kyudo while in Japan as a way to reflect and come to terms with his past.

In the live-action movie adaptation of the manga and anime series Gintama, protagonist Gintoki Sakata (played by Shun Oguri) is shown using Kyudo during a fight scene.

Conclusion: Aiki Jujutsu Vs. Kyudo

Conclusion: Aiki Jujutsu Vs. Kyudo

I hope you now have a deeper understanding of Aiki Jujutsu and Kyudo. In all truth, it is not about which discipline is "better" as they each have their pros and cons.

If you do plan on starting classes for either, please check out my other related posts, as I have tried my best to answer all the FAQs related to the art.

Feel free to share this post and any graphics you like, and of course, if you have any questions or thoughts, drop them below or shoot me an email, and I will be happy to assist 🙂

Curious to see how Aiki Jujutsu compares against Krav Maga, another incredibly potent self-defense martial art? Click here!