Frequently Asked Questions

What is USYBA?
The United States Yoseikan Budo Association (USYBA) was founded in 1979 as the United States extension of the Japanese Yoseikan Budo organization then headquartered in Shizuoka, Japan. This web site is the official publication of the USYBA. The purpose of USYBA is to promote the practice of Yoseikan Budo and Gyokushin Ryu Aikido. The USYBA is authorized to govern the practice of Yoseikan Budo and Gyokushin Ryu Aikido in the United States (USGRAF).
What is Yoseikan Budo?
Yoseikan Budo is a comprehensive Japanese martial art founded by Master Minoru Mochizuki, Yoseikan Budo as practiced in the United States is most strongly identified with aikido, although it is heavily flavored with judo techniques, so that it resembles the older, broader, aikijutsu styles from which judo and aikido were derived. Some of the hallmarks of Yoseikan Budo are sacrifice techniques (sutemi) and groundwork (ne waza). Yoseikan is widely practiced in Japan and Europe. It is relatively obscure but growing in the US. Master Hiroo Mochizuki of France has inherited the leadership of Yoseikan Budo from his father and now serves as technical consultant to the World Yoseikan Federation.
What does Yoseikan Budo mean?
“Budo” means, literally, “the way of stopping the fight”. It is often more loosely interpreted as “martial way.” Budo means any fighting system whose principles extend beyond strict combat into other areas of life. It is contrasted with “Bujutsu,” where the suffix “-jutsu” means “art” or “technique,” which connotes a more narrow, immediate focus – usually the most direct means of defeating an opponent on a battlefield. “Yoseikan” means “the place where what is right is taught.” The intent if this superficially grandiose name is not to claim some exclusive truth about martial art. Rather, it describes how the comprehensive nature of yoseikan training allows an individual to find his own “right” path by studying a large set of martial techniques, principles, and experiences.
Who was Minoru Mochizuki?
Master Mochizuki was the founder of Yoseikan Budo. He was one of the direct students of Judo founder Jigoro Kano, Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba and Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan Karate. Believing that the martial arts have become distorted by specialization into separate disciplines and transformation into sports, Master Mochizuki assembled the major techniques of the Japanese martial tradition into a single coherent structure. He oversaw the development of his system from his home in Shizuoka, Japan, where his dojo, the Yoseikan, was often visited by martial arts practitioners from all over the world. Master Mochizuki formally passed the leadership of his Yoseikan Budo system to his son, Hiroo, in 2000. He passed away in France on May 30th, 2003.
What is the difference between Yoseikan Budo, Karate, Judo, Aikido and other martial arts?
Yoseikan is a comprehensive martial art. It encompasses elements of many of the more readily recognized martial arts. The strongest and most direct relationship of Yoseikan is with aikido. Yoseikan is often thought of as an outgrowth of aikido because Yoseikan’s founder , Master Minoru Mochizuki, was a senior desciple of Morehei Uyeshiba, the founder of Aikikai Aikido. Yoseikan shares peer status as a subsequent variant of aikido with other styles such as Yoshinkai, Tomiki-Ryu, and others. At the technical level, Yoseikan focuses strongly on the principles of the older Aikido as taught by Master Uyeshiba before World War II. It also borrows heavily from the advanced techniques of Judo, particularly the sutemi (or sacrifice) techniques. To a lesser degree (as practiced currently in the US) techniques of karate and kobudo (the way of fighting with weapons) are also practiced as part of an integrated system.
Is there a difference between the World Yoseikan Federation (WYF) and the USYBA?
The USYBA and the WYF are separate organizations. The USYBA is affiliated with the WYF.
Is there a difference between the teachings of Master Hiroo Mochizuki and Master Minoru Mochizuki?
Yes, there are differences between the teachings of the senior and junior Masters Mochizuki. Master Hiroo’s version of Yoseikan as practiced in the WYF places more emphasis on the atemi (karate) element of martial tradition than the senior Mochizuki’s style as practiced in Japan (and in the U.S.). His version of Yoseikan also brings an element of competition training that is new to many non-European Yoseikan practitioners. While there are definite technical differences between these two Yoseikan variants, It is the Senior Mochizuki’s intent for Yoseikan to forever grow and evolve. By formally naming Hiroo as his successor to the Yoseikan franchise, he has indicated the direction he wishes Yoseikan to evolve.
Who runs the USGRAF?
The USGRAF is governed by officers and the Administrative Council. The leadership is elected by and from the regular membership of the USGRAF. (A regular member is one who holds rank of at least black belt in Yoseikan.) Dr. Glenn Pack, The Technical Director of USGRAF, holds a permanent seat on the Administrative Council. All other seats are held for two-year terms. The terms are staggered so that half the council seats are due for election each year. The Administrative Council meets regularly throughout the year.  The current USGRAF officers are:
    • Garrett Wise, President
    • Matt Gilliard, Vice President
    • Kerron Joseph, Treasurer
    • Tim O’Neil, Secretary

The Administrative Council members are:

    • Jimmy Collier
    • Robert Cheshire
    • Palmer Cramer
    • Matt Gilliard
    • Craig McDade
    • Kerron Joseph
    • Patrick Powers
    • Tim O’Neil
    • Barry Ackerson
    • Dylan Baker
Where can I get instruction in Gyokushin Ryu Aikido?
Click here for a list of USGRAF affiliated dojos throughout the United States, where you can train in Gyokushin Ryu Aikido.
What rank system is used in Gyokushin Ryu Aikido?
Gyokushin Ryu Aikido uses colored belts to signify progression in skill. There are two major tiers of rank, the mudansha and the yudansha. The mudansha, or “kyu” ranks, are those beginning ranks below black belt ranks. They are signified by colored belts (obi) of generally darker colors as you ascend in rank. The numerical titles for the kyu ranks decrease as you ascend as well. The progression from least to most skilled kyu rank is as follows:
  •      Rokkyu – sixth kyu
  •     Gokyu – fifth Kyu
  •     Yonkyu – fourth kyu
  •     Sankyu – third Kyu
  •     Nikyu – second Kyu
  •     Ikkyu – first kyu

The Progression of least skilled to most skilled black belts is as follows:

  • Shodan – first dan
  • Nidan – second dan
  • Sandan – third dan
  • Yondan – fourth dan
  • Godan – fifth dan
  • Rokudan – sixth dan
  • Shichidan – seventh dan
  • Hachidan – eighth dan
  • Kudan – ninth dan
  • Judan – tenth dan
I’ve never practiced martial arts before. Do I have to have prior experience before I begin training?
No. You need no prior training to begin learning Gyokushin Ryu Aikido. All USGRAF affiliated dojos accept beginners, as well as practitioners of other arts and styles at all skill levels.
I have rank in another martial art. Can I have my rank transferred to USGRAA?
Generally, rank from another art or style is not transferred to rank in USGRAF.  However, advanced rank and/or skill diligently applied to the Gyokushin Ryu Aikido curriculum may result in an accelerated promotion schedule.
What is the meaning behind the USYBA logo?
The official USYBA Logo:

is a variation of the Japanese Yoseikan Budo emblem, which consists of the Japanese character for “Bu” (meaning – “to stop the fight”) above a representation of a mountain and a river. The inspiration for this logo was the view Master Mochizuki observed from his dojo (the Yoseikan) in Shizuoka, Japan. From there, Mt. Fuji is visible in the background and the Abbe river flows nearby. The mountain represents the strong, firm, and unchanging principles on which Yoseikan is based. The river represents the constantly changing – “flowing” – nature of our understanding, interpretation, and expression of these principles. It is this flowing, growing nature of Yoseikan that poses the greatest challenge to Yoseikan practitioners of all levels.