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Vs, gauntlets and circles

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A jitsuka demonstrating techniques in a 'gauntlet'

The real world is very different from a training hall. Techniques tend to fall apart, attackers react differently and really do want to hurt you, resolve falters, and, of course, whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

Jitsu training acknowledges this and has three main ways of simulating the real world within the dojo:

  1. Vs
    A 'V' is designed to simulate a rapid series of attacks in quick succession from a variety of opponents, some of them armed. We call it a V because there are two lines of attackers angled to make a v-shape, with the defender standing at the intersection of the lines. The defender has to defend him or herself from the attacks as they come in, disarm the opponent and incapacitate him in as short a time as possible so as to be ready for the next attack.
    A V lasts for a few minutes and is as much about conditioning you to be able to respond automatically but intelligently to attacks when you are tired and under pressure as it is about being able to neutralise attacks as quickly as possible.
  2. Gauntlets
    Less "real world" than a V, a gauntlet allows a Jitsuka to show off and use more elaborate techniques. You walk between two parallel lines of Jitsuka, some armed, some not, from one end of the lines to the other and back again. During this time, any of the Jitsuka can attack you one at a time, provided they are in front of you (and not behind). You must then defend yourself, neutralise the attack, disarm them and then incapacitate them in some way (such as a punch or a lock) so they cannot get you again when you release them.
    Although there is not as much pressure as in a V, if only because you set the pace at which attackers come at you, you have the pressure of being watched, not knowing which person will be the next to attack, and the need to execute a technique far more skilfully than you would in a v.
  3. Circles
    Perhaps feared even more than a V, the circle puts you in the middle of a circle of Jitsuka who can then attack you from any direction. The trick is to spot the attack in time to defend yourself and not get worn down by the effort required.
    The lesson of the circle is not to wait passively for the attacks to come but to psychologically dominate the circle and decide for yourself who will attack you and when. Usually, it's better in real life to intimidate someone into not using violence than it is to have to resort to Jitsu.

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