Gaven Ryu's Kodokwan
Chas B. Gaven
Grandmaster – Hanshi Chas. B. Gaven Judan 10th degree black belt (1928-2001)
  • Achieved the grade of 10th Dan Ju-Jitsu
  • Achieved the grade of 4th Dan Judo - 1970
  • The first man to break a brick with the edge of the hand [in South Africa] - 1959
  • Opened the Tokyokai Bu-Jitsu Ju-Jitsu and Judo club - 1960
  • SAJJA coaches & referees course - 1967
  • Local referee & judge - 1970
  • Provincial referee & judge - 1970
  • National referee & judge - 1970
  • SAJJA coach qualification - 1970
  • SAJJA senior coach - 1974
  • Seibukan bujutsukai merit award - 1985
  • Society of Black Belts life membership - 1985
  • Western Province colours - 1986
  • Judo progress award - 1986
  • Honorary Grand Master - 1993
  • Grandmaster of the World Head of Family Sokeship Council - 1996
  • Grandmaster of the year award – 1996 - World Head of Family Sokeship Council
  • The first Ju-Jitsu club to affiliate to the South African Judo Union
  • The first Ju-Jitsu club in South Africa to achieve international recognition
  • Pioneer Award – 1997 - World Head of Family Sokeship Council

In addition to the above Hanshi Gaven has formulated his own system of Ju-Jitsu, taught in schools and universities, coached pupils up to springbok (National colours for International competition) level [including 1 springbok captain] in Judo, arranged many demonstrations and events, hosted overseas visitors and has put most of his life into Judo and Ju-Jitsu and its improvement.

He had an unsurpassed knowledge and understanding of the arts, was uncompromising in his dedication and what he expected of his students and just as importantly had the ability to hand his knowledge on through his teaching. In short those taught by him could not have found a better source from which to learn Ju-Jitsu or Judo.

In 1960, the then definitive South African Judo Association was formed and Prof. Gaven, then a 3rd Dan, joined. He spent about 30 years in the W.P.A.J.A., administering and taking part in many provincial and national events. During this time he achieved a SA Judo Association fourth Dan, a national referee’s license, a senior coach’s award and attended many national coaching events and championships. His Judo pupils achieved many W.P. and national titles.

In 1976 the Tokyokai Bu-Jitsu club through the auspices of the South African Ju-Jitsu Association became the first Ju-Jitsu club to open a branch at a university, the University of Cape town, and many of the club’s best pupils started their training there and are still with the club to this day.

22 years after commencing coaching at UCT, in 1998, Prof. Gaven was awarded the long service shield for exemplary dedication to coaching at the “Blues” award dinner by UCT. A number of UCT students have won University Blues and half blues for Ju-Jitsu.

With all of Hanshi Gaven’s years of experience and dedication passed on to instructors who studied for many years under him the South African Ju-Jitsu Association now offers unparalleled instruction in the fields of Ju-Jitsu and credible self-defence. Instruction also includes classical kata, Judo, aiki-jitsu, classical weapons, the law applicable to self-defence, education to instructorship, basic physiology and the study of vital targets. As Hanshi would often say “If the pupil has not learnt the teacher has not taught”.

The system taught is one that was developed by Soke Chas B Gaven over 40 years based upon Kodokwan Ju-Jitsu as handed down by Seshi Teppi which stemmed from the “Tenshin-shinu-ryu” Ju-Jitsu school, one of the oldest schools in Japan. Soke Gaven held a 10th Dan in Ju-Jitsu. He was also an honorary life member of the SA Judo Union and held a 4th Dan in that sport. He taught both Ju-Jitsu and Judo for over 40 years.

In the early forties, when Hanshi Gaven started martial arts, only “waza” were taught. There were no basic principles, no systemised syllabus, no mechanics, no Judo and little or no Japanese terminology.

Gaven-ryu has made use of all foregoing and existing Ju-Jitsu knowledge to assemble a highly developed martial arts system which ensures a thorough education of basic Judo and Ju-Jitsu and the many facets contained therein.

Gaven-ryu is a unique system and method and teaching Ju-Jitsu flowing from Kodokwan Ju-Jitsu as taught by Seshi Teppei, with a refined syllabus of techniques.

The first feature is the use of Judo as a training method. Gaven-ryu uses the non-lethal Judo sport to teach the basics of movement, co-ordination, balance and Nage-Waza, allowing for randori or free practice which helps build self confidence.

The second feature is what we refer to as the ‘process of learning’. Briefly, this is a process by which any technique is broken down into component parts and then assimilated into a dynamic motion. It is stressed that the basics must be clearly understood and rigidly followed throughout all phases of instruction. The basic principles cannot and must not be altered.

In Judo this leads to Randori and ultimately contest, while with Ju-Jitsu this leads to the pupil being able to dovetail the technique into a composite self defence aura. This “dovetailing” is the third training/teaching method of Gaven-ryu.

The final broad distinction in the Gaven-ryu system is the incorporation of Ju-Jitsu’s classical roots, particularly the use of classical kata and weapons. These are valuable additions to the training for self defence, and also impart a host of other benefits for the pupil, improving co-ordination, self discipline, awareness, reactions and so forth.

In conclusion, the Gaven-ryu system is more than just a teaching methodology and more than just a modified syllabus. The system draws at its core a powerful and unvarying body of knowledge of Kodokwan Ju-Jitsu. This means that the pupil must understand the theoretical basis as well as the practical. The deeper a pupil delves into the complexities of the system, the more obvious it becomes that the theory side of the system is also of vital importance. The net result is a discipline that allows for the building up of a realistic, dynamic self defence aura, while giving immense scope to the growth of the individual.

Dovetailing is one of the most essential elements of Gaven-ryu Ju-Jitsu. It is in essence the linking of all elements of Ju-Jitsu into one comprehensive defensive aura. There are three basic aspects to dovetailing:

  • Firstly techniques used to assist a main technique, for example a strike (atemi-waza) used to soften up an opponent before entering for a throw (nage-waza)
  • Secondly there are techniques used when the primary technique has failed, where the second technique follows logically from the first.
  • Thirdly there are techniques that are used as a follow up to the primary technique for example kicks used as a follow up to a throw.

The study of dovetailing, named after the dovetail joint that one finds in carpentry, is one that will take the Ju-Jitsu practitioner many years and is something that must be developed rather than taught. Dovetailing can be seen as the cement that links the bricks of the various techniques together, building up a wall that is your Ju-Jitsu.

The Ju-Jitsu practitioner should practice all three types of dovetail with every technique he learns. It is vitally important that you try to interlink all the techniques in your current syllabus. As you progress, through the grades you will find that most aspects of Ju-Jitsu logically flow into each other. Dovetailing is also something that is unique to each person. Thus a tall man may find certain techniques dovetail well together that would not necessarily work well for a short person.

Only through constant repetition will your dovetailing become reactive. And to be reactive in your technique is essential to effective self-defence especially in a situation of extreme stress. It is very important that you understand the mechanics of any technique when you devise a dovetail for it. Thus for example if you are going to attempt a nosepush and you wish to soften your opponent up, a punch to the solar-plexus of the stomach is not a good dovetail, as this will cause your opponent to double-up forward against the direction of the nose-push. If you have any doubts about a dovetail, discuss it with your instructor.

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