Yanagi Berlin is part of the international umbrella organization Jutaijutsu-Kai based in Turin, Italy. We recognize Jutaijutsu-Kai, the Turin-based school Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, their official structures, as well as their partners and predecessors as the sources of the martial art we are practicing: Jutaijutsu. In day-to-day training, we follow all rules established by Jutaijutsu-Kai and take the Kisoku (training codice) published by it as our main source of guidance when it comes to the formal organization of our art, such as techniques taught, belt grades and exams, basic training code of conduct, and additional items and ideas on the curriculum. In our understanding as a traditional martial arts school, we value and honour the traditions thus passed on to us, and continuously work on broadening our understanding of the cultural positioning and context of our martial art in an ongoing dialogue with our mentors and peers. Upon beginning their training at Yanagi Berlin, students are provided with a copy of the Kisoku in order to make them aware of our roots and traditions.
In addition to these formal structures, norms and practices, Yanagi Berlin considers itself an open-minded, intersectionally feminist, international martial arts space that centers each student’s well-being, development, empowerment and autonomy in its operations and practices. Our vision is a society where all individuals are equal, can celebrate their differences and have access to all the resources they may need. Our mission is to help empower our students, support them in discovering their strengths and abilities, and build a supportive community in every sense of the word.
In order to adhere to these principles, the following Code of Conduct applies for training at Yanagi Berlin e.V.:
- Respect is the foundational principle of our training: All members of Yanagi respect their training partners and refrain from any behaviour that might infringe upon anyone’s sense of identity and dignity.
- Yanagi Berlin is open to practitioners of all ages, gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, nationalities, economic or educational statuses, and religions. Any derisive or discriminatory statements or comments, offensive jokes etc. based on such perceived categories will not be tolerated. Each member of Yanagi is required to uphold an open and supportive training environment towards everyone in the group.
- We regard reflecting one’s privilege, working to educate oneself, limiting the space one takes up or the time spent talking, dealing with any emotional fallout of white and/or male fragility etc. first and foremost as the responsibility of members who are not part of any marginalized group (i.e., white, cis gendered, hetero male or female identifying members).
- We do not subscribe to the idea that biological sex corresponds with certain inalienable characteristics. All bodies are different, resulting in different and individual training trajectories for each member. Everyone has strengths in some areas, weaknesses in others. Members should be open to learning from one another in a positive and non-judgemental mindset.
- Group discussions in Yanagi Berlin rest on the principle of active listening, considering each others’ ideas and points, and communicating with each other in a respectful and non-accusatory manner. Point 3) specifically applies to any group discussions.
- Our training method rests on a strict belt hierarchy with different levels. We value this as a strong, meritocratic motivational tool. Occupying any place in this hierarchy brings with it certain privileges and obligations. Respect for any members of a higher grade level is a key part of our training method. Students should follow instructions provided in training by more experienced practitioners. However, any abuse of this hierarchy in the form of bullying, criticising, demotivating or otherwise mistreating others, especially those of lower belt grades, will not be tolerated. This is equally true for a new yellow belt, the highest black belt, and everyone in between.
- Yanagi Berlin strives to be a trauma-sensitive training environment. We recognize that all members can be affected by trauma that occurred at one point in their lives, and this might surface in their training at Yanagi in different ways. We look out for each members’ individual needs and provide the space and time needed in any given context to deal with the effects of trauma. We regard it as the collective responsibility of the community to help empower every member, and the individual responsibility of each member to act respectfully and sensitively.
- Respecting others includes observing basic standards of personal hygiene and physical interaction, such as keeping your body and gi clean, your nails short, taking out any jewelry, and keeping longer hair tied up with a soft fabric tie during training.
- Punctuality and respect for dojo rules are key parts of our training and are expected of all members. Arrive with enough time to change, set up mats, and begin training on time. No food, water bottles, or other personal items inside the dojo. Immediately identify a higher belt or the black belt in charge of training in case of any incidents or injuries. During a training session, do not leave the dojo without first notifying the black belt in charge of training.
- Yanagi’s approach rests on respecting individuals and providing a safe space and environment allowing anyone to transcend their boundaries: working through fears and perceived limitations, confronting emotions in training, and taking time to jointly process training experience are all part of the curriculum. We will gently push members to get close to and eventually surpass boundaries, each at their own pace.