Bajutsu Martial Art

Bajutsu Martial ArtBajutsu is a Japanese form of military equestrianism . Although its origins are closely related to those of mounted archery (yabusame), bajutsu is considered a distinct and separate martial art, and there are a number of traditional schools, such as the Ogasawara, Otsubo, and Hachijo. The art originated in the 7th century AD during the reign of Emperor Tenji but was popularised in the 12th century as large-scale mounted warfare became more common.

However, the comparative scarcity of horses in Japan meant that bajutsu was always an elite art, restricted to high-ranking samurai. In spite of this, many contemporary historians ignored the numbers of foot-soldiers in battles and referred to the size of armies by the number of horsemen alone.

Bajutsu went through several declines due to civil wars in Japan, and to the expanding use of firearms around 1600. However, nobles still practiced, and when the Samurai cast was abolished in 1876, there were still over 50 bajutsu schools in Japan, the oldest one, Otsubo-Ryu dating from the 15th century.

Nowadays in the West, especially in Europe, Bajutsu is becoming an increasingly popular martial art. Master Hiroo Mochizuki, a descendant of Samurais and Soke of the Yoseikan Budo World Federation is an experienced horse rider and a veterinarian doctor. He has retied with tradition and modernized bajutsu techniques so that they can be practiced by anyone in riding clubs. Long bows have been replaced by short Mongolian bows, the targets and weapons have been modernized, but the basic techniques have remained the same. Riders are trained in all the areas of horsemanship as well as fighting techniques, both on horseback and on ground. The ranking is done at four different levels (beginner/intermediate/advanced/superior) with Kyus and Dans just like in Yoseikan, up to the 5th dan. A ranking with national riding federations completes the technical program.

Stany Ledieu has been appointed as Bajutsu Technical Director. The "ecuries du Grand Royal" in Belgium have become a prominent training center for Bajutsu. In this stable, (where the Belgian National Mounted Police is trained) Stany Ledieu and his assistants Patrice, Olivier and Valerie care for people and horses alike towards the development of this great martial art.