More Martial Arts Mayhem!

More Martial Arts Mayhem!

I came across these videos (embedded below), a while back.  After doing past entry on martial arts, I thought that it would be fun to revisit these videos and look at them with a more “skeptical” eye.

1st off let us introduce ourselves to the person in question.

‘Yanagiryuken’ is a Kiai Master/Daitouryu-Aikido Master.

His website:

And the translated page (using Google translator):

Not quite sure what a Kiai “master” is, as a Kiai is typically a noise (like a battle cry) made by martial arts practitioners (typically traditional martial arts practitioners, as I cannot say that I recall any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners utilizing this technique).  There are a variety of different definitions of the concept of kiai, but one can understand it as more or less summoning of one’s inner energy.  So with that in mind I assume that Yanagiryuken is claiming that he is some sort of master of summoning and channelling his inner energy.  Alright…

In addition to the above claim, Yanagiryuken claims to be capable of using and manipulating “chi” power.  “Chi” (also spelled “Ki”) is a concept often referred to in traditional martial arts (and various types of alternative/crap-based medicine) as an individual’s life force or inner strength.  Certain traditional martial arts claim to be able to harness this power, and apparently Yanagiryuken is one of these martial arts practitioners. 

Yanagiryuken claims to have fought in 200 Vale Tudo matches and claims to have never been defeated.  In order to fight him, you must be willing to put up a 500,000 yen fee, however if you defeat him he will pay you 1,000,000 yen (although it is not clear if he returns your 500,00 yen + an additional 500,000 or if he gives you 1,000,000 yen in addition to your 500,000 yen fee)

The video embedded below is of Yanagiryuken demonstrating this “powers” on some of his students:


After watching this video, several questions come to mind…

1stly, does Yanagiryuken have “powers” or not?  Looking at this situation with a skeptical eye, one cannot automatically dismiss the notion that Yanagiryuken does not have the abilities that he claims to have.  It is entirely possible (though unlikely) that this gentleman does have some sort of “powers” that have, until this time, not been previously seen or described in the literature.  If Yanagiryuken does in fact have some sort of previously unidentified power/ability that would be extremely interesting (if for no other reason than it would completely change our current understanding of physics and the natural world). 

On the other hand, if Yanagiryuken does not have any “powers”, one has to wonder, does he simply believe his own hype or is he some sort of con artist.  Additionally, if Yanagiryuken does not have any “powers”, what are we to think of the actions of his students?  Why do they act in the manner they do when they are in Yanagiryuken’s presence. 

With the above questions in mind, it would be excellent if we could somehow test Yanagiryuken “powers”.  Ideally, we would be able to observe Yanagiryuken demonstrating his “powers” on an individual who is not under his sphere of influence (read as: someone who is not one of his students).  And wouldn’t you know it…just such a video exists and it is available on YouTube!

The videos embedded below (2 different cameras, same fight/encounter) are of Yanagiryuken in his most recent vale tudo match.

I had difficulty finding information of Yanagiryuken’s opponent, but from what I was able to uncover it appears that at the time of the video he was a legit MMA fighter (I was unable to determine if he was a professional or an amateur), held a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and was proficient in some form of striking.

I remember when I 1st watched these videos.  I thought that they were hilarious!  But now I find them rather hard to watch.  Essentially, we are watching a young healthy/legit fighter beat up on a delusional old man.  But, I digress… 

Viewing these videos, one has to assume that Yanagiryuken believes his own hype.  Why else would he put himself in front of a young MMA fighter willing to beat him down?  In the video, when Yanagiryuken is hit by his opponent he actually looks  shocked, his expression seems to indicate that he is truly amazed at what has happened.  I would argue that this further supports that notion that he believes his own hype.  So assuming that he does believe his own hype, one has to wonder how he got to this point.  Did it occur all at once or has it been a slow progression that has happened over the years. 

Additionally, how do we explain the actions of his students?  In the video we see several of his students in the background (one even comes to his aid at the end of the match).  Did they think that their master was going to come out of this encounter unharmed?  Did they actually believe that Yanagiryuken actually had the powers that he claimed to have?  Did they continue to follow him after this encounter? 

All interesting and thought provoking questions.   What do you think!? (read as: leave a comment below!)

I for one will never tire of the human condition…

And I will never tire of the process of skeptical inquiry…


13 Responses to “More Martial Arts Mayhem!”

  1. Morihei Ueshiba also had some sort of unique powers and this is the same with many chinese martial internal styles experts.We should not been fast and say fake.Rather try to investigate why that powers were not “available” during the kumite/randori with MMA/BJJ young man.Pride,ego etc can tramp the greatest masters when thet rely only on that powers to face someone in a fight.Good makiwara training can be more useful most of the times

    • theskepticalsamurai Says:

      Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for contributing, please excuse my ignorance

      i have read and re-read your comment several times…
      i am not sure whether or not you are being sarcastic…

      could you please clarify? Thanks

      • Jorge Cardoso Says:

        My words are without malice,I had experience with the KI powers from the Reiki healing that cured my sickness.Also I had experience with paranormal World that the Yanagi Sensei promise in his website,to have powers to deal.I treat that reality with respect.I think that Yanagi have powers given to him like many Reiki healers and others of similar sources.Morihei Ueshiba life was full of real stories of manifestations that powers.If Yanagi had a pure heart/mind at the time of the randori maybe he was not so badly beaten.I had a feeling that ego was the root for that event,and the “Kami” decided give a lesson to Yanagi San… no flow of Ki and the “sushi taste” of the physical power of the MMA/Jujitsuka.

      • theskepticalsamurai Says:

        Thanks for the clarification.

        I would be very interested to hear which sickness you had been diagnosed with and how/what the Reiki practitioner did to “heal” you.
        Additionally, i would be interested to hear what your explanation is for how Reiki was able to “heal” you (what specific mechanism was going on that allowed you to be “healed”)

        I find your explanation regarding Yanagi’s defeat rather interesting. If he has any “powers” those powers should always be available to him, not just when he of pure heart/mind. It seems that his “powers” only work on his own students, but when faced with someone other then one of his students, his “powers” magically disappear. Rather interesting.
        Strange that “pnenomenon” such as gravity exist no matter what however pnenomenon such as Yanagi’s “powers” seem to come and go. Regardless of my state of mind, the force of gravity (and the properties associated with it) is always present. I would be interested to hear your explanation regarding this query.

        I look forward to your response

      • Jorge Cardoso Says:

        my sickness was herpes zoster “the chinese call traditionally this sickness the snake”.The spiritual realms Laws are transposed to physical realm when the conditions are set by us.Is not fully under the control of Yanagisan.You are right because the is a spiritual based with is students is ” given” powers are more easy to be manifested.But also strangers can feel that.This is not only with Yanagi but any healer no matter what method or name for it.Reiki healing is the transfer of the Universal Energy called Ilmu,Tenaga Batin,Chi,Ki,Prana,Universal Prime Force etc,through the healer body to the sick person .In the end the result is what counts.We don`t understand most of the times how the farmacy drugs heals our bodies but just take and get cured.I will look for another famous Sifu more power then Yanagi and will give the name and link.
        Take care

      • theskepticalsamurai Says:

        re: your sickness
        Herpes Zoster (Shingles) is a self limiting disease process. With that in mind it is not all that impressive that a practitioner “healed you of it”. Regardless of what treatment you received Herpes Zoster would have eventually resolved on its own.
        In medicine we do not treat to cure Zoster (as we do not have an effective cure as of yet), instead we give anti-virals to less the length and severity of the disease process.
        Whatever treatment that you received for your Zoster most likely had no contribution to curing the disease. As stated above, regardless of what you would have done you would have eventually been “healed”. For example, you could have eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the duration of your illness and you also would have eventually gotten better as well.

        re: spiritual realms Laws
        you use this term like these are Laws comparable to those of science.
        I would be interested to hear examples of what Laws you are referring to

        re: Yanagisan
        i would argue that this is not the case
        Yanagisan “has powers” when in the company of his students, however when presented with a “control” (someone who is not one of his students) his powers magically disappear. Is is a good example of a controled experiment, which is proof against, not for, the likelyhood that Yanagisan has any sort of powers

        re: modern drugs
        As you arguing that because i patient does not know how a drug works that this is evidence for Yanagisan’s supposed powers?

        i look forward to hearing from you

  2. Perhaps the concrete would be to approach yanagisan personally and convince him to be subjected to a scientific experiment about his exhibited magical ki powers.

    • theskepticalsamurai Says:

      I would love to.

      Sadly i do not have the time or resources to do this.

      Based on the fact that he took up this challenge match i would be extremely interested what his response would be to being subjected to a scientific experiment. And what his reaction/explanation would be to the results.

  3. i think the kiai master power just affect the people that believes on kiai. I look at his face when the first punch, and he looked like “what? i lose my power”

    • theskepticalsamurai Says:

      Just for clarification

      Are you proposing that the Kai “Master” has actual powers but they only work on people who believe?
      Or are you proposing that the Kai “Master” has no powers…and thus his “powers” only work on those who believe? I believe that you are suggesting the later but just want to confirm

      • I am sure that he could use some powers from the spiritual realm as that was the same with Morihei Ueshiba and many others before and now.I know many Malay Silat Masters that have similar powers.Nevertheless that channeling of powers is based in physical foundation and heart attitude.Where pride arrogance self conceit cannot exist or be manifested.When the Kiai master showed so much arrogance and pride facing the MMA man.The powers were cut and he got a lesson for life.

      • theskepticalsamurai Says:

        I am not 100% sure what you are claiming here?

        Are you claiming that the Kiai master does indeed have actual powers?
        Are you claiming that the Kiai masters arrogance and pride is what prevented him from being able to “utilize his powers” and defeat the MMA fighter?

  4. I’ve researched and debated enough theists and new-age mystics.

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Or, the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic.

    When one claim fails, alternate explanations surface. Has anyone asked Yanagiryuken to move an object with his chi? At least we shouldn’t have to pay a fee.

    The theme of delusion pervades. Either that or a willful con game for money or fame.

    Years ago, I read an article from about a man in some African country who bought a necklace he believed would make him invisible. He used the necklace to rob a bank and was caught. Why not first test the claim?

    I’ll take the scientific method over faith any day.

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