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Welcome to Side Arts

This section provides more information about side arts and complimentary training activities (other hobbies) that both supplement and provide complimentary training for Lii-kan Jitsu training and development purposes.

The martial arts have long employed a variety of complimentary arts, sports and activities to supplement, augment and hence enhance their general skills training and development. Many athletics events owe their origins directly to martial arts and the arts of war, from ´the more obvious Javelin, discus and hammer throwing events to shot put, pole vaulting, wall climbing and even running, for which, the marathon run has the best-known history because of a heroic Greek soldier who ran for miles to warn the main army of an invasion before subsequently dying from exhaustion.

Traditional martial arts has even been known to employ friendly sporting games such as the Indian 'Kabadi' or various forms of football crossed with volley ball using a shuttlecock for developing kicking ability, footwork and fitness. Racquet ball sports (e.g. rounders / baseball, tennis, squash & badminton, table tennis) are useful for developing the fundamental hand-eye speed and coordination skills needed for hand techniques and particularly for handling and using weapons, from which they originally derived, most likely. Tennis is good for longer heavier weapon skills, badminton and squash for intermediate circle techniques, and table tennis for small circle / fine motor skills using the wrist. Other activities such as drawing and art, however, also contribute to observational skills in terms of structure and form in particular.

For body control skills, movement and fitness, Parkour makes an obvious and ideal modern side art for martial arts training, just as modern gymnastics has been adopted by many Chinese Kung Fu styles for the same reasons. Break-dancing provides an equally versatile side art for developing mobility on the ground and many movements can be translated directly into self-defence techniques. In terms of fitness and strength training, both these arts are underpinned by Calisthenics, which, is the use of your own body weight, and/or augmented with that of a training partner, through various power and balance exercises to develop both in tandem.  Such arts provide a wonderful supplementary training regime that can be practised almost anywhere without causing a disturbance, other than an occasional and usually appreciative spectator crowd.


Other sports are also encouraged, particularly for juniors, who need to develop a broad range of basic skills and experience to compliment their martial training. This is as much about their psychological development and mental balance as it is their physical skills. For these reasons juniors are not encouraged to practice self-defence more than twice per week, but, instead compliment their weekly training programme with other none-combative hobbies, if only for the sake of their mental health and stability. For example, football, skateboarding / scooters and biking, particularly cross-country or tricking in the skate parks. A natural compliment to Parkour training is wall climbing, which comes in many forms these days, from boulder climbing to moving walls and augmented climbing at sports centres.


Liikan Jitsu utilises many of these arts as much as possible within our normal training or, in extra club activities outside of the dojo on a monthly basis, resources permitting. These are known as Skills Enhancement Training Sessions (SeTs)


Students are further encouraged to practise a number of complimentary arts, hobbies or sports which, have considerable value in aiding our skills or knowledge development, for example:


  • Parkour is the art of free running, whether in urban areas or the countryside, though it tends to bloom in urban areas. Training out in the open air, particularly in the countryside gives a completely new and refreshing perspective in our practise of the martial arts.

  • Not only is it invigorating and challenging to our physical senses and judgement of distance, speed and timing, but, we are also forced to reappraise our assumptions about the use of certain types of tactics, techniques and footwork. Parkour and martial arts can be combined almost seamlessly for martial training purposes.

  • Note however, that Pure Parkour is really about efficiency of movement (speed and grace) in getting from A to B over, around or under various obstacles. The spectacular sommersaults and vaults are derived from gymnastics and generally referred to as 'Tricking' or, are collectively referred to as 'Free Running'. These are extra skills practised for the fun of it, to enhance the skill level and provide some really spectacular entertainment/showing-off. They are part of the fun for advanced practitioners, but, not compulsory for pure martial arts. More videos about tricking from some of our favourite experts on this Parkour Tricking page.

  • For beginners and the learning of new tricks and techniques in general, we try to regularly (once per month) visit indoor Parkour centres with purpose built equipment to enhance safety and minimise risks of injury.


  1. Parkour Jitsu 2 (2018.05 [08:31])

  2. Parkour Jitsu 1 (2018.04 [10:43])

  3. From Break-Falling to Parkour (1)

  4. From Break-Falling to Parkour 2

  5. From Parkour to Jitsu (1)

More info: Parkour Helsinki (Weekly Jam Sessions)



  • Break-dancing is a modern dance born on the streets (hence its nickname of street-dancing) that contains quite a considerable amount of floor gymnastics and even acrobatics to match even the best of the world's conventional gymnasts.  Break-Dancing has, however, not only borrowed from gymnastics for its repertoire of balance holds, spinning and gyrating tricks at break-neck speed, but, like Parkour has even borrowed ideas from the martial arts.


  • In turn, martial artists can learn and greatly benefit from the practice of break-dancing in the realm of fluid and fast movement from position to position whilst still on the ground is an excellent martial skill for ground fighting and defence from the ground. This combined with the general footwork, body control skills, balance, coordination, rhythm and timing and fitness aspects makes it an excellent martial skills training in itself.

More info and videos (google site)

Acqua Training

  • Swimming and specially designed aerobic and power exercises make a very powerful fitness regime that aids coordination, breathing, Chi Kung practice and is in itself an essential survival / self-preservation skill that can also be useful in some self-defence situations. The Japanese Bushi used to hold competitions for horse swimming even, just as archery competitions, jousting and other competitive tournaments are a matter of historical record even in the west.

Chi Kung / Meditation

  • Chi Kung and Meditation in general are the stuff of folk lore and martial arts legend. The benefits are multi-faceted from physical to mental and even spiritual benefits that the Indian Yogi refer to as the 8 Sidhi. The first stage or level of enlightenment is said to take many years to achieve (>20 years according to the Chinese), though this may owe much to weak techniques or a lack of willingness to teach people any faster for both (perceived) safety and control / power purposes. In practice, there are schools and systems that can get you to this first level within three months of steady and dedicated practice, one of which, is taught and practised as part of the Liikan Jitsu training system.

  • There are unfortunately very few people, even amongst the martial arts community who really know and and can practice these arts to a high level. Much of the real knowledge is scattered far and wide amongst small disparate groups or individuals and often practised in secret. After all, this is the stuff that gave rise to religion and thereby all the religious factions and wars of history such as the crusades and the Templar Knights etc. However, if you can find a suitably qualified teacher, the far eastern traditions do not seem to have become quite so bogged down in the religious interpretations, doctrines and power politics that have plagued the western and middle eastern variants. The Indian Yoga systems, however, seem to have been misdirected and miss-represented in the west as purely fitness and health systems, with only the Kundalini Yoga system managing to maintain a steady focus on the meditative and chi kung (Bio-Energy Training) purposes.

More Info and Videos


Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • NLP is a modern school of psycho-therapy and mind skills that is intuitive and fits very snugly with the martial arts and traditional eastern knowledge systems such as transformational psychology in the practice of Chi Kung, yoga and meditation in general. It not only helps prepare you mentally for the Chi Kung training, but also has direct relevance and application to self-defence, security and risk management in general. NLP can also usefully be complimented with sports psychology and applied psychology in the form of business skills, such as presentation, sales and negotiation skills, all of which provide a practical and unobtrusive way of practising fundamental skills in a multi-faceted way.

More Info and Videos


Criminology, Security and Risk Management

  • CSR Management is normally regarded belonging in the realms of career professionals, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Much helpful knowledge for self-defence purposes can be gleaned from the study of these disciplines, just as many so-called security professionals would be well advised to learn and understand a great deal more about self-defence and operational security officer skills and requirements. The absence of such detailed understanding of the grass-roots of the security business can only lead to inefficient if not ineffective use of technology, people and resources in general, not to mention issues relating to  leadership capability.


  • There is a proverb that, 'As it is above, so it is below', which, means that the principles are always the same no matter at what level you are practising. In fact, the processes and patterns are usually the same also, with the main differences appearing only at the level of procedures, tasks and techniques. To properly understand the principles, processes and patterns that provide the guiding framework for our activities and actions, it is usually easier to learn and understand them in physical self-defence, precisely because of the more direct, concise and concrete experience of cause and effect involved.

More Info and Videos


Further Insights

For further insights, take a look at our YouTube Playlists:


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This site was last updated 03/08/18