Sayokan- The Contemporary Turkish Martial Art Developed By Nihat Yiğit


What Is Sayokan?

Sayokan is the contemporary Turkish martial art developed by Nihat Yiğit in 1999. Sayokan bases itself upon realistic self-defense systems; the martial art takes Ottoman-style strikes and grappling moves and merges them with central Asian principles.

The main focus of Sayokan is to prepare and teach people to make the correct choices when it comes to an attack and how to defend themselves against smaller people, larger people and from more than one attacker.

This martial art does not focus on memorized moves as there is no guarantee that something will or will not go wrong.

When performing sayokan one focuses not on techniques that have been memorized, but focuses on learning by strategy which gives a learner a better chance in succeeding rather than failing when using Sayokan in self-defense.

The Importance of Sayokan in Martial Arts

Sayokan has gained popularity over the years for its practicality and effectiveness in real-life situations. Its focus on situational awareness means that practitioners are better equipped to defend themselves in unpredictable circumstances. The art also values holistic development, encouraging practitioners to develop physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of their character.

The practice of Sayokan can also lead to improved physical fitness as well as mental health. Sayokan training emphasizes self-discipline, self-control, and respect for others.

It is a great way to build confidence, relieve stress and anxiety while also developing a strong sense of community among practitioners. Sayokan offers an effective self-defense system while promoting holistic growth within its practitioners.

Sayokan Used In Other Martial Arts

There are a wide variety of different martial arts that use sayokan to further their training.

Most martial arts typically use a traditional style of martial art to start off their training and once are competent in the traditional style, they like to move on to Sayokan; which gives a learner more knowledge and training in the line of self-defense.

By practising both a strategic martial art and a single focused martial art it also gives a learner a balance in which they can focus on one martial art while also being strategic in their moves.

Sayokan In Competition

Although Sayokan is taught in order to give people the knowledge and capability to defend themselves in an attack, like a lot of martial arts, there are competitions in which people can prove their skills in the art of sayokan.

In competition, there are certain rules in which one must comply. Moves that are allowed are kicks and knees to the head; moves that are not allowed under any circumstance are punches, elbows and using one’s head to strike the face. If these rules are broken you will be disqualified.

In this martial arts competition, each match consists of two people (as not to compete against multiple people). As with most martial arts, the people in which one will be versing is determined by the colour of their belt.

There are three different competitions;

  • Gencalp
  • Konuralp
  • Baturalp

Green belts can only compete in Gencalp, brown belts can only compete in Konuralp and black belts can only compete in Baturalp.

For Konuralp and Baturalp there is a 5 minute fight time while Gencalp has a 3 minute fight time. In order to win you must knock your opponent down first. If three warnings are distributed to a single competitor they will be disqualified.

Sayokan In Self Defense

Now that we have gone through Sayokan in a competitive sense, let us talk about it in self-defense.

When used to its full extent, Sayokan can be very harmful when used against someone which is why it should only be used in self-defense (unless used in competition).

The main thing to remember when undergoing an attack is to be rational and be wary of what is going on and the way the attacker is moving.

When focusing on how the attacker is moving it allows for you to assess the situation and determine the best way to move in a way that is less harmful to you.

Some of the techniques that can be used when undergoing an attack are twisting your core, assessing the angles of attack in order to defend yourself in the best possible way and lastly keeping an eye on the distance between you and the attacker as not to mistakenly getting close enough for them to strike or render you defenseless.

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Author Bio

Hi, I am William. I started out in martial arts with Goshin Ju Jitsu when I was 7 years old. I am passionate about martial arts and love sharing everything I learn. I created Master Fighting to become a resource for learning about martial arts and alternative fighting styles. Learn more about me.