History of Jujitsu

Because Jujitsu (also commonly spelled “Jujutsu” or “Jiu-Jitsu”) is one of the oldest styles of martial art still practiced, dating from the 12th century, more than 700 forms or schools of Jujitsu have existed over the years. Each of these forms has its own techniques that it emphasizes, has improved upon, or invented. Thus, it is hard to pin down exactly where Jujitsu should be placed on a scale rating the amount of grappling versus the amount of striking techniques. In all cases, Jujitsu will lean toward grappling, using more techniques such as throws, joint locks, chokes, and holds. However, all forms of Jujitsu incorporate a fair amount of striking techniques as well, using kicks, punches, knees, and elbows. A central concept to Jujitsu is the ability to change from one technique to another, and then another, as quickly and as many times as is necessary to defeat an attacker. Also key is the ability to use an attacker’s force against him, allowing practitioners to defeat stronger enemies. Jujitsu is sort of a “grandfather” martial art in that so many of the arts developed in modern times use it as their primary source of techniques- Aikido, Judo, and to a lesser extent Hapkido, being foremost among these. Jujitsu is an excellent all-around martial art, but because of its severe fragmentation into many forms, beginners should take extra care when choosing a school to make sure it covers the elements that they are looking for. Similar Styles: Ninjutsu – The art of the ninja. Open handed techniques are Jujitsu in origin, but various weapons and other techniques used by the ninja are also taught. Shuai-Chiao -Contemporary name for Chiao Li or Chiao Ti, which is a Chinese style dating back 3000 years. Was exported to Japan where it was a major influence on the development of Jujitsu. Tai Jutsu – Thought to be perhaps the fighting art from which Jujitsu was developed.

Origin & Development
Ju-Jitsu ( JU – gentle/soft; JITSU – art ), a Japanese System of Martial Arts in which the strength and weight of an opponent are used against him by means of anatomical knowledge and principle of leverage. Included in this soft or gentle art are methods ( fists, fingers, elbows, feet etc.), throwing, constrictions ( pins and chokes), joint locking, bondage, and weaponry. Ju-Jitsu has not had an organized history as many other martial arts have. The knowledge was given and pass on orally and secretly from teacher to student, master to disciple, father to son for hundreds of years.

The practice of ju-jitsu can be traced back in history more than 2,500 years. Ju-Jitsu developed from many individual teachings that either originated in Japan or found their way to Japan from other Asian countries. In 2674 B.C. the first mention of martial arts comes from Huang-Di ( China ) who founded Wu-Su ( martial arts ), a concept in which the body was used for self – defense purposes. Going far back into ancient Japanese legend one might be able to trace ju-jitsu back to the ancient Japanese gods Kajima and Kadori who allegedly used art to chastise the lawless inhabitants of and eastern province.

The first dated mention of ju-jitsu was during the period 772 – 481 B.C. when open-hand techniques were used during the Choon Chu era of China. In A.D. 525 Boddhidrarma, a Zen Buddhist monk, traveled from India to China, visiting the Shaolin monastery. He soon combined Chinese Kempo ( Kenpo in Japanese ) with Yoga breathing to form Shaolin Chuan Fa – Shorinji Kenpo in Japanese ( Shorinji is the Japanese spelling of the Chinese Shaolin. The Shaolin monastery is considered to be the source of Sil Lum Kung Fu ). As legend has it, Boddhidharma eventually developed the system further into what became Go – Shin – Jutsu – Karate (self-defense art of open hand ).

In 230 B.C. the wrestling sport of Chikura Kurabe developed in Japan and was integrated into Ju-Jitsu. Approximately 2,000 years ago there is also mention of the development of wrestling and related techniques that served as the base of Ju-Jitsu. There is evidence that empty – hand techniques were in use during the Heian period ( A.D. 794 – 1185 ) in Japan, but in conjunction with weapons training for samurai. In AD 880 Prince Teijun ( also known as Sadagami ) formed the Daito – Ryu Aiki Ju-Jitsu school. Daito – Ryu Aiki Ju-Jitsu was based upon the secret teachings of Shugendo ( SHU – search, KEN – power, DO – way ), the eventual source of Kendo which used circular hand motions to assist in defending oneself with weapons. It was from this school that Morihei Uyeshiba took portions of the art to start his own system of Aikido in 1925. Most of the actual credit for founding the formal art of Ju-Jitsu goes to Hisamori Teneuchi who formed the school of Ju-Jitsu in Japan in 1532. In 1559 Chin Gen Pinh, a monk, migrated from China to Japan, bringing Kempo with him, parts of which were integrated into the current teachings of Ju-Jitsu. During the Tokugawa era ( circa. 1650 ) Ju-Jitsu continued to flourish as a part of samurai training. The next historical phase of Ju-Jitsu, which had gone into decline with the closing of the Tokugawa era, was in 1882, when Jigoro Kano developed the sport of Judo in order to increase the popularity of the martial arts and to provide a safe sport using selected techniques taken from the art of Ju-Jitsu.

Ju-Jitsu is what might be called a Parent Art. A parent art is an art from which other martial arts develop. Since ju-jitsu has such a broad history it was inevitable that other arts, or ” Ways ” would evolve from it. Judo ( Gentle Way ) and Aikido ( the Way of the Mind and Spirit ) can trace direct lines to Ju-Jitsu. Many styles of Karate, especially Kenpo, can also trace some of their techniques back Ju-Jitsu. In addition to being a ” parent art “, Ju-Jitsu is also a combination of many of the more popular martial arts taught today. Ju-Jitsu is a series or combination of techniques that have been separated into other arts. More than 725 systems of Ju-Jitsu were developed in Japan. Most of the modern Japanese ” Do ” forms ( Judo, Aikido, Karate-do etc. ) are rooted in ancient Ju-Jitsu. These developed primarily as sport, eliminating many techniques to minimize the possibility of injury to the contestants. Ju-Jitsu made its way into the United States in the early 20th century. There are historical accounts that indicate President Theodore Roosevelt practiced Ju-Jitsu. A significant influx of the art was first felt in Hawaii and on the Pacific Coast of the United States in the period between 1920 – 1940, during which time a number of Japanese migrated from Japan. A second influx was felt following World War II when a number of United States military men returned from tours of duty in Japan.

Philosophical Overview
Ju-Jitsu or “gentle art” stressed the ethical and philosophical concept of “do” or a “way” in harmony with natural law. The Ju-Jitsu techniques of self-defense, the healing and restoration arts, embodying the ancient philosophical and moral training aimed at perfection of character. In Ju-Jitsu is a philosophy that goes with knowledge, there is a close interrelationship between the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the art; the resultant philosophy can have a profound influence on one’s daily life, in which the martial arts training serves as a base. By understanding of Ju-Jitsu it is possible to recognize that you can have greater control of your environment and understanding of what life is and how to be an active participant in it. The philosophy of Ju-Jitsu is based on the concept of connection and continuity. Learning the art of Ju-Jitsu also involves developing a great deal of patience and balance. With time and training a student will develop a feeling of self-confidence combined with humbleness. Through calmness and relaxation the practitioner of Ju-Jitsu can overcome the opponent strength, but he should never underestimate the opponent weaknesses, Diligently practicing Ju-Jitsu the student develops a strong spirit, which can control the attacker and resolve any obstacles on its path.

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