What is Traditional Jujitsu
Ju-jitsu (jujutsu, Jiu-jitsu, Ju-jitsu) is above all a practical, defensive martial art. At its core is the principle that aggression can be overcome by seeming to yield to it, by using an attacker’s strength, size and momentum to a defender’s advantage. Men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes can therefore become very good at it. Training is gradual, but as you progress through the belt structure you will learn to defend yourself against increasingly demanding armed and unarmed attacks, using a system of throws, locks and strikes. Jitsu’s practicality consists partly in learning techniques by practicing them together, and this requires a particular kind of trust. The atmosphere in Ju-jitsu clubs is therefore very friendly, and there is often a vibrant social life off the mat.
Ju-jitsu is a 2500 year old unarmed combat discipline that has its roots in ancient Japan. The exact date on the creation of this martial art form is hard to trace but techniques resembling that of Ju-jitsu had already been incorporated into the training methods of the Samurai, from the 8th to the 6th centuries. Earliest Japanese historical records such as the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan) also have passages related to unarmed combat systems.
Before this Japanese martial art developed into what we know as Ju-jitsu today, there were many other Japanese combat techniques such as kogusoku, yawara, kumiuchi, and hakuda etc, also collectively known as Sengoku Jujutsu. Traditions finally gave rise to the modern Nihon Jujutsu we know today, which is classified under Edo Jujutsu – the true unarmed Japanese combat system.
Ju-jitsu gained prominence during the reign of Tokugawa in the 1600s but was soon alienated when Emperor Melse regained power. However, towards the mid-20th century, the ban on Ju-jitsu in Japan was lifted, following the Meiji restoration, and the combat art form began to be widely practiced.
How to Compete
Conventional Ju-jitsu can be dangerous, or maybe even fatal if its fundamental techniques were to be applied. So, in order to make the art a safer sport for the competitive arena, systems and rules have to be introduced. That is why most of the competition methods have incorporated “Half-contact”, which prohibits serious attempts to knock out an opponent.
• The Fighting System: This is the most popular method, divided into three phases. The first is for striking only, the second for striking, grappling and throwing, and the third includes ground-fighting such as choke holds.
• The Practical System: According to this rule, two defenders are surrounded by four attackers from four corners. Highest points go to the best defender judged upon effectiveness, oversight and control of the situation.
• The Duo System: In this system, contestants are randomly chosen and awarded points for effective defenses. The attacks are divided into four groups of five attacks each.
• Combat Jujitsu: The most recent system developed in the United States. Victory in the competition is based on submission. The combat round between the two opponents lasts for not more than two minutes.
MAny types of martial arts have developed around the world. Some have been around for thousands of years, while others evolved from older arts. Traditional Japanese jujitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are examples of this evolution. Traditional, or Japanese jujitsu, is hundreds of years old, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or BJJ, is a relatively new martial art and combat sport descended from the original Japanese art.
Origins of Japanese Jujitsu Japanese jujitsu is hundreds of years old, but it is not an original art. The mainly empty-handed forms of jujitsu found across the world today are descended from the original Japanese koryu schools, or the old battlefield arts of Japan. These arts were designed primarily for use by an unarmed warrior against an armed opponent and were typically only used if the warrior's weapon was lost. It was only a couple of hundred years ago that jujitsu developed into a form of unarmed self-defense and spiritual development. As of 2011, there are many jujitsu schools, and the majority emphasize self-improvement and self-defense.
Welcome to USJJF's Traditional Jujutsu
I particularly want to welcome all our USJJF members and our affiliate organizations and invite all practitioners of Traditional Jujutsu worldwide to join us and share in the goals and pursuit of our mission.
1. To develop and grow the Traditional Jujutsu Division under the auspices of the USJJF
2. To provide a home and an identity for martial artists worldwide who identify and espouse the values and practices of Traditional (or traditionally-based) Japanese Jujutsu
3. To award rank certificates in Traditional Jujutsu
4. To help maintain the Ways and Practices of Traditional, and traditionally-based Japanese Jujutsu Systems (ryuha) by serving as a repository of knowledge and by providing information on the history, philosophy, Japanese terminology and martial culture that help inform the study and practice of Traditional Jujutsu
Some Background on Traditional Jujutsu
Traditional Jujutsu Systems were developed from the original Classical or Classical Hybrid Systems of Feudal Japan. Unlike Classical or Classical Hybrids that focused exclusively on the art of combat (Bujutsu), Traditional Systems evolved and grew after the dissolution of the Samurai Class, about the time of the Meiji Restoration of 1868. To ensure their survival they expanded their focus beyond combat skills and techniques to embrace the larger goals of Budo. Unlike Bujutsu, Budo incorporates and stresses the broader goals and values of character development, self discipline, resourcefulness, empowerment, loyalty, and the acquisition and development of higher level insights and understandings, in addition to combat skills. Two well known examples of this shift are Kano Jujutsu in 1882 (later to be officially named as Kodokan Judo), and Ueshiba's Aikido which developed from Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu.
Most Traditional Systems evolved or developed during and after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and we can fix their origins to between 1868 and 1930. Such systems, even after they were imported to the West, were grounded in the original Classical or Classical Hybrids of Feudal Japan, maintained traditional Ways and Practices and their teachers in the West continued to use Japanese terminology and protocols in their dojo. Most such systems were either brought over by Japanese sensei or by Westerners who studied under Japanese instructors.
Around 1930 and 1940 we also saw the development of traditionally-based systems that were mostly developed by Westerners, or by Westernized Japanese instructors. While adhering to most of the traditional ways and practices of Traditional Jujutsu Systems we see, about this time, the beginnings of Westernization. That is, we begin to see the introduction and use of English terminology, a loosening of Japanese Ways and Practices in the dojo, and some Westerners started spelling Jujutsu as Jujitsu. While there are many reasons for these shifts it is suggested that the spelling of Jujitsu makes more sense to Western ears even though technically, this is an incorrect spelling by Romaji rules (the official Romanization of the Japanese language) which define jitsu as "reality or truth" and jutsu as "art or craft".