Jujutsu Philosophical Dimensions

The Jujutsu | What is Jujitsu | Jujutsu History | Jujutsu Development | Jujutsu Description | Jujutsu Beginning | Jujutsu Origins | Movement Strategy | Derivatives and Schools | Brazilian Jiujitsu | Judo verses Jujitsu | Jujutsu and Taijutsu | Jujutsu Etymology | Philosophical Dimensions | Principles And Concepts

Although jujutsu and the ancient arts in general often do not have the suffix -do or “way” to designate them as paths toward spiritual liberation and inner development, there are some philosophical and mental components, which have significance and application in these systems, at least because of their value in developing the actual combat effectiveness of the practitioner.

These include: an all-encompassing awareness, zanshin (literally “remaining spirit”), in which the practitioner is ready for anything, at any time; the spontaneity of mushin (literally “no mind”).

Which allows immediate action without conscious thought; and a state of equanimity or imperturbability known as fudoshin.

Together, these states of mind tremendously strengthen the jujutsu practitioner, allowing him the utmost potential for effective action.

Such effectiveness and the technical competence and mental mastery on which it stands, however, is possible only after a considerable period of serious and devoted training.

These various characteristics or components, taken together, largely describe the principal elements of traditional Japanese jujutsu. If most or all of these characteristics are not noticeable in a so-called jujutsu system, then the legitimacy of the system as bona fide Nihon jujutsu would be highly suspect. This is not to say that the system or school in question does not offer a good training program or effective techniques. It simply suggests that such a system may be more accurately labeled with some other term.

Jujutsu as sport: Jujutsu as a competitive sport is somewhat controversial. According to some practitioners, what makes jujutsu jujutsu, is the fact that every conceivable technique to win in combat is allowed – there are no rules or limitations, surviving the fight is what counts.

This includes some very dangerous techniques, such as throwing a person from a standing position while having an arm in a jointlock, which can result in serious injuries. In order to safely compete in jujutsu, rules have to be made and techniques limited. According to many, this takes away the very heart of what jujutsu is. They claim this would turn jujutsu into a combination of judo and karate, while it is so much more.

The most popular competition method is called ‘fighting system’. This system consists of one round of combat with different phases. In the first phase, only atemi (striking) are allowed. In the next phase, grappling and throwing are added, but continuing on the ground (newaza) is not allowed. In the last phase, groundfighting is allowed, including chokeholds.

There is only what is called ‘half-contact’ between opponents, which means it is allowed to actually hit your opponent, but you’re not supposed to hit for a knockout (like boxing). Judges award points for techniques used and the fighter with the most points wins.

Another, less known system, is called ‘practical’. In this system, 2 defenders will take their places in the center of the mat (tatami), surrounded by 4 attackers, 1 on each corner of the mat. The attackers will choose who and how to attack. A defender can therefore be faced with 0 to 4 opponents. Attacks must be straightforward, without feints. This is also ‘half-contact’. Combat is one round of 2 minutes. There are 3 judges who will indicate at the end of the round which defender did the best job of defending himself.

The judges watch not only for effectiveness of individual techniques, but also how the defender keeps oversight and control of the situation when faced with multiple attackers. Taking down one opponent with a difficult technique but leaving yourself open for the other attackers will not score very well, while using a simple one throwing your attacker in the way of the other(s) will.

A third competition method is called ‘duo system’. During such a competition, a couple of fighters (same sex or mixed) has to present defences for different predetermined attacks. These defences can be freely chosen and are awarded with points from judges. The attacks are divided into 4 groups of 5 attacks each. The 4 attack groups are gripping, embracing/neck locks, punches/kicks and weapons.

What’s in a name?: Jujutsu, jujitsu, jiu jitsu — there are a wide range of spellings used in English for this Japanese martial art. In the native Japanese, jÅ«jutsu is written in kanji (Chinese ideograms) as 柔術, but the romanization of the Japanese word into the English language has been performed several times using several different systems since Japan was forced out of isolation in 1854 by the United States.

Jujutsu, the current standard, is derived using the Hepburn romanization system. Before the first half of the 20th century, however, jiu-jitsu and then jujitsu were preferred. Since this corresponded to a period of time when Japanese martial arts first became widely known of in the West, these earlier spellings are still common in many places, though the romanization of the second kanji as jitsu is unfaithful to the Japanese pronunciation, especially since jujitsu means “military preparedness”.

The Chinese character 柔 (Mandarin: róu; Japanese: jū) is the same as the first one in 柔道 (Mandarin: róudào; Japanese: judo). The Chinese character 術 (Mandarin: shù; Japanese: jutsu) is the same as the second one in 武術 (Mandarin: wǔshù)