The Jujutsu

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

Jujutsu, literally meaning the “art or science of softness”, is a Japanese martial art consisting primarily of grappling techniques. Jujutsu evolved among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for dispatching an armed and armored opponent in situations where the use of weapons was impractical or forbidden.

Due to the difficulty of dispatching an armored opponent with striking techniques, the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it, and came to be known as jujutsu.

There are many variations of the art which leads to a diversity of approaches. Jujutsu schools (ryū) may utilize all forms of grappling techniques to some degree (i.e. throwing, trapping, joint locking, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking, and kicking). In addition to jujutsu, many schools taught the use of weapons.

Jujitsu Symbol

Today, jujutsu is still practiced as it was hundreds of years ago, but it has also been modified for sport practice. The Olympic sport and martial art of judo was developed from several traditional styles of jujutsu by Kano Jigoro in the late 19th century. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (“Jiu-Jitsu” is a common informal romanization of “jujutsu”) was developed after Mitsuyo Maeda taught judo in Brazil, but at that time was still referring to it as “jujutsu”.

Ju-Jitsu is the ancient martial art of the legendary Samurai. It can be traced back to at least 2,500 years ago in Japan. In Japanese mythology it is said to have been used by the gods Kajima and Kadorai to discipline the lawless inhabitants of the Eastern provinces. Through the years many other martial arts have derived from Ju-Jitsu, the most popular being:

  • Judo (Throws and ground-work)
  • Aikido (Joint-Locks and the redirection of force)

Jujitsu : Ju, yielding; Jitsu, art or technique. A martial art that employs the illusion of yielding to an attack to overcome it.

Jujitsu is the term which has been applied, at different times, to the whole of the ancient Japanese national art of unarmed self-defense practiced by the Samurai or Warrior Class of Japan.

Jujutsu can trace its roots back to the early unarmed styles that where popular among the Samurai. Early martial arts were often categorized narrowly; kenjutsu for sword-fencing, naginata-jutsu for the glaive, and JuJitsu for unarmed. There where many styles of jujitsu with diffrent areas of emphasis such as purely empty-hand fighting in others it was a system of unarmed methods of dealing with an enemy who was armed. JuJitsu much like Karate and Kung-Fu is a very general term and is not limited to only one fixed set of techniques.

Jujitsu is one of the most ancient of the martial arts in the world, over 2500 years old. No one knows exactly where Jujitsu started. Although it has its origins in ancient Japan, it is also thought to be of an antiquated Chinese origin. Jujitsu was influenced by many fighting styles, incorporating parts of all of them. The weaponless styles of Jujitsu were integrated into the training of the Samurai, from the eighth to the sixteenth centuries.

Japanese jujutsu systems typically place more emphasis on throwing, immobilizing and pinning, joint-locking, and strangling techniques (as compared with other martial arts systems such as karate). Atemi-waza (striking techniques) were seen as less important in most older Japanese systems, since samurai body armor protected against many striking techniques. The Chinese quanfa/ch’uan-fa (kenpo or kung fu) systems focus on punching, striking, and kicking more than jujutsu.

The Japanese systems of hakuda, kenpo, and shubaku display some degree of Chinese influence in their emphasis on atemi-waza. In comparison, systems that derive more directly from Japanese sources show less preference for such techniques. However, a few jujutsu schools likely have some Chinese influence in their development. Jujutsu ryu vary widely in their techniques, and many do include significant numbers of striking techniques, if only as set-ups for their grappling techniques.

In jujutsu, practitioners train in the use of many potentially fatal moves. However, because students mostly train in a non-competitive environment, risk is minimized. Students are taught break falling skills to allow them to safely practice otherwise dangerous throws.

Modern judo is the classic example of a ‘sport’ which derived from jujutsu and became distinct. Another layer removed, some popular arts had instructors who studied one of these jujutsu-derivatives and later made their own derivative succeed in competition. This created an extensive family of martial arts and sports which can trace their lineage to jujutsu in some part. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dominated the first large mixed martial arts competitions, causing the emerging field to adopt many of its practices.

The way an opponent is dealt with also depends on the teacher’s philosophy with regard to combat. This translates also in different styles or schools of jujutsu. Because in jujutsu every conceivable technique, including biting, hairpulling, eyegouging etc. is allowed (unlike for instance judo, which does not place emphasis on punching or kicking tactics, or karate, which does not heavily emphasize grappling and throwing) practitioners have an unlimited choice of techniques (assuming they are proficient).