History Of Ju Jitsu

historyHistory Of Ju Jitsu

The Samurai or warrior class in Japan were trained to use a wide variety of weapons, including Sword, Spear, Halberd and Bow. Techniques of using these weapons are collectively known as Bujutsu. The Samurai expected to fight similar opponents to himself, who would be both armed and armoured, furthermore Samurai were armed at all times, even when asleep a short sword would be close to hand. However there were times when a warrior would be unable, or would not choose to use his main weapons but would close and grapple with an opponent. This grappling could be to take an opponent prisoner or simply to hold him still whilst the Samurai brought another weapon into play. These techniques of grappling in armour went under names such as Kumi-Uchi, Wajutsu, Taijutsu, Yawara-ge and Torite. As with Bujutsu the actual style varied somewhat between schools.

In 1603 the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu seized control of all Japan and declared himself Shogun, or supreme military ruler. The Tokugawa clan remained in power until 1868, this is known as the Edo period of Japanese history. The Edo period was one of relative peace, and the power and prestige of the Samurai gradually declined.

As times grew less warlike the need to kill opponents was reduced and skill with the major weapons became less important. Samurai still needed to defend themselves however and began to place greater emphasis on their unarmed fighting skills. It was during this period that the name Ju Jitsu came into general use and also when the study of the art spread from the Samurai to the common people of Japan, who historically had not been permitted to own or train with weapons.

At this period in its history Ju Jitsu still emphasised grappling techniques and the use of small, easily concealed weapons such as knives and knuckledusters. As the art evolved however it incorporated striking skills from the Chinese Ch'uan fa (fist way), which is called Kempo in Japanese.
Ju Jitsu first came to Great Britain in the early 20th Century, a dojo was established in LONDON and the British Ju Jitsu Association was established to promote the art. In 1918 another dojo was opened in London, this was the Budokwai which is still in existence, although it now teaches Judo, a competitive sport derived from Ju Jitsu.

Ju Jitsu became firmly established in other British cities, especially Liverpool which is the home of Professor Robert Clark (WJJF) and Soke Jim Blundell (BJJA) both excellent practitioners of Ju Jitsu.

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