jujitsuJujitsu the gentle art… a traditional martial art that employs kicks, strikes, throws, locks, strangles, chokes and ground work. Modern ju-jitsu also utilises, well just about anything: including biting, scratching, pulling hair, head butting, heel stomping and grabbing any other sensitive parts of an attackers anatomy that may come to hand!

Jujitsu (also spelt variously asJujutsu, Ju-jitsu, Jiu-jitsu, Jutsu etc.) was originally a generic term for all the ancient Japanese fighting arts.

How they originated and where from isn’t exactly known, though it is generally accepted that the core principles travelled from India and China, slowly evolving on the battlefields of feudal Japan.

jujitsuThese battlefield techniques were practiced in secret, each clan honing techniques unique to them. Samurai warrior’s caught trading techniques with rival clans risked severe punishment, even death. In the 15th century, a fighting system known as Yawara-ge (“peacemaker”), involving armed and unarmed grappling combat came into existence, followed by similar systems associated with other combat schools. These schools, (Ryu) are generally accepted as being responsible for Jujitsu’s creation as a collection of fighting combat and defensive techniques.

During the 19th century, when the samurai declined in importance, Jujitsu became a study in physical and mental discipline rather than a battlefield tool. It was one of the first martial arts to be adopted by western practitioners (see Barton-Wright) and is used in many forms by police forces and the military across the world.

It has been successfully employed by competitors in no-holds barred competitions since the early eighties, when the famous Gracie family bought their unique Brazilian Ju-jitsu to the world combat stage. They made such an impact that many non jujitsu fighters began to supplement their regular training with jujitsu or judo like techniques. Jujitsu is a also referred to as ‘parent art’, the founding base from which other martial arts have developed, notably the arts of Judo and Aikido.

Jigoro Kano, judo’s founding father, disregarded some of ju-jitsu’s more dangerous, combat orientated elements and concentrated on the throwing aspects in the creation of his art. While Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of Aikido utilised and developed his own style of throws and locks reliant on the opponent’s momentum. Apart from Judo’s more senior grades and some Aikido variations, neither system uses strikes or kicks to disable an attacker – a key tactical element in modern ju-jitsu.

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