History of Ju Jitsu
The term jujutsu was probably only first used in the 1630’s and literally means "gentle (ju) art (jutsu)", although it is anything but gentle.
Traditional jujutsu was a method of close combat, either unarmed or armed, and used for both defense and offense and shares many commonalities with modern ju jitsu.
Jujutsu was the hand-to-hand, close-combat art, employed by samurai on the battlefield, as well as the personal protection of lords and other prominent individuals. A samurai may have been hired to protect a lord and/or the lord’s guests and should a situation arise requiring the protectors attention this was to be done discreetly so as not to alert anyone and draw attention to the situation — the would-be attacker is quickly restrained and removed without commotion. Samurai take their work very seriously — failure to protect his lord or anyone in his care would often mean his death.
Unlike modern Ju Jitsu, the traditional jujutsu jujitsuka (practitioner) often had to use strength and endurance to defeat his opponent who often wore heavy armour. Even if the jujitsuka was able to throw his opponent down, he still had to grapple him and be the first to reach his dagger or sword. The jujitsuka would then have to either penetrate the armour with his blade or attack atemi (vital points) not covered by the armour.
Traditional jujutsu is the basis for many martial arts, including Judo, Karate and Aikido. Though there are many different styles and ryuha (schools) of Ju-Jitsu in the Western world the basic techniques are similar.
Some early Edo-period schools, especially those founded by warriors with practical combat experience, still showed a very pragmatic and effective approach, and included techniques suitable both for combat on the battlefield and for peacetime situations. In these more pragmatic jujutsu schools, the nucleus of the curriculum was jujutsu, but instruction was also given in the use of various weapons. At the end of the Edo-period some jujutsu schools shifted their focus from combative systems for warriors to peacetime fighting systems. A new type of jujutsu appeared, the so called “commoner’s yawara.”
COMMONER'S YAWARA: This style of jujutsu was developed for, or by, common people, usually those with little or no martial arts training. It had limited application and focused mainly on unarmed fighting. This was very logical, because commoners were not allowed to posses the weapons that the samurai needed to be familiar with. Commoners also had no use for techniques that could only be mastered with years of rigorous training since for them, unlike samurai, martial arts training was not part of their daily routine. Techniques were often such they could be used in ordinary self-defense situations, such as street fighting. Because the techniques were for the most part defensive in nature, these fighting arts were also referred to as “goshinjutsu” (art of self-defense).
Since the commoners were not allowed to carry weapons they used concealed weapons such as: Suntetsu, yawara stick, edged weapons and everyday use weapons or weapons of opportunity.
Our current modern techniques taught at Goshinkan-Ryu JuJitsu date back to the Edo-Period of Japan (1603 - 1868). The style itself is made up of:
- Yawara Jutsu;
- Atemi-Waza Jutsu (pressure points);
- Kansetsuwaza (joint locking);
- Taihojutsu (arresting art);
- Osae waza (holding technique);
- Nage waza (throwing technique);
- Shime waza (neck restraints);
- Arnis De Cadena & Balintawak Cuentada Eskrima (single & double stick, edged weapons)
The very essence of modern JuJitsu is the ability to move from one technique to another to defend yourself. This art can be devastating and continues to prove effective in all close combat situation — It is not uncommon to see police learning JuJitsu as there are only a small number of techniques; by understanding the system one can easily change one technique into many.