Jujutsu, literally means the “flexible art”. It is a style of fighting that was developed in Japan and was normally done without weapons. Jujutsu is based on Japanese battlefield grappling techniques, with influences from China and, more recently, the rest of the world. Japanese history records the grappling battles of great warriors, the earliest recorded in the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan, ca. 720 CE). Jujutsu or as we call it, Jiu-jitsu, was designed to focus on physiological weak points using joint locks, throws, chokes, strikes, and kicks.
The fundamental principle of the original jujutsu is ju, a word meaning “flexibility” or “pliancy.” As jiu-jitsu techniques were potentially deadly or incapacitating, they were traditionally practiced via predetermined forms rather than free sparring. However, there are records of competitions between jujutsu schools, and over time, informal rules were developed that laid the groundwork for twentieth-century competition rules. In jujutsu competition rules, the most dangerous techniques were restricted, and bouts typically ended when one competitor was in submission, pinned, thrown flat on his back, or incapacitated. All these skill came together to give the warrior skill to work in any situation of unarmed combat.
The Real Jiu-Jitsu
So, the jiu-jitsu was not fought on mats in five to 10 minute fights, it was fought on the battle field. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we have a strong focus on self-defence so that you can defend yourself in real life. The benefit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it was not just for a person with the skills of a samurai, it was for a smaller or weaker person to be able to defend themselves against a larger or stronger opponent. However, the fundamentals of the samurai spirit – Respect, honour, loyalty and family - still prevail regardless of age or size.
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