A LITTLE MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY
The fierceness of the Japanese warrior and his fighting arts have fascinated Westerners since the West came into contact with THEM more than 450 years ago. However it was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that Westerners actually started to practice any of the Japanese martial arts.
JUJITSU was one of the first, perhaps even the very first-of these Arts to be taught in the West and it was not long before Kano Jigoro's new Art and Sport of JUDO begun rapidly to gain popularity in Japan and a number of JUJITSU practitioners, encouraged by their instructors, changed over to Kano's JUDO, which although based on older jujitsu schools basic methods was considered at the time a more "scientifically structured system". At the same time, other Western JUJITSU dojo's went their own way, incorporating Western ideas into their systems, and thus laying the foundations for some of the modern jujitsu styles seen today.
Even some of the oldest dojo's in Europe were forced to change over to the more modern and popular judo, just to survive. This is what also happened to our Kodokwan dojo here in Zambia, which was formed in 1928. At the time of its formation it was the only dojo that practiced JUJITSU and then around the early 1940s our Kodokwan began to include formal judo practice in its dojo.
The traditional SAMURAI JUJITSU schools of old taught not merely a defensive art, but the curricula comprised a very comprehensive range of tactics, equipping exponents to face a great variety of situations. This is in sharp contrast to the techniques used in modern day JUDO competitions, for example classical jujitsu techniques were not designed to score points, but to be effective for increasing one's chance of survival, allowing an opponent minimal opportunity to counterattack. The throws were applied in such a way that the combatant could break one or more limbs of an opponent before throwing him, usually after the opponent had been attacked with atemi or body strikes. When the opponent was flying through the air, he was suddenly jerked down in such a way that under optimal circumstances he would break his neck, or at least seriously injure his spine. There was no space for any mistake on the battle field when facing off an opponent engaged in COMBAT JUJITSU and there were no rules or prohibited techniques in battle.
Samurai on the battle field engaged in "Yori Kumi-Uchi" [grappling] dressed in armor, required super-quick reflexes and the utmost self-confidence in their technique."Zanshin" was at its peak in this situation of survival, for even the slightest mistake, an off balanced posture or loss of concentration could result in death. Using Yori Kumi-Uchi was essential to effective grappling in armor, for through this the warrior developed the balance, leverage, and mobility with which both to preserve his position allowing him to then use Atemi or Kansetsu-waza to break a limb and throw his enemy to the ground, then draw his short blade and plunge it into his adversary. A special blade, "Yori-doshi", was worn on the right hip for this purpose. For obvious reasons these techniques are prohibited in the modern day sport of JUDO and even in modern JUJITSU.
In JUDO, where the safety of one's partner in training or competition is a most important issue, throws such as "Ippon-seoi-nage"[one arm shoulder throw], are applied with the arm of Uke [recipient of the force) in the Junte position, for greater safety. An important characteristic of classical jujitsu is precisely that many throws are initiated with uke's arm in gyakute position . There are also some types of throws in CLASSICAL JUJITSU in which both of Uke's arms are locked in Gyakute position, making ot much more dangerous as it makes Ukemi, [defensive measures, like break-falling] more difficult, in fact when the techniques is executed correctly , ukemi becomes nearly impossible.
Since the CLASSICAL MARTIAL ARTIST was not protected by rules in combat, he needed very thorough knowledge of escaping and using Ukemi to survive throws that were applied with the intention of maiming rather than scoring a point. However, one has to realize that when a throw is executed correctly, with the intention and speed to maim or even kill, Ukemi cam be very difficult. Therefore, if possible it was better to escape using many different techniques, just before being thrown, with some of these techniques being of a very extreme nature, even being prepared to sacrifice a hand or elbow or dislocate a shoulder, just to get away from being thrown, not like SPORT JUDO, where being thrown just means losing a point. Needless to say some JUJITAU RYUHA came to specialize in equipping exponents to escape throws just before the actions were initiated.
In TRADITIONAL JUJITSU there was no such thing as a "prohibited move", Tactics that could be employed included were and are, - grappling (kumi) ,throw (nage), plus techniques for limiting the negative effect of a throw, restraint (osae), locking the joints(kansetsu-waza), chocking (shime- waza), attacking the vital points of the body (kyusho-waza), body strikes (atemi ), kicking (keri), thrusting (tsuki), and hitting (uchi)-
I have had the honour and privilege of watching these Koryu-Ryha Sensei demonstrate their JUJITSU in Kyoto City , at the Kyoto-shi Koryu Bujitsu Enbukai [THE Kyoto City Traditional Martial Arts Demonstration Meeting), where various Koryu Bujitsu schools from all over Japan gather to demonstrate their skills. It is truly amazing to watch these old JUJITSU SENSEI throw each around, and doing ukemi on the hard pine wood floors, without Tatami mats! I even had the rare opportunity to train for a while under Sensei Arao 5th dan, of Tondabayashi, Osaka City, who at the time was over 60 years of age. SENSEI ARAO is a BUDO MASTER IN TOMIKI AIKIDO AND DAITO-RYU JUJITSU where he practiced at the Tennoji Aikikan in down town Osaka.
Finally I would at this time like to also thank all the Sensei, Senpai and Kohai in Takatsuki-shi, Tondabayashi-shi Shimin Taiku-kan Budo Dojo in Osaka, for putting up with this "Zambian kara hen na no Gaijin" (strange foreigner from Zambia) for all those years.
(c) Jonathan Kruger 22011 - Shihan Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Zambia