History of Jiu-Jitsu

History of Jiu-Jitsu

The origins of Jiu-jitsu date back hundreds of years to feudal Japan, when battlefield grappling ‘kumi-uchi’ was the main method of unarmed defence. Generally speaking, punching and kicking was of limited use on the battlefield as Samurai were often clad in armour. When a Samurai lost his principle weapons in close-in fighting, he needed to use unarmed combat methods to finish the fight quickly. Throws, sweeps, trips, holds, joint locks and even chokes were often techniques of choice to assist them in reclaiming weapons to continue fighting. Some Jiu-jitsu schools evolved into specialty schools focused on one method or another. Judo was one such method of Jiu-jitsu that focused mostly on throwing techniques. Whereas, other schools chose locking or ground-fighting as there principle methods. An example of a style that focuses on ground-fighting is the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu which is often referred to as BJJ and associated with MMA, Mixed Martial Arts.

Interestingly, the techniques often claimed to be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground-fighting can be seen in old text and old film from Japan that predate the development of BJJ. The Japanese term for ground-fighting Jiu-jitsu is ‘ne-waza’ meaning ground technique or ‘kosen’ meaning ‘high school’. In the late 1800s many styles of common self-defence were developed to deal with physically larger foreigners sailing into Japan. The Japanese realised their Jiu-jitsu also needed to be modified to suit the foreigners who often arrived with boxing and wrestling skills. Subsequently, ground fighting became more prevalent in Jiu-jitsu systems of the time. Around 1900, Judo adopted the ground techniques of a little known Jiu-jitsu school by the name of Fusen Ryu. by 1914, the Japanese Kosen schools started holding inter-collegiate ground-fighting competitions which is significantly earlier than the advent of BJJ.

Jiu-jitsu has served as the foundation art for many military unarmed combat methods. Since the early 1900s, every military service  in the world has an unarmed combat course that has been founded on the principle teachings of Jiu-jitsu. US President Theordore Roosevelt was even well versed in the techniques of Jiu-jitsu and Aiki-Jujutsu as many experts were dispatched from Japan to expose the rest of the world to their martial culture. Jiu-jitsu is one of the most versatile martial arts in the world and the methods of Jiu-Jitsu taught at Perth Martial Arts Academy will provide a firm foundation for a life time of study and enjoyment in this exciting and limitless martial art.

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