The uninitiated sometimes confuse MMA with jujutsu. MMA cannot be classified as a form of jujutsu since it is not even a martial art. MMA provides no traditions and no ethical or moral path that is ingrained in martial arts. Martial arts by definition are complexly intertwined with Zen Buddhism and Shinto and provide a path for self-improvement.
|Soke Hausel demonstrates te waza at Casper, Wyoming dojo.|
Jujutsu had a different purpose. It was designed as hand to hand combat for samurai to defend against other heavily armed samurai on the battlefield. Punching an enemy in armor with bare hands and feet does not seem like a bright idea, thus samurai developed throwing techniques (nage waza). The samurai also used strikes (atemi) to disturb the balance of other samurai (whether armored or unarmored). These atemi were designed to unbalance an opponent and generate a shock wave propagated through armor similar to karate.
|Katie Wilson Urbanek applies ude garuma (arm bar).|
If searching for a traditional martial arts experience, search for a traditional jujutsu school. You will learn traditions and history; and certifications will be recognized through an international martial arts association. Such martial arts schools may include training in classical samurai arts associated with jujutsu such as kenjutsu, hojojutsu, hanbojutsu, sojutsu, etc. In Arizona, there do not appear to be many koryu schools.
Traditional jujutsu practitioners wear a traditional judo gi with hakama. These are available at most martial arts outlets such as KarateMart in Phoenix. If you are starting out at a Koryu jujutsu school, such as that at Arizona State University, be sure you check with the instructor before you purchase a uniform. Very similar to jujutsu are traditional arts of ninjutsu, ninpo and Okinawa tode.
Before one can effectively throw an attacker, the aggressor’s balance needs to be disturbed. Thanks to another of many questionable federal grants, the fed discovered people in Arizona tend to sweat more than people in other states. To grab and throw someone in Arizona is difficult in the summertime simply because sweaty people are slippery and difficult to grasp.
According to the Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary, atemi translates as "body trikes". It refers to "…a method of attacking the opponents pressure points". In A Dictionary of the Martial Arts there is a more detailed description. It states that an atemi is... "…aimed at the vital or weak points of an opponent's body in order to paralyze by means of intense pain. Such blows can produce loss of consciousness, severe trauma and even death…the smaller the striking surface used in atemi, the greater the power of penetration and thus the greater the effectiveness of the blow". This may be true in modern jujutsu, but in the ancient styles of jujutsu, pressure points for armored samurai were not important on a battlefield. A samurai covered with armor, had few if any exposed pressure points.
|Melinda applies choke on Neal.|
The term ‘jūjutsu’ was coined in the 17th century, after it became a blanket term for a wide variety of grappling combat forms. Jujutsu (柔術) translates as the 'art of softness' or 'way of yielding'. The oldest forms are referred to as Sengoku jujutsu or Nihon Koryu Jujutsu developed during the Muromachi period (1333–1573 AD) that focused defeating unarmed, lightly armed, and heavily armed and armored samurai – thus a greater emphasis was placed on joint locks and throws.
Later in history, other koryu developed that are similar to many modern styles. Many of these are classified as Edo jūutsu and were founded in the Edo Period (1625-1868 AD) of Japan. Most are designed to deal with opponents without armor. Edo jujutsu commonly emphasizes use of atemi waza. Inconspicuous weapons such as a tantō (knife) and tessen (iron fans) are included in Edo jūjutsu curriculum.
|Heather applies yubi waza (thumb throw) at University jujutsu clinic in Wyoming.|
Weapons training were important to Samurai. Koryu schools included the bo (six-foot staff), hanbo (three-foot staff), jo (4-foot staff), tachi (sword), wakizashi (short sword), tanto (knife), jitte (short one hook truncheon), yari (spear), naginata (halberd), ryofundo kusari (weighted chain) and bankokuchoki (knuckle-duster).
Edo jujutsu was followed by development of Gendai Jujutsu at the end of the Edo Period. Gendai, or modern Japanese jujutsu, shows influence of traditional jujutsu. Goshin Jujutsu styles developed at about the same time, but the Goshin styles are only partially influenced by traditional jujutsu and have mostly been developed outside of Japan.
Today, many Gendai jujutsu styles have been embraced by law enforcement officials and continue to provide foundations for specialized systems by police officials. The best known of these is Keisatsujutsu (police art) or Taihojutsu (arresting art) formulated by the Tokyo Police.
Jujutsu is the basis for many military unarmed combat training programs for many years and there are many forms of sport (non-traditional) jujutsu, the most popular being judo, now an Olympic sport. Some examples of martial arts that have been influenced by jujutsu include Aikido, Hapkido, Judo, Sambo, Kajukenbo, Kudo, Kapap, Kempo and Ninjutsu as well as some styles of Japanese Karate, such as Wado-ryu Karate, which is considered a branch of ShindōYōhin-ryū Jujutsu.
The training uniform (keikogi) provides an excellent indicator of traditions in a jujutsu dojo. Traditional schools wear plain white gi often with a dark hakama (the most colorful uniform might be plain black or the traditional blue of quilted keikogi. Lack of ostentatious display, with an attempt to achieve or express the sense of rustic simplicity is common in traditional arts. The use of the traditional (Shoden, Chuden, Okuden, Kirigami and Menkyo Kaiden) ranking system is also a good indicator of traditional jujutsu. These are parallel to the common dan-i (kyu/dan) ranking used in traditional karate.