INTRODUCTION FOR SPORTS OF JU-JITSU
(HISTORY OF JU-JITSU MARTIAL ARTS)
The history of Japan and the doctrine of the martial arts in particular don’t give a definite or precise answer to this question .The Japanese national records and the many manuscripts form various schools of martial arts refer to ancient methods of combat codified long before actual records were kept. The first records are said to have been introduced sometime in the sixth century. Between the 8th and 11th century (Heian era) Japan had evolved it’s political organization, social and clan structures. Uptil the 11th century Ju-Jitsu was the popular system of combat for the aristocracy, the nobility and in 1156 the beginning of the feudal era saw Ju-Jitsu being monopolized by the elite Bushi or samurai warriors as their training programmes. This was so until the late 19th century when the samurai class was dissolved. During the reign of Emperor Meiji was a period of restoration in Japan including the legalization of Christianity, the dissolve of the samurai class and the opening of trading links with the western world opposed to those held by the black ships. The dissolving of the samurai class left the government with a huge problem. Thousands of highly trained fighting men whose talents were now superfluous, twinned with the western demands for the Japanese race to become more tolerant and less barbaric in the eyes of the westerners. The solution took many years to come to. Essentially, it involved the cultural development of everything Japanese, which of course included the martial arts whose schools by now were highly specialized.
The Government’s ultimatum was resisted by many traditionalists who felt the only way for them was to flee the country and become exiles, remaining true to their individual values. This is how in fact martial arts methods arrived in the west. Many of these masters became seamen to escape and taught their skills wherever their ship landed at port.
For those who stayed and faced the Cultural Revolution, they had to endure the reshaping of martial systems, which we now know today. In 1905, the majority of diverse systems and main stream Ju-Jitsu schools had merged and synthesized together under the auspices of professor Jigaro Kano to produce the method of combat then known as Juido later to be known as Kodokan Judo. Aiki jujutsu schools and following the cultural wave his Schools later became Aikido. Much later the striking arts shared the same fate at the hands of Gichin Funakoshi who did for the arts of striking what Kano and Uyeshiba had done for Judo and Aikido respectively. These forms are practised worldwide today and have become almost household names. What became of the old schools; well the old schools still survive today but in a greatly diluted form. The format known as JuJutsu has shared many names over the years viz. Wa jutsu, Taijutsu, Yawara, Kogusoku, Chikara kurabe, Hakushi, Torite, etc The schools of Aiki-jujutsu did not join Kano’s synthesis of the ‘jutsu’ arts, preferring to remain independent. Morihei Uyeshiba was virtually the last representative of the ways to redirect their skills – sport was a popular choice, Sumo being particularly favoured among the biggest and strongest. Clearly the Meiji government applied all their energies and resources into the new Cultural Japan and tried to leave the shackles of the old Japan behind but this was not met without resistance.
Then followed a difficult period of rebuilding the new budo, only to find, 20 years later war destroying this development. World War 2 was much more protracted than the proceeding war and saw the Japanese fight to the bitter end. However, once the war was over and government began allowing freer trade to industry and passage to their peoples, the development of budo was back on track with the full support of the Japanese government.
Now, systems such as Karate, Judo, Aikido and Kendo with the official backing of the Japanese government began to flourish both in Japan and abroad. USA, Hawaii, Germany, Australia, Holland, France, South Africa, Great Britain, Philippines and Spain all shared a resurgence of interest in the Japanese methods of combat.
Then there is the notion that generally people usually like to take the easy way out and in stark contrast to some of the old forms, budo forms were considered by traditionalists to the soft option. Certainly from the standpoint of marketing a combatative form, the Japanese took this softer option in order to attain the acceptance of the western world.
Ju-jitsu (or Yawara) is an ancient Japanese Martial Art. Its origins date back to the sixteenth century when legend narrates that its founding father, a young Japanese man called Shirobei Akiyama who was studying medicine in China, witnessed a heavy blizzard. He was able to appreciate how branches of most trees broke while the elastic branches of the Willow tree bent and efficiently freed themselves from the snow.
The Gentle Art or Art of Subtleness (for this is the meaning of Ju-Jitsu) would not aim to neutralize power with power but rationally absorb an attack and convert that energy to the opponent’s own detriment. This basic principle became the heart of the teaching of the Yoshin ryu school, founded by the Akiyama and considered to be the foremost Ju-jitsu dojo. The Art developed throughout the Sengoki Era and continued through the Kanei, the Munnji and the Kanbun (1624-1673) periods. In the years of civil disorder the Samurai class (Aristocratic warriors / Bushi) came to dominate. It is during this period that Ju-jitsu first developed as an open-field art of combat and then more and more as a physical and mental study. The Golden Age of Ju-jitsu lasted until 1869, date in which the Emperor’s return to Japan and the subsequent abolition of Feudalism made the Samurai lose their status of privileged class. Samurai tradition nevertheless kept Ju-jitsu alive and travelers brought the Art to all four corners of the world.
In more recent years the essence of some Martial Arts, such as Judo and Aikido, has developed from Ju-jitsu concentrating on specific aspects of their Martial Art forefather. Its international governing body was established in 1977 – based on a document originated by Italy, Germany and Sweden in order to develop the sport aspect of Ju-jitsu. Since then the Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) has become a structured federation organised in Continental Unions, coordinated by a central Board and supported by specialized Committees. JJIF organises World Championships every two years and Continental Championships every year. International Camps, Seminars, Congress and General Assembly are called every year. The Federation commenced as a coalition of three Countries determined to work as a team. Thus, in 1977, Germany, Italy and Sweden founded the EUROPEAN JU-JITSU FEDERATION (E.J.J.F).Ten years later, in 1987, the number of Member Nations increased, in and out of Europe, to such an extent that the Federation had to change its name to the INTERNATIONAL JU-JITSU FEDERATION (I.J.J.F) and the original European nucleus of the Federation became the first Continental Union (E.J.J.U) of the I.J.J.F. In the early 90’s the I.J.J.F became Provisional Member of the General Association of International Sport Federations (G.A.I.S.F), Member of International World Games Association (I.W.G.A – third pole of the Olympic movement along the Summer and Winter Games) and affiliated to the Sport for All Federation (F.I.S.P.T).
In 1997 the I.J.J.F participated to its first World Games (Lahti, Finland) where it was greeted by a “full house” spectator participation. Following a series of changes of its Statutes and a change to its Membership structure, the 1998 General Assembly of the I.J.J.F decided to change its name to the JU-JITSU INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION (J.J.I.F).During the 1998 GAISF Congress the J.J.I.F obtained Full Membership status.
In October 2001, J.J.I.F President Dr. Rinaldo Orlandi is elected member of the Board of Directors of the IWGA .Ju-Jitsu Competitions The Ju-Jitsukas compete at National level, and the best athletes of every Member Nation are allowed to participate in the local Continental Championships (organised by the local Union) and eventually the World Competitions(which take place every two ears).A well-determined score system based on Continental and World Championship results is then used to assess who the top 4 or 6 seeded Countries (and not athletes!) are for each category. These Countries will then have the right to present their athletes to compete in the International World Games (every four years)only in the categories for which they have qualified.
The Ju-Jitsu International Federation currently contemplates two different types of Competitions at world level: the Duo System and the Fighting System.
The former is a discipline in which a pair of Ju-Jitsukas from the same team show possible self-defense techniques against a series of 12 attacks, randomly called by the mat referee from the 20 codified attacks to cover the following typologies: grip attack (or strangulation), embrace attack (or neck lock), hit attack (punch or kick) and armed attack (stick or knife).The Duo System has three competition categories: male, female or mixed, and the athletes are judged for their speed, accuracy, control and realism. It is arguably the most spectacular form of Ju-jitsu competition and it requires great technical preparation, synchronize man elevated athletic qualities. With a different approach, the Fighting System is articulated in a series of two-round, one-on-one combats between athletes from opposing teams. The system is divided in 10 categories according to weight and sex (Male categories: -62 kg, -69kg, -77kg, -85kg, -94kg, +94kg; Female categories –55kg, -62kg, -70kg, +70kg). The actual combat is divided in three phases (Parts): Part I sees the Ju-Jitsukas involved in distance combat (controlled attacks with arms and legs and atemis of various nature). Once a grab has been made the Fight enters Part II and hits are no longer allowed.
The Ju-Jitsukas try to bring one another down with various throwing techniques (and points are given according to how “clean” and effective the action was). Once down on the tatamis (mats) the match enters its Part III. Here points are given for immobilization techniques, controlled strangulations or levers on body joints that bring the opponent to yield. The winner is the Ju-Jitsuka who has accumulated most points during the fight. Automatic victory is assigned to the Ju-Jitsuka who gets an “Ippon” (clean action, full points) in all three Parts or who outscores his opponent with a 14 point score difference by the end of round one. This type of competition requires timing, agility, strength and endurance.