(Revised 1-6-00)

Ju-Jutsu (also called Ju-Jitsu and Jiu-Jutsu) means gentle or yielding (Ju) art (Jutsu). The most important concept of "Ju" as in Ju-Jutsu and Judo, or "Aiki" as in Aiki-Ju-Jutsu and Aikido, is the idea of yielding to the attackers energy and using that energy against him. This is the one concept that differentiates Ju-Jutsu from western wrestling. The "Ju" principle is to pull when pushed and push when pulled. The "Aiki" principle is to turn when pushed and to enter when pulled. Both principles involve compliance, non-resistance and harmonious action, but each is a different answer to same tactical situation.

Since the beginning of time both brothers and enemies a like have wrestled. We see wrestling by the early Greeks and Romans. The history of Jujutsu must really start with the history of Chinese wrestling. Chinese wrestling is called Shuai Chiao (pronounced shwai-jyau). Shuai Chiao is one of the oldest Chinese martial arts. Traditional Chinese free fighting is called San Shou and includes four main fighting categories of kicking (ti), striking (da), wrestling (shuai) and joint locking (Na or Qin Na). Some commentators claim that Shuai Chiao has origins as early as 2000 B.C. The words "Shuai" and "Chiao" literally mean "throwing" and "horns". This is because the art consists of many throws and the grappling appeared as two animals locking horns. According to legend in 2687 B.C. Shuai Chiao, then known as "Chiao Ti" was used in battles between the Emperor Hwang-ti and the rebel Chih-yu, who was a powerful wrestler. It has also been known as Hsian Pu, Kwang Chiao, Liao Chiao and in 1928 the name was standardized to Shuai Chaio.

In 230 B.C. the wrestling sport of Chikura Kurabe developed in Japan and was integrated into Jujutsu training. Most of the credit for the founding the formal art of Jujutsu goes to Hisamori Tenenuchi who formed a school of Jujutsu in Japan in 1532.

In the Ch’in Dynasty, Chinese wrestling was also known as "Hsian Pu". The Chinese characters pronounced "Hsian Pu" are the same characters the Japanese used to denote ‘sumo", which is traditional Japanese wrestling. During the Ming Dynasty Yuan-Pin Chen (Yuan-Yun Chen or Gen Pinh Chin), a monk, fled China to Japan in 1559 and later taught at a temple in Tokyo. He introduced the soft techniques that are represented by the word "Ju" in Jujutsu and Judo. He brought kempo with it and integrated nerve striking (Kyushu) into Jujutsu, as we know it today. The Japanese honor Yuan-Pin Chen with a monument citing his contributions to the martial arts. At the zenith of the art it was know "Kuai Chiao". Kuai Chiao means fast wrestling. There is a style still practiced today know as "Pao-Ting Kuai Chiao. It is also know as San Shou Kuai Jiao (free fighting fast wrestling).

The Mongolians were among the greatest Shuai Chiao artists. They would do this during nomadic summer rendezvous for entertainment. There were forms of Shuai Chiao found in Okinawa and the Philippines.

During the Tokugawa era (circa. 1650), Jujutsu continued to flourish as a part of samurai training. Jujutsu has been called Yawara, Kumiuchi, Kogusoku, Taijutsu, Wajutsu, Torite, Koshinomawari, and Hobaku. Because the early samurai warriors wore armor, the techniques consisted mainly of knocking down and then harming their opponent. Jujutsu became more formalized during the 16th century. According to Tomiki [Kenji Tomiki, goshinjutsu-nyumon (Tokyo: Seitosha, 1973,27.) ] various ryu (schools or styles) were created between the 17th and 19th centuries. There were 179 styles of Jujutsu during this period. Early grappling forms were developed to resolve the tactical problems of close quarter combat on the battlefield, including Yoroi Kumi Uchi (grappling in full armor) and Kogusoku (grappling in light armor) where close quarters weapons such as the Yoroi Dashi (a short knife used to penetrate openings in the armor) were often used. Samurai were therefore trained in these techniques as an adjunct to training in the traditional weapons systems of the warrior class. The techniques of Kumi Uchi and Kogusoku became the basis of Jujutsu systems which evolved later. By the end of the Edo period there were more than 700 different Jujutsu ryu that had evolved.

Here is a list of some of the more popular ryu:

Takenouchi-Ryu: was founded by Takenouchi Nakatsukasadayu Hisamori (1469-1561) in 1532. This school specialized in rope and holding techniques. Twenty-one vital spots (Kyushu) were illustrated by this school.

Kyushin-Ryu: was founded by Inugami Sakon Shogen Nagakatsu during the Eiroku era (1558-1569). He wrote a book explaining basic principals, including attacks on vital spots by hand or foot (Atemi) and methods of resuscitation (Kappo).

Sekiguchi-Ryu: was founded by Sekiguchi Yarokusaemon Ujishin (1597-1670) in the Tokugawa Iemitsu era (1624-1643), This school used two teaching methods: one was a general practice without weapons and the other included actual fighting methods, with students wearing armor and using weapons.

Koden Ryu: was founded by Fujiwara Katamari in the seventh century. It is one of the oldest known ryu (schools) to include empty handed techniques. The system was revised and renamed until it became known as the Sho Shor Ryu of Uheita Kunitomo. Although the school taught empty handed techniques, it’s main focus was on long and short sword.

Kito-Ryu: was founded by Ibaragi Sensai Toshifusa (1597-1670) in the Tokugawa Iemitsu era (1624-1643). This school established the order of training methods. The present Kodokan’s (Judo headquarters) Koshiki-no-kata (the "antique form") was originated by the Kito-Ryu, and this kata (form) has 21 techniques. For example, Omote-no-kata (the part of attacks and counterattacks) has seven techniques. Kito-Ryu students practiced the techniques, from the elementary to the more advanced techniques, following the same order that is practiced in Judo today. This school had outstanding throwing techniques and emphasized mental training. Judo throwing techniques are based o this school’s methods.

Tenshin-Shinyo-Ryu: was founded by Iso Mataemon Masaashi at the end of the Tokugawa era (1861-1864). This school was one of the biggest schools at the of the feudal era and has excellent katame-waza (the art of holding, choking and joint techniques) and atemi-waza (punching and kicking). Judo’s katame-waza (wrestling) and atemi-waza (striking) are based on these methods.

Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu: was founded by Minamoto Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu (died 1127). It became famous for it’s projection techniques and joint locking techniques. After some time, this style was adapted by the Takeda family of the Aizu clan in 1574. The knowledge was passed down to Takeda Sokaku (1860-1943). During the Meji period (1868-1911), it was introduced by Takeda Sokaku to the general population. This school had the best joint techniques as well as atemi-waza (punching and kicking). Ueshiba, Morihei, the founder of Aikido was one of his students. Aikido techniques are based on this school’s methods.

In 1868, the feudal system collapsed in Japan, and imperial rule was restored. Old cultural and social systems disappeared and were replaced by new systems and cultures form foreign countries. The samurai warriors were no longer in existence and the wearing of swords was prohibited. Jujutsu and other martial arts that had been studied mainly by the samurai and with those samurai the martial arts were disappearing as well. However, a small number of schools were maintained by certain families.

Professor Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), the originator of Judo, realized that Jujutsu was good for both mind and body. He consequently studied and researched several different styles of Jujutsu. He then founded the Kodokan Judo in 1882.

In 1883 Jujutsu masters were employed by the Tokyo police department to teach policemen. This brought about a renaissance in the art. Between 1885 and 1887, contests were conducted by the Tokyo police department and the newly formed Kodokan Judo. Judo was shown to be strong by winning many contests against Jujutsu players. Jujutsu disappeared from the Japanese scene until more recent times. Judo became recognized by Japanese society and it became the principal martial art of Japan.