Japanese Jujitsu which is also known as Traditional Jujitsu is accepted as the mother of many of the modern arts of the 20th century. Karate, Judo, Aikido and Brazilian Jujitsu are just a few of the arts that have spawned from this ancient martial art. During the feudal period of Japan, an art was needed for warfare. A definitive date for the origins of this martial art is impossible to locate but it is universally agreed upon that Jujitsu is purely a Japanese martial art. Known as the art of the Samurai, Jujitsu was highly feared and respected by other territories due to its vast skill set. A samurai was trained in weapons consisting of the staff, the katana, the sword and many others, while he was also trained in all ranges of fighting including striking, throwing and ground grappling.
Jujitsu is an art that for the most part has gone unrecognized for its many contributions to the martial arts community as a whole. This isn’t to say that most people aren’t aware of the art, they just aren’t fully aware of the various facets of this martial art. This isn’t a new problem, this has been the story throughout history when it comes to Jujitsu. Remember that in the early years of its inception it was only taught to Samurai’s and they used it in a way that was not only brutal but in most instances, lethal. How were they supposed to get exposure for a martial art that couldn’t be practiced or exhibited without the chance of a serious injury? Looking at the late 60s and early 70s you’ll see that Kung-fu had its poster boy in martial arts legend Bruce Lee while Karate had an equally great spokesperson in Chuck Norris. It’s not until Tom Cruise acted in the movie the “Last Samurai” that western society became privy to the martial art of Jujitsu. The Tom Cruise of Jujitsu in the 1800s was a man by the name of Jigoro Kano who was one of the champion practitioners of the martial arts.
What Jigoro Kano did was devise a way that not only could Jujitsu be practiced safely but competitions and exhibitions could now be held as a way of exposure for the art. What he essentially did was eliminate the deadly striking and eye gouging from the martial art and focused on both the throwing and submission holds. The problem was his art became so watered down that it didn’t even reassemble Jujitsu anymore. Not only was the striking omitted but some of the submissions such as leg locks were also taken out. Jigoro Kano had also introduced a way for all the practitioners of the art t o partake in live sparring. This was known as randori and out of it a new sport was born which we now call Judo.
You might be wondering how a martial art like Jujitsu can benefit you in this day in age. The fact of the matter is, yes it was created for the Samurai to do battle in war, but with some of the modifications made to it in the last two centuries, it has become much safer while still keeping its effectiveness. Not many arts were heralded enough to have more then ten new martial arts created from them. A martial art that was good enough to preserve the life of a Samurai during battle is certainly capable of granting us the skills needed to defend ourselves.
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