What is Ju-Jutsu ?

Ju-Jutsu is a martial art being developed since the 60s and 70s of the 20th century as a modern self defense and competition sport. The name is formed from the Hepburn transliteration of the On-reading of the Sino-Japanese charaters "柔術". The first character '柔' (Jū) means soft, the second character '術' (Jutsu) means art, so supposedly it is a soft art. Yes.

Japan, much like other East-Asian cultures (mostly inspired by China), codified the personal and military fighting methods that developped throughout the middle ages into highly sophisticated styles. Two major streams had emerged there through time:

  1. Jiu-Jitsu (transscribed differently for distinction) is the name for a huge variety of traditional fighting styles of the Japanese military caste, made for armored fighters on a battlefield that used up their weapons. These focus lies on throws and locks and complex moves attacking joints, originally with the intent to kill. However these form the basis of the modern competitional sports and arts of Judo and Aikido (and others).
  2. Karate ("empty hand") is the name of a number of sophisticated defense systems of the unarmed peasants mainly on the island of Okinawa. The Karate styles mainly use strikes and kicks (against an unarmored, but potentially armed opponent), and an arsenal of makeshift weapons made out of farming tools.

Originally, Ju-Jutsu was assembled out of a selection of the most effective and easy-to-learn techniques taken from the modern sportive competitional forms of the Japanese martial arts: Judo, Aikido, and Karate. Due to its pragmatic approach, Ju-Jutsu has since been enriched by similarly selected techniques from non-Japanese systems (boxing, muai-thai, arnis, escrima, wrestling, ...). There are currently subsystems of Ju-Jutsu for either general self-defense, sportive competition, women's self devense, combat training, police work, motion arts, etc. The German Ju-Jutsu federation (DJJV) is member of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IJJF).

Through the 80s, Ju-Jutsu was adopted by virtually every police force in Germany as part of the basic training, sometimes with adaptions. Similar systems have been developed in neighboring countries.

Ju-Jutsu is nothing but a set of means and methods, it is up to the practitioner what to use it for or what to gain out of it. It is not bound to any philosophy nor to an intrinsic notion of ethics or moral.

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