Ju Jitsu

JU JITSU (Japan)

Because Ju jitsu (also commonly spelled "Jujutsu" or "Jiu-Jitsu") is one of the oldest styles of martial art still practised, dating from the 12th century, more than 700 forms or schools of Jujitsu have existed over the years.

Each of these forms has its own techniques that it emphasises, has improved upon, or invented. Thus, it is hard to pin down exactly where Jujitsu should be placed on a scale rating the amount of grappling versus the amount of striking techniques.

In all cases, Ju jitsu will lean toward grappling, using more techniques such as throws, joint locks, chokes, and holds. However, all forms of Jujitsu incorporate a fair amount of striking techniques as well, using kicks, punches, knees, and elbows.

A central concept to Jujitsu is the ability to change from one technique to another, and then another, as quickly and as many times as is necessary to defeat an attacker. Also key is the ability to use an attacker's force against him, allowing practitioners to defeat stronger enemies.

Jujitsu is sort of a "grandfather" martial art in that so many of the arts developed in modern times use it as their primary source of techniques- Aikido, Judo, and to a lesser extent Hapkido, being foremost among these.

Jujitsu is an excellent all-around martial art, but because of its severe fragmentation into many forms, beginners should take extra care when choosing a school to make sure it covers the elements that they are looking for.

Similar Styles:

Ninjutsu - The art of the ninja. Open handed techniques are Jujitsu in origin, but various weapons and other techniques used by the ninja are also taught.

Shuai-Chiao - Contemporary name for Chiao Li or Chiao Ti, which is a Chinese style dating back 3000 years. Was exported to Japan where it was a major influence on the development of Jujitsu.

Tai Jutsu - Thought to be perhaps the fighting art from which Jujitsu was developed.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is hotter than Rio in December, if the number of grappling ads in your favorite martial arts magazine can be any indication. It's taken over the "King of Styles" hype from the 80's most popular art, ninjutsu*. What is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and what is all the hype about?

The introduction of jiu-jitsu to Brazil is largely credited to one Mitsuyo Maeda, who immigrated to Brazil in the 1920's and taught jiu-jitsu to Carlos Gracie of Rio de Janeiro (more on the Gracies later).

The large number of Japanese immigrants to South America (after all, the ex-president of Peru is of Japanese ancestry) ensured that traditional Japanese martial arts, including ju-jitsu, would find a home in Latin America. However, Brazilian jiu-jitsu evolved into its own distinct style, incorporating techniques honed in the rough favelas (shantytowns) of the big cities.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes ground fighting--in fact, most Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylists want to take the fight to the ground, as opposed to the stand-up fighting of other fighting arts.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners believe that most fights end up on the ground, so you'd might as well learn the most effective ground fighting techniques available.

These techniques include the aptly named guard and mount. While these two techniques seem very simple, they form the foundation for almost all other Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu really caught on with the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993.

The UFC, promoted by the Helio Gracie clan, was billed as the first tournament to pit practitioners of various martial arts against each other in an almost-no-holds-barred setting.

The fact that Helio's son Royce won three of the first four tournaments using his family's brand of jiu-jitsu certainly cemented Brazilian jiu-jitsu as an art demanding serious consideration.

After almost 20 tournaments, the UFC has become a huge moneymaker, with cable pay-per-view revenues and fighting personalities rivaling those in professional wrestling.

No description of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is complete without mentioning the Gracie family.

Carlos Gracie, after learning jiu-jitsu from Maeda, taught the art to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão, Jorge, and Helio. The Gracie family, through challenge matches, televised tournaments, and sheer numbers, have spread their namesake style throughout the world.

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