Japan's Ultimate Martial Art - Jujitsu Before 1882

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Author: Darrell Max Craig
Pub: 1995 by Charles E. Tuttle Co.
Pages: 168
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A very interesting book, and worth owning. Not very many pictures, but contains quite a few 'line-drawings' that are adequate to demonstrate the techniques. I'm disappointed in only two areas of this book, first, although the stated objective is to portray Jujitsu *before* the influences of Judo, the author brings in a Judo concept of happo-no-kuzushi to an earlier period. Second, although the author often mentions the Japanese name for a technique, he sometimes fails to do so, and never translates the Japanese he uses. But the wealth of information in this book makes it well worth the price, and as it's currently available, you should check this one out! Recommended.


 Preface ....................................... vi
 Chapter One Introduction  .....................  1 
 Chapter Two Basic Self-Defense Techniques ..... 25 
 Chapter Three Te Waza ......................... 45
 Chapter Four Nage Waza ........................ 61
 Chapter Five Atemi Waza ....................... 79
 Chapter Six Kansetsu Waza ..................... 97
 Chapter Seven Resisting a Handgun ............ 107 
 Chapter Eight Hostage Situations and Kubudo .. 115 
 Chapter Nine Hojo-Jutsu ...................... 123
 Chapter Ten Yawari ........................... 131
 Chapter Eleven Jo Jutsu ...................... 135
 Glossary ..................................... 162
 About the Author ............................. 168



I WAS ONCE asked why I wanted to subtitle this book Jujitsu Before 1882. At the time, I was unable to come up with an exact answer. All I knew was that the title "felt" appropriate because--as everyone knows--it was in 1882 that judo gained ascendancy and jujitsu began its decline. I now know the answer: today, judo is a sport, with highly detailed rules and regulations. Jujitsu, however, has never been a sport. It has never had any rules, any barred techniques, or any concept of fair play; its only point has been to maim or kill your opponent. It is true that martial arts work best when someone is attacking you; nevertheless, in many jujitsu techniques the technician becomes the aggressor and gives no quarter to his prey.

This book is about jujitsu in all its traditional deadly nature, and about how it was originally taught and applied. Beginning in 1882, some of the techniques demonstrated in this book ceased being taught as widely and frequently as they once were. They have, in a sense, become relics of past glories, anachronisms in today's world. Many of the wonderful old senseis who mastered these techniques and passed them on to future generations are no longer with us. So that their knowledge and teachings will not be lost forever, I am particularly proud to include them in this book.

I suspect that the reader's motivation to purchase this book is similar to that which has recently rekindled an interest in Japan in learning traditional jujitsu methods. Throughout the judo world there are many who realize that modern judo has failed. Many have come to see judo not as its founder, Dr. Jigaro Kano, saw his art in 1882 but as some type of wrestling contest. The true art of what is left of judo lies hidden within its traditional kata. Even that has changed from decade to decade. This book is not about judo per se but about its predecessor, known originally as yawara and today as jujitsu, or taiho jitsu.

It was not until about 1930 that judo actually became fully separated from jujitsu. Until then judo was still referred to as Kano Jiu Jitsu ("Jiudo"). As late as 1938 a book published by S. J. Jorgensen referred to Kano Jiu Jitsu as the official jujitsu of the Japanese government. By that time, traditional jujitsu had fallen considerably from the high public stature it previously enjoyed. It was still taught, but mostly by and to ruffians and gamblers: a more refined art, called aikijitsu, was now being taught to the upper class.

In some instances it is hard to distinguish between the two arts. The difference lies more in how a technique is taught than in the technique itself. Nevertheless, judo was designed from jujitsu, and aikido was refined through aikijitsu. My first real exposure occurred in 1973, when I was in Japan studying kendo with Sensei Setsuji Kobayashi of the Imperial Palace Police. Through our conversations, I found out that Sensei Ichiro Hata had studied jujitsu, or, as the Japanese now called it, taiho jitsu. Sensei Hata was a government official with a deep and varied experience in Japanese martial arts.

I must admit that the names confused me at first. My first thoughts were that they were two different martial arts. As time passed and I was taken from police gym to police gym to study or observe, I realized that judo or kendo was taught to every policeman, while taiho jitsu was taught only to an elite officer group analogous to what we would call a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, men in their middle or late twenties. Their workouts were Monday through Saturday for one hour, and they were the most excruciating I have ever witnessed. I was so impressed by what I saw that, when I returned to the United States, I wrote Sensei Hata a letter inviting him to come to Houston.

About one year later, Sensei Hata arrived for a three-week stay, and I began my study of jujitsu. Since that introduction, I have gone to Japan several times to study with Sensei Hata, and he has returned here several times. The experience has, for me, been invaluable.

The techniques demonstrated in the following chapters are of the Kaisho Goshin Budo Taiho Jitsu Ryu (Kaisho - Tokyo Police; Goshin - self-defense; Budo - martial way; Taiho Jitsu - body techniques). I have deliberately used Japanese terms throughout book. This may, at times, be frustrating to the reader, but as the international art of ballet uses French terminology, the international art of jujitsu currently relies upon Japanese. To assist the reader, however, I have supplied a glossary of commonly used Japanese terms.

Similarly, because this book concerns itself with classical methods of jujitsu, the illustrations depict classical Japanese attire. Thus, the attacker (uke) is always depicted wearing the traditional loincloth (the heko), and the defender (tori) is always shown wearing the traditional uniform top (uwagi) and divided pantlike skirt (hakama). I hope these drawings will get the readers in the mood of the times and increase enjoyment of this book. Rest assured: even though the attire may look a little strange, the techniques demonstrated work just as well on today's mean streets as they did centuries ago in the Japanese countryside.

History is made by human activity. Unless history can be observed from the perspective of the personalities who make it, it cannot be fully understood or precisely recorded. The Japanese jujitsu man has played an extremely important role in the history of the Japanese nation, but his role has yet to be fully probed in contemporary writings. In this small attempt to discover more about jujitsu, we pay tribute to the countless and often nameless thousands of persons of the past and the present who have made the art of jujitsu possible.

My special thanks go to three wonderful people of whom I have had the extreme pleasure of being not only teacher but, more importantly, friend. First, Mary Schulz produced the hundreds of drawings found in this book from photographs, penciled stick figures, and sometimes my not-so-accurate memory. Second, Claudia Smith dedicated countless hours to the typing of this manuscript and provided technical advice, sometimes serving as a model reader of the text to clarify the directions. Last, but not least, Gary Grossman expended endless effort in editing, correcting spelling, and sometimes making sense out of something Claudia and I wrote that did not make sense even after we read it.

Additionally, I'd like to thank - though they have already passed through this thing we call life - Master Harutane Chiba of the Hokushin Ito Ryu and Master Ichiro Hata. Without their vast knowledge of the past and their incredible understanding of how to make a technique work in the present, this hook would have remained a drawer full of random notes and drawings. Their spirit will live on through these pages.

Without doubt, I have failed to include a photograph of someone who contributed to my martial arts training. For this I apologize. In considering the hundreds of photographs taken throughout the years, I tried to narrow them down to people whom I had practiced with in Japan or those senseis who had given clinics at my dojo. Additionally, if there is a misspelling of a Japanese name, I take full responsibility. Please accept my shortcomings.

I am indebted to all of these sympathetic colleagues, for without their considerable aid, this book would never have been completed.

This book is not meant to be an answer to all questions; it is meant only as a guide to self improvement. Keep this in mind:

There are two people who never have enough time - The very old and the very young.
--Author unknown

Darrell Max Craig
Houston, Texas
March 1993


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