Beginning Jiu Jitsu - Ryoi Shinto Style

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Author: James G. Shortt & Katsuharu Hashimoto
Pub: 1979 by G. Donald & Co. Ltd.
Pages: 133
Ranking:Three Star Rating
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Although I had high hopes for this book, I must admit to some disappointment. When I find obvious mistakes, I tend to wonder what mistakes there may be that aren't obvious to me. The first sentence that "jumped" out at me was this one: "It appears that the first Jiu Jitsuka to reach Britain and declare himself and his art was one who is identified solely as Takashima Shidachi of the Yoshin Ryu." The book goes on to mention Shidachi's lecture on April 29th, 1892. Unfortunately for this mistaken identification, Mr. Shidachi is quite explicit in that particular lecture that he was a Judoka training under Jigoro Kano. He was not Yoshin Ryu. The book has a decided anti-Judo slant throughout, beginning with the Daito Ryu's version of Shiro Saigo, and following through to this particularly misleading paragraph:

"Kano's knowledge of all but the Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu and Kito Ryu was a cursory one. In these two styles he had only a few years' training in each. Kano's knowledge of Jiu Jitsu was more academic than practical, according to his jiu jitsu peers of the day. This being the case, the practice of Yugen would automatically have excluded him in the eyes of many jiu jitsuka as being incompetent to formulate an accepted style."

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph, that the misleading nature of it appears to be intentional. So I cannot honestly recommend this book for any serious study. The book also covers some techniques, but the photography isn't the best, and with both Jiu Jitsuka in black hakama, it's not very clear what's happening in some of the techniques. There are, however, some very nice historical photos. I do like the glossary of Japanese terms... it includes the kanji of over 80 Japanese terms.


 Acknowledgements                                          3
 Foreword                                                  5
 Introduction                                              7
 Letter from Ven. Zengo Miroko Maitreya/Zazen              9

 Part One                                                    
 Chapter 1 Jiu Jitsu                                      11
 Chapter 2 The Ryu                                        14
 Chapter 3 The Chinese Connection                         22
 Chapter 4 Ryoi Shinto Ryu                                26
 Chapter 5 The Death of the Bushi                         34
 Chapter 6 The Rise of the Kodokan                        36
 Chapter 7 Jiu Jitsu for the Gaijin                       44
 Chapter 8 Jiu Jitsu Today                                63
 Chapter 9 Towards the Future                             68

 Part Two                                                    
 Techniques                                               69
 Glossary                                                128
 Appendix                                                130



Through their teaching and writing, the Authors of this book impart their own understanding of a complex but fascinating, worthwhile activity-the Art of Jiu Jitsu and while it is not their whole intention, show the underlying principles of all the Martial Arts. As the Chairman of the Martial Arts Commission, I believe such principles are all important and on such we have based our thinking, in the policy we follow. This book will enhance the understanding of inter-art unity which prevails within the Commission and where the practitioners of Jiu Jitsu have an integral role to play. Seamus Shortt, a B.J.J.A. representative on the Commission has contributed towards bringing about such unity.

Martial Arts Commission



The words 'Jiu Jitsu' are ones that will surely get a reaction from any person who hears them, and there is hardly anyone who has not, Martial artists react to it with a mixture of ridicule, suspicion and veneration ranging from the Judoka who denies its present existence to the Kareteka who expresses his ignorance of it. The 'man in the street' confuses it with either Judo or Kung Fu and ultimately pleads lack of time, lack of facilities or lack of interest. The Press and media treat it as something either long since dead or to be so spectacular that only a superhuman could practise it. To date, the only books that have authoritatively dealt with either the history, or technique of Jiu Jitsu, have been written in Japanese, written by Judoka or published at the beginning of this century. That is why this book has been written, to answer the need for an authoritative and well-researched work combining it with illustrations of authentic Jiu Jitsu techniques. We live in an age where there is such a great need for definition. This is especially true for Jiu Jitsu which is, at last, recovering from the near fatal body-blows dealt it by the rise in popularity of first Judo, then Karate and latterly Aikido. It was not uncommon for Judoka to claim to be Jiu Jitsuka. If this claim held any validity before the Second World War, it certainly does not now. More recently, persons have emerged who, by combining a few tricks of self-defence, derived from either of the three major unarmed Budo forms, have claimed to be teaching authentic Jiu Jitsu as inheritors of the mantle of the oldest art of unarmed combat. Their claim has no validity.

This work is the culmination of five years of intensive research and study. It began to materialise in St. Francis' monastery, Kilkenny, Ireland, during my time there as a Postulant monk. For the most part, this book has been put together in monasteries; St. Bonaventures in Cork, the Carmelite Priory at Aylesford in Kent, the Augustinian Recollect Monastery of St. Patrick in Rome, The Franciscan Capuchin Monasteries in the town of Assissi and city of Florence in Italy and lastly at the Redentore Monastery on the Isle of Giudecca in the lagoon of Venice. It is perhaps apt that this work should find its source in monasteries for by the same token it can be said that Jiu Jitsu was developed and perhaps even found its source in monasteries of a different sort, these being in Japan, but pervaded by the same spirit.

'Ki Kara Saru Mo Ochiru'; a rough translation being that even monkeys fall out of trees. Even Sensei make mistakes and even Sensei are wrong. This I say, not so much by word of explanation to students but as a word of caution to some of the Sensei, yellow, black and white, that I have seen around and about and who speak as though they were infallible and act as though they were divinely inspired in all their actions. I have heard it said that compassion found in understanding is the hallmark of a good Sensei. I make it my yardstick. Both Katsuharu and myself hope that our research and work in this volume has not been in vain and that the reader will find it both interesting and informing, if not controversial.



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