Loyola University Maryland

Jujitsu Club at Loyola

The History of Ju-Jitsu

Ju-Jitsu is one of the most ancient of the martial arts in the world, over 2500 years old. No one knows exactly where Ju-Jitsu started. Although it has its origins in ancient Japan, it is also thought to be of an antiquated Chinese origin. Records have been found in Japan, China, Persia, Germany, and Egypt. Ju-jitsu was influenced by many fighting styles, incorporating parts of all of them. Ju-Jitsu is the parent art of Judo, Aikido, and Karate.

One of the first mentions of Ju-Jitsu is in Japanese mythology, where it is said that the gods, Kajima and Kadori, used Ju-Jitsu to discipline the lawless and wild inhabitants of the Eastern provinces.

The art of Ju-Jitsu began to grow during the period of clan warfare in Japan, from the eighth to the sixteenth centuries AD. During this period of constant civil war, the different styles of armed combat were undergoing continuous revision and refinement on the battlefield. The weaponless styles of Ju-Jitsu were integrated into the training of the Samurai, during this time, in combination with their armed training.
In 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu united Japan under the control of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and so began the era that bears their name. During this time, as Japan was united, there was less and less armed warfare, and so the weaponless style of Ju-Jitsu became more and more prominent.

The Tokugawa era came to an end with the Meji Restoration, which sought to return the emperor to power. Many of the samurai had supported the Shogun in the wars that began the restoration, and as a result, Emperor Melse published an edict that made it illegal to practice the old combat arts. Some masters, however, continued to do so underground, or moved to other countries.
In the mid 19th century, the Samurai class was formally disbanded, and many schools of Ju-Jitsu died out. It was at this time that Jigoro Kano, a master of the Tenshin Shin'Yo ryu Ju-Jitsu developed a new kind of Ju-Jitsu that would focus more on the sporting and exercise aspects of the art, in 1882. This style was more accepted by the populace. He called this new style Judo. He also introduced the widely used belt ranking system that we have today, consisting of the Kyu ranks for lower belts and Dan ranks for upper belts.

The Ju-Jitsu that is taught as Loyola College is Maru Ketsugo Ju-Jitsu, which comes from many different styles of Ju-Jitsu. Among these styles are Samurai Ryu Ju-Jutsu, Small Circle Ju-Jitsu, Ketsugo Ju-Jitsu, Taiho Jitsu (styles before 1882), Kodokan Judo, Budoshin Ju-Jitsu, Haddo Ryu Ju-Jutsu, Seibukan Ninhon Ryu Ju-Jutsu, and an ancient art from the Kung Fu system, called Shuai Chiao (a Chinese wrestling style closely related to Ju-jitsu).