If you ask someone what they think Jujutsu means, most people would probably tell you it’s a hybrid of judo and karate. This might be true to some extent, but Jujutsu can also have influences from other disciplines as well.
Some of those influences include Chinese control systems such as Wing Chun, Western boxing, and wrestling. Jujutsu can have the appearance and feel of many other martial arts combined into one, and the reason for this is because it’s been designed and taught to work as a complete system.
Most people think that jujutsu is simply about applying high pressure striking techniques to various targets. That’s a great way to look at it, but the truth is that there are multiple strike types in jujutsu.
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It should be noted that “striking techniques” refers to non-lethal techniques such as holds, throws, and chokes that can cause bodily harm or death if implemented properly. There are three primary types of striking techniques in jujutsu. These include: soft strike / foot work, hard strike / foot work, and sharp strike / foot work.
The primary emphasis of jujutsu isn’t on strength or power. In fact, it’s not even about technique at all. Jujutsu practitioners are taught to perform simple joint locking and sliding techniques that enable them to avoid being easily taken down or held down.
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Most strikes in jujutsu are foot work based, which allows the practitioner to move quickly around the fight. This allows the student to escape quickly when the situation calls for it. Most practitioners of jujutsu in the early days only used kicks and knees.
The first major difference between jujutsu and Japanese martial arts is the uniform. In jujutsu you will see traditional Japanese kimono, which is basically a long, loose robe. This robe is tied at the waist with a belt, and it is generally dyed in a single color.
This tradition originated from the fact that most Japanese martial artists during this time did not wear any type of armor, thus their clothing was one of the few items they could wear without fear of damage.
A lot of the techniques that students would learn were not even implemented in fighting back against an opponent; rather, these techniques were utilized for relaxation.
Another significant difference between jujutsu and karate is the use of the word “mastered”. In jujutsu this term is only used when describing advanced techniques, because in order to perform a technique in a match, the student must be highly skilled in the basic movements.
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To simplify the matter, the word “mastered” is used to describe a skill a student has attained. Jujutsu masters are considered masters in their own discipline when they have achieved a specific number of skill points and are able to apply their strike or defense techniques with perfect precision and power.
A master in jujutsu may, for example, learn to perform wrist locking, joint manipulation, and transitions, all of which are fundamental parts of the sport, but they are not considered masters until they have reached a certain number of skill points.
Unlike its martial art cousin Chokage, jujutsu is not primarily a striking system. The emphasis on defending and striking is an important component of the discipline, but the art is not strictly devoted to defence and attack at all. Many techniques, including many self-defence skills, are utilised instead and are therefore not considered part of the system.
For example, it is not unusual for a Jujutsu student to learn calisthenics, which are essentially bodyweight exercises, and thus does not involve strikes or submissions.
Self-defence specialists who study jujutsu as a sport develop their skills in much the same way as other combative performers who do not necessarily plan to use their martial arts as a weapon of offence. These students focus on acquiring and mastering the various techniques that are designed to disable their opponents, whilst also covering their own body, and using their own muscles against their assailant.
This means that although most jiu jitsu techniques are designed to be effective in fighting situations, the techniques are also capable of being utilised in non-fighting situations and as such many forms of jujutsu are also used as complementary techniques to western boxing, wrestling or gymnastics.
There are some key differences between jujutsu and other traditional martial arts though. Most notably, jujutsu practitioners must engage their opponent completely, both physically and mentally, in order to effectively attack them. They learn to strike their opponent with a series of joint locks and chokeholds, before ultimately striking them with their technique.
Jujutsu is also different in that its techniques often rely upon applying weight and movement to an opponent, in order to distract them, or to disable them long enough for the self-defender to attack and finish them off. Finally, jujutsu practitioners must avoid being knocked out or ‘rocked’ if they wish to continue with the match.