The ancient samurai in Japan were a dedicated warrior class. They spent much of their lives studying various fighting methods, striving to gain experience for every possible scenario they might encounter on the battlefield. They fought with the most modern* weapons, but also learned to fight with common objects like farming tools, walking sticks, and other everyday items. Much of their training included fighting with no weapons at all. The hand-to-hand portion of samurai training was called jujitsu.
Ju is a bit difficult to translate, but for our purposes it essentially means, "to do something without putting a lot of effort into it." Jitsu refers to the study or learning of something and might be translated simply, "how to." So the name jujitsu roughly translates as, "how to defeat an opponent without using a lot of muscle."
This was a rather unique concept since in pretty much everywhere else in the world, fighting was merely a matter of strength and stamina. The biggest and strongest was always the winner. Jujitsu neatly sidestepped that method, and taught its adherents to use the basic principles of leverage and balance, making devastatingly efficient use of the opponent's own energy.
With jujitsu, it was proven that flexibility could be more formidable than steadfastness, that speed could be more powerful than strength, and that intelligence could hit harder than size. With jujitsu a weaker, smaller opponent could overpower and defeat a larger, stronger opponent. This discovery revolutionized combat. Today, elements of jujitsu can be seen in almost every fighting style.
There is not, nor has there really ever been, one single school or curriculum of jujitsu. Even in the very beginning, there were many teachers who taught different techniques based upon the basic principle of jujitsu. As the years passed, the techniques slowly evolved and changed. Knowledge was also passed back and forth between schools. The result is that today there are many different schools and styles of jujitsu. Aikido, Judo, Hapkido, and Brazilian Jujitsu are some of the better known names. Yoshin Ryu, Daito Ryu, Tatsumi Ryu are a few of the less familiar, and much older, styles of Jujitsu.
The style we teach at Ohana Martial arts is called Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. It was developed by a Japanese man, Henry Seishiro Okazaki, who moved with his family to Hawaii when he was a teenager. From 1910 up through the 1920's, Professor Okazaki studied many different martial arts. In addition to several styles of jujitsu, he studied Judo, Kung Fu, boxing, wrestling, the Filipino knife arts, and a martial art called Lua which was developed and known only in Hawaii. Professor Okazaki took what he considered to be the best and most useful techniques for modern day personal self-defense from each style and developed his own system. The system he created, Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, is a powerful, flexible style with an eclectic mix of throwing, joint locking, striking, kicking, and grappling techniques that cover nearly any situation a person might encounter.
Danzan Ryu Jujitsu is a wonderful art, and we invite you to come learn more about it. Jujitsu classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Drop in and visit any class. For directions to the school, please contact Rob Gebhart at (360) 269-3351.
* Modern at the time, that is. This was back in the days when horses' saddles didn't yet have stirrups and advanced steelworking was still a pipe dream.