FAQs & Links
Why study martial arts?
What is traditional Japanese Ju-Jitsu?
Why study traditional Japanese Ju-Jitsu?
Who should study Ju-Jitsu?
How are classes structured?
What skills are taught?
How are rank promotions handled?
What about Seminars and Tournaments?
What to wear / Purchasing a gi (uniform)
What about safety in the dojo?
There are many reasons people choose to study a martial art. Most people who do so greatly value the experience, for complex personal reasons. Since a successful student may never use the art in a conflict situation, the fighting skills themselves may be the least important of these. Nevertheless, Ju-Jitsu is a highly effective defensive fighting art that can provide protection in a variety of dangerous situations. Other benefits of martial arts training include self confidence, discipline, fitness, and fun. As with any major undertaking over an extended period of time, personal growth and wisdom are also likely benefits.
Ju-Jitsu is an ancient martial art developed and used by the samurai as a weaponless self-defense art. Ju means "gentle" or "gently" (and is sometimes translated as "yielding"), and Jitsu means "art." Ju-Jitsu then is translated as "the gentle art." Contrary to common perception Ju-Jitsu is not simply a ground fighting martial art, although such techniques are part of the repertoire. The art employs a variety of techniques to either incapacitate an attacker (when necessary) or put him into a controlled state (submission). These include combinations of joint locks, strikes (punches and kicks), throwing techniques, and grappling (ground fighting) techniques. Ultimately the intention of the Ju-Jitsuka is to throw the opponent to the ground.
Ju-Jitsu is the parent art that inspired judo, aikido, and many forms of karate. Because of its breadth it can be said to be the original "mixed martial art."
Since "Ju-Jitsu" is an attempt to use English spelling ("romanization") to approximate the pronunciation of two Japanese words (written with Chinese characters), it is spelled in various ways. The words may be capitalized (or not) and may be hyphenated, written as a single word, or written as two words. "Ju" is sometimes spelled "jiu," and "jitsu" is sometimes spelled "jutsu."
Based on the original instruction of Dr. Fromm, the philosophy of Budoshin Ju-Jitsu is that there is but one Ju-Jitsu. There are many styles and schools of Ju-Jitsu some of which are quite old, such as Seiguchi-ryu, Kito-ryu, Daito-ryu, and others.
Many martial arts were practiced in feudal Japan. Ju-Jitsu was one such art, also called taijutsu and yawara. The history of Ju-Jitsu can be said to have begun around the second century B.C. Its golden age occurred during the Tokugawa era (the Edo period) dating 1603-1868 AD. Tokugawa unified Japan and with the unification a number of fighting arts flourished. There are 725 recorded systems of Ju-Jitsu. Ju-Jitsu is a system of attack and most often is described only as a system of self defense. The art involves throwing, hitting, kicking, stabbing, slashing, choking, bending, and twisting of joints and limbs, as well as pinning an opponent. It includes defenses from these attacks.
There is a philosophy that goes along with the art. Because of the destructive potential, Ju-Jitsu places a strong emphasis on the concept of nonviolence. Physical confrontation should be avoided when possible; when avoidance is not possible, the minimum necessary harm should be inflicted. A jujitsu-ka (one. who practices Ju-Jitsu) is self confident that he can defeat his attacker and therefore does not need to prove it. Additionally, a confrontation means that all reason and intelligence has failed, and you are humanly degraded as a result of resorting to violence. With time and training the student will develop a feeling of confidence combined with humility, as well as self-control.
If you've decided to study a martial art, there are a number of factors that can help you select the one that is right for you at a particular point in your life.
"Art" vs. "Way." Some martial arts have a greater focus on personal development through training in the skilled application of techniques. These may end with the word "do," which means "way" (e.g. judo, aikido). Other martial arts do not presume to teach personal development, though of course that will tend to occur when an intelligent being engages in a disciplined course of study. When the training focuses on the art itself (i.e. techniques) it may end with the word "jitsu" or "jutsu," which simply means "art" (e.g. Ju-Jitsu, Ninjitsu). In practice, the boundaries sometimes blur. Ju-jitsu is a highly effective defensive fighting art.
Sport vs. self-defense. Some martial arts (e.g. judo) have been developed mainly as sports. The competitive aspects are emphasized and techniques intended to incapacitate an opponent are absent or altered. Ju-jitsu is a self defense art, and substantial adjustments have to be made to enable safe competition.
New vs. old. Ju-jitsu is an ancient art with a rich history and tradition. For many students this provides a more complete field of study than a newly developed fighting technique. In addition, an older art will have been refined over a long time, with ineffective techniques dropped or improved.
Versatility. Self defense requires the ability to adapt to complex situations. There may be multiple attackers, they may be armed, and the fight may be in an alley littered with broken glass. A strictly ground fighting art might not adapt effectively to these circumstances. Ju-Jitsu prepares us for the unexpected.
Our classes are open to adults and children aged ten or older. The study of Ju-Jitsu can be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of body types and physical abilities (or disabilities). Ju-Jitsu is ideal for self defense purposes, and people who want to learn to effectively defend themselves against attack will benefit. Our training is essentially completely noncompetitive, so people seeking a competitive sport may prefer a different martial art, such as judo.
Traditional Japanese Ju-Jitsu is a rich and complex art, perhaps best suited to those who would like to enjoy continuous learning over a span of years. It is not a "fast food" martial art.
Ju-Jitsu as we study it is the ancient combat art of the Japanese Samurai warrior class, and thus incorporates a rich history and traditions that accompany a rich set of martial techniques. A student that values that history, and how it led to the art as practiced today, will derive exceptional enjoyment from this art.
Ju-Jitsu does not require great strength or size. It is a fighting art, so students should expect to work to their capacity during classes.
Classes include beginners as well as intermediate and advanced students. In addition, adults and children study together. Once a beginner has been separately taught the basic techniques necessary to participate safely, the day's lessons are practiced and refined by the student according to individual abilities.
In a typical class, a student will be thoughtfully paired with a partner for that class. The partners take turns practicing the current technique as demonstrated by the teacher.
We study a variety of techniques to either incapacitate an attacker (when necessary) or put him into a controlled state (submission). These include combinations of joint locking and wrenching, striking (punches and kicks), throwing techniques, and grappling (ground fighting) techniques.
There are many specific approaches to Ju-Jitsu that have evolved over hundreds of years. Daitobukan specializes in Seki-ryu (Budoshin) and Nihon-ryu (Seibukan) Ju-Jitsu, and for those who obtain black belt Shin Tenshin Shinyo-ryu Aiki-Jujutsu.
Usually two class sessions each month are dedicated to the study of sword arts (ken-jutsu) and short staff arts (bo-jutsu). In addition to being remarkable skills in their own right, these techniques show us the roots of the unarmed techniques we train in at other times. Wooden swords (bokken) are used.
Students are taught agility and flexibility, with safety the utmost concern. Classes concentrate on demonstration, the correct application of techniques, practice (controlled and free) and lectures. Students are brought up to competition level.
The color belt ranking system is used in the dojo (see the "Students" page for the colors we use). Prior to black belt the "kyu" ranks count down the number of promotions until shodan (first degree black belt). Promotions are sometimes based on formal testing and sometimes on a student's overall performance. There is no cost associated with promotions. Because of the complexity of the art, students can spend considerable time between promotions.
The Daitobukan Dojo sponsors at least one "Shiai" - teaching seminar (with guest instructors) and tournament - each year, during the summer. The tournament may include two types of competition: 1) a "Waza" competition, in which points are earned through the successful demonstration of a variety of techniques (with a cooperative partner providing a series of "attacks"), and (in the past) 2) a "Kumite" competition, essentially free sparring with restrictions to ensure safety. A decision was made in 2008 to limit our tournaments to Waza competition. Download the basic AJA Waza tournament rules here
Other affiliated dojo in the region also sponsor seminars and tournaments, and interested students often travel to these.
A new student should defer purchasing a gi until they have made a decision to continue their study - no one will rush this decision. In the Daitobukan dojo we wear a white, single- or double-weave judo gi, which is strong enough to handle the throws and grappling that we practice. For our students Hanshi Feelemyer can assist with selecting the correct size and order an appropriate, high-quality gi at a reasonable price (they cost $50-$65 apiece depending on size).
While no physical activity can be practiced in a way that guarantees no injury will occur, the highest priority in the Daitobukan dojo is to take all necessary steps to minimize the risk associated with this complex and challenging physical activity.
Students are carefully schooled in the art of falling safely ("ukemi") before being thrown. This training is individualized, since every student masters these techniques at a different pace.
No full-force strikes are practiced in the Daitobukan dojo.
All potentially incapacitating techniques are modified for safe training purposes, and all techniques are practiced in a way that is sensitive to the skill level of the person receiving the technique ("uke").
Techniques are practiced slowly (for mastery) before being sped up.
Hanshi McCurdy references techniques from a variety of sources. The list below are some of his recommended books. Links are provided to the Amazon.com page where the books were most recently found. Since Amazon may change these links, please send e-mail to the
if you find any that have stopped working.
Martial Arts governing Bodies
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Last Modified - 24 May 2009