What is Ju-Jitsu?
Ju-Jitsu is a form of self-defence that uses a combination of joint locks, strikes and throws to disarm an attacker at close range. Modern Ju-Jitsu is based on the unarmed combat techniques used by the Samurai of medieval Japan, which they might have used if they ever found themselves without a weapon. It was designed to counter attacks from enemies wearing armour as striking techniques would ineffective against them. Instead the focus was on throwing, immobilizing, joint locks and choke holds.
Ju-Jitsu relies on getting close to your attacker and manipulating them to turn the force of their attack away from you, or to use carefully applied force on them to prevent further attack. This is different from martial arts such as Karate or Taekwondo which would rely on standing away from the attacker and trying to land punches or kicks on them.
While what we practice is quite physical there is no need to be physically strong (though it does help). In most cases any person can use things such as leverage, pressure points or various other techniques to disarm an attacker. Because of this Ju-Jitsu can be used by people of all abilities.
As some people prefer videos over written text, we have found this video which expresses similar views to us.
NB: This video was not produced by us, and we are not affiliated with anyone featured in the video. However we do support the views expressed and share it here as a visual guide to what Ju-Jitsu is.
What’s the difference between Ju-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
As previously mentioned modern Ju-Jitsu is based on the unarmed combat techniques used by the Samurai of medieval Japan. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an off-shoot of Judo which itself is an off-shoot of traditional Ju-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gets it’s name because the founders of the art, Brazilian brothers Carlos and Hélio Gracie who developed in their home country after having learnt Judo from Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Judoka living in Brazil. As the art quickly became popular it became known as “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also tends to be spelt differently because there is no one correct spelling of the word ‘Ju-Jitsu’ when translating it from Japanese to English. It is quite common to see people who are referring to traditional Japanese Ju-Jitsu spell it “Ju-Jitsu” or “Jujitsu”, while people referring to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to spell it “Jiu-Jitsu” or “Jiujitsu”.
Neither are wrong, but the use of different spelling can help identify which type of Ju-Jitsu the author is referring to.
If you would like to learn more about how we came to have multiple spellings, you can read our article on it here – Which is it? Jūjutsu, Ju-Jitsu or Jiu-Jitsu?