The word jujutsu has been known to the western world for centuries. A contemporary dictionary defines ju-jitsu (or ju-jutsu) as "the Japanese art of defending oneself by grasping or striking an opponent so that his own strength and weight are used against him"  P. 2   

                              Jujitsu: Darell Max Craig, Boston, 1995

Jujitsu, Japanese jūjitsu (“gentle art”),

 also spelled jujutsu, also called yawara, form of martial artand method of fighting that makes use of few or no weapons and employs holds, throws, and paralyzing blows to subdue an opponent. It evolved among the warrior class (bushi, or samurai) in Japan from about the 17th century. Designed to complement a warrior’s swordsmanship in combat, it was a necessarily ruthless style, with the usual object of warfare: crippling or killing an antagonist. Jujitsu was a general name for many systems of fighting involving techniques of hitting, kicking, kneeing, throwing, choking, immobilizing holds, and use of certain weapons. Central to these systems was the concept jū, from a Chinese character commonly interpreted as “gentle”—gentle, however, in the sense of bending or yielding to an opponent’s direction of attack while attempting to control it. Also involved was the use of hard or tough parts of the body (e.g., knuckles, fists, elbows, and knees) against an enemy’s vulnerable points. Jujitsu declined after the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, but it has enjoyed renewed popularity since the 1990s.



JU-JUTSU Time-Line

Ju-Jutsu Historical Research Society © 2018


1877 Kano Jigoro begins training in Tenjin Shinyo-Ryu Ju-Jutsu 天神真楊流柔術 under the tutelage of Fukuda Hachinosuke 福田八之助 (c.1828–1880)

1880 Upon Fukuda Sensei’s death, Kano received the densho 伝書 (scrolls) of the Fukuta Dojo

1880 Kano Jigoro begins training and assisting at the Tenjin Shinyo-Ryu Ju-Jutsu 天神真楊流柔術 dojo of Iso Masatomo 磯正智 (c.1820–1881)

1881 Upon the death of Iso Sensei, Kano begins studying Kito-Ryu Ju-Jutsu 起倒流柔術 under Iikubo Tsunetoshi 飯久保恒年 (1835–1889)

1882 Founding of the Kodokan 講道館 by Kano Jigoro 星野九門

1883 Implementation of the kyu / dan ranking system and colored sashes at the Kodokan

1883 Original drafting of Kodokan Judo Randori and Shiai rules

1886 Tokyo Police Department Board organizes a Ju-Jutsu competition between the two leading styles, Kodokan Judo and Fusen-Ryu, in order to determine which style to adopt. Led by Yokoyama Sakujiro 横山作次郎 and Saigo Shiro 西郷四郎, the Kodokan won all but one of the matches and that was deemed a draw. With this victory, Kodokan Judo’s reputation as an efficient system of unarmed combat was assured and the style became officially sanctioned by the Japanese government.

1895 Dai Nippon Butokukai 大日本武徳会 (Greater Japanese Martial Virtues Society) established in Kyoto, under the authority of the Minister of Education (Note: 1885 marked the 1,100th year anniversary of the transferring of the Japanese capital to Kyoto (Heian Kyo)

1895 First Butoku Matsuri 武徳祭 (Martial Arts Festival) & Dai Enbu Kai 大演武会 (Competition) held at Heian Shrine 平安神宮 – Kyoto

1895 Dr. Kano Jigoro creates the Gokyo no Waza 五教の技 (42 throwing techniques organized into five sets – fundamental order for teaching nage waza)

1898 Start of Butokuden 武徳殿 construction (Hall of Martial Virtue)

1898 Koto Senmon Gakko 高等専門学校 (Higher Vocation Schools – a.k.a Kosen) begin holding Judo competitions

1899 Butokuden 武徳殿 completed in the northwest of Heihan Shrine

1899 Dr. Kano Jigoro asked by the Butokukai Chairman to produce a draft of standardized Ju-Jutsu competition rules and was appointed chairman of the deliberation committee

1899 4th Annual Butoku Matsuri 武徳祭 & Dai Enbu Kai 大演武会 held at the Butokuden 武徳殿

1900 Dr. Kano Jigoro named Councilor to the Butokukai

1900 Kodokan accepts Butokukai Ju-Jutsu competition rules

1905 Division of the Butokukai formed to train Bu-Jutsu Instructors – called the Bujutsu Kyoin Yoseisho 武術教員養成所を (Martial Arts Teacher Training Institute) – Headquartered at the Butokuden in Kyoto

1906 Butokukai Ju-Jitsu conclave to finalize national Kata standardization – Dai Nippon Butokukai Seitei Ju-Jutsu Kata 大日本武徳会制定柔術形 (Nage no Kata 投の形, Katame no Kata 固の形, & Kime no Kata 極の形)

1907 Butokukai approves Dr. Kano’s proposal to lengthen the judo-gi sleeves (uwagi no sode) and pants (shitagi) – plus, the obi (belt) replaces the sash

1910 Name of the Bujutsu Kyoin Yoseisho 武術教員養成所を (Martial Arts Teacher Training Institute) changed to the Butoku Gakko 武徳学校 (Martial Virtue School)

1912 Name of the Butoku Gakko 武徳学校 changed to the Bu-Jutsu Senmon Gakko 武術専門学校 (Martial Arts Vocational School)

1912 Ju-Jutsu and Ken-Jutsu offered as official elective classes in Japanese middle schools

1914 Koto Senmon Gakko 高等専門学校 (Higher Vocation Schools – a.k.a Kosen) (colleges of technology in Japan that cater for students from age 15 to 20) begin holding an annual event of inter-collegiate competitions called the Kosen Taikai 高專大会

1914 First class of 14 students graduates from the Budo Senmon Gakko

1916 Ju-Jutsu rules changed – dojime (trunk squeeze), kubi gatame (neck locks), ashi garami (leg entanglement) banned

1917 Judo & Kendo become required subjects in Japanese middle schools

1918 Ministry of Education’s School Hygiene Society determined Judo & Kendo suitable for primary schools

1919 Name of the Bu-Jutsu Senmon Gakko 武術専門学校 changed to the Budo Senmon Gakko 武道専門学校 (Martial Way Vocation School)

1919 Butokukai departments of Ju-Jutsu 柔術, Ken-Jutsu 剣術 / Gekken, & Kyu-Jutsu 弓術 change their names to Judo 柔道, Kendo 剣道, & Kyudo 弓道

1920 Gokyo no Waza 五教の技 reduced to 40 throws

1925 Ju-Jutsu / Judo rules changed – Restrictions on transitioning from standing to groundwork and only elbow locks allowed (Note: Kosen Schools allowed to keep internal pre-1925 rules with continued focus on ground grappling)

1939 Martial Arts made mandatory for all primary school students

1946 Butokukai dissolved by the U.S. Occupation G.H.Q.

Kano Jiu-Jitsu

Kano Jiu-Jitsu / Kodokan Judo

The original Mixed Martial Art


Kano Jiu-Jitsu, the early name for Judo, was created by Professor Jigoro Kano. After mastering several styles of Jiu-Jjitsu in his youth, Professor Kano began to standardize and develop his own system based on modern sports principles. In 1882, he founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo where he began teaching and which still is the international authority for Judo. The name Judo was chosen because it means the "gentle way". Kano emphasized the larger educational value of training in attack and defense so that it could be a path or way of life that all people could participate in and benefit from. He de-emphasized some of the traditional jiu-jitsu techniques and changed training methods so that most of the moves could be done with full force to create a decisive victory.

The ability to execute techniques with full force is a key differentiator between a Kodokan Judo / Kano Jiu-Jitsu school and the average Jiu-Jitsu school. Repetitive practice at full speed with full completion of the technique develops better form and requires more skill and conditioning for both the person executing the technique, as well as, the person being practiced upon. Judo schools emphasize how to fully control ones opponent in all situations - standing, as well as, ground fighting. This provides a much finer granularity of control in a self-defense situation when deciding to merely subdue an opponent or to inflict permanent injury. 

The popularity of Judo increased dramatically after a famous contest hosted by the Tokyo police in 1886 where the Kodokan Judo team defeated the most well-known jiu-jitsu school of the time. To help spread the word of his new art around the world, Professor Kano sent many of his students around the world. Some of the most influential to modern martial arts were Mitsuyo MaedaSoishiro Satake, and Mikinosuke Kawaishi.

Mitsuyo Maeda and Soishiro Satake formed the head of the second generation of Kodokan judoka. Mitsuyo Maeda was one of the Kodokan's top groundwork (newaza) experts. Maeda had trained first in sumo as a teenager, and after the interest generated by stories about the success of Kodokan Judo at contests between Kodokan Judo and Jiu-Jjitsu that were occurring at the time, he changed from sumo to Judo. Maeda left Japan in 1904 and visited a number of countries giving "jiu-do" demonstrations and accepting challenges from wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists. Soishiro Satake, at 175 cm and 80 kg, was unmatched in amateur sumo, but admitted that he himself was not able to match Maeda in judo. Both Maeda and Satake left Japan at a time when judo was still referred to as "Kano Jiu-Jitsu". When they arrived in Brazil in 1914, every newspaper announced their art as being "jiu-jitsu" despite both men being Kodokan judoka. Satake would become the founder of the first historically registered judo academy in Brazil in 1914. Satake and Maeda are considered the pioneers of judo in Brazil. In 1917, after a demonstration by Maeda at the Da Paz Theatre, Carlos Gracie decided to learn Judo. Maeda accepted Carlos Gracie as a Judo student and eventually passed his knowledge on to his brothers, thus forming  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Kano Jiu-Jitsu became a part of the Japanese physical education system and began to spread its popularity around the world. But it was not until 1925 that the Japanese government itself officially mandated that the correct name for the martial art taught in the Japanese public schools should be "Judo" rather than "jiu-jitsu". In Brazil, however, the art was still called "jiu-jitsu".

Mikinosuke Kawaishi was born in Kyoto in 1899 and moved to Paris 1936 where he taught jujitsu and Judo. Kawaishi came to believe that merely transplanting the teaching methods of Japan to the West was inappropriate. He developed an intuitive style of instruction and a numerical ordering of the techniques that he felt was more suitable for western culture. This became known as the Kawaishi Method. One of the changes he is credited with is the introduction of many colored belts to recognize advancement in Judo. This seemed to catch on in France and there was a rapid growth of interest in Judo. His system of Judo is fully described in his book My Method of Judo written when he was a 7th dan and published in English in 1955. After World War II and through the 1950's, the Kodokan moved more and more towards the sport of Judo; banning techniques from shiai and dropping them from the Kodokan syllabus. Kawaishi, however, continued to teach these techniques.

Kawaishi is credited with being the person most responsible for the spread of Judo throughout France and much of Europe. Coaches Raymond Sasia in Paris, France and Jacques Legrand in New Orleans, Louisiana were products of the Kawaishi method of Judo and Self Defense, and thus all of their students. This spirit lives on today at The Judokai.

Judo is not simply the art of throwing. Rather, it is a complete martial art with combative aspects that cover powerful throwing techniques, extensive ground grappling techniques, and striking techniques. The pop culture term "Judo Chop" actually comes from striking techniques prevalent in early Jiu-Jitsu. Edge of hand blows were used extensively in Jiu-Jitsu, not only to deliver debilitating and possibly lethal strikes, but they were also used to weaken opponents and open them up for locks, chokes and throws.

Judo training has many forms for different interests. Some students train for competition by sparring and entering the many tournaments that are available. Other students study the traditional art and forms (kata) of Judo. Other students train for the traditional Jujitsu self-defense aspects, and yet other students play Judo for fun. Black belts are expected to not only learn, but teach, all of these aspects.

The Judokai embraces the name Kano Jiu-Jitsu to promote the tradition and history of Judo while demonstrating to the masses that Judo is Jiu-Jitsu.

The Judokai believes in strong traditional fundamentals, but a modern safe interpretation of competition rules where there is no differentiation between Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Sambo, Pankration, etc. Certain training methods, names, and contest rules might vary by style and ethnic origins; Japanese, European, Brazilian, etc. However, good technique is good technique no matter what the origin.

That's the way it ought to be 
The Judokai Warriors 


Traditional Techniques

  - Gokyo-no-waza (投げ技): traditional throwing techniques

  - Nage-waza (投げ技): throwing techniques

  - Katame-waza (固め技): grappling techniques

  - Atemi-waza (当て身技): body-striking techniques


Traditional Katas

  - Nage no Kata (投の形) - Forms of Throwing
  - Katame no Kata - Forms of Grappling
  - Ju no Kata - Forms of Gentleness
  - Kime no Kata - Forms of Decision
  - Goshin Jutsu no Kata - Forms of Self Defense
  - Joshi Goshin Ho - Women's Forms of Self Defense
  - Itsutsu no Kata - Forms of Five
  - Koshiki no Kata - Ancient Forms / Forms of Antiquity
  - Seiryoku Zenyo Kokumin Taiiku - Maximum Efficiency Physical Education