What is Ju Jitsu ?
Although known as a self defence system Ju Jitsu, (also spelt variously as Jujutsu, Ju-jitsu, Jiu-jitsu, Jutsu) was originally developed for the battlefield by the legendary samurai warriors of Japan.
Once a samurai was thrown from his horse he was vulnerable and needed to even the odds quickly or risk death. A skilled practitioner could unseat a horseman with a well aimed jumping kick, disarm a swordsman with some deft arm blocks or disable an enemy at close quarters with a sweeping throw. These techniques were practiced in secret, between loyal clan members. Any warrior caught trading techniques with rival clans risked severe punishment, even death.
Originally known as Yawara,It wasn't until 1532, under Takenouchi Hisamori, that these techniques became unified as Ju Jitsu - 'gentle art.'
When the samurai declined in importance during the 19th century, Jujitsu became a study in physical and mental discipline rather a tool for the battlefield.
It was one of the first martial arts to be adopted by western practitioners. It influenced Jigoro Kano to concentrate on the throwing aspects of Jujitsu and create Judo, while inspiring Ueshiba Morihei the creator of Aikido.
There are literally 100's of martial arts systems in existence today. Some focus on striking and kicking, others emphasis deflecting, throwing, grappling or disabling with weapons.
Ju Jitsu uses most of these skills making it a very versatile and challenging martial art.
Takenouchi would undoubtedly recognize many of the techniques used by Jujitsu practitioners today but, without the idiosyncrasies of style and traditionalism that hamper some other systems, Jujitsu has evolved (as it still does) into a well rounded self defence system - well suited to modern needs.
Think of Ju Jitsu as an extensive arsenal of weapons; there are many self defence moves and techniques at your disposal for any given situation, if one doesn't work there are numerous others to choose from; the only limit is your imagination.