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How Jujutsu Went From No Rules And Weapons
To No Weapons And Sport

In 1882 Professor Kano developed Judo. Except for a few kata, such as Kime No Kata (a jujutsu kata from the 15th century which dealt with weapon type attacks as well as empty handed attacks) most of judo concentrates on weaponless throws and ground grappling.

The jujutsu used in the warrior's environment was basically one of battlefield grappling with some type of protective clothing (armor) and with hidden weapons (knives, etc.). The main weapon - the sword - was the weapon of choice. If you could not use your main weapon (sword) then you would be forced into a hand-to-hand type combat.

Note - In warring arts the weapons are senior to weaponless combat. If you do not acknowledge and train with surprise attacks with weapons, then you are missing a vital aspect of self-defense.

Imagine you are confronted by the enemy. You both have some hidden weapons that can very quickly be used to hurt or kill the other. Classical jujutsu absolutely acknowledged this reality.

Don't Forget Standing Grappling - Standing grappling is very important. You cannot simply run in and clinch with the enemy and drag him to the ground in a mount or guard. On the way down you may be cut seriously. On the ground - your legs, etc. will be swiftly stabbed over and over again. The warriors of Japan were NOT stupid. They trained with the reality that anyone could swiftly cut them. It takes less than a second. They were not fighting in a contest where all weapons were barred. Ground grappling is very important. When you do your ground grappling are you drilling that the attacker has a hidden blade, pen, razor, etc.?

"No Holds Barred" may sound like no rules are applied. However, the moment your moves do not take into the street reality of weapons, like knives, you are fighting by rules. Rules which, as the years go by, can be your self-defense blind spot. Of course if you are training for "All Weapons Barred" events and that is really all you care about, then you probably do not have anything to worry about. Besides - in self-defense situations - not everyone will always attack you with a weapon.

But if you are concerned about realistic self-defense, some other problems you may wish to consider are a lot of self-defense attacks are ambushes. A smart street mugger will only attack you when you are set up for it. It will be very unfair. Look at any Web site that has police statistics. Look how many attacks deal with knives, guns, etc. The attacks certainly aren't always starting in front of the person, with an equal start for everyone involved. If you practice 100% of your grappling without these realities in your training - then you are training for "All Weapons Barred" situations - and that is NOT jujutsu.

Look at Pride, UFC, etc. events. If an opponent can touch, punch the ribs, etc. - during the clinch or ground grappling - then the one punched or touched could have - by a knife, pen, needle, razor, etc. - been cut, stabbed, killed.

Do a search on Yahoo! or Google with the words - Kosen Judo. Look up some of the links and read up on Kosen Judo.

Ensure to look over: Judo History by M. Tripp. It is an excellent article by Mr. Tripp.

If you have time, go over the other links from that page too. Think about what the emphasis was; what the environment was. There is a huge difference in fighting when anything goes (knives, eye gouging, groin kicking, etc.) and when you really have rules (no weapons, no eye gouging, no groin shots, etc.).

That should give you an idea of what happens to "martial arts" when it is taken out of its true enviroment. To make it more sport, what you do is take out dangerous elements - like knifes, etc. from the training. You see that actually there are rules, aren't there? No weapons. To confuse contest grappling with self-defense grappling (weapons) is very serious. Remember, MARTIAL means WAR, not SPORT. In WAR, weapons and death are a grim reality.

Note - The great fighters of the UFC, etc. truly are gifted and brutal fighters. Also there are well trained martial artists and experienced fighters who certainly can defend themselves with their well earned skills. But I am NOT talking here about specific fighters or martial artists. I am talking about you, in your self-defense environment. Even the top MMA fighters would have to greatly rethink their emphasized moves if weapons, groin strikes, eye gouges, etc. were allowed in the contest.

Fred Crivello
Jujutsu 101