The Jitsu Foundation

The Jitsu Foundation

:"Jitsu redirects here. For the Masters of the Universe character, see Jitsu (Masters of the Universe).".

The Style

Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu is taught as a self-defence system which acknowledges that situations may include multiple armed or unarmed opponents, rather than a single "one on one" officiated match. Joint locks and throws complimented by weakening strikes are employed to deal with attackers in an efficient way. The style includes some treatment of groundwork (newaza) however to a lesser degree than some sports-based styles of jujutsu. Much of the competition focus of styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo is ignored in favor of maintaining focus on the complete surroundings with all possible threats considered. The commonly held prescriptions of "clean fighting" are disregarded and use of all advantages available including; groin strikes, hair pulling, spinal locks, eye rakes, and to a small extent nerve points is encouraged. TJF does not use full-contact or semi-contact sparring, rather in situations of multiple threats vs. one defender. The style has adopted the name 'jitsu', a shortened version of 'jiu jitsu', which is an alternative westernised spelling of jujutsu. Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu is a style of jujutsu based upon Takenouchi-ryu and Kito-ryu.



The style currently practiced by The Jitsu Foundation [ [ The Jitsu Foundation] ] traces its roots to Matthew Komp from Cologne, Germany who learned judo and jujutsu from various instructors including Wolfe, who had trained in Japan prior to the second world war, and Hassermayer [ [ Aiuchi History] - Accessed 25th July 2007] . Komp, who also held grades in aikido and karate, emigrated to Australia in the early 1950s, where he founded a school in Footscray, near Melbourne [ [ Matthew Komp Interview] ] . In addition to jujutsu, Komp taught judo to his students. They wore their judo grades as belts and their jujutsu grades as a colour flash on their sleeves. An infrequent visitor to the club was Akira Miura (also referred to as Riukia or "Rocky" Myura) [ [ Aiuchi History] ] , who was, according to some accounts [ [ Encyclopedia of Keywords] - Accessed 28th August 2007 ] , the Chief Unarmed Combat instructor at the Tokyo Police Academy, Japan.

The most likely lineage for Komp's instructors (Wolfe and Hassermayer) point towards the Kodokan. Early English Judo texts show a strong similarity in the techniques of self-defence that are a key element of the Jitsu Foundation style.

Komp taught Brian Graham who, having emigrated from the UK to Australia, later returned to the UK in the late 1960s as a second dan in judo as well as a first dan in jujutsu. Graham named his style Shorinji Kempo Jiu Jitsu, then later changed the name to Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu, and this name has been kept to the present day. Graham established his first jujutsu club in Keighley, Yorkshire. One of Graham's first students, Peter Farrar, who started learning jujutsu at the age of 9 in 1969, expanded the style and the association. He started his first collegiate club at Plymouth Polytechnic (now the University of Plymouth), and his students moved and spread the style.

To cope with the administrative and organisational demands of the growing number of clubs, an association was formed called the National Samurai Jiu Jitsu Association (NSJJA). The NSJJA organised and ran national competitions, courses and gradings.

The Jitsu Foundation

In 1990 the growing demands from within the organisation for further expansion of Jitsu clubs internationally, and for courses to be made available to the commercial sector, required the reorganisation of the NSJJA. The strengths and resources were consolidated into separate divisions to service the competing interests of the organisation. The Jitsu Foundation was formed to coordinate the activities of:

* The Jitsu Association, promoting the art, coordinating the activities, and servicing the requirements of Jitsu Clubs
* Studio III, providing training courses, and promoting the ideals, philosophies and benefits of non-aversive behaviour management
* Research and Development, exploring the boundaries of Jitsu, and providing a fusion of skills drawn from Jitsu training and academic research.

The Jitsu Foundation was driven by its Directing Tertiary Peter Farrar, and much of its success can be attributed to his charismatic leadership and the hard work of the Tertiary Board. Peter Farrar died in 1997, but the Foundation continued to grow under the direction of Directing Tertiary Dave Walker, the current head of the tertiary board is John Hamer and in 2006 there were 100 TJF clubs in the UK.Fact|date=July 2008

Success in the UK has also been matched by the growth of TJF clubs throughout the world. The first was Cyprus in 1989, started by Andy Wallace. Although the club continues to thrive, Andy Wallace lost his life in a fire in 1996. In 1993, Andy Dobie moved to Canada and opened clubs at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario and in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1995, Mike Mallen opened his club in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. Clubs have also opened in Holland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil. As of 2007 there were 18 non-UK clubs registered with TJF.

In 1997 Matthew Komp visited the UK and conferred the grade of sixth Dan and the title Shihan to Brian Graham. Brian Graham died on 15th June 2005. In an attempt to modernise its image TJF changed its logo in 2004 from the depiction of one figure throwing another in black and white against a red and yellow sunshine background reminiscent of the old flag of Japan to a plain red square with the word "Jitsu". TJF has had success in establishing its clubs in British universities, with the help of the NUS student unions - about half of all TJF clubs in the UK are based at a university. In 2005 the Randori and Atemi National competitions gained recognition from BUCS - the British Universities Sports Association [ [ BUSA] - Accessed 25th July 2007] .

The TJF motto, borrowed from Judo, is: "Maximum Effect, Minimum Effort".

Branch lineages

Several instructors who have previously been members of the TJF/NSJJA have gone on to form their own schools, these are listed below;

* In 1993 some members of The Jitsu Foundation formed a separate group (East Midlands Jiu Jitsu Association, EMJJA) and began practising a style known (from 1995) as Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu, headed by Julian Straker-Jones, a TJF 3rd Dan at the time. In a grading overseen by Komp, Straker-Jones was promoted to 4th dan in 2001 and on 17th October 2004 at the nationals in Cardiff he was promoted to 5th dan by the Aiuchi 3rd dans. Some TJF clubs joined the new Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu Association and as of 2008 Aiuchi Jitsu has twelve clubs of its own, mainly based in Basingstoke, Bedford, Cardiff, Derby, Harrow, Keele, Leicester, London Charring Cross, London Paddington, Swindon, Thatcham, Winchester). [ [ Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu Association] ]

* In 1995 Chris Spencer, who had been training with TJF for 12 years emigrated from London to Finland. There he created a new style named Liikan Jitsu, which was based mainly on Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu but also on a variety of other martial arts he had studied, including Eskrima and Kung Fu [ [ Liikan Jitsu Web Site] - Accessed August 2008]

* In 1998 Richard Catterick founded the style Seishin Mizu Ryu Tatakai Jutsu (SMRTJ). He had previously been a member and instructor for both the TJF and Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu (AJJ). He began his martial arts training with the NSJJA (later TJF) at Sheffield University in 1989. Later becoming a founding instructor of Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu in 1994. As of 2008 SMRTJ have 16 accredited adult and three accredited children's branch dojo, all in the UK. [ [ Seishin Mizu Ryu Tatakai Jutsu website] - Accessed 4th June 2007]

* In 2000 Paul Golz, a TJF 1st Dan, affiliated the Edinburgh Jitsu Club with the Scottish Ju Jitsu Association and in 2003 renamed his style "Shin Tai Wa Ryu Ju Jitsu". [ [ Shin Tai Wa Ryu Ju Jitsu] - Accessed 25th July 2007]

Technical Aspects

Similar to all Jujutsu systems, techniques utilise the use of the attackers' energy, momentum, size and weight to assert an advantage to the defender. This, with training, allows a small and weak jitsuka (student of jujutsu) to defeat a much bigger and stronger attacker by the application of strikes, locks, throws and immobilizations. Apart from the inevitable variations in technique that happen over time, TJF principles are in line with most modern practitioners of jujutsu.

Grade Structure

TJF has adopted the common practice of a kyu (coloured belt) grade system as opposed to the traditional white (novice) and black (competent) system. As a result, any instructor visiting a club at which they do not train or teach regularly, can gauge the level of competence of those he or she is about to instruct, and will choose techniques at a level appropriate to the grades present.

TJF has 8 coloured belts. The first two grades 7th and 6th kyu contain sub grades which TJF refer to as "mons". When graded for 7th and 6th kyu, the examining panel will decide if the candidate has passed and whether it was a pass, a good pass, an excellent pass or an exceptional pass. A pass is signified by a plain belt. However, 1, 2 or 3 mons (tags added to the belt) represent good, excellent or exceptional performance in the grading respectively, which are displayed by using the appropriate number of ribbons of the following belts colour around the end of the belt that is displayed on the right. Subsequent grades are either passed or failed: the mon system is not used. Mons are given to the lower grades because there is a much greater variation in skill and ability between jitsuka of 7th kyu and of 6th kyu, than there is between jitsuka of the higher grades. Nevertheless, it is possible for a candidate to these higher grades to obtain the status of 'top-grade' (such as top-green, top-purple or top-blue) when his or her performance at the grading is considered superior to that of other candidates.

Low grades learn the very basic principles of the TJF system. Movement and posture are important early on, as the basic foundation with which to build more advanced techniques later. The jitsuka is taught to defend and disarm against weapon attacks, where appropriate. Intermediate grades develop the lessons learned earlier and add variations to those techniques. The more senior students are encouraged to assist in instruction: to attain 4th Kyu or above there are teaching requirements in addition to the technical requirements. From 1st Kyu and above, jitsuka who have qualified as full club instructors ('Primary or Acting Primary Instructor') wear Hakama to denote their instructor rank.

Note that this differs from the grading system used by many other martial arts in the UK: TJF uses two blue grades, light blue and dark blue (2nd and 3rd kyu) which are more senior than purple (4th kyu) whereas other styles often have a single blue grade (3rd kyu) junior to purple (2nd kyu).

Note Junior (18 & Under) have a contrasting belt, with a white stripe running the length of the belt. Junior Novices have a white belt with a red mon at each end. Juniors are also allowed to be taught the atemi strikes at Novice level.

Dan Grades

There are 3 dan grades, usually signified by a black belt. These are further subdivided, with the divisions marking an extra teaching qualification, over and above that of Club Instructor. Promotion within the individual Dan grades also requires further involvement in the administrative running of the association, at either a regional or national level. The "base" Dan grades are awarded on a technical skills-based grading, whereas as promotion within a Dan grade is decided by assessment.

* 1st Dan - Shodan
** Primary Trainer: Black belt, hakama, white Jitsu badge with black writing. Has run a Club for at least 1 year.
** Senior Primary Trainer: Black belt, hakama, black badge with white writing. Takes an active role in the Region.
* 2nd Dan - Nidan
** Acting Secondary Tutor: Black belt, hakama, white badge with red writing.
** National Secondary Tutor: Black belt, hakama, black waistcoat, white badge with red writing. Teaches on a Regional level.
* 3rd Dan - Sandan
** Acting Tertiary Fellow: No belt, hakama, black waistcoat, red badge with white writing.
** Tertiary Fellow: No belt, full black over-gi with sleeves, red badge with white writing. Teaches on a National level.

Junior Dans (18 and under) have the white stripe on all belts and can be awarded their hakama on completion of passing a "hakama course" which is held at the Junior Nationals. All junior Dan students must have attended their Assistant Instructor, Instructor, Club Instructor, First Aid, and Town club courses held at junior events and there is also a minimum two year gap from junior brown belt to junior black belt. Most junior dans are around 14-18 years of age and have been practising Jitsu for more than 6 or 7 years. Junior Dans are not insured to teach their own Club, an adult Acting Primary or above must be present at all sessions. Juniors Dans must retake their 1st Kyu grading after their 18th birthday and then fulfill the 2 year wait, including 1 year teaching, requirements before they are eligible for Shodan again.

Uniform and Customs

Jitsuka wear a white keikogi, usually referred to simply as a gi, which can either be a standard judogi or something slightly lighter. Very light gis such as those used in karate are not worn as they are susceptible to damage during groundwork or when using certain throws. A coloured belt is worn according to grade, as described above. Kyu grades wear a square badge with a white background, black surround, and the word 'Jitsu' in black, on the upper right arm. Dan grades wear different colour badges as described in the Dan grades section above.

It is customary to rei (bow) towards the middle of the dojo (training hall) as one enters or leaves it. When stepping on or off the training mat the jitsuka "rei" to the highest grade currently on the mat or the middle of the mat if it is empty. Also at the beginning and end of the session students line up facing the sensei (teachers). The sensei calls out "kiba dachi" (horse riding stance), "su dachi" (standing with feet together), and "suwaru" (kneeling position). The highest non-teacher grade calls out "sensei ni rei", whereupon students bow, the highest-ranked teacher then calls "otagai ni rei" and the teachers bow. Before and after training with each other during the session individual pairs of jitsuka also bow to each other.

National Events

Atemi Nationals

This is an annual two-day event in Telford, UK but has previously been held in Birmingham, Sheffield, Slough and Manchester. Usually taking place in November, courses in the morning and competitions in the afternoon are held for each grade level. There are two phases to the competition. Firstly in the 'V', competitors must defend themselves, using any techniques that they have learned, against a continuous cycle of attackers either unarmed, or armed with weaponry appropriate to the grade of the defender. This is followed by a 'gauntlet'. In this phase, the competitor has a chance perform techniques without the pressure of a realistic 'combat' situation, however the competitor is expected to demonstrate control, skill, and fluidity. The 'V' focuses on the "martial" or fighting aspect of jujutsu, whereas the 'gauntlet' examines the "art" aspect. The competition uses a points-based system judged by a panel who assess technical ability, style and effectiveness of techniques. The event is held over two days, with heats on day one and finals on day two. Day two also includes the 'open grade' category, which any senior grade can enter.

The Jitsu Foundation Juniors hold the same type of event at the National Judo Centre, Birmingham.

Randori Nationals

TJF also run annual Judo competitions for its members, currently held in Telford, UK. Usually taking place in March, courses and competitions are held for each grade level, with those who also hold Judo grades competing at a higher level. At the Randori nationals, grades have a choice of two competitions. In ground fighting (newaza), competitors must try to achieve a pin or submission, whilst on the ground, over a 2 minute bout. In standing fighting (nagewaza), the first to score a full point (Ippon), with any throwing technique, is the winner. Due to the nature of these contests, the competitors are placed in weight, sex and grade categories. The second day hosts the finals and open competition, which is itself a full 'judo rules' competition that allows both standing and ground fighting in the same contest. In the open competition, it is very difficult to score an Ippon, compared to real Judo, and most fights end on the ground.

The Jitsu Foundation Juniors hold the same type of event at the National Judo Centre, Birmingham.

These two events form the highlights of TJF year for most jitsuka. Both competition events have now been recognized by BUCS, and competitors can earn points for their respective universities, if applicable.

The Summer Ball

Held in July, after the end of the academic year, the summer ball is the final event of the Jitsu calendar. It is held in different locations, depending on circumstances - for 2004 in Plymouth, celebrating 25 years of Jitsu. The 2005 event was held in Bristol, and in 2006 it was held in London, each time marking 20 year anniversaries for the founding of the Region. The 2007 Ball marked 40 years of Jitsu in Keighley, Yorkshire, where Graham founded the Style.

Although a smaller affair than the two National competitions, it is nonetheless important, as it also hosts the Shodan, Nidan and Sandan (1st-3rd Dan) gradings. The evening dinner has an awards ceremony to congratulate the successful candidates and other individuals who have made significant contributions to the style over the last year. From 2007, there is also a Shodan grading in January.


External links

* [ The Jitsu Foundation Website] including [ club directory]
* [ "Brian is Ju-jitsu's world gaffer"] - Bradford News article on Brian Graham (22nd July 2000)
* [ BUSA News Article on competition results] (23rd November 2005)
* [ "Go gentle into that good fight"] - Description of classes from a beginner's point of view (Financial Times supplement article, FT Weekend, Healthy Living, 7-8 October 2006)
* [ Interview with Matthew Komp] - Discusses his martial arts career, teaching Brian Graham and visiting TJF in the UK

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