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The Old Samurai Art Of Fighting Without Weapons
Part 2 – Schools & Stories

By Jigaro Kano
Translated by Rev. T. Lindsay, April 18, 1888

Submitted by Stan Hart

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an article originally written by Jigaro Kano, the founder of modern Judo (Jiudo). Part 1 investigated the origin of Jiujutsu (Jujutsu). There is also a glossary provided by Stan Hart who translated the Japanese Kanji (characters) used in the original text. Part 2 discusses various schools and relates some stories about old Jiujutsu masters. The romanization of Japanese words that appear in this article are based upon the spellings used in England at the time the article was written.

Having thus discussed in a brief way the origin of Jiujutsu, and what Jiujutsu is in a general way (Part 1), we shall now turn to the different schools and the differences which are said to exist between the several names of the art mentioned above. It is impossible to enumerate all the schools of Jiujutsu, we might count by the hundreds, because almost all the teachers who have attained some eminence in the art have originated their own schools. But it is not possible, and also not in our way to describe them all or even enumerate them. We shall be satisfied here by referring to some of the most important on account of the principles taught, and the large number of pupils they have attracted.

1-Kitoriu or Kito School. This school is said to have been originated by Terada Kanemon. The time when he flourished is not given in any authoritative book or manuscript, but we may say that he flourished not very long after Fukuno, because it is stated both in Cinomaki of the Kito school, and in the Bujutsu riusoroku that he learnt the art from another Terada, who was a pupil of Fukuno, although there are opinions contradictory to this statement. Among the celebrated men of this school may be mentioned Yoshimura, Hotta, Takino, Gamo, Imabori; and of late Takenaka, Noda, Iikubo, Yoshida and Motoyama, of whom the last two are still living.

2. Kiushinriu was originated by Inugami Nagakatsu. His grandson Inugami Nagayasu, better known as Inugami Gunbei, attained great eminence in the art and so developed it that he has been called in later times the originator of Kuishinriu. There is great similarity in the principles of Kitoriu and Kiushinriu. The resemblance is so close, that we suppose the later has been derived from the former. It is also said that in the second year of Kioho (1717) Inugami studied Kitoriu under Takino. This must of course be one of the reasons why they are so similar. Among those who were famous in this school may be mentioned Ishino, Tsukamatio and Eguchi.

3-Sekiguchi Jushin was an originator of another school. His school was called Sekiguchi riu, after him. He had three sons, all of who became famous in the art. Shibukawa Bangoro, who studied the art from his first son Sekiguchi Hachirozaemon, became the founder of another great school of Jiujutsu known after him as the Shibukawarui. Sekiguchi Jushin of the present time is a descendent of the originator (being the ninth generation from him). Shibukawa Bangoro, the 8th descendent of the originator of Shibukawariu is now teaching his art at Motomaschi in Hongo in Tokyo.

4-Yoshinriu School. As has been stated above (in Part 1), there are two different accounts of the origin of this school. But upon examining the manuscripts and the methods of those two schools, one of which traces the originator to Miura Yoshin and the other to Akiyama Shirobel, the close resemblances of the accounts lead to the belief that both have a common origin.

The representatives of Yoshinriu of Muira Yoshin at present is Totsuka Eibi, who is now teaching at Chiba, a place near Tokyo, His father was Totsuka Hikosuke, who died but two years ago. This man was one of the most celebrated masters of the art of the late years. His father Hikoyemon was also very famous in the time he flourished, He studied his art under Egami Kuanriu, who made of profound investigation of the subject and was called the originator of Yoshinriu in later times. This man is said to have died in 1795. Another famous master of this school was Hitotsuyanagi Oribe. The Yoshinriu art which this man studied is one which is said to have come from Akiyama.

5-Tenjin Shinyoriu. This school was originated by Iso Mataemon, who died but 26 years ago. He first studied Yoshinriu under Hitotsuyanagi Oriye and then Shin no Shinto riu (one of the schools of Jiujutsu which has developed out of Yoshinriu) from Homma Joyemon. He then went to different parts of the country to try his art with other masters, and finally formed a school of his own and named it Tenjin Shinyoriu. His school was at Otamagaike in Tokyo. His name spread throughout the country and he was considered the greatest master of the time. His son was named Iso Mataichiro. He became the teacher of Jiujutsu in a school founded by one of the Tokugawa Shoguns for different arts of warfare. Among the famous pupils of Mataemon may be mentioned Nishimura, Okada, Yamamoto, Matsunaga and Ichikawa.

We have mentioned different names such as Jiujutsu, Yawara, Taijutus, Kempo, Hakuda and Kogusoku. They are sometimes distinguished from one another, but very often applied to the art generally. For the present, without entering into detailed explanations of those names, we shall explain in a concise way what is the thing itself which these names come respectively to stand for.

Jiujutsu is the art of fighting without weapons and sometimes with small weapons much practiced by the Samurai, and less generally the common people in the times of the Tokugawas.

There are various ways of gaining victory, such as throwing, holding down on the ground or pushing to a wall in such a way that an opponent cannot rise up or move freely: twisting or bending arms, legs or fingers in such a way that an opponent cannot bear the pain, etc.

There are various schools, and some schools practice all these methods and some only a few of them. Besides these, in some of the schools special exercises, called Atemi and Kuatsu, are taught. Atemi is the art of striking or kicking some of the parts of the body in order to kill or injure the opponent. Kuatsu, which means to resuscitate, is an art of resuscitating those who have apparently died through violence.

The most important principle of throwing as practiced was to disturb the center of gravity of the opponent, and then pull or push in a way that the opponent cannot stand, exerting skill rather than strength, so that he might lose his equilibrium and fall heavily to the ground.

A series of rules was taught respecting the different motions of the feet, legs, arms, hands, and thigh and back, in order to accomplish this object. Choking up the throat was done by the hands, forearms, or by twisting the collar of the opponent’s coat around the throat. For holding down and pushing, any part of the body was used. For twisting and bending, the parts employed were generally the arms, hands and fingers and sometimes the legs.

The Kuatsu or art of resuscitation is considered a secret: generally only the pupils and those who have made some progress in the art receive instruction. It has been customary with those schools where Kuatsu is taught for teachers to receive a certain sum of money for teaching. And the pupils were to be instructed in the art after taking an oath that they never reveal the art to anyone, even to parents and brothers.

The methods of Kuatsu are numerous and differ greatly in the different schools. The simplest is that for resuscitating those who have been temporarily suffocated by choking up the throat. There are various methods for doing this, one of which is to embrace the patient from the back and placing those edges of the palms of both hands which are opposite the thumb to the lower part of the abdomen to push it up toward the operator’s own body with those edges.

The other kinds of Kuatsu are such as recovering those who have fallen down from great heights and those who have strangled, those who have been drowned, those who have received severe blows, etc. For those more complicated methods are employed.

Stories Of Famous Jiujutsu Teachers

About 200 years ago there was a famous teacher of Jiujutsu named Sekiguchi Jushin, who was the retainer of the lord of Kishiu. One day while they were crossing a bridge in the prince’s courtyard, his lord, in order to test his skill, gradually pushed him nearer to the edge of the bridge until, just as he attempted to overbalance him, Sekiguchi slipping round, turned to the other side and caught his lord who, losing his balance in the attempt, was about to fall into the water, and taking hold of the Prince said, “you must take care.” Upon which the prince felt very much ashamed.

Sometime afterward, another of the lord’s retainers blamed Sekiguchi for taking hold of the prince, for, he said, if he had been an enemy, he could have had time to kill you. Then Sekiguchi told him that the same thought had also crossed his own mind, and that when he caught hold of his lord, although it was a very rude thing, he had stuck his kozuka (small knife) through the sleeve and left it there to show that he could have had time to stab him had he been his enemy, instead of his master.

During the year Kwan-yei there was a festival of Hachimangu at Fukui in Echizen. Skilled teachers of various military arts had gathered there from different parts of the country, and Yagiu Tajimanokami, a famous master, was appointed umpire of the sports. As Yagiu was a very famous man, many visitors came to see him, and amongst them there was one friend with whom he began to play at Go (a game) on the day before that appointed for the sports. They continued their play all day and all night, and when the appointed time came for the beginning the sports, Yagui did not appear, being still intent on his game of Go.

The prince of Echizen became very angry and threatened to punish Yagiu, and hearing this, one of his retainers set off on horseback to persuade Yagiu to be present in the place. When he reached the place he saw the players still engaged, and artfully proposed to join in the game. After a time, as if by accident, he mixed up the pieces on the board, and then reminded Yagiu of his appointment as umpire. Yagui thereupon mounted the horse which had been brought by the retainer and galloped off to the field. While engaged as umpire, another famous Jiujutsu teacher came up and offered to fight him. He declined on the grounds that he was there as umpire. Still the man continued to urge him and suddenly tried to pull him down. Yagiu in a moment seized him, turned him over and threw him with great force on the ground, and so ended the attempt to overthrow Yagiu.

Terada Goemon was another noted man. He lived in Tokyo some 40 years ago, and one day while passing the Suidobashi near Hongo, he fell in with the procession of the Prince of Mito. The Sakibarai (attendants) of the prince, while making their way for the procession ordered Terada to kneel down, which he refused to do, saying that Samurai of his rank did not require to kneel unless the Prince’s Kago would come nearer. The Sakibarai, however, persisted in their endeavors to force him to kneel, and five or six attempted to throw him down, but he freed himself and threw them all to the ground. Many other retainers then came about him crying, “kill him, kill him,” but he threw them all down and seized their jittel (short iron rods) and ran over to the Prince’s Yashiki saying, I am a Samurai of such and such rank, and it is against the dignity of my Prince that I should kneel down; I am very sorry that I had to throw your men down, but I had to do it to preserve my dignity, and here are the jittei which I return to you. The prince was so much pleased that he asked Terada to enter into his service, but he preferred to remain with his own prince and refused the offer.

Inugami Gunbei was a famous teacher of the Kiu Shin school. One day he met Onogawa Kisaburo, the most famous wrestler of the time in a tea house. They began to drink sake together and Onogawa boasted of his powers to Inugami. Inugami said, that even a great wrestler with stout muscles and sentorian voice might not be able to defeat this old man, referring to himself. Then the wrestler became angry and proposed they should go out to the courtyard for a trail. Onogawa then took hold of Inufami saying, “can you escape?” “Of course,” he replied, “if you do not believe me hold me more tightly.” Then Onogawa embraced him more firmly and (Inugami) repeated his question and received the same answer. He did this three times and when Inugami said, “can you do no more,” Onogami relaxed his grip to take a firmer hold, was in a moment pitched over by Inugami onto the ground. This he did twice. Onogawa was so surprised that he became Inugawa’s pupil.

There are now over 80 schools in Tokyo representing the various schools of feudal times, but of these two are specially worthy of notice on account of the methods employed and the large attendance of pupils. One of these is the school of Mr. J. Kano of the Gakushuin (Nobel’s School).

He first studied under Iso and Fukada of the Tenjin Shinyo school and then studied the principles of the Kito school under a celebrated teacher named Iikubo. After having acquired the art in this way Mr. Kano made investigations into the history of the art, collecting manuscripts from all sources within his reach, comparing the various principles taught, until after much research and labour he elaborated an eclectic system of the art which now bears the name of Jiudo.

In feudal times the old form of Jiujutsu was mainly learned for fighting purposes. In this recent school it is developed into a system of athletics and mental and moral training. In this school daily instruction is carried on by means of lectures on the theory of Jiudo, by discussion among pupils and by actual practice.

In Jiujutsu as formerly taught, the art of pliancy, as it is best called, the practice of the art was of most importance: in Jiudo, which is an investigation of the laws by which one may gain by yielding, practice is made subservient to the theory, although when studied as a system of athletics, practice plays a more important role.

Saigo, Yamada, Yamashita and Yokoyama are the most celebrated of the pupils of this school. In the Police Department of Tokyo all the police are obliged to study this art. The method of instruction was quite of the old system until a few years ago, when at a meeting of teachers and pupils of the various schools in Tokyo, the pupils of Mr. Kano so distinguished themselves that the Department resolved to adopt the methods of the art of Mr. Kano’s school, and in 1879 appointed Jiudo teachers from among his pupils named Yokoyama and Matsuno. In addition to these teachers there are also Hisatomi, Suzuki, Nakamura, Uyehara and Kanaya, all of whom may be considered as the present representatives of many of the important schools of Jiujutsu now existing in Japan.

In addition to the work of Jiudo as a system of athletics, it is also to be considered, as has been noted, a means of mental and moral training, and to this reference will be made in a future paper.

Note: This article (Part 1 & 2) originally appeared in Bugeisha, Issue 3, Summer 1997. It was submitted to by Stan Hart. Hart had discovered the article on microfilm while researching the history of karate in the library of the University of Ohio.

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About the Contributor:

Stan Hart is a karate and self-defense teacher, lecturer and author with over 40 years of experience. He is also the founder of Hakuda. Over the last 25 years he has traveled extensively within the US and Canada giving seminars on his unique methods of self-defense, including the ancient arts of seizing, body control combined with striking vulnerable parts of the body. He is also a specialist in kata applications. Hart began his teaching in association with the Bucyrus, Ohio YMCA in 1972 a program that is still ongoing. He also instructs Karate Classes at the Marion, Ohio YMCA and is the owner/operator of the Richland Karate Center, Mansfield, Ohio. He is president of the International Hakuda Association that began as the Shurite Kempo Technique Association in 1985. His training has included several styles of karate, jujutsu, kempo and boxing under a number of instructors including: Andrew Akens, San Francisco, Ca; Jerry Banks deceased; Victor Louis, Youngstown, Ohio; and Seiyu Oyata, Kansas City, Mo. For more than 30 years Hart has researched karate, karate kata, special technique, pressure points and various obscure arts. His website is See Hart’s article “Defense Against The Shove” in the Reading Room category “Self-defense.”

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

jujutsu, jiujutsu, judo, jiudo, Kitoriu, Kito ryu, Kito School, Terada Kanemon, Kiushinriu, Kiushin ryu, Inugami Nagakatsu, Sekiguchi riu, Sekiguchi ryu, Sekiguchi Jushin, Sekiguchi Hachirozaemon, Shibukawa Bangoro, Yoshinriu School, Yoshin ryu, Miura Yoshin, Akiyama Shirobel, Totsuka Eibi, Totsuka Hikosuke, Egami Kuanriu, Hitotsuyanagi Oribe, Tenjin Shinyoriu, Tenjin Shinyo ryu, Hitotsuyanagi Oriye, Shin no Shinto riu, Shin no Shinto ryu, Tenjin Shinyoriu, Tenjin Shinyo ryu, Iso Mataichiro, Atemi, Kuatsu, Sekiguchi Jushin, Terada Goemon, Inugami Gunbei, Kiu Shin

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