Jujitsu is one of the oldest forms of martial art still around today. It is over 2000 years old, and was an inspiration in the creation of both judo and aikido. Jujitsu is based on ancient Chinese and Indian fighting styles, and includes striking, throwing, and groundwork phases in its fights. Jujitsu, translated as ‘gentle art’, started off as more of a philosophy than a combat sport, and so in its lifetime, has only recently been used in competition. Despite this, jujitsu competitions are incredibly popular, and a world governing body, the JJIF, exists to sanction the running of these events.
As a competitor in jujitsu, one must be agile, quick, with excellent strength and balance. As a lot of blows are taken to the joints, flexibility is key. A high pain threshold also helps as it gives you more time to manoeuvre out of any locks before submitting. These are all things that can be learnt throughout training in the martial art however, so it is not necessary to hold all of these attributes to train in jujitsu, but it is necessary to want to develop in this way.
There are two recognised fighting systems by the JJIF: the fighting system and the duo system. In the fighting system, the aim is to score points against your opponent by striking, knocking off balance, and forcing a submission from them. In the duo system, competitors fight in a range of choreographed moves which are called out by the referee. One competitor attacks whilst the other depends in the particular way they are supposed to. Marks are awarded for precision, speed and technique.
Jujitsu fights take place on a fighting area made up of mats. Unlike most developed martial arts, jujitsu keep the original tatami mats made of woven straw, which have been used throughout time. On the mat there will be one referee conducting the fight, whilst there are two side referees who can award points, and a table referee, scorekeeper and timekeeper watching the fight. To fight, competitors wear cotton gi’s, hand and feet protectors, and a red or blue belt depending on what side of the ring they are on. Men wear groin guards, whilst women wear chest protectors during the fight also.
Jujitsu is a martial arts system open to people of all ages, and teaches an extensive syllabus of punches, kicks, blocks, sweeps, grabs, locks, throws and submissions. In many ways, it sets you up for a proficient level in any martial art for this reason, and so is the perfect starting point for any aspiring martial artists.