Jiu jitsu, Jiujitsu, jujitsu the likes the differences and more…
How are these similar? What are the differences? This is a common question about Total Ryu and its classes. I wanted to clear the air and let you all know just how jiu jitsu is different from jujitsu.
First, a couple of caveats:
- I am not an expert on the Japanese language, evolution of the language, or local derivatives and dialects.
- I am also not an expert on Japanese History and the evolution of martial arts.
- What I relate in the article is from my own experience and study.
In a nutshell
Many martial arts derive from jiujitsu or jujitsu. Judo, aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, aiki jitsu, and many of the modern military combative systems are based on traditional jujitsu. Most of the current confusion in terms comes from the separation between traditional jujitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is a ground fighting art with roots in judo and traditional jujitsu.
The answer according to history
They’re the same. You see, jujitsu was spelled different ways depending on who was writing the reference; the pronunciation is also slightly different in different areas of the country. So, according to history, jujitsu, jiu jitsu, jiujitsu, jujutsu, ju-jitsu, jiu-jitsu, and ju-jutsu are the same: the unarmed combat art of the Samurai. This explanation doesn’t even get into different methods or schools that taught the art helped evolve the name jujitsu. Until very recently all these words meant the same thing, while methods and schools are known as ryu (plural also ryu, or ryus in English).
What techniques are part of this art?
General techniques included in traditional jiujitsu or jujitsu:
- Throwing techniques or Nage- Waza
- Hip throws
- Leg sweeps
- Ankle Sweeps
- Hand throws
- Sacrifice throws
- Grappling techniques or Katame-Waza.
- Included is Ground or Ne Waza
- Hold down techniques or osae-komi-waza
- Stangling or choking techniques or shime-waza
- Striking techniques or Atemi- Waza
- Hand strikes
As you can see, there is a lot to the art, and each section has many sub-techniques included in their study and practice.
Why is there confusion between jiujitsu and jujitsu?
The confusion starts with MMA in the early 1990s. Specific figures from Brazil in these early days of MMA were winning with what they called jiujitsu, which had its roots in the sport of judo. These individuals were especially good at winning judo competitions with ground or ne waza techniques.
Now let’s go a little farther back in time. A Japanese man named Maeda taught the head of this Brazilian family an art he called jiujitsu. Maeda is the key to this whole confusion between the two terms. He was tasked with demonstrating and growing judo worldwide, and he found during his demonstration matches that Judo was not as effective as he would have liked. So, he reverted to using basic strikes to set up throws and takedowns, then submitting the opponent on the ground. His Brazilian students would use this “jiujitsu” or “jujitsu” during judo and other competitions and performed very well with the ground strategy. Eventually, his students started teaching and their students entered and performed well in these competitions; their forte, the ground submissions, was what helped them win. This summary is the basic, brief story of how modern jiujitsu or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was born. It’s essentially a ground fighting art at its core; while they still have some of the standing techniques present, its modern focus is on submitting or winning on the ground.
Caveat: I am also not an expert in the history of Brazilian jiujitsu.
The differences between Jiu jitsu and Jujitsu or Brazilian jujitsu and Traditional Jujitsu.
I’ve outlined some of this already, but to clarify: traditional jujitsu includes standing throwing techniques, striking, locking, choking, hold-downs, and ground techniques that include striking, choking, locking, etc. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has mostly ground techniques, including locks from the ground, chokes from the ground, and submissions from the ground. While it does use limited throwing, takedown, some standing, and some striking techniques, the focus is on the ground.
Total Ryu and Jiujitsu or Jujitsu
At Total Ryu, we focus on real martial arts that encompass the entire area of conflict from the initial contact. We cover striking and striking defense, throws, takedowns, ground survival, multiple attackers, and so much more. Our goal is to make students extremely proficient at all areas of conflict and self-defense: not just the ground or striking. We are not a competition martial art; we are a self-defense martial art. If you want competition, we are not the place. We train for real encounters and real-world situations.