What Is Jikishin Jujitsu?
by Danny Iny

First, to clarify - Jikishin is the style, and Jujitsu is the art.

What do the words mean?
Jujitsu is a combination of two words - Ju, which translates as "soft" or "gentle", and Jitsu, which means "art". Jikishin means "true spirit". Therefor Jikishin Jujitsu translates as the "Gentle Art of the True Spirit".

Where did Jujitsu start?
There isn't much reliable information about when and where Jujitsu began. Some trace it back almost two thousand years, some say that it started around 700 AD with the Samurais and some trace it back no more than 400 years. The golden years for Jujitsu were from the late 17th century to the mid 19th century. During this time there were over 700 styles of Jujitsu taught in Japan. It gave rise to two other prominent martial arts of the present day - Judo and Aikido, both of which draw the majority of their repertoire from Jujitsu. Our style was developed by Professor Terry Parker (Dan 8), who currently teaches in England along with his wife Janet (Dan 4).

Dan 4? Dan 8?
Dan means "step" in japanese. After getting through the colored belts and earning your black belt, you're not done. There are ten levels (Dans) of black belt.

So what is Jujitsu?
In the most narrow view, Jujitsu is a martial art that teaches you to flow with your oppontent's movements, effectively allowing you to use his own strength against him. It relies largely on joints and pressure points, which can be affected and manipulated without applying a great deal of force. Our style includes full contact matches (punching, kicking and blocking), judo and ground combat (kind of like wrestling), a large amount of Jujitsu techniques (maneuvers that allow you to lock or disable an attacker, which can be implemented from virtually any situation), street techniques (short and efficient techniques to diffuse a dangerous situation), and weapons training (like stick fighting and nunchaku).

Why would I want myself or my family to learn how to fight?
It's important to note that Jujitsu practitioners are very rarely violent people. The dangerous techniques that we study grant a heightened understanding and sensitivity towards pain and injury - a realization that when someone gets hurt, he won't get up like an actor in a martial-arts film. While students do learn dangerous skills, the more important thing is the confidence that they gain in their ability to handle a dangerous situation, should it arise. That confidence, more than anything else, is a deterrent to would-be attackers.

What about the philosophy/inner peace stuff I've heard about?
On the most basic level, exercising a few times a week and working out your aggressions in matches makes for clearer thinking and a calmer manner. So what's the value of Jujitsu over an aerobics class? Just as the techniques that we study teach us to flow with an opponent's strength instead of opposing him with force, this applies to life in general. The philosophy of Jujitsu teaches us that opposing change will exert a lot of force, and will probably be inefficient (Let's face it, when it's us against the world, we're a little overmatched). Flowing with the change allows us to take advantage of all the opportunities that come with it. To quote Sensei Rami, "A statement leads to objections, while a question leads to answers."

So what, you meditate about change like monks?
We don't teach meditation (not that there's nothing to be said for it), but more important than meditation is the open-mindedness, broader vision and confidence that come with the techniques and allow you to cope with life, react and thrive.