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By Stephen B. Moliterno, Shodan - Kihen Ryu Ju Jitsu

During the Edo period (1603-1868), under the Tokugawa military government, Japan became a more peaceful area. Weaponless styles began to replace the weaponed forms of old. During the Edo Period, it is believed that more than 700 systems of Ju-Jitsu existed.

During the Meiji Restoration, the power of Japan shifted from the Shogun back to the Emperor. Since the Samurai had supported the Shogun, an Imperial Edit was set forth, making it a crime to practice the martial arts of Samurai. Many of the practitioners became bone-setters, as they were all well practiced from the injuries sustained in the dojo. Unfortunately, many more used their skills to put on fake wrestling shows for the public amusement, or became gangsters. Some masters took the art “underground” or practiced in another country until the ban was lifted in the mid-twentieth century.

Ju-Jitsu is the father of some fairly new martial arts. In 1882, Jigaro Kano developed the art of Judo using Ju-Jitsu as the model. In the 1920’s Useshiba Morihei developed Aikido which is based on Ju-Jitsu. In modern times, true Classical Ju-Jitsu is restricted to a very few. It is taught to police and special operation military forces, but there are few opportunities for the general populace to learn this ancient art of Feudal Japan as it was meant to be taught.

Ju-Jitsu is considered to be the oldest martial art in the world with influences of many fighting styles incorporating parts of all of them. “There are various schools that do quite different things but share the same name JuJutsu, whereas others do the same thing using a different name. Furthermore, a wide variety of techniques involving


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