Jujutsu Becomes Judo
In feudal times in Japan, there were various military arts
and exercises which the samurai classes were trained and fitted for their
special form of warfare. Amongst these was the art of jujutsu, from which the
present judo has sprung up. The word jujutsu may be translated freely as
"the art of gaining victory by yielding or pliancy." Originally, the
name seems to have been applied to what may best be described as the art of
fighting without weapons, although in some cases short weapons were used
against opponents fighting with long weapons. Although it seems to resemble
wrestling, yet it differs materially from wrestling as practiced in England,
its main principle being not to match strength with strength, but to gain
victory by yielding to strength.
Since the abolition of the Feudal System the art has for
some time been out of use, but at the present time it has become very popular
in Japan, though with some important modifications, as a system of athletics,
and its value as a method for physical training has been recognized by the
establishment of several schools of jujutsu and judo in the capital.
We shall first give an historical sketch of jujutsu, giving
an account of the various schools to which it has given rise, and revert
briefly in the sequel to the form into which it has been developed at the
Jujutsu has been known from feudal times under various
names, such as yawara, tai-jutsu, kogusoku, kempo and hakuda. The names jujutsu
and yawara were most widely known and used.
In tracing the history of the art, we are met at the outset
with difficulties which are not uncommon in similar researches--the
unreliableness of much of the literature of the art. Printed books on the
subject are scarce, and while there are innumerable manuscripts belonging to
various schools of the art, many of them are contradictory and unsatisfactory.
The originators of new schools seem often times to have made history to suit
their own purposes, and thus the materials for a consistent and clear account
of the origin and rise of jujutsu are very scanty. In early times, the
knowledge of the history and the art was in the possession of the teachers of
the various schools, who handed down information to their pupils as a secret in
order to give it a sacred appearance.
Moreover, the seclusion of one province from another, as a
consequence of the Feudal System of Japan, prevented much acquaintance between
teachers and pupils of the various schools, and thus contrary and often
contradictory accounts of its history were handed down and believed. Further,
it is to be noted that the interest of its students was devoted more to success
in the practice of the art than to a knowledge of its rise and progress in the
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