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D Day and Gendai Jujutsu - "Does this training produce useful results?"


The active struggle against barbarity and totalitarianism is not a quasi myth from the feudal period nor an abstract koan for contemplation - it is in our recent past and goes on in much of the world today.  We who live in societies so civilised that the carrying of weapons is not a regular habit of most of the population live in one of history's outliers.  One who practices a gendai school of Jujutsu should always keep the closeness of these struggles in mind.

Each year, around this time, we are given cause to remember the Second World War.  My thoughts always turn to my teacher's teacher, whom I trained with only occasionally but whom many of my contemporaries knew quite well and trained with quite a bit.  This man, fresh in the memory of many people, had to use Jujutsu to survive in occupied Holland being part of the Dutch resistance.

Rather than being somewhat ashamed that the majority of the Jujutsu schools I have practised were founded or changed after the restoration of the emperor Meiji in 1868, I am especially proud of the adaptions and continued usefulness of these schools through the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods.

Following the restoration of the emperor Meiji the soldiers, police and citizenry of Japan still needed methods of dealing with violence.  As these needs changed so did their Jujutsu.  The transfer of these skills to the rest of the world during the Meiji and Taisho period meant they were adapted for a plethora of contexts, times and places giving birth to everything from modern combatives to modern law enforcement methods.

The fragmentation of the gendai Jujutsu world is therefore inevitable, but not lamentable.  Gendai Jujutsu cannot be standardised.  Unlike Koryu, modern Budo or combat sports the rules and needs of society do not bend to gendai Jujutsu - like water it fills the container in which it is placed.  The fact that part of the bell curve of gendai Jujutsu is of low quality is unfortunate but unavoidable - better this than the albatross of stagnation and irrelevance.

So, each year at this time one considers one's Jujutsu, reminds oneself that it is intended to be used in matters of life and death and asks: "Does this training produce useful results?".  In gendai Jujutsu if the answer to this question is "No", then it is unconscionable to continue without making the required adaptions.



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