Monday, June 25, 2007

Mixed Martial Arts Technique - Why Choose Jujitsu Over Any Other Martial Art?

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Getting a good Jujitsu Foundation

Judo was the first martial art I ever learned. I was a scrawny kid, with braces. Not quite a book worm, but rapidly on my way to being a teenaged couch potato. My Dad would tell me to run out and play, and I'd stay inside playing on my video game console.

One day I came home from school, and found that my Dad had replaced the video game console with a box, saying "Take a shower, and meet me in the garage at 4." The box had a martial arts suit (I later learned it was called a "gi") and my Dad took me to a martial arts class that afternoon, where we both went through the basics of learning judo. It was amazingly cool to do something like that with my Dad. I can still remember the first time I threw him on the mat - he still outweighed me by a good 40 pounds then! He looked so surprised to be laying on his back, then just grinned at me.

Fast forward more years than I like to admit, and I'm thankful that my Dad dragged my sorry butt off the couch. I went from judo to jujitsu, to a bunch of kung fu styles, and now work as a freelance journalist covering martial arts, as well as teaching those classes at the local dojo. Dad still does martial arts, but has moved on to softer styles like Wing Chun, because his joints aren't as limber as they used to be, and he doesn't think it's as fun to be thrown on the mat now that I outweigh him by 40 pounds!

And, well, as all the philosophy stuff says, things come full circle. I'm now teaching the introductory jujitsu classes at the school. In some ways, it's kind of challenging, I have to filter out the things I've learned from other styles, and focus on the basics. Jujitsu grew out of Japan, as opposed to the Chinese Kung Fu styles I learned later, and focuses on a stable stance, grapples, and throws. It doesn't focus so much on punches, because it was meant to be practiced by a man wearing armor, and punches against another person wearing armor are pretty futile, while putting him on his back makes him considerably more vulnerable.

It should be noted that I teach jujitsu, rather than its sporting form, 'judo', because I want to teach the full on martial art, and give someone a basis for learning more martial arts in the future, rather than a "recipe book" of throws, grapples, and such designed to win points in a tournament. I think jujitsu has a lot of practical use as a self defense martial art, mostly because it focuses on joint locks rather than throws. A joint lock is a very practical method of disarming someone; in its most basic sense, it's a means of applying force to a joint in the way that, mechanically, it's not meant to know. Anyone who's had their thumb turned 'round in a Hawaiian handcuff has had a joint lock done on them. The nice thing about joint locks is that they even out strength differentials quite well - originally, they were used to make an armed and armored foe drop a weapon, making him more vulnerable on a battle field, but they're quite useful for dealing with muggers, or bullies in a school yard.

Anyway, it's kind of neat, going back to my foundations, my first "real" martial art. I'm wondering if I'll see any father/son pairings at the school I teach at.

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