Koryu Jujutsu Expectations and Martial Arts Maturity

February 18, 2018

 

When some individuals, younger ones in particular, visit a koryu jujutsu dojo they often have the wrong expectations. Many state they want to do real japanese jujutsu. However, not having done significant prior research, they often think they'd find some kind of 'enhanced' judo. This is because judo is the closest thing many westerners have seen to Japanese jujutsu.

 

These individuals often quickly realise that they've walked into something quite different. Authentic jujutsu is rarely as fancy and spectacular as many foreign styles. Basic techniques may seem simplistic and some of the most advance techniques are usually very subtle. Unlike what may be presented in popular film culture, koryu jujutsu has no need to be flashy. The visitor will usually see a host of dangerous techniques and quickly recognise one thing; it's nearly impossible to execute them safely with full intensity. 

 

Here-in lies a fundamental difference between judo and koryu jujutsu. Judo, while being derived from jujutsu, has evolved considerably from its orgins. Many of its original techniques have been changed or adapted for safety in sport, taking away the 'martial' nature of the art. Mental training is also emphasised in koryu, whereas it may be different or even omitted from judo and other combat sports. Not getting the action-packed tournament style training they imagined 'the mother of judo' would be, some visitors would leave a koryu dojo disappointed.

It is often not until martial arts enthusiasts are older and/or have a more mature way of thinking that they may grow in appreciation for a real koryu. They realise the limitations of sport and the advantages of the old-style methods for self-defence and personal development. All sports require fitness training and place heavy emphasis on developing physical strength and athleticism. However, muscular strength and athleticism diminish with age. This is the reason why many athletes retire in their 30s. On the other hand, while koryu jujutsu conditions the body it does not exceed what is required for practical combat, leaving practitioners very capable well into their old age.

 

It's unsurprising that many martial arts enthusiasts become more keen on finding real jujutsu as they get older. They gain a desire to find skills that rely more on good technique rather than brute strength, and techniques that are more useful against a violent attacker rather than for scoring points.

 

This more mature outlook usually comes with greater exposure and self-reflection in martial arts. If only we didn't have to wait until we're older to appreciate these older styles.

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