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Style descriptions: J

Some styles of martial arts that begin with the letter J.

Jeet-kune-do (United States)

A non-classical form of Chinese kung-fu that was founded by Bruce Lee in the 1960's. It is a fluid art that, at times, resembles many other martial arts, since it absorbs what is useful from other arts and rejects that which is useless. "Jeet" means to stop, "kune" means fist, and "do" means way, thus it is "the way of the intercepting fist."

Jeet-kune-do is formless and constantly changing. Its main tenet is "absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own." Since Lee's death in 1973, the art has evolved into two variations: original jeet-kune-do, which is promoted as the art Lee practiced until his death; and jeet-kune-do concepts, which applies Lee's strategies and philosophies to martial arts techniques drawn from various Indonesian, Philippine, and Thai styles.

Jeet-kune-do is renowned for its street effectiveness and is almost never used in competition. Training includes instruction in kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling. Jeet-kune-do emphasizes simplicity. There are no set techniques, it emphasizes improvised problem-solving. Sparring emphasizes blocking and attacking at the same time along a centerline.

Jodo (Japan)

The way of the jo that was derived from jojitsu. Included are methods of striking, parrying, blocking, and sweeping often practiced in pattern sets.

Judo (Japan)

Jigero Kano (1860-1938) developed judo in Japan in the 1800's as a sport, based upon jujutsu. Mastering several styles of jujutsu in his youth, Kano began to develop his own system based on modern sports principles. In 1882, he founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo where he began teaching judo; it is still the international authority for judo.

The popularity of judo increased dramatically after a famous contest hosted by the Tokyo police in 1886 where the judo team defeated the most well-known jujutsu school of the time. Judo then became a part of the Japanese physical education system and began its spread around the world as its practitioners routinely defeated students of other martial arts. In the early 1900s, President Teddy Roosevelt studied judo with a Japanese instructor.

Judo is a soft style: "ju" means gentle and "do" means way. It uses throws, grappling, hold downs, elbow locks, and chokes to win matches. Judo has been an Olympic medal sport since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and is practiced worldwide in its original form with few changes to the art itself. In 1992, judo competition for women was added to the Olympics.

Although it is primarily a sport, it is also useful in self-defense since it uses throws, arm locks, and chokes, to control the opponent. Kano emphasized the educational value of martial art training so that it could be a path or way of life in which all people could participate and benefit. He eliminated some of the traditional jujutsu techniques and changed training methods so that most of the moves could be done with full force without injury.

Judo training emphasizes throwing an opponent to the ground by grasping the body or uniform. Once down, a variety of chokes and joint locks may be used to gain a submission. Two important parts of judo training, character development and morality, make judo a preferred martial art for children to practice. Once practitioners obtain an advanced rank, they are taught deadly, non-sportive techniques for use in self-defense.

Judo is practiced on mats and consists primarily of throws (nage-waza), along with katame-waza (grappling), which includes pins (osaekomi-waza), chokes (shime-waza), and arm bars (kansetsu-waza).

Additional techniques, including striking and various joint locks are found in the judo patterns. Judo is generally compared to wrestling, but it retains its unique combat roots. As an offspring of jujutsu, jujutsu techniques are often taught in judo classes. Because the founder was involved in education, Kano was President of Tokyo University, judo training emphasizes mental, moral, and character development as much as physical training.

Most instructors stress the principles of judo such as the principle of yielding to overcome greater strength or size, as well as the scientific principles of leverage, balance, efficiency, momentum, and control. Judo training has many forms for different interests. Some students train for competition by sparring (randori) and they enter many tournaments. Other students study the traditional art and patterns of judo. Other students train for self-defense, and yet other students play judo for fun. Unlike other martial arts, judo competition rules, training methods, and rank systems are relatively uniform throughout the world.

Jujitsu or jujutsu (Japan)

Used by the samurai warriors. The founding of its various schools (ryu in Japanese) date from the 8th to 16th centuries. During this time, there was almost constant civil war in Japan and the classical weapon systems were developed and constantly refined on the battlefield. Since the warriors donned armor before entering the battlefield, kicks and punches had little effect, so chokes and joint locks were used to attack unprotected targets like the neck, wrists, and ankles.

Jujitsu is not a contest of muscular strength, nor does it attempt to maim or kill. Its purpose is to incapacitate the opponent temporarily, using throws, locks, and striking techniques, with a strong emphasis on defensive techniques. It is also characterized by in-fighting and close work. It is a circular, hard/soft, external style. Training is tactical with a heavy emphasis on sparring and mock combat.

The first publicly recognized jujutsu ryu was formed by Takenouchie Hisamori in 1532 and consisted of techniques of sword, jo, and dagger as well as unarmed techniques. In 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu brought peace to Japan by forming the Tokugawa military government. This marked the beginning of the Edo period of Japanese history (1603-1868), during which warring ceased to be a dominant feature of Japanese life.

In the beginning of this period, there was a general shift from weapon types of fighting to weaponless styles. These weaponless styles were developed from the grappling techniques of the weapon styles and were collectively known as jujitsu. During the height of the Edo period, there were more than 700 systems of jujitsu.

The end of the Edo period was marked by the Meiji Restoration, an abortive civil war that moved power from the shogun back to the emperor. A large proportion of the samurai class supported the shogun during the war. Consequently, when power was restored to the emperor, many things related to the samurai fell into disrepute. An imperial edict was decreed, declaring it a criminal offence to practice the old style combative martial arts. During the period of the imperial edict, jujutsu was almost lost.

However, some masters continued to practice their art "underground," or moved to other countries, allowing the style to continue. By the 1900's, the ban on jujitsu in Japan had lifted, allowing the free practice of the art.
There are many sub styles of jujitsu, each associated with a different school. Some schools are: daito-ryu, danzan-ryu, shidare-yanagi-ryu, hokuto-ryu, hakko-ryu, hontai-yoshin-ryu, sosuishi-ryu, kito-ryu, and kyushin-ryu. Since its creation, jujitsu has spawned a number of martial arts, including judo, aikido, and possibly hapkido and kuk-sool.

Most modern training focuses on empty-hand combat aspects of jujitsu. Jujitsu is categorized mostly as a system of self-defense, although competitions have recently become popular, especially in Brazilian jujutsu or Gracie jujutsu, which incorporates capoeira techniques and ground work.

Jukendo (Japan)

Means "way of the bayonet." While bayonet techniques were developed early as the 1600s, with the introduction of rifles into Japan in the Meiji era a standard form of bayonet fighting was developed, jukenjitsu. It was taught in a special Tokyo military training school (Toyama Gakko).

Following World War II (1945), the study was prohibited by the allied occupation, only to be revived in a new form, jukendo. As a "do" form (meaning the way or path), jukendo encompassed goals of spiritual and mental development as a byproduct of disciplined practice. The discipline is practiced by Japanese self-defense forces (armed forces) as well as other non-military clubs.

Jukendo is practiced by patterns and two man drills. A competitive format was also adopted to test skill levels. Contestants wear protective gear while rifles and bayonets are simulated by wooden counterparts (mokuju). Techniques include proper posture, blocking, and thrusting aimed at three principal areas to simulate a kill: heart, throat, and lower left side.

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