Jiu-jitsu is a martial art form dating back to 16th-century Japan. In simple terms, the discipline involves reflecting the movements of the attacker back onto him or her. Additionally, it incorporates small weaponry, defensive tactics, and joint locks with conserved energy. The practice also emphasizes gentleness and learning how to focus and be calm, leading to more refined students. Students use flowing, circular motions, and many spectators find the sport to be beautiful and mesmerizing.
The sport became popular during the Tokugawa Shogunate, which outlawed weapons to most Japanese citizens. Jiu-jitsu includes movements and actions that are extremely useful when neither party has a weapon, including joint locking, which can effectively disarm an opponent. Unlike other martial arts, jiu-jitsu is a defensive practice. Students will learn how to surrender as well as how to be patient during a conflict. The practice is often taught in self-defense classes.
Jiu-jitsu was introduced to the United States in the 20th century and a regulatory organization, the Ju-Jitsu International Federation, was introduced with the intent of providing structure to the sport.
About the author: Jon Schorsch practices jiu-jitsu and skis year-round to stay in shape. Professionally, he has spent more than a decade involved in the police force, including four years as a sergeant.