Tracing the Roots of Jiu-Jitsu from the 8th Century to the Present

Jiu-jitsu is an ancient martial art that traces its origins back as early as the 8th century Japan when it developed by the warrior class to complement the weapon arts using the sword and bow. The Samurai practiced Jiu-jitsu as a practical system of self-defense for close-quarter combat or situations where they were unable to use their traditional weapons. Jiu-jitsu is a generic name used to describe a wide variety techniques from different schools. Although most commonly referred to under the general name of "jujutsu” (aka. Jiu-jitsu), there were many different names for it over the centuries, varying from school to school. Hade, hakuda, jujutsu, kempo, koppo, and koshi no mawari, kowami, kumiuchi, tode, torite, yawara, and yoroi kumiuchi are only a few.

The literal translation of Jiu-jitsu is the art of gentleness or pliancy. This implies the art’s reliance on natural biomechanics, balance, leverage, momentum and timing rather than strength. Fundamental to Jiu-jitsu is the ability to flow from one technique to another in order to defend one’s self efficiently and effectively. The ability to adapt to any situation, to fight empty handed, grapple, or use improvised weapons is what defines Jiu-jitsu as a self-defense art.

Several more modern budo arts were developed from aspects of Jiu-jitsu training after the decline of the warrior class system. Judo developed from Jiu-jitsu's base of grappling and ground fighting. Aikido developed from Jiu-jitsu skills involving join manipulation and re-direction of energy.

Jiu-jitsu was eventually taken abroad to countries all over the world. The different schools of Jiu-jitsu evolved in each of its host nations reflecting the laws and unique character of each country and its practitioners. Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu is one such permutation.