What is Jujitsu?


All jujitsu styles are descended from the unarmed combat curricula of various Japanese sword and spear schools. This unarmed combat training was intended to give samurai who lost their weapons on battlefields a slightly better chance of survival and to convey to them that they were to continue fighting regardless of the odds.

As peace was established, the function, and thus the nature, of jujitsu changed. It became a way to keep the samurai’s traditional virtues of courage, determination, stoicism, and spirit alive in peacetime, and to keep them agile and fit.

Gradually, as the samurai class was abolished and swords were made illegal, people of the lower classes were allowed to practice jujitsu. These new jujitsu students practiced jujitsu exclusively, rather than as an adjunct to weapons training. This led to a proliferation of techniques and styles. It has been argued that this also led to a deterioration of technique. It would be better to say that the function of jujitsu began to move toward civilian self-defense, development of the samurai virtues, and fighting.

Our Instructors  
Shihan Maria Van Dessel
 
began practicing Eizan Ryu Jujitsu in 1981, drawn by techniques which allowed a smaller person to control a larger attacker. She trained at Biwa Ko Dojo under Shihan Felix Berrios, and was granted her black belt in 1987. Shortly thereafter, she began teaching at the dojo. She now holds the rank of Rokyudan and is the head instructor at the New York City Dojo. In 1989, Shihan Maria began studying full contact karate under Soshu Shigeru Oyama. She currently holds the rank of Yondan in Kan Rei Kai Karate, and is an instructor at the style’s Manhattan Dojo. She has also studied Vee-Arnis Jitsu and Tomiki AikiJujitsu.
 
Sensei Coleman Ridge
 
has been training in Eizan Ryu Jujitsu since 1985, and currently holds the rank of Yondan. He also earned a Nidan in Oyama Karate and a Shodan in Aikido.
 
Sensei Stephen Rittersporn  

has been involved in martial arts for over twenty nine years. He began his studies in Shotokan Karate in 1979, and also trained in judo under Sensei Shiro Oishi. In 1981, he moved to Shorin Ryu Karate in which he currently holds the rank of Rokudan under Grand Master Eizo Shimabukuro. In 1989, Sensei Rittersporn began training in Eizan Ryu Jujitsu; he is now a Yondan in the art and is known for his wide-ranging martial arts knowledge.

The problem with the new jujitsu styles was that the practitioners did fight. Some would challenge members of other styles. Some would challenge all comers for money. Some would just start fights. One solution to this problem was to set up rules for sport fighting, making dangerous techniques illegal. Another was to discourage fighting and competition altogether. Many styles that went the first route wound up with a diminished set of techniques and a continually growing emphasis on developing a large, heavily muscled body. Many styles that went the second route became increasingly abstract. The central problem for any modern jujitsu style is to find a path between these two extremes.

What is Eizan-ryu Jujitsu?
Eizan-Ryu is jujitsu for urban self-defense. It is for civilians, not soldiers, so we emphasize escape and control. It is for self-defense, not fighting, so most of our practice is defensive, not aggressive. It is for use on city streets, so we emphasize footwork, which works best on smooth surfaces; stunning attackers by throwing and taking down hard, which works best on hard surfaces; and staying on one’s feet, which is the place to be when on a hard surface and surrounded by strangers.

We emphasize techniques for bringing attackers off balance while maintaining one’s own balance more than we emphasize physical development. We do this because the genetic limitations on technique and balance are not as confining as those on size and strength. Nevertheless, we do work on developing fit, flexible bodies, to permit more strenuous practice.

How do we train?
In most of our practice, basic techniques are done against basic attacks. Basic techniques include wrist, elbow, and shoulder locks; hip, shoulder, leg, and hand throws; and knockdowns, projections, and walkthroughs. Basic attacks include wrist grabs, body grabs, grabs from behind, roundhouse and backhand strikes, and straight punches.

In more advanced practice, techniques are done while backed up to a wall, from a chair, from one’s knees, and from the ground. Advanced attacks include attacks with wooden knives and rattan clubs, grabs followed by punches, and kicks.

In another form of advanced practice, students do a variety of techniques against a variety of attacks. In a higher form, students practice a variety of techniques against a variety of attacks from a number of different people in quick succession. These practice methods develop the ability to do one’s techniques in unpredictable situations.

In addition, students above green belt practice fighting. Done properly, jujitsu ends fights as they start. However, everyone fumbles sometimes, and if one fumbles a jujitsu technique, one may have to fight for the chance to do another. Further, fighting helps develop speed, power, and spirit. In fighting practice, we use mostly foot sweeps and body throws; palm strikes to the head; fists, kicks, and knees to the body; and kicks and knees to the thighs. We are not primarily a fighting school and practice fighting perhaps twice a week.

Meditation and breathing exercises are emphasized throughout.

How do we test?
Students are told when they are to test, and are given a list of attacks and the number of techniques they are to have against each. At lower ranks, students may choose their own techniques, according to their abilities and body types. As students progress, the speed, power, and variety of attacks increases. At black belt, students are expected to be able to do all the basics of the system and to improvise techniques freely.

 
email: info@eizanryujujitsu.org
Phone: (212) 260-0927 Location: 214 W. 29th St. 3rd Fl. NYC 10001
 
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Eizan-Ryu Jujitsu, New York City, self-defense martial art. Beautiful dojo, located centrally in Manhattan close to public transport. Classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Come try a class for free.

Eizan-ryu Jujitsu is a martial art in which the student learns to use an attacker’s strength and momentum against him; this enables the smaller person to successfully defend against the attack of a larger, stronger person. A wide variety of techniques are used: strikes, throws, joint locks, foot sweeps, pins, chokes, projections, pressure points with the object being to control the attacker and put him on the ground. Ukemi is the ability to fall safely; it is taught and is strongly emphasized.