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About

Our background

Our History

Ju-Jitsu is a traditional Japanese martial art that was practised by the Samurai in ancient Japan. Although Ju-Jitsu is translated as the “Art of Gentleness”, Ju-Jitsu techniques are designed for both defensive and offensive purposes. It is a misnomer that Jujitsu is a gentle martial art because traditionally Ju-Jitsu was utilised by the Samurai for war, and not as an art or sport. Although the principle of “gentleness” serves as the corner stone of Ju-Jitsu techniques, it also refers to the precept of mental and physical versatility, flexibility and adaptability, which are essential for survival in mortal combat. Ju-Jitsu is both a grappling and a striking martial art, comprising a wide variety of techniques that include throwing, joint-locking, choking, striking, ground fighting, kicking and the use of small weapons e.g., daggers and sticks. These Ju-Jitsu techniques are the roots of contemporary martial arts like Judo, Karate and Aikido.

There are different versions on how Ju-Jitsu was developed, including the suggestion that Ju- Jitsu originated from Chinese martial arts. More credible sources advocate that the development of Ju-Jitsu did not occur through a single school or master, but occurred through a long process of evolvement over centuries, with contribution from different forms of ancient combative arts in Japan. Extant records of the older Ju-Jitsu schools (Ryus) can be traced back to the early sixteenth century, during the Edo period of ancient Japan. Historical records of martial art ryus published in the 16th century reveal that there were at least 20 mainstream Ju-Jitsu ryus in Japan and many sub-branches. Many of these ryus still exist today. The manuscripts that contain the techniques of these traditional Ju-Jitsu styles are passed down from one generation to the next through family bloodline or trusted students, and the content of these manuscripts remain highly guarded even today. For this reason, unlike contemporary martial arts that operate through the germination of schools throughout the world, the practice of traditional Ju-Jitsu is still restricted to a select few who are accepted into the Ryu-ha’s of Japan. These traditional Ju-Jitsu techniques remain a mystery, known only to the privileged few.

Sporting Community

In the international sporting community, Ju-Jitsu is governed by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation, of which the JJAS is a member. The forms of Ju-Jitsu promoted by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation are Sport Ju-Jitsu grappling & Self-Defence. The rules of tournament were developed mainly by Ju-Jitsu practitioners in Europe. The techniques of JJIF Ju-Jitsu are practised mainly for tournament, but the skills developed are also useful for combative purposes. With some modification, these techniques can be lethal too.

Traditional

Because of the different focus between modern and Traditional Ju-Jitsu, the techniques and practices are different between these two forms of Ju-Jitsu. This is also obvious from the fact that none of the traditional Ju-Jitsu Ryus are part of the Jujitsu International Federation. However, it is fair to suggest that Sport and Traditional Ju-Jitsu remains connected by the principle of “gentleness”.

It could be said that the “birth” of JJAS began as an inspiration in 1998 at the Tanglin Community Club at Whitley Road. At the time, we had a dojo built on a wooden platform which had no walls on 2 sides. An associate had apparently met the JJIF President, Dr Paul Höglund on an overseas trip and had also gotten in touch with the AJJBWF Khalil Ahmed Khan, who at the time was driving the Asian Jujitsu effort of JJIF. We were intrigued by the arts of Jujitsu and went about raising funds to start a Jujitsu Association. We had an enthusiastic group of volunteers including Fabian Lim Chin Leong, Joseph Tan, Agnes Cheng, Stephen Chee and Laurent Bertiau. Laurent was at the time a banker from France and he was instrumental in drafting the first syllabus for our Singapore Jujitsu. With the exception of Joseph, we were all experienced Judo men with experiences in other martial Arts. We remember clearly Paul’s first visit to our dojo as he encouraged us and help boost our confidence to proceed with our efforts. I still remember to this day when Khalil first visited us and we had lessons conducted in our dojo! Fabian Lim received huge bruises on his thighs. Khalil had also advised us on the syllabus and briefed us on the Pakistan Jujitsu syllabus and training methods.

We finally succeeded in registering the Ju-Jitsu Association (Singapore) in 2002 after many trials and tribulations. Khalil and Paul were to make many trips out to Singapore to guide and inspire us. Paul also arranged for 2 team from Sweden to visit Singapore and demonstrate the Fighting and Duo System to us.Most memorably, he arranged for a number of Swedish Jujitsu textbooks to be sent to us and we could finally understand how to formalise our own teaching syllabus and methods! We spent many hours mulling over old texts and studying the teaching curriculum of Sweden, Pakistan, Canada and France!

 

It was an exciting moment when we first started classes in 2002 at Tanglin Community Club dojo. Our chosen colours were blue gi top and white gi pants and more than a dozen students signed up for the first class. We shifted to a temporary dojo while our permanent dojo was being constructed. However, it was not to be plain sailing as in 2003, the main instructor left to pursue his own business interests, Fabian Lim left to do his PhD in Australia and Laurent left for Japan!

There was also no Sports Council support as Jujitsu was not an Olympic Sports and we did not have NSA Statues. During this time, Paul, despite his obvious painful disability, made a few trips out to encourage us to carry on. We were cheered by the visits of Sensei Rinaldo and Frank Furst! We still remember the demo of a wrist lock given by Rinaldo which had us all cheering as he brought down one of our fit, big and strong student! We can also recall Paul’s tireless efforts to promote Jujitsu in East Asia and we were visited by the Japanese representatives. Thus, it could be said that 2003 was the real start for the Singapore Jujitsu Association.

The first batch of students recruited were all Black Belt holders from Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Silat and Muay Thai! Students from other martial Arts also joined us over time and we had practitioners of Wu Shu, Karate, Brazilian Jujitsu and even Ninjado. We were very lucky to have the assistance of senior Judokas sensei Wong Kin Jong and Lee Loo Sen. It was not easy as ego tends to get in the way of sense and the attrition rate was high.

We set demanding standards and expected competencies in striking, throwing and take-downs and ground fighting including joint locks and techniques of strangulation.

In our training, students were encouraged to try out different aspects of unarmed combat though always with the admonition to guard against injuries. Out of the scores of students who have joined us over these years, we have eventually trained a numbers of Dan grade holders including Felix Fong, Mubarak Bin Muchsin Abdat, Kelvin Teo, Aziz Bin Ismail, Md. Subhi Bin Ismani, Sulaiman, Daniel Douglas Turner, Jason Eng and Celestine Seet. Many more are senior Kyu grade holders whom we expect to upgrade to Dan grade in the years ahead. From one dojo based at Tanglin Community Club, we now have 4 other clubs (Bukit Batok CC, Engage Martial Art Academy –Tampines, Raffles Institution and Ngee Ann polytechnic) and more on the way.

We train our students in various methods of striking including the use of elbows and knees, throwing and take-downs and many aspects of ground-fighting including ground kicks, choking and strangulation, upper and lower limb joint locks and positional strategy in ground fights. They also have to learn self-defence techniques against both unarmed and armed assailants and the use of the Hanbo in self-defence. Ultimately, they are expected to participate in both the Duo and Fighting Systems of JJIF Championships, Grappling and MMA. Towards this end, we have participated in The World Games 2009 Kaohsiung / Taiwan, 1st Asian Championship 2006 Almaty / Kazakhstan, 2nd Asian Championship 2008 Bishkek / Kyrgyzstan Republic, 3rd Asian Ju-jitsu and Belt-wrestling Championship 2009 Tashkent / Uzbekistan, 3rd Asian Indoor Games 2009 Hanoi, Vietnam, 1st Asian Martial Arts Games 2009 Bagkok /Thailand, JJIF World ju-jitsu Championship 2010 Russia, St. Petersburg, JJIF-JJEU Summer Camp 2011 Lignano Sabbiadoro Venice /Italy.

Over the years, we have won 3 silver & 7 bronze for Singapore. We all hold full time jobs and participate in Jujitsu in our limited spare time out of passion for the sport. We have still managed to grow albeit all these difficulties. We plan to participate in future Asian and International Games & hopefully the Olympic Games in the future.

Grappling & Striking

Training at any JJAS dojo will include elements of Striking, Throwing & Takedowns and Groundfighting. This is referred to as Parts 1,2 and 3 . In Part 1, only skin contact is allowed and no strikes are allowed to the face, limbs, spine or groin for safety. In Part 2, no dangerous throws are permitted and in Part 3, no spinal or digits locking is permitted. Safety in training is very important and the skills learned should never be misused inside or outside the dojo.

Our Training

We adhere to JJIF international syllabus requirements which encompasses competencies in many Budo and Bujitsu forms for our training, aiming primarily to improve your fitness and self- defense capabilities, while at the same time preparing you for Sports Jujitsu Submission Grappling and MMA Tournaments. Currently, tournaments are held at national, continental and world championship level, culminating in the World Games.

There is a strong sports element in JJIF Jujitsu for those so inclined, with the opportunity to represent Singapore at the international level! All of us in JJIF are working towards making Jujitsu an Olympic Sport and this is also one of JJAS’s primary objective.

However, the interest of those keen on the more traditional aspects of Jujitsu are not neglected. During the course of training, many references are made to the history of Jujitsu with traditional forms and the evolution of modern techniques explained. Senior students are taught both the modern and more lethal traditional forms with the stern admonition not to cause injury in training. Traditional forms are not permissible in Sports Jujitsu tournaments due to the high possibility of injury. However, their value in self-defense and combat is undisputed.

Training at any JJAS dojo will include elements of Striking, Throwing & Takedowns and Groundfighting. This is referred to as Parts 1,2 and 3 . In Part 1, only skin contact is allowed and no strikes are allowed to the face, limbs, spine or groin for safety. In Part 2, no dangerous throws are permitted and in Part 3, no spinal or digits locking is permitted. Safety in training is very important and the skills learned should never be misused inside or outside the dojo.

Training begins with a warming-up period which is important in preventing injury during strenuous exercise. Then the toning and strengthening exercises follow. After this preparatory period, the technical training begins according to the schedule preferred by your instructor. Uchikomi (repetition drills), kata training, Jigo Waza and kata- randori are some of the training methods used. Most sessions will end with a period of Randori or Kumite in which the students are allowed to pit their skills against each other in ‘mock tournaments’ according to strict tournament rules. Each class usually last 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

Students’ Gi

Students are required to use the Gi (blue top and white pants) for training. The Gi protects the skin from training injuries like mat burns and scratches. Most importantly, in Part 2, the Gi is used by your training partner to assist in breakfalling safely. Thus, the Gi is mandatory for all students for safety and should be worn for Gi – training days. Your instructor will inform you to come without the Gi for No-Gi training days. Good quality Gi with the requisite JJAS logo can be bought from your instructor at a discounted price. 

In addition to the Gi, gloves are also required for hand protection in bagwork and to prevent accidental injury in Part 1. Students can buy good quality leather gloves at a discounted price from your instructor. Mouth guard and groin guard are also strongly advised for safe training in Kumite. The instructor may also require students to put on head guard and chest protection in certain situations. All safety precautions should be strictly observed during training.

Ju-Jitsu International Federation

In the international sporting community, Ju-Jitsu is governed by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation, of which the JJAS is a member. The form of Ju-Jitsu promoted by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation is Sport Ju-Jitsu & Self-Defence. The rules of tournament were developed mainly by Ju-Jitsu practitioners in Europe.

The techniques of Sport Ju-Jitsu are designed and practised mainly for tournament, although such skills are also useful for combative purposes. Because of the different focus between modern and Traditional Ju-Jitsu, the techniques and practices are different between these two forms of Ju-Jitsu. 

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