8 05 2013
A Beginning History of Old School Jujutsu – Part 1
Over the next couple of day’s I will writing an article of the history of Pre-WWII Japanese Jujitsu/Judo. I wasn’t sure where to start, but here I am so let’s get started.
I’m going to start with H. Irving Hancock, who in the early 1900’s wrote several books on the history of Japanese physical training & Jujitsu. I will start with his book Japanese Physical Training written in 1903.
“Subsequently he studied in Nagasaki, under Inouye San, instructor of Jiu-jitsu in the police department of that city”.
This was the first time I heard of Inouye. Now if we look at Hancock’s other book Jiu-jitsu Combat Tricks written a year later in 1904:
“Exponents of the Tenjin School of jiu-jitsu have developed in all its possible perfection a style of stopping the boxer’s blow that cannot be surpassed for neatness of execution, effectiveness and swiftness. It is a feat that applies only to stopping a left-hand blow by the boxer.”
Before leaving this book, the reason for the above two quotes are:
1.) The mentioning of Inouye, the jujitsu instructor of the Nagasaki police dept.
2.) The mention of the system “Tenjin/Tenshin”
Later you will see where I’m going with this.
Another quote that is very interesting.
“In Japan the full course in jiu-jitsu requires four years time”.
That seems very reasonable, as I have read that it takes about 15 years to receive a Menkyo Kaiden in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu today. The question is, why so long? I don’t have 15 years to devote to one art.
At this point I would like to bring up another old book on jiu-jitsu, “THE YABE SCHOOL OF JIU JITSU” written in 1904 by Yae Kichi Yabe. In Yabe’s book he mentions that the system is based on that of “Tenshin”. Also in this book is the phase “Vital Touches” used to describe Atemi or “Ate”!
Professor John J. O’Brien states that he received his diploma in Jiu Jitsu in 1905 from the Governor of Nagasaki. O’Brien spent ten years as Inspector of Police in Nagasaki. He was responsible for introducing Presiedent Teddy Roosevelt to Jiu Jitsu as well as instructing Colonel A.J. Drexel Biddle.
Next we move on to Col. Risher W. Thornberry. Thornberry wrote several books on jujitsu from 1905 to 1933. In his first jujitsu book written in 1905, the first page is very interesting. It shows a picture of Prof. Kishoku Inouye, “Instructor to the Nagasaki Police”. At the top of the page it reads, “Jiu-jitsu – As taught by Prof. Inouye to over 2,000 Officers and Soldiers now at the front line.” Reference to the Russo/Japanese war.
This book was written only a year or two after Hancock’s book. They both mention Inouye & Tenshin. A definite connection is beginning to develop.
An interesting quote from Thornberry’s book,
“Jiu-jitsu has a weapon in the form of “atemi, or vital touches”, which may be administered with the thumb, the clenched hand, the elbows, the tows, the edge of the hand, or even with the head.” Again, the reason for mentioning this quote is the use of the word “Vital touches”.
Research shows that Thornberry actively taught jiu-jitsu. One of Thornberry’s students was Samuel R. Linck. Linck went on to publish a book in 1943 called “COMBAT JIU JITSU”. An excellent book. Linck studied under Thornberry in Los Angeles for a number of years. Linck received a “Master Diploma” from Thornberry in “Tenshin Ryu” dated May 6th, 1935.
In Linck’s book he offers a brief history of jiu-jitsu.
“These forms of the art were closely guarded and only taught to the samurai or warrior class, the group now known as the Black Dragon Society”.
Linck taught a man by the name George Tate. Linck and Tate taught a jiu-jitsu class in Los Angeles. Later on, Tate succeeded Linck as instructor and continued to teach and train in Jiu-jitsu. Tate went on to become the jiu-jitsu instructor for the Los Angeles police department and later conducted class at the L.A. Judo Club.
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