Nottingham Trent Jitsu Club

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 Frequently Asked Questions

What is Jitsu?

Ju-Jitsu is a Japanese martial art useful in defence against an armed or unarmed attacker. Throughout your training you will learn strikes, locks and throws, how to disarm and disable an opponent as well as defences against grabs, kick, punches and armed opponents.
You don`t have to be especially fit and strong to start Jitsu, only enthusiastic and willing to learn. The focus is on skill and control, which comes with practice. Both men and women can enjoy Jitsu to get fit and learn self-defence. We organise training with other Clubs, competition weekends (NTU Jitsu have won medals and awards in previous years) and organise social events . We are fun, not too formal and can be found in the Union bar after training. We train on a Tuesday 6:00pm to 8:00pm in Upper Hall, Sports Centre, Clifton Campus and Thursday 6:30pm to 8:30pm in Byron Sports Hall, City Site. For further information e-mail the Jiu Jitsu President, Will Kett, on his e-mail address below


Can I try Jitsu?

Yes, of course. Beginners are welcome at all times whether they are rank novices or experts in other martial arts wanting to expand their martial arts knowledge. There is no prejudice on size, sex or race and the only thing we ask of our members is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. So come along and try it out.
As a martial art it is relatively inexpensive to learn and many club social events are subsidised by the student union. If you want to join in you'll need jogging bottoms and a tee shirt to wear. Nails must be short to prevent cutting people and the class is conducted bare-foot on soft mats.
I hope to see you there. 

How much does it cost?

Please see the committee about costs as it varies from year to year and you will require a sports membership from the NTSU but we try to keep the costs as low as possible. We are a non profit club.


Do I have to come to every session?

So you're too busy getting drunk with your mates or bogged down with coursework to come along all the time. It doesn't matter. The more you come along the more you will learn in the term.

Why learn a martial art then?

Well consistent training in Jitsu improves co-ordination, agility, flexibility and fitness. It is a great form of self-defence regardless of sex, height and strength. Jitsu can also improve ones self-confidence and all round well being.


How is Jitsu different to other martial arts?

In Jitsu you won't learn to jump heel kick a la Jean Claude van Damme (he's a ballet dancer by trade anyway) and punching through bricks is unheard of in our style. Although very impressive, when are you going to be attacked by a stationary brick! Jitsu is the origin of both Aikido and judo. Where Aikido focuses on locking techniques and judo on throwing and ground fighting, we like to try it all, combining various techniques into both a fluid and effective martial art and modern form of self-defence.
TJF Jitsu is bang up to date and defence against unarmed opponents is the among the first things a novice Jitsuka will learn. Advanced items would entail defences against a person attacking you with a broken bottle, a knife, a chair or a cosh or even multiple opponents. All realistic situations that you may find practical. We also do a lot of agility and falling work. This may look manic to begin with but diving headfirst over three or four people is a lot of fun and feels good when you can achieve it. There are always new challenges in Jitsu and new skills to learn. Lessons begin at a steady pace, never pushing people too far beyond their capabilities but always improving. Injuries are rare and a lot of fun is had by all involved.  


What's all this running around in pyjamas and shouting Japanese?

The clothes we wear to practise Jitsu are called a Gi. It's a uniform which helps us train more effectively and saves lots of wear and tear on your normal clothes.All members must purchase a Gi after the first couple of months of joining the club if they intend to grade and attend national events.
As for the Japanese? Well, we learn some basic Japanese command like stop, go, ready and ouch. Well we don't say ouch actually. We tap. Tapping a person on the arm is a way of telling them that the technique they are applying does work and they can let go now. It's very friendly and civilised really. The most complex Japanese we learn is the names of the techniques which are confusing at first and at second but they eventually become second nature. Well that's what they say anyway. 


Hang on...did you say knife?

Urrm, yes, but don't worry. The knives are props really. Rubber training knives are used which don't hurt in the slightest. Bottles are replaced but plastic drinks bottles, which means that you can attack with vigour without fear of hurting people. The coshes however are wooden. Real knives are used by senior grades and are only used for teaching and competition after no less than two years of training under normal circumstances. By then you should be able to disarm a knife-wielding opponent safely.

What annoys Jitsuka?

Well people who watch us gracefully disarm several opponents and then yell that they have a machine gun and pretend to shoot the class is annoying. People who simply want to learn to beat people up are not welcome and people who are double jointed also annoy me, but that's just because I can't make some techniques work on them.

Background and History

A: The origins of Jitsu are shrouded in mystery and the Japanese history of martial arts is highly varied. It is claimed that Jiu-Jitsu was devised by Samurai in order to defend themselves when disarmed on the battlefield or for non-lethal situations and policing actions although Samurai of old were rarely non-lethal.
However, it is accepted that the styles of Jitsu we learn today originated in the 16th century or there abouts. The style of Jiu-Jitsu practised in the TJF has it's latest origins in Shorinji Kan style which was taken to Melbourne, Australia, by a German named Matthew Komp who had lived in Japan during the Second World War. One of his students there, Brian Graham learnt his Jiu-Jitsu from Matthew Komp and visiting Japanese instructors before reurtning to England in the '60's and starting the Samurai Jiu-Jitsu club in Keighley. From this the style evolved into Jiu-Jitsu clubs spanning the nation and the Jitsu Foundation was created. 


What do the coloured belts mean? -The grading system

Rank and achievement is shown by the colour of belt an individual wears. The order is: White Beginner what you start with
Yellow 7th Kyu three months of training
Orange 6th Kyu six months of training
Green 5th Kyu one year, if you take all the gradings.
Purple 4th Kyu up to two years if you're serious
Light Blue 3rd Kyu two years or more, live weapons work
Dark Blue 2nd Kyu six more months
Brown 1st Kyu you can now run a club of your own
Black 1st Dan after teaching a club for one year or more and two years of training

As well as these grades there are mons for yellow and orange belts. Depending on how well a student does in his/her grading up to three mons can be awarded which are worn as tags on the belt. The colour of the mons is that of the next belt in the ranking. Regardless of the number of mons a person wears the next grading is for the next consecutive belt. You do not need three mons to grade for the next belt. There are three gradings per year and it will take a year to get a green belt if every grading is attended. At brown belt the Jitsuka is qualified to teach a club. After two years of teaching that person can then grade for their black belt. There are only three Dans in TJF Jitsu although there are intermediate stages between Dans.

Why are we doing Judo?

A lot of Japanese martial arts share common roots. Different schools of Jiu Jitsu joined together a long time ago and were refined by Jigoro Kano. This became Judo. This process was not uncommon; many teachers took elements from other styles and made them their own. Jitsu is no different, taking the 'randori' (freeplay), amongst other things, from Judo and incorporating it into the training of students. We retain the Jitsu Foundation Randori National course and competition in spring each year in recognition of this.

So you want to test yourself grasshopper?

A: There is no free sparing in Jitsu like you might see at a karate club. This is because Jitsu is highly destructive and there are few ways to practice at full speed without injuring your opponent. Therefore we practice in a number of ways.
One way is against a V. This is a number of people armed in various ways They attack you consecutively every 5 seconds or so. The idea is to disarm and disable each successive opponent. It's tiring but great fun and very rewarding.
There is also a gauntlet. Two rows of people armed in the manner as that in a V, but they can only attack you when you are ready and style and flamboyancy is the aim here. In our bi-annual Jitsu national there are competitions within grade bands to find the person who can deal with each situation the best.