Philosophy of Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu
The philosophy of Jiu jitsu is based on the idea of ‘jiu’ or ‘ju’ – adaptability, flexibility and gentleness, which encompasses the essence of the art and defines the approach to training and to life. It is not a system of self defence, but an approach to life. Although it may help you to defend yourself, that is only a small part of the art as a whole, and one that many see as being the least important. Being good at defending yourself does not necessarily equate to being good at jiu jitsu.
Achieving a level of fitness to practice jiu jitsu will come as a consequence of training regularly. Your body will adapt and develop in the way it needs to in order to perform the techniques. You do not need to train excessively in order to develop your body to give you advantages in defending yourself. Equally, the development of your understanding of the art is a natural progression that will happen with time, through regular contact with the art and its practitioners.
With both of these areas, physical and mental, the stress is on natural development, which will be different for each of us within each aspect of the art. It is often the case that those who are initially quick to learn the physical skills are slower to gain a deeper understanding of the art, and vice versa. A student should neither be put off if they feel they are developing more slowly than others in any area, nor feel complacent if they have learnt a particular aspect more quickly.
Jiu jitsu is not a competitive sport, the only person you compete against is yourself. You strive to improve your skill and understanding and improve the way in which you approach training. You should take pride in your achievements, but never feel superior to others. There is a wide variety of skills in jiu jitsu which take a lifetime to perfect. Everyone has weak points in their repertoire, and it is unlikely that any one person will be the best at everything. Attitude is an important element of any martial art, but is often the one area that people overlook in favour of physical skills.
People often confuse confidence with arrogance. Confidence is the belief in your ability to do something, whereas arrogance is the belief that you are superior to others. It is usually the case that confident people do not feel the need to boast about their abilities, whereas arrogant people are often trying to hide their own lack of self-confidence by putting others down and proclaiming their own self worth. When someone says ‘I’m the best’ they are really saying ‘Don’t you think I’m the best?’. If you truly believe in yourself you don’t need to ask the question.
Our style has retained sufficient tradition to remind members of the roots of jiu jitsu. We line up and greet each other in a traditional manner, but this reflects equality, not hierarchy. However, observance of tradition is limited to ensure there is no hindrance to the development of the style and to keep it relevant to life in today’s society. Where defences from, and uses of, traditional weapons are taught emphasis will always be placed on their application to a modern setting.
To remain a modern interpretation of traditional techniques the art will need to change and to be re-interpreted. It is organic in nature, and even the best instructor cannot pass on all the skills and techniques learnt without some loss. That is why it is important to train with more than one instructor, and always to apply a critical eye to what you are taught, no matter what their level. Some techniques may be changed or forgotten and will need to be re-introduced and modified with time.
The purpose of training is to acquire and perfect the techniques and principles of jiu jitsu, and to gain control over ones own body, mind and spirit. There is no single way to do this, but a good instructor will provide a variety of ways of training within their dojo over time. The atmosphere may sometimes be serious, at other times light hearted, sometimes intense, physically demanding, or relaxed as required.
It is important that jiu jitsuka train in a variety of atmospheres so that they learn to adapt their training appropriately. People will respond in different ways to different methods of practice. Ideally instructors should respond to the atmosphere in a club and vary the training according to the mood. This doesn’t mean that a lethargic club needs relaxed training. Often the opposite is required, but an instructor should gauge the mood and ability of their students in order to teach techniques in the most appropriate way. A student should feel free to train in any club within our organisation, or indeed other styles and other arts. They should question and interpret what they are taught and make it their own, but beware of thinking that all the techniques and principles employed in other styles can be applied to our art, for some do not combine well with Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu.
One important principle is that people learn better and quicker if they are relaxed. It is important that when showing someone a new technique they should learn it in an environment that is relaxed. Not only will they learn it more quickly, but they are also more likely to avoid injury. There is time enough later to make the training harder, faster and more demanding.
To ensure safety an element of discipline and control is needed in the dojo. Acceptance of this should not be demanded, but rather should be ‘given’ by students in acknowledgement of the particular nature of the environment they have chosen to be involved with. However, instructors do not have the right to abuse this relationship, and a level of common sense and common understanding is required. Equally instructors cannot demand or expect to be given respect, but should strive to earn it through their words and actions.
Our philosophy is that respect must be a two way thing between instructors and students, and must be freely given by both if it is to have any value . In the world of martial arts fear can often be mistaken for respect, and this is not acceptable to this Association.
We believe that training should be enjoyable and that this can be achieved while still acknowledging and respecting the serious nature of the art. Aiuchi Jiu jitsu should also be available to all people, regardless of size, age, gender, race or creed, or to varying levels of fitness or physical ability. Our teaching methods and grading systems will be flexible enough to reflect this, and yet maintain high standards by demanding the best that each individual has to offer at their level of achievement and understanding.
Application on the street
Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu should only ever be used in self defence, or defence of others, in situations where there is a real physical threat. A member must never start a confrontation in order to test skills or techniques, or use his or her abilities in order to force others to act against their will. The philosophy of Aiuchi Jiu jitsu is that in most situations physical conflict can be avoided, and that to fight is to lose, regardless of the outcome.
Teaching and Learning
Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu instructors should be seen to reflect the value of the organisation’s philosophies and to pass these on through good example. Teachers are those who have been fortunate enough to develop to that level of understanding, but in reaching this stage should also have developed the humility to recognise that the student is equally important, and that their position as an instructor is not an indication of value or status.
Instructors are still students themselves, and should be both willing and able to learn from other instructors (whether they be more experienced, peers or less experienced), and importantly instructors should also be willing and able to learn from their students. The learning cycle can never be completed.
Other Martial Arts
There are no restrictions on members learning or taking an interest in other martial arts, and this can often lead to a better understanding of the principles of jiu jitsu. Equally, we welcome practitioners from other arts, so long as they come with a genuine desire to learn our techniques, teaching principles and philosophy. Students from other arts, no matter how experienced, will be expected to learn our syllabus from white belt onwards.
Jiu jitsu should enrich your life. Knowledge of jiu jitsu may prolong or preserve your life, it should not occupy the whole of your existence. If you spend all day everyday thinking about jiu jitsu then you have no life. Jiu jitsu should be part of the mix, as with most things it is important to achieve balance.