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Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art and a method of close combat for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon or only a short weapon. The word jujutsu is often spelled as jujitsu, ju-jitsu, jiu-jutsu or jiu-jitsu.
“Ju” can be translated to mean “gentle, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding.” “Jutsu” can be translated to mean “art” or “technique” and represents manipulating the opponent’s force against himself rather than confronting it with one’s own force. Jujutsu developed among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon. Because striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.
There are many variations of the art, which leads to a diversity of approaches. Jujutsu schools (ryu) may utilize all forms of grappling techniques to some degree. In addition to jujutsu, many schools teach the use of weapons.
Today, jujutsu is practiced in both traditional and modern sport forms. Derived sport forms include the Olympic sport and martial art of judo, which was developed by Kano Jigoro in the late 19th century from several traditional styles of jujutsu, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which was in turn derived from earlier versions of Kodokan judo.