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The Origins of Coju-Jitsu

Ju-JitsuThe origin of Ju-Jitsu is not clear, however the first publicly recognized Ju-Jitsu Ryu was formed by Takenouchi Hisamori in 1532 and consisted of techniques using a sword, jo-stick and dagger as well as unarmed techniques. The Takenouchi-Ryu may be regarded as the primal branch for the teaching of arts similar to that of Ju-Jitsu.

Several hundred years later there was a general shift from the weapon forms of fighting to weaponless styles. These weaponless styles were developed from the grappling techniques of the weapon styles and were collectively known as Ju-Jitsu.

Fukuno Schichiroemon of Temba started the Kito-Ryu in the middle of the 17th century. The Kito-Ryu gained great prestige and popularity with its "Art of Throwing" and "Form Practice." In close connection with this branch was the Jikishin-Ryu, whose founder was Terada Kanemon, a contemporary of Fukono. They established two separate systems of Ju-Jitsu. These two systems appear to be the oldest of all the varied systems of Ju-Jitsu.

It has been estimated that over 750 systems of Ju-Jitsu were in existence in Japan from 1603-1868. The branches of Ju-Jitsu grew during the feudal period. The art continued in various provinces in Japan until the later part of the 18th century, when it began to decline with the impending fall of feudalism.

In 1872 Takenaka Sensei-O formed the Kodokanai dojo. Having studied various arts of Ju-jitsu and Ninjitsu, Takenaka taught mainly to Japanese soldiers and police officers. Takenaka used the term Judo for his art many years before Kano coined the phrase for the Judo that we know today. In the early 1880's in Tokyo Takenaka Tetsunoki, the son of Takenaka Sensei-O, helped Kano Jigaro open the Kodokan dojo (Kano was a student of Takenaka Sensei-O also).  Takenaka Tetsunoki also studied at the Shinden Fudo Ryu under Toda Sensei-O (famous ninjitsu school).

Original sign at the Shinden-fudo ryu (kan) dojo


During the Korean War Takenaka Tetsunoki went to Korea on a joint U.S./Japanese "good will" mission to aid the training of U.S. Marines in the art of "Asian style Hand to Hand Combat." Col. Tom Hart, a Marine Sniper and expert military tactics instructor began training with Takenaka between missions. Due to a combat injury, Thomas Hart was able gain a full base duty station as he worked as editor of the multi-base newspaper.  He trained with Takenaka full time until he returned to the states after the War.

The original Kodokan dojo

Col. Tom Hart went to work at the Military School, The Miller School of Albermarle in Virginia.  In 1958 Col. Hart started the "Judo Club" at Miller School.  Col. Hart taught "his boys" every thing he had learned in world of martial arts and combat.  Some called him crazy.  We called him Sir !  AND we loved him like a father, after all, we were "his boys." 

In 1980, Joseph Barnes began the martial arts at the Miller School of Albermarle in Charlotesville, Virginia, under the instruction of his sensei, and second father, Col. Tom Hart. The Miller School was a boarding millitary academy, and training in martial arts, sniper style marksmanship, endurance training, drill, and military science and tactics, was a six days a week life style. In 1983, Joe earned his black belt before leaving Miller school and moving to California with his parents. Today Joe Barnes is Sojobo of the Coju-jitsu and Kodokanai traditions.

 

The late Grandmaster (Sojobo) Col. Tom Hart and Sojobo Joe Barnes (1998)