Why Some Jujitsu Control Techniques Do Not Always Work — and How to Fix Them!

SCENARIO NO. 1: An assailant grabs your lapel, and you work halfway through a wrist-lock takedown you learned years ago. Then you discover that you cannot finish the technique because he’s resisting.

SCENARIO NO. 2: You’re a police officer attempting to apply a koga come-along technique on a suspect. You’ve got it set, but when you try to make him step backward, you lose control.

SCENARIO NO. 3: An assailant lashes out at you, and you manage to avoid his blows and partially restrain him with a wrist-press arm lock. A few seconds later, you can no longer control him because he’s fighting back.

The control techniques described in these scenarios are designed to force an assailant to cooperate to avoid additional pain. All are legitimate moves that work most of the time — but not all the time. How can you tell if one of them is not working before it’s too late? How can you figure out what needs to be corrected? How can you avoid these problems in the first place?

Depending on who you are and how you’re built, you have several options if a control technique doesn’t work. You can try make it work by using brute force, but that can fail — especially if your assailant is stronger than you are. You can release the hold and try to subdue him another way, but that frequently proves to be an even poorer choice. If you’re a cop, you can escalate the situation to a higher level of force based on the suspect’s noncompliance, but you may end up with a lot of explaining and paperwork to do.

If you’ve trained in jujitsu or another martial art that teaches an awarenessof how the nervous and muscular systems work, you know that a number of better options exist. All of them involve pain.

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Jujitsu practitioners know that pain and injury are two different things. They also know that controlling the level of pain can be a powerful incentive for securing an assailant’s cooperation before any substantial injury is inflicted. Of course, injuring him can end the confrontation, but when it doesn’t, it can make it difficult, if not impossible, to control him because you no longer control his level of pain.

When you apply the wrist-lock takedown, the koga come-along and the wrist-press arm lock, you’re using pain to force the assailant to cooperate. However, the amount of pain you can inflict is often limited because of circumstances such as his physique and pain tolerance. Therefore, you must be able to augment the techniques if the need arises. One method for accomplishing this is to inflict pain elsewhere on the assailant’s body, but this isn’t recommended because it frequently involves abandoning the reasonably good hold you already have. To attempt a complex technique when a simple one isn’t working usually leads to complete failure. In self-defense, it pays to remember the KISS philosophy: Keep It Simple, Sensei.

A far better method for encouraging the assailant to cooperate is to increase the pain in a simple, fail-safe manner through the use of basic nerve and pressure-point techniques.

The wrist-lock takedown works well as long as the other person does not resist too much. When the assailant makes his move (1), George Kirby (left) grabs his hand (2), twists it clockwise (3) and applies pressure on the wrist to force him down (4).

The wrist-brace takedown is a good alternative when the assailant resists the wrist-lock takedown. After George Kirby (left) is grabbed (1a), he uses his right hand to control the assailant’s right hand and places his left hand on the assailant’s forearm (2a). The pain from the wrist lock and the pressure-point technique forces the assailant to drop (3a). In detail: The ulnar nerve pressure point lies about 1 to 3 inches below the elbow (4a).

WRIST-LOCK TAKEDOWN: This move, also known as the forward wrist lock, is a simple but effective maneuver that can be used to respond to attacks that range from the simple lapel grab described in scenario No. 1 to a club attack. It’s also a very “forgiving” technique because it usually works even if it’s not done perfectly.

However, you can run into problems if the assailant resists as you turn his hand. Resistance will usually show up as his wrist reaches the halfway point — when his thumb is pointing toward the ground. The technique can come to a grinding halt at this point unless you supplement it with an additional pain-compliance method. To better acquaint yourself with this situation, practice it with special attention directed toward how the attacker’s arm rises …

How to Counter a Sucker Punch With Jujitsu!

Jujitsu master George Kirby in action at Black Belt magazine.

Ever get hit with a sucker punch?

It isn’t pleasant. Trust us.

Better yet, trust 10th-degree black belt and jujitsu master George Kirby to show you how jujitsu can counter the sucker punch before impact and take down your opponent using vital targets and energy redirection!

Jujitsu is known as the “gentle art” because it focuses on submitting your opponent with speed and ease without inflicting permanent damage. It’s therefore well-suited for law enforcement, mixed martial arts and sparring applications.

In this exclusive martial arts technique video, American Ju-Jitsu Association co-founder and budoshin jujitsu pioneer George Kirby shows you jujitsu techniques to counter a sucker punch! George Kirby outlines two counterattacks to stop the sucker punch and immobilize your opponent using vital targets, energy redirection and pressure points.

The expanded edition of George Kirby’s seminal jujitsu book, Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art, is available now in our online store!

Read more about jujitsu master George Kirby below the video!

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Basic Jujitsu Techniques: 4 Budoshin Moves to
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Long before the Brazilian jiu-jitsu revolution swept the United States, George Kirby began studying the gentle art to help deal with the stress of grad school. Little did he know that his tutelage under sensei Jack “Sanzo” Seki was the beginning of a martial arts journey that would shape America’s understanding of jujitsu for decades to come.

By 1968, Seki could sense George Kirby’s potential as an instructor and told him and fellow student Bill Fromm about an opening at a local YMCA in Burbank, California. When Kirby pointed out that as brown belts they were too inexperienced to teach, Seki responded, “Now you’re both black belts. Act like it.” And so began the teaching career of one of traditional jujitsu’s most respected and beloved masters.

A year later, George Kirby followed another one of Seki’s suggestions and collaborated with Bill Fromm to form the American Ju-Jitsu Association, which has grown into a governing body renowned for bringing together jujitsu practitioners from around the world. He’s also the founder and chairman of the Budoshin Ju-Jitsu Dojo Inc., a nonprofit educational foundation, and the Budoshin Ju-Jitsu Yudanshakai, a research and educational foundation.

In 1996, George Kirby launched a new jujitsu program for the city of Santa Clarita, California, where he continues to share what he’s learned. Along the way, he perfected his craft in the public-school system, where he taught jujitsu and social studies for nearly four decades.

A prolific writer, George Kirby has penned a half-dozen jujitsu books, and his self-defense essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Black Belt.

In 2000 Kirby reached the pinnacle of his profession when he was promoted to judan (10th-degree black belt).

In recognition of his 40 years of teaching, Black Belt proudly inducted him into its Hall of Fame as their 2007 Instructor of the Year.

Related Martial Arts Books, E-Books,
DVDs and Video Downloads

Small-Circle Jujitsu — Volume 4: Tendon Tricep Armbars and Armlocks

Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art — Expanded Edition

Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks: Submission Holds of the Gentle Art

Advanced Jujitsu Training: How Commitment and Realistic Thinking Can Make All the Difference in Self-Defense

George Kirby demonstrating advanced jujitsu techniques in Black Belt magazine.

Your jujitsu training should consist of commitment and the realization that the techniques you use won’t always work. These concepts are interrelated.

On the street, there are no second chances. If you realize you did a technique wrong and it’s not working, you can’t ask the attacker to stop and start over again.

So, on one hand, you have to commit to defending yourself and finishing the technique if it’s workable. This goes back to training in your dojo. You don’t practice hitting a target — you practice hitting through the target.

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Basic Jujitsu Techniques: 4 Budoshin Moves to
Improve Your Jujitsu Weapons Training

Likewise, you don’t stop going through the movements of a throw just because your opponent starts to move; you finish the technique. Why? Because you’re training your ki (energy) to flow in a direction that will cause your opponent’s ki to be used against him, thus allowing your technique to succeed.

If you have positioned your respective xyz-axes correctly, trained your ki and trained yourself to complete the move, technique, kata, etc., you have commitment. You will be more successful in the execution of techniques because your axes and origin points are aligned in a manner to maximize the use of you and your attacker’s ki. Success is inevitable!

Commitment is also essential because you might inadvertently start a technique backward. Rather than turning a wrist to your left, you might turn it to your right. What do you do now?

Again, you cannot start over, and it may not be wise to reverse direction to execute the technique you wanted. Instead, you’ve got to continue with what you’ve got. As my sensei said to his students (and as I say to mine), “Go! Go! Go! Keep going! Keep going!”

Related Martial Arts Books, E-Books,
DVDs and Video Downloads

Small-Circle Jujitsu — Volume 4: Tendon Tricep Armbars and Armlocks

Advanced Jujitsu: The Science Behind the Gentle Art

Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks: Submission Holds of the Gentle Art

Jujitsu is a very forgiving art. If you start a move backward and keep going, guess what? You will inevitably end up with another technique.

If you want to execute a hand throw (te nage) but go the wrong way and instead apply a wrist lock (tekubi shimi waza), you have to continue with that. If, while trying to do a corkscrew (ude guruma),) you turn the arm counterclockwise instead of clockwise, you’ll end up with a shoulder-lock rear takedown (ude guruma ushiro). And that’s OK. Just continue and flow.

An awareness of this concept is an essential element in learning the art. On the street, you have to keep moving. It’s part of your commitment.

There are times, however, when you commit to a technique and realize that it isn’t working the way you want. Maybe your and your opponent’s axes aren’t lined up. Maybe his ki is resisting yours.

Whatever the reason, you still don’t get a second chance. What you do get, however, is the ability to change what you are doing to make your defense successful. This is called mushin (“no mind”) — a concept that works only if you have a good technical background and sufficient practice.

A good technical background provides you with a variety of techniques that can be used against a particular attack, and sufficient practice allows you to be competent in the execution of those techniques and no conscious effort is required to use them or switch between them. Practice also creates awareness of your and your opponent’s xyz-axis, their relationship, and how to modify techniques appropriately to execute a workable defense.

About the Author:
George Kirby has been practicing and teaching the art of jujitsu since the 1960s. He was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as the 2007 Instructor of the Year and is the author of several acclaimed and sought-after instructional books, including Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art — Expanded Edition, Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks: Submission Holds of the Gentle Art and Advanced Jujitsu: The Science Behind the Gentle Art.…

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques: Shoulder-Lock Hip Throw

With the release of George Kirby’s Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art — Expanded Edition, we asked the jujitsu master to show us a few of his favorite techniques that can be found in his book.

George Kirby is a 10th-degree black belt in jujitsu as well as an internationally recognized martial arts instructor and author. He is also the co-founder of the American Ju-Jitsu Association (an educational foundation and amateur athletic organization), a tactics consultant for the LAPD and an organizer of the popular Camp Budoshin in California.

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The following jujitsu technique is found in Chapter 4: Basic Techniques. Here is what George Kirby had to say about it:

“People hold their breath the first time they see this throw, anticipating major injury to the opponent’s shoulder. The reality is that if the shoulder lock is set properly, executing a well-controlled hip throw take’s all the pressure off the attacker’s shoulder. It’s a great demo jujitsu move that helps students learn how and when to combine basic jujitsu techniques into more effective self-defense techniques.”

Jujitsu Technique No. 1: The Shoulder-Lock Hip Throw

Japanese Translation: UDE GURUMA OGOSHI

1. Your attacker attempts a knife swipe.

2. Lean back slightly, and sidestep to your left to get out of the path of his knife.

3. Once the knife has passed, move back in and make a fist with both hands.

4. Step in with your right foot and bring both forearms up to block his back swing.

5. Block hard. (Fists are needed here because of his much greater force with a back swing.) Your left forearm should block above the attacker’s elbow, while your right forearm blocks his lower forearm as close to his elbow as possible. This will help keep your right forearm away from the knife blade.

6. Before your opponent recovers from the blow, bend his arm by pushing with your right forearm. Do not grab his forearm with your right hand because he will be able to resist if you do. Open your right hand as you bend his arm back.

7. Bring your left forearm over his upper arm and clamp onto your right forearm. (The hold is shown more clearly in Step 9). At this point, you may execute a rear shoulder-lock takedown (not shown) by pushing down with your right forearm and stepping forward with your right leg, then going down onto your right knee.

8. To execute a hip throw, swing your body around, bringing your left foot back against your opponent with your right hip blocking his. Hold the shoulder lock tight against you.

9. Execute the throw, going down onto your right knee.

10. To set a wrist-lock lift, slide your right hand down to the back of his hand so his knuckles are resting in the palm of your hand.

11. Lift up at the knuckles to break his wrist …

12. … or to raise your opponent up so you can set a neck scissor along with the wrist lock.

13. Lean back to set the scissor.

Jujitsu techniques expert George Kirby demonstrates shoulder-lock hip throw and submission.

Stay tuned for the rest of George Kirby’s Top 10 Favorite Jujitsu Techniques!

George Kirby’s Top 10 Jujitsu Techniques

Technique No. 1: Shoulder-Lock Hip Throw

Technique No. 2: Rear Leg-Lift Throw

Technique No. 3: Basic Drop Throw

Technique No. 4: Elbow Lift

To learn more about these and other basic jujitsu techniques, check out Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art — Expanded Edition by George Kirby.…

Tribute to a Master: Small-Circle Jujitsu Founder Wally Jay

When I hear the title “master,” I often ask myself what it really means. Does it refer to a person who’s experienced everything and reached nirvana? Does growing older halt the need for learning and bestow enlightenment on the person? I’m not convinced this question can be answered, but I will share with you my perspective.

Although he himself never expressed it while he was alive, I consider Wally Jay, the jujitsu teacher from Alameda, California, a true master. He was a man who spent most of his life developing his art. Anyone who’s experienced the concepts of small-circle jujitsu, which he founded, will attest to Wally Jay’s skills and mastery of not only jujitsu but also martial arts in general.

Behind the Man

For those who never had the pleasure of meeting Wally Jay, here’s some background information: He began his training in the 1940s in Hawaii under the late jujitsu authority Henry Okazaki. Wally Jay relocated to the San Francisco area and attained success as a judo coach, guiding many students to championship status.

Wally Jay also befriended Bruce Lee during the 1960s. In fact, it was Bruce Lee’s custom to wait on Wally Jay’s porch until Wally Jay returned from work so he could spend time talking with the jujitsu expert. Apparently, Bruce Lee was taken with Wally Jay’s attitude and approach to the martial arts. It’s believed that many of Bruce Lee’s subsequent eclectic adaptations developed as a result of his association with Wally Jay.

But neither influence over the “Little Dragon” nor vast knowledge and skill automatically qualified Wally Jay as a master. Rather, his ability to continue researching his knowledge of jujitsu did.

Open Mind

Wally Jay’s martial arts background also included judo, boxing, kung fu and weightlifting. It was this diversity that helped him see the need to alter his style of jujitsu. In doing so, he discovered that his judo also needed strengthening. Wally Jay then called on his experience and training to improve his approach to coaching his judo students. They stopped being average jujitsu and judo players and started becoming champions. Believing he was onto something, Wally Jay continued to experiment and develop his small-circle theories.

Wally Jay began traveling around the United States, Canada and Europe to introduce his art, now officially called small-circle jujitsu, to practitioners of other styles. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1982. He stayed at my home when he came to town to conduct a seminar, and I felt fortunate to get to know him and his family. I also came to respect his attitude toward the martial arts.

Later, a friend gave me a video of Wally Jay and his classmates demonstrating jujitsu in the 1940s. It allowed me to observe the changes he’d instituted over the years. The modifications were actually quite profound. Change was a tradition Wally Jay grew up with, as his teacher had combined the best of jujitsu, kung fu and the Hawaiian martial arts to form his own syllabus.

Constant Improvement

Over the years I knew Wally Jay, I was continually amazed at how he kept improving his art. He often said that people who’d attended one of his seminars one year and then another seminar the next year remarked on how much the tactics he was teaching had improved — even to the point at which certain people would become upset that they now had to change their own execution of the techniques. Some people, Wally Jay discovered, didn’t like to be taken out of their comfort zone. After all, change is scary for many — and quite often the reason a traditional art becomes stagnant.

I’ve seen and heard of many people touting themselves as masters. Many even use impressive titles such as grandmaster and great-grandmaster. I’ve found that those who choose to call themselves “master” usually aren’t and those who are called “master” by others usually are. Wally Jay definitely belonged in the second category. Like his peers, his humble attitude belied his huge contribution to the martial arts.

Download your FREE GUIDE to Wally Jay’s small-circle jujitsu and its use of pressure points here.

Buy DVDs of Wally Jay’s small-circle jujitsu here.

Visit the official website of small-circle jujitsu here.…