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    Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

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    NBK

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    Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by NBK on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:26 pm

    Lacadio Hearn was one of the earliest Western chroniclers of Japan in the Meiji era. He taught English at the 5th High School in Kumamoto where Kano shihan was the head of the school. The chapter below is from Hearn's book 'Out of the East'; the entire text is available at https://archive.org/stream/outofeastreverie00hearuoft/outofeastreverie00hearuoft_djvu.txt

    It is one of, if not the first, firsthand English descriptions of judo by someone other than Kano shihan. Dated 1891. Kano shihan started teaching judo in the entrance hall of one of the student buildings, just threw mats on the dirt floor. He noted there was no money to hire teachers so he had to teach himself. They started with kata, then yakusoku randori, and finally full on randori. Apparently Kano shihan was able to collect the funds for a dedicated dojo pretty quickly. He was well connected in Kumamoto for a number of reasons.

    The White Tiger band was a group of teenaged samurai who sacrificed themselves after a famous battle.

    Count Katsu was Katsu Kaishu, who wrote the famous poem that we've discussed here upon seeing the kata at the Kodokan.

    I have a couple of candidates for the 'prince of the noble blood', but can't be sure. Maybe someone in Kumamoto knows.....

    NBK


    JIUJUTSU


    I

    There is one building in the grounds of
    the Government College quite different in
    structure from the other edifices. Except
    that it is furnished with horizontally sliding
    glass windows instead of paper ones, it might
    be called a purely Japanese building. It is
    long, broad, and of one story ; and it contains
    but a single huge room, of which the elevated
    floor is thickly cushioned with one hundred
    mats. It has a Japanese name, too, — Zui-
    hokwan, — signifying " The Hall of Our Holy
    Country ; " and the Chinese characters which
    form that name were painted upon the small
    tablet above its entrance by the hand of a



    184 OUT OF THE EAST

    Prince of the Imperial blood. Within there
    is no furniture ; nothing but another tablet
    and two pictures hanging upon the wall.
    One of the pictures represents the famous
    "White-Tiger Band" of seventeen brave
    boys who voluntarily sought death for loy-
    alty's sake in the civil war. The other is a
    portrait in oil of the aged and much beloved
    Professor of Chinese, Akizuki of Aidzu, a
    noted warrior in his youth, when it required
    much more to make a soldier and a gentle-
    man than it does to-day. And the tablet
    bears Chinese characters written by the hand
    of Count Katsu, which signify: "Profound
    knowledge is the best of possessions."

    But what is the knowledge taught in this
    huge unfurnished apartment? It is some-
    thing called jiujutsu. And what is jiujutsu?

    Here I must premise that I know practi-
    cally nothing of jiujutsu. One must begin to
    study it in early youth, and must continue the
    study a very long time in order to learn it
    even tolerably well. To become an expert re-
    quires seven years of constant practice, even
    presupposing natural aptitudes of an uncom-
    mon order. I can give no detailed account

    JIUJUTSU 185

    of jiujutsu, but merely venture some general
    remarks about its principle.

    Jiujutsu is the old samurai art of fighting
    without weapons. To the uninitiated it looks
    like wrestling. Should you happen to enter
    the Zuihokwan while jiujutsu is being prac-
    ticed, you would see a crowd of students
    watching ten or twelve lithe young comrades,
    barefooted and barelimbed, throwing each
    other about on the matting. The dead silence
    might seem to you very strange. No word
    is spoken, no sign of approbation or of amuse-
    ment is given, no face even smiles. Absolute
    impassiveness is rigidly exacted by the rules
    of the school of jiujutsu. But probably only
    this impassibility of all, this hush of numbers,
    would impress you as remarkable.

    A professional wrestler would observe more.
    He would see that those young men are very
    cautious about putting forth their strength,
    and that the grips, holds, and flings are both
    peculiar and risky. In spite of the care ex-
    ercised, he would judge the whole perform-
    ance to be dangerous play, and would be
    tempted, perhaps, to advise the adoption of
    Western " scientific " rules.



    186 OUT OF THE EAST

    The real thing, however, — not the play, —
    is much more dangerous than a Western
    wrestler could guess at sight. The teacher
    there, slender and light as he seems, could
    probably disable an ordinary wrestler in two
    minutes. Jiujutsu is not an art of display at
    all : it is not a training for that sort of skill
    exhibited to public audiences ; it is an art of
    self-defense in the most exact sense of the
    term ; it is an art of war. The master of that
    art is able, in one moment, to put an un-
    trained antagonist completely hors de combat.
    By some terrible legerdemain he suddenly dis-
    locates a shoulder, unhinges a joint, bursts a
    tendon, or snaps a bone, — without any appar-
    ent effort. He is much more than an athlete :
    he is an anatomist. And he knows also
    touches that kill — as by lightning. But this
    fatal knowledge he is under oath never to
    communicate except under such conditions as
    would render its abuse almost impossible.
    Tradition exacts that it be given only to men
    of perfect self-command and of unimpeachable
    moral character.

    The fact, however, to which I want to call
    . attention is that the master of jiujutsu never

    JIUJUTSU 187

    relies upon his own strength. He scarcely
    uses his own strength in the greatest emer-
    gency. Then what does he use ? Simply the
    strength of his antagonist. The force of the
    enemy is the only means by which that enemy
    is overcome. The art of jiujutsu teaches you
    to rely for victory solely upon the strength of
    your opponent ; and the greater his strength,
    the worse for him and the better for you. I
    remember that I was not a little astonished
    when one of the greatest teachers of jiujutsu l
    told me that he found it extremely difficult to
    teach a certain very strong pupil, whom I had
    innocently imagined to be the best in the
    class. On asking why, I was answered : " Be-
    cause he relies upon his enormous muscular
    strength, and uses it." The very name " jiu-
    jutsu " means to conquer by yielding.

    I fear I cannot explain at all ; I can only
    suggest. Every one knows what a " counter "
    in boxing means. I cannot use it for an
    exact simile, because the boxer who counters
    opposes his whole force to the impetus of the

    1 Kano Jigoro. Mr. Kano contributed some years ago to
    the Transactions of the Asiatic Society a very interesting
    paper on the history of Jiujutsu.

    188 OUT OF THE EAST

    other ; while a jiujutsu expert does precisely
    the contrary. Still there remains this resem-
    blance between a counter in boxing and a
    yielding in jiujutsu, — that the suffering is in
    both cases due to the uncontrollable forward
    impetus of the man who receives it. I may
    venture then to say, loosely, that in jiujutsu
    there is a sort of counter for every twist,
    wrench, pull, push, or bend : only, the jiuju-
    tsu expert does not oppose such movements at
    all. No: he yields to them. But he does
    much more than yield to them. He aids
    them with a wicked sleight that causes the
    assailant to put out his own shoulder, to frac-
    ture his own arm, or, in a desperate case, even
    to break his own neck or back.

    With even this vaguest of explanations,
    you will already have been able to perceive
    that the real wonder of jiujutsu is not in the
    highest possible skill of its best professor, but
    in the uniquely Oriental idea which the whole
    art expresses. What Western brain could
    have elaborated this strange teaching, —
    never to oppose force to force, but only to

    JIUJUTSU 189

    direct and utilize the power of attack; to
    overthrow the enemy solely by his own
    strength, — to vanquish him solely by his own
    effort ? Surely none ! The Occidental mind
    appears to work in straight lines ; the Ori-
    ental, in wonderful curves and circles. Yet
    how fine a symbolism of Intelligence as a
    means to foil brute force ! Much more than a
    science of defense is this jiujutsu : it is a phi-
    losophical system ; it is an economical system ;
    it is an ethical system (indeed, I had forgot-
    ten to say that a very large part of jiujutsu-
    training is purely moral) ; and it is, above all,
    the expression of a racial genius as yet but
    faintly perceived by those Powers who dream
    of further aggrandizement in the East.

    Twenty-five years ago, — and even more
    recently, — foreigners might have predicted,
    with every appearance of reason, that Japan
    would adopt not only the dress, but the man-
    ners of the Occident; not only our means
    of rapid transit and communication, but also
    our principles of architecture ; not only our
    industries and our applied science, but like-
    wise our metaphysics and our dogmas. Some

    190 OUT OF THE EAST

    really believed that the country would soon
    be thrown open to foreign settlement; that
    Western capital would be tempted by extraor-
    dinary privileges to aid in the development of
    various resources; and even that the nation
    would eventually proclaim, through Imperial
    Edict, its sudden conversion to what we call
    Christianity. But such beliefs were due to
    an unavoidable but absolute ignorance of the
    character of the race, — of its deeper capaci-
    ties, of its foresight, of its immemorial spirit
    of independence. That Japan might only be
    practicing jiujutsu, nobody supposed for a
    moment: indeed at that time nobody in the
    West had ever heard of jiujutsu.

    And, nevertheless, jiujutsu it all was.
    Japan adopted a military system founded
    upon the best experience of France and Ger-
    many, with the result that she can call into
    the field a disciplined force of 250,000 men,
    supported by a formidable artillery. She
    created a strong navy, comprising some of the
    finest cruisers in the world; — modeling her
    naval system upon the best English and
    French teaching. She made herself dock-
    yards under French direction, and built or

    JIUJUTSU 191

    bought steamers to carry her products to
    Korea, China, Manilla, Mexico, India, and the
    tropics of the Pacific. She constructed, both
    for military and commercial purposes, nearly
    two thousand miles of railroad. With Ameri-
    can and English help she established the
    cheapest and perhaps the most efficient tele-
    graph and postal service in existence. She
    built lighthouses to such excellent purpose
    that her coast is said to be the best lighted in
    either hemisphere ; and she put into operation
    a signal service not inferior to that of the
    United States. From America she obtained
    also a telephone system, and the best methods
    of electric lighting. She modeled her public-
    school system upon a thorough study of the
    best results obtained in Germany, France, and
    America, but regulated it so as to harmo-
    nize perfectly with her own institutions. She
    founded a police system upon a French model,
    but shaped it to absolute conformity with
    her own particular social requirements. At
    first she imported machinery for her mines,
    her mills, her gun-factories, her railways, and
    hired numbers of foreign experts : she is now
    dismissing all her teachers. But what she

    192 OUT OF THE EAST

    has done and is doing would require volumes
    even to mention. Suffice to say, in conclu-
    sion, that she has selected and adopted the
    best of everything represented by our indus-
    tries, by our applied sciences, by our econom-
    ical, financial, and legal experience ; availing
    herself in every case of the highest results
    only, and invariably shaping her acquisitions
    to meet her own needs.

    Now in all this she has adopted nothing for
    a merely imitative reason. On the contrary,
    she has approved and taken only what can
    help her to increase her strength. She has
    made herself able to dispense with nearly all
    foreign technical instruction ; and she has
    kept firmly in her own hands, by the shrewd-
    est legislation, all of her own resources. But
    she has not adopted Western dress, Western
    habits of life, Western architecture, or West-
    ern religion ; since the introduction of any of
    these, especially the last, would have dimin-
    ished instead of augmenting her force. De-
    spite her railroad and steamship lines, her
    telegraphs and telephones, her postal service
    and her express companies, her steel artillery
    and magazine-rifles, her universities and tech-

    JIUJUTSU 193

    nical schools, she remains just as Oriental
    to-day as she was a thousand years ago. She
    has been able to remain herself, and to profit
    to the utmost possible limit by the strength of
    the enemy. She has been, and still is, defend-
    ing herself by the most admirable system of
    intellectual self-defense ever heard of, — by a
    marvelous national jiujutsu.

    ##
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    Jihef

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by Jihef on Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:54 pm

    Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:37 am

    Jihef wrote:Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink


    He was quite the man. He entered into an inter-racial marriage with a black woman in the US when this was still prohibited (yes, it used to), with all the consequences you could imagine and then some ...


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    NBK

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by NBK on Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:19 am

    Jihef wrote:Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink
    Hey! you have 10 attaboys now, you should be able to hit that '+' now!
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    finarashi

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by finarashi on Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:31 pm

    NBK wrote:
    Jihef wrote:Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink
    Hey! you have 10 attaboys now, you should be able to hit that '+' now!
    You can probably credit NBK for that!
    And cancel all your credit cards before the charges from CK get though (just a friendly advice)


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:34 am

    finarashi wrote:
    NBK wrote:
    Jihef wrote:Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink
    Hey! you have 10 attaboys now, you should be able to hit that '+' now!
    You can probably credit NBK for that!
    And cancel all your credit cards before the charges from CK get though (just a friendly advice)

    Credit cards are so 1990s. I now use your PayPal accounts.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
    avatar
    Jihef

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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

    Post by Jihef on Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:55 pm

    NBK wrote:
    Jihef wrote:Consider yourself thanked + liked for this one.

    Wink
    Hey! you have 10 attaboys now, you should be able to hit that '+' now!
    Haha !
    Just did !
    Now, just one wrong little move, and I am back in online NowhereLand…
    Wink


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    Re: Jiujutsu - from 'Out of the East' by Lafcadio Hearn 1891

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