Students must be courteous at all times, refraining from
profanity. This is part of your mental and physical discipline.
Practice cooperatively. Competition breaks down our family
atmosphere. To improve at falling, take falls. Respect uki
by helping break the fall, as uki is not disposable.
- Bow when entering and leaving the mat and before practice.
- Judogi must be clean; with close body contact, hygiene is
- Do not execute techniques you have not been taught in this dojo
until cleared by Sensei. Avoid martial arts learned from TV.
- Watch your space. Be aware of others.
- Minimize TALK-E-WAZA and practice techniques as much as possible
to develop muscle memory. Speak softly in the dojo.
- Horseplay is not conducive to dojo atmosphere.
- If late, do not enter the mat without approval of Sensei.
- If not on the mat, donít distract those who are.
General Training Tips:
- It takes time to become good at a technique. Perform new
techniques slowly to understand and better control them.
Rushing can lead to frustration. Rank comes, but donít be
overly concerned with it.
- Donít torture uki; release when he or she says ďmatteĒ or
- Kicks take time to develop, as do all Jujitsu techniques. If
you stretch too much too fast, you may injure yourself.
- Have fun. Take it easy. Trying too hard makes you
stiff and leads to frustration.
- Starting with a relaxed arm, tensing the hand about four inches
before contact. Never extend the arm all the way, as this
injures the elbow and can lead to a broken arm in a self-defense
- In your mind extend the punch inside the target.
- Learn to make a fist and hit correctly, or you can injure your own
- The head and mouth are not targets for the fist, because teeth
penetrate hands and skulls break hands. You must not disable
- The heel of your palm is one of your best weapons.
- Speed generates punching power. Hips provide power and
increase the energy of the punch. Good punches use the hip.
- Focusing on the punch helps deliver maximum power. Focus is
an unconscious reflex developed after thousands of punches.
- Penetrate the punch into the target -- a tap on the epidermis will
not stop an attack. Delivering the punch from a stable stance
increases power. Wrist weights are all right, but donít
punch rapidly. To develop powerful punching, put a deflated
bike inner tube behind your back and hold it as you punch. It
is one thing to punch air; but for the feel of actual application,
do one-step sparring with uki. Later on you can spar slowly.
- Protective gear is good. Delivering slight force to a moving
target develops strikes. Hitting bricks, wood, and other hard
objects is not good training and could injure your hands.
Instead, strike plastic or rubber a little softer than a mat.
- An effective kick is only as high as you can raise your leg
without effort. Effective kicking for self-defense is no
higher than the ribs. Donít kick ribs unless holding your
opponentís hand. If your opponent thus cannot block your
kick or grab your leg, your kick can have a trip hammer effect.
Developing kicks takes time. Many attempt power-kicking
through a defense, not a good practice. Kick when you have an
opening. Use the correct technique at the right time.
- Power in most martial arts techniques generates from the hips.
The hips are the first part of the leg when you kick. Kicking
without the hip behind it is less powerful or opens you to
counterattack after you tap your opponent. Weights work, but
donít kick quickly. Use the bike inner tube method to
rapidly develop kicks. Groin kicks donít automatically stop
opponents. Breaking a knee is effective. Kicking a heavy
bag helps develop kicks. We perform kicking drills to develop
kicks against a moving target. Later we wear body armor for
- An unpleasant surprise is being thrown without any idea of
whatís happening. Not only does this give you the
psychological edge and expose your opponent for a follow-up, but a
good throw can cause serious injuries. You will be thrown many
times to the mat. Think how cement would feel.
- Throws consist of breaking balance, moving into the throwing
position, and executing the throw, all equally important.
Partial throws wonít work.
- Throws work by breaking balance and using momentum, timing or
redirecting ukiís force. Throws require much practice and
must become instinctive to be effective. You must perform the
right throw at the right time. Different throws work for
different body sizes, so practice with all sorts of partners.
- A small person can throw a large person with a good throw.
Practicing with those you have trouble throwing helps develop your
- After static practice to learn basics, practice while moving is
more practical. Always keep ukiís safety in mind. If
the throw doesnít feel right, stop. Be aware of proximity so
you donít throw them someone off the mat or into someone.
- Bending your legs makes a throw work better. Keep your back
close to uki, leaning forward. If your bodies separate, uki
easily can block the throw. Most throws work with both bodies
moving in the direction of the throw. As a general rule the
body moves in the direction of the head. Combining this torque
with leverage gives throws devastating power. Bending the hips
also is important. Relax when you throw. Learn to throw
with proper technique, not power. Speed comes with time.
A well executed joint lock either will control an opponent by pain or
injure a joint, sometimes to breaking. As in all Jujitsu
techniques, joint locks must be done in a fast, fluid manner. If a
technique doesnít work, donít force it. Switch to another
lock; add atemi waza, a strike; throw; or quit. Donít allow your
opponent time to counter you.
Most of us are apprehensive about falling. We build confidence by
starting from the ground, then roll from the knees and work up to
standing falls. Falling skills take time, and you must relax and
not hold your breath.
Slap with fingers together to avoid injury. Kiai means to shout
by tightening your abdomen and vigorously exhaling. When throwing,
remember to pull up on your partnerís arm to cushion the fall.
You will appreciate the same consideration when uki throws you.
Samurai were taught to not fear death. We conquer fears of pain,
falling, faring poorly, and losing. During practice you must
relax, performing the right technique at the right time. To
respond well, you must be relaxed. Techniques come in time.
Repetition is the key to perfecting technique. After forty years
with some techniques I still am improving them. One of Jujitsuís
pleasures is becoming friends with techniques, enjoying performing them
and feeling them work.
Pain and Injury:
Practice may lead to pain. The purpose of many techniques is to
deliver pain and/or injury. We work hard not to injure practice
partners, focusing on safety. Serious injuries are rare. (We
have much lower accident rates than do football, baseball, and
basketball.) Bumps, bruises, and sore joints may occur.
Continued practice is part of your mental conditioning in the
application of Jujitsu.
(David Parritt, rokudan in both judo and jujitsu, runs Samurai Judo
and Jujitsu, in Melbourne, Florida. He has taught both arts and
started clubs in the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Panama,
Germany, and Puerto Rico.)