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A Brief History of the Bushi Kempo Ju-Jitsu Association

The North Staffordshire Ju-Jitsu Academy was originally formed in 1972 by David J Hand, a 1st Dan with the BUDO G.B. and in 1977 the World Ju-Jitsu Association.

However, the Academy's syllabus began to diversify from the strict Ju-Jitsu techniques of Jimmy Blundell and Robert Clark, the key members of the W.J.J.A. David offered a new, innovative form of martial art as yet unseen in the UK, Chi Ryoku Kempo Ju-Jitsu.

The growth of the Academy beyond the confines of the Staffordshire border resulted in a change of name to that of the Bushi Kempo Ju-jitsu Academy. The Academy joined the Amateur Martial Association for its insurances and to ensure it remained an independent force within martial arts and retain its right to teach its own unique syllabus.

In 1981, as more and more of David's students achieved black belt status they themselves opened up their own clubs to teach and the Academy's membership swelled to nearly a thousand students. At this point, the Academy became an Association responsible for sourcing its own insurances and licensing its own membership independently of any other martial arts body.

David Hand, 7th Dan, retired in 1995. The Association is now under the administration of Carl Jones, 6th Dan. Carl joined David as a Junior student in 1974 and studied with him for many years prior to becoming a professional martial arts instructor in his own right.

The name of the Bushi Kempo Ju-jitsu Association has become synonymous with quality instruction, student care and the freedom to train.

Style History Of Kempo Ju-Jitsu
From the crude wrestling of armoured warriors came a refined and scientific way of throwing, holding and subduing. The opponents' weight strength, speed and momentum are used against him and his intent weakened by blows to vulnerable areas. Some schools of Kempo began teaching non-warriors and a form of competition developed.

The Kempo practitioners wear a black tunic similar to that of Aikido, there is a ladder of progression against which the Kempo students can measure their standard, and a coloured belt identifies each rung of the ladder. As the student progresses, so the syllabus expands and becomes more technically demanding.

The Kempo student is taught breakfalls, throws, joint locks and submission holds. More advanced students learn vital points which when struck can cause unconsciousness. There is little formal competition in Kempo these days, but it does exist.


Grappling methods used for combat are as old as man on the Asian continent, and this is no less true than in Japan. When the warrior class dominated Japan, such grappling skills became the foundation of close quarter fighting. Methods of grappling dominated the close quarter combat systems of the warriors, simply because those of a purely kick and strike nature proved ineffective against weapons and armour.

Yoroi kumi uchi or grappling in amour is a practical system of combat that became necessary when warriors engaged in single combat abandoned for whatever reason their major weapons. However, Yoroi kumi uchi is not necessarily, unarmed combat. This form requires the combatants to use their hips and limbs in a particular powerful fashion. This is made possible through Yotsu gumi, a four handed symmetrical method of grappling by which the combatants lock on to each other without actually grasping the armour. An example of such is suki mine waza zuki and one-handed throws.

Mastering the Yotsu gumi was essential to effective grappling in armour. This method of locking up your opponent developed balance, advantage and mobility with which to preserve his position and to hurl his adversary to the ground at any appropriate moment. Either warrior could draw his short blade (yoroi-doshi) that was worn at the hip and slash at his opponents' hips. Great skill was required to maintain balance and control whilst unsheathing and attempting to plunge it into a vital organ of his body.

A large number of classical combative traditions gave considerable attention to the study of Yoroi kumi uchi. Based on historical evidence the Tsutsumi-Hozan Ryu a fifteenth century martial tradition appears to have been the first to do so.

From Kempo to Ju Jitsu

Purely empty hand systems are largely the product of the Meiji and later eras.

Heian period                794 to 1185
Kamakura period        1185 to 1336
Ashikaga period         1336 to 1603
Edo period                  1603 to 1868

In order that this important fact may be seen, and the true nature of empty hand methods is understood, some background as to the relationship between empty hand combat and classical weapons systems is necessary.

The classical warrior had little use for any system of combat that did not use weapons. This was because the opportunity for unarmed combat was rare, not being favoured either by custom or by circumstance. The very rationale and mystique that surrounded the classical warrior revolved around his possession of weapons, and the necessities of the time in which he functioned required him to be well armed and trained in the use of such deadly weaponry.

For the warrior to entertain the thought of success in combat, he could only attack his foe when armed.

The fact that armour was worn influenced the manner in which a warrior would deal with his foe. Mere sparring tactics of a boxing nature, which must rely on the natural parts of the body -hand, fist and foot in delivering atemi blows directed at anatomical weak points. Striking, punching or kicking, proving futile against a heavily armoured warriors and were more likely to injure the attacker than the intended victim.

It was quite natural that close quarter combat should be characterised by grappling methods. The general word describing these methods of combat was Kumi Uchi an expression that suggests the clashing of two combatants at close quarters. However, these methods of grappling included liberal use of atemi strikes as could be delivered.

Teachings contained in the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu A fifteenth century martial tradition from the Kamakaga period, mention a systematic kind of grappling, carried out between persons who may or may not be armed in the style of Katori Shinto Ryu.

The Tachneouchi Ryu, founded in the first half of the sixteenth century, featured a mode of grappling with the warrior clad in minimal armour, consisting of leggings and gauntlets. It was also a method of restraining an assailant, using purely empty handed methods of combat.

Araki Mujinsia (1584-1637) as a youth studied swordsmanship under Yagyu Shinkage Ryu masters. As the eleventh headmaster of the Muso Jikiden Ryu, Mujinsia also studied with Kaganosuke and thereafter founded his own style of combat, which he first called Araki Ryu. Later after adding more weapon and open handed techniques, he retitled it BUDO ARAKI KEMPO RYU. The name suggests a synthesis of various arts of combat, including empty handed combat methods.

A clear-cut shift of emphasis from weapons to empty hand tactics is revealed in the development of the Araki Kempo Ryu system.

Kempo Ju Jitsu

By the late seventeenth century the Budo Araki Kempo Ryu, had adapted itself to the tempo of Tokugawn society. In its dojo the following injunctions were posted.
Kempo is an art of self-preservation

Kempo must lead to the preservation of human life, not the taking of it

Kempo is an art that consists in war and in defeating an enemy

The name Kempo, which may be roughly translated as a method of killing people, possessed many points of resemblance to Ju Jitsu, but was totally different in practice. Being a system of self-defence against sudden attack with intent to kill, repaying in kind the attackers intent.

As a point of deliberation we may remark on the old English term “Kempery men” and the Anglo-Saxon term “Cempa”, both signifying a warrior status, can we see a direct link to the term Kempo. This in itself should be of interest to etymologists and particularly those who follow the late Professor Max Muller in his theory of Indo-Germanic origin of the Anglo-Saxon race.

Kempo of course was a system of attack and defence that branched off from Ju Jitsu, into the path of strenuous endeavour, becoming a more scientific system than Ju Jitsu itself. It was, declared an illegal practice when the sanctity of human life was recognised under the new regime.

Another analogous system known as Tori in some parts of Japan and Shime in others. Was an extension of Kempo in the department of groundwork, it is more than possible that the locks and holds of Ju Jitsu were developed by the exponents of the Tori system.

I do not wish to imply that the powers to dislocate a joint, break a limb, or even kill an opponent, which were the causes of prohibition of Kempo, do not exist in Ju Jitsu (since all experts are well acquainted with them) but it will advisable to point out that these powers are rarely, if ever, exercised. The locks of Ju Jitsu are so complete in themselves, that the mere threat of damage, which their application implies, is enough to make the most obstinate opponent cry out for mercy.

I venture to claim for Kempo that it is not only the finest system of self-defence extant. But that it is also second to none as a system of physical culture, being unrivaled as a means of developing rapidity of movement and perfect balance.

Bushi Kempo was developed by Kancho David Hand 7th Dan in the UK in the 1960's and 70's, a unique blend of the power and speed of Kempo with the subtleties of Ju Jitsu. The system offers each and everyone training in it the facility to adapt it (the system) to them rather than them adapting to it.

What does that mean for the practitioner? Simply that, it suits everyone both male and female of all ages, strength is unimportant, techniques, once mastered, are the key to self-preservation, allowing the student to become the victor rather than the victim.

Kempo Ju Jitsu is as necessary today as it was in those dark and distant times, we do not have to endure roaming bands of bandits. However, society is degrading rapidly, assaults of all types are common place, no one can be sure that they will not become a statistic of crime. Hence the need for the public to practice an art that provides the answers to so many questions and situations.