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jodirren
25th February 2003, 10:06
Kind of along the lines of a previous thread regarding the meaning of "ju" in jujutsu (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17205) ....

So the word "jujutsu" was apparently first used in the early 17th century. Before then, the individual bujutsu ryu referred to their unarmed curriculum by various names (kogusoku, yawara, kumiuchi, wajutsu, etc.). Since the generic, all-encompassing word "jujutsu" comes from the same kanji as "yawara", and since the use of "yawara" predates "jujutsu", then it seems likely that the etymology of "jujutsu" can be found by understanding the etymology of "yawara". This is an interesting subject which I would like to pursue as well (and if anybody knows anything about it, I would love to hear it), but right now I'm more concerned with the following. Could it be that the kanji yawara/jujutsu was used to represent *all* unarmed bujutsu because the ryu who just so happened to call their unarmed arts "yawara" were 1) under the auspices of the most politically powerful clans and could thereby in effect force everyone to use their terminology, or 2) had developed their techniques to a point of being superior (in combat) to all others? This would seem very logical to me. Any comments? Could this be possible? I really believe their must be a clear reason why the word "jujutsu" came to be used to represent the unarmed forms of bujutsu.

jodirren
27th February 2003, 23:25
Originally posted by Yobina
Firstly it's ROMAJI not roman-ji!


Unfortunately, both seem to be in common usage. I have even found some webpages on the Japanese language that use both in the same paragraph! But it does seem like "romaji" is the more technically correct term. Anybody have an "official" source for this?

But I don't want this to turn into a romaji/romanji debate ... so, back to the topic at hand .....




Originally posted by Yobina
I think "jujutsu" simply evolved as a simple way to describe similar "unarmed and semi-unarmed" combat techniques within different schools without knowing what the schools actually chose to call their techniques.

Yes, exactly. That is clear, but it doesn't answer my question. I'm trying to figure out why the particular word "jujutsu" was used to describe these arts. There is definitely a reason. It doesn't have to be because some committee sat down and had a big debate about what word to use (that obviously wasn't what happened), but all words come into use for a reason. I postulated two reaons why, but I would like to hear what others who are much more knowledgeable about these things have to say about it.

Thanks in advance to any takers.

jd

CKohalyk
28th February 2003, 01:14
Originally posted by jodirren


Anybody have an "official" source for this?



Yes. The Japanese language.

Look at the writing: ??[} ("ro", long vowel, "ji" = ro-maji)
There is no "" ("n")

Thank you Andrew for speaking up.

Iron Clad Brute
28th February 2003, 03:12
"I'm trying to figure out why the particular word "jujutsu" was used to describe these arts.

Why is sumo called sumo?

Traditional sumo is the opposite of yawara/jujutsu. It uses direct force applied directly against the force of the opponent.

The principle of the later arts of semi-unarmed combat rely on subtle redirecting and blending with an opponent, rather than a use of direct force. I am yet to see a legitimate Japanese combat system derived from battlefield encounters that would use direct force and not rely on efficient use of redirection and pliability to down an opponent.

Taijutsu, it is said, is the father of all the other arts. So therefore the principle of "ju" relates to and describes perfectly the combat arts of the Japanese - so why not?

CKohalyk
28th February 2003, 04:54
Traditional sumo is the opposite of yawara/jujutsu. It uses direct force applied directly against the force of the opponent.
Obviously haven't watched a lot of sumo. Out of the 70-odd official moves there are suprisingly few that are of the variety mentioned above (oshidashi, abisetaoshi) and many more that are based on pulling when an opponent pushes etc (hatakikomi). Much like judo, a variant of "yawara/jujutsu." See this homepage in English (http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/museum/basic/kimarite/kimarite.html)



I am yet to see a legitimate Japanese combat system derived from battlefield encounters that would use direct force and not rely on efficient use of redirection and pliability to down an opponent.

Jigen ryu is the one that jumps to mind. But the bottom line is that most arts utilize both push and pull, or "direct force" and "indirect force" as you call them. This is true of combative systems around the world and throughout history.



Taijutsu, it is said, is the father of all the other arts. So therefore the principle of "ju" relates to and describes perfectly the combat arts of the Japanese - so why not?

???

Somehow I doubt that... you are starting to sound suspiciously like a proponent of the Unification Theory. But I don't know how far back you want to go to find the "father" so I will not comment any further.


Why is sumo called sumo?

And why is a "tree" called a "tree"? I think this is a good point. I still have no idea why Jodirren is interested in this. What is your motivation Jo?

jodirren
28th February 2003, 10:36
Originally posted by CKohalyk
And why is a "tree" called a "tree"?


From the Online Etymology Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/):

tree - O.E. treo, treow "tree" (also "wood"), from P.Gmc. *trewan, from PIE *deru-/*doru- "oak." Importance of the oak in mythology is reflected in the recurring use of words for "oak" to mean "tree" (cf. Skt. dru, Rus. drevo). In O.E. and M.E., also "thing made of wood," especially the cross of the Crucifixion and a gallows (cf. Tyburn tree, gallows mentioned 12c. at Tyburn, at junction of Oxford Street and Edgware Road, place of public execution for Middlesex until 1783). Sense in family tree first attested 1706; verb meaning "to chase up a tree" is from 1700. Tree-hugger, contemptuous for "environmentalist" is from late 1980s.

Or, if that's not good enough, the OED gives the following (somewhat more cryptic) etymology:

[OE. trow, trow, OE., ME. tro, etc. = OFris. tr (NFris. tr, tr), OS. trio, treo, trew- (MDu. in comb. -tere, -tre, Kilian); ON. tr (Da. tr, Sw. tr timber, trd tree); Goth. triu, gen. triw-is wood (wanting in OHG. and now also obsolete in LG. and Du.):OTeut. *trewo-, cognate with Skr. dru tree, wood, dru wood, log, and with Gr. oak, spear; OSlav. drievo (from dervo) tree, wood, drva pl. wood, Russ. derevo, drevo tree, wood, Serb. drvo tree, drva wood, Czech drva, Pol. drwa wood; Lith. derv pine-wood; also with OIr. daur, Welsh derwen oak. The modern Eng. tree is a regular repr. of OE. tro, ME. treo; tr is the form in the Bestiary of c1220; but the final prevalence of this over the other ME. forms treow, trew, trow, trau, was prob. assisted by its coincidence with Norse tr; tr, tree are the northern forms from Cursor Mundi onward. For form-history cf. KNEE.]

My point is, all words come about for a reason. Well, okay, if you go far enough back to when man first created language, then fine, it was just random as to what grunts became associated with what things. But we're not going back anywhere near that far. It seems to me that is should be possible to understanding the etymology of a word/kanji that first appeared in 17th century Japan and has since become extremely common (in the martial arts anyway).


Originally posted by CKohalyk
I still have no idea why Jodirren is interested in this. What is your motivation Jo?

Call me jd :). I've just been doing a lot of research on the history of jujutsu, and understanding the reason certain words are used is usually very enlightening. So it is natural in trying to understand jujutsu's history to want to know how all these arts named differently under many ryu came to be called by one name. I've found most people's explanations (i.e., it just happened that way, don't worry about why) to be less than satisfying. I'm just hoping somebody out there (William Bodiford?) might have some ideas, or can at least refute the few that I threw out there .....

jd

Don Cunningham
28th February 2003, 14:05
If you really want to learn the history of kanji, I highly recommend Chinese Calligraphy, From Pictograph to Ideogram: The History of 214 Essential Chinese/Japanese Characters by Edoardo Fazzioli.

ISBN: 0-89659-774-1

Iron Clad Brute
1st March 2003, 08:26
Mr CKohalyk (?),

You said, "Obviously haven't watched a lot of sumo."

I lived in Japan for well on nine years and my wife's cousin is a practicing sumotori in Kobe. I've been to about five bouts and have been forced to watch endless re-runs of sumo bouts with my father-in-law who insisted that I should learn some sumo as I'm interested in combat arts.

The techniques you referred to I am aware of. I ask you, have you ever watched a sumo match?. If you have I would suggest that you weren't watching. The techniques of sumo begin with an initial clash, and a direct force against force. Yes, there are techniques resembling judo and such in sumo, but they aren't simply applied in the same manner. The amount of direct force used in sumo was my reason for my analogy. Sumotori don't just walk up to each other and use dodging and blending tactics - a totally different strategy is used in that strength and power alone are used to apply the various "tricks." Yes, the stereotypical "pull when pushed, push when pulled" is evident in some of the techniques - but after an initial clash and using a tremendous amount of force. This is not your usual use of the principle of "ju."

"Jigen ryu is the one that jumps to mind."

Ahhhh yes, the famous Jigen Ryu. Have a look at the history of Jigen Ryu and you'll see why there is such a strategic use of force.

"This is true of combative systems around the world and throughout history."

This is an empty argument used when one has no specific argument. There is no need to resort to these statements. Of course everything must have been tried by every race in time, and strategy is not the sole invention of the Japanese.

"??? Somehow I doubt that... you are starting to sound suspiciously like a proponent of the Unification Theory."

If you are not familiar with the old Japanese saying that "taijutsu is the father of all arts," I suggest you do some research. It is simply referring to the fact that one should be familiar with how one's body operates and be efficient in body-movement and body-placement. The arts of grappling have been around in Japan just as long as the weapons arts and they go hand-in-hand - many ryu have never considered them as separate sets of techniques. The principle of ju therefore relates not only to "unarmed" combat but the use of weapons systems too.

When the Japanese use terms like "father of" they aren't referring to a point of origin, but rather a "basis."

What is the Unification Theory?

CKohalyk
4th March 2003, 05:33
Hi all,

I wrote this long thing explaining all this stuff and then my computer crashed, so I am just going to give you the short version:

To Mr. Greeves:
- I don't think sumo is so simple, and find many similarities between it and Tenjin Shinyo Ryu, Daito Ryu, Kiraku Ryu and Takenouchi Ryu (and BJJ) in not only the grappling, but the weapons as well
- What part of JR history should I look at?
- I understand your taijutsu comment now.?@Sorry, I thought you may be coming from a different angle (http://www.bol.ucla.edu/~haroldp/ninja/ninjahistory.htm)
- "Unification Theory" is the search for the original martial art. I see that it does not apply here.


To JD:

- So are you trying to find out why the word "jujutsu" was chosen out of all the other myriad words to be the blanket term for "semi-armed close-combat" (or whatever your personal definition is)?

Anyways, I gotta get back to work.

CK

jodirren
4th March 2003, 08:02
Originally posted by CKohalyk

So are you trying to find out why the word "jujutsu" was chosen out of all the other myriad words to be the blanket term for "semi-armed close-combat" (or whatever your personal definition is)?
Yes, exactly.




Originally posted by Mekugi

Sounds like perhaps you misunderstood this little factoid; the first time "jujutsu" was used as a -generic- term was in the Edo period. Not the first time it was -ever- used.
Hmmmmm .... I guess it's not clear (but you're right, in that I had previously thought the word jujutsu was first used in the 17th century, generic or not). Serge Mol says, "The term jujitsu, however, was probably only first used in the first half of the seventeenth century, around the 1630s. It was likelly derived from the term 'yawara' coined by Sekiguchi Ujimune Jushin, founder of the famous Sekiguchi Ryu." It's not clear from this passage if he meant the first time the word had ever been used, or just as a generic label. Technically (from a literal and grammatical point of view), he is saying it is the first time *ever*, but maybe that's not what he meant.

However, to back your claim up, earlier in the book, Mol says that the name "jujutsu" (along with yawara, wajutsu, taijutsu, kumiuchi, kogusoku, etc.) is just one of the many names various ryu used for semi-armed bujutsu, all of which we now classify as jujutsu.




Originally posted by Mekugi

Other schools had apparently used it well before then- there are many flavors of this word each having their origins.

Well, if this is true (what ryu are known to have used the word "jujutsu" before the 17th century?), though it is helpful to know, it doesn't change things much. Either way, it doesn't really matter because the kanji for ju and yawara are the same. So the question still remains: why was this particular variant of semi-armed bujutsu adapted as a generic term (which happened in the 17th century, whether or not the word "jujutsu" had been in use by some ryu earlier)? It still seems to me, as my initial post on this thread stated, that this word was adapted because 1) the ryu which used it (whether it was read as jujutsu or yawarajutsu, doesn't matter) were under the auspices of the clan(s) with the most political power, or 2) the ryu which used it was the most successful in battle and had therefore proven its superiority and hence had "earned" its position as the generic label representing all semi-armed bujutsu.

jd

jodirren
6th March 2003, 18:40
Originally posted by Mekugi

Easier for peasants to explain what they saw, it made sense to them, so they used it and it became part of the normenclature of the era.

What do you mean by it was "easier for peasants to explain what they saw"? Why? Why was the word "jujutsu" easier to use than something else? Why did only the word "jujutsu" make sense to them? Why didn't "taijutsu"--body arts--or something else make as much (or more) sense? It seems like the label "the gentle technique" would actually make very little sense, as out of context it can mean anything. This would seem to especially true amongst the uneducated peasantry and/or laypeople. So my question still remains: why was this particular term chosen to be used as a generic label instead of the various other terms for semi-armed bujutsu in use at the time?



Originally posted by Mekugi

That is not to say that all ryuha changed the name of their "unarmed" techniques to "jujutsu" ; that is the way it was commonly described by those one could describe as "laymen".
Understood. But that's irrelevant, as I am concerned with the generic label people (peasantry, whoever) used for all semi-armed bujutsu, not with the internal labels the various ryu used for their particular style of semi-armed arts.



Originally posted by Mekugi

"Clans" meant nothing; it was the districts controlled by the ruling class, appointed by the shogunte, that made up small fiefdomes and their armies. These folks would shed their weapons training like snake skin, from what I understand. The caste warrior families that had martial training preserved as part of their lineage kept the names and techniques- not the people they worked for or those they trained (unless they were, themselves, in power and even then it's debateable what was taught to the foot soldier as compared to the upper rank/crust).
Okay, but clearly, at any given time in Japanese history, there was at least some ryu associated with those clans/families who were at the moment in control. Sure, the families who were in control would change through time and a particular ryu might change allegiance from one family to another, but there was always some ryu associated with those in power at any given moment.



Originally posted by Mekugi

The best source on the internet for this type of info is by far KORYU ONLINE (http://www.koryu.com)!
Yes, an excellent site and I have spent much time there. Unfortunately, there is no answer to my question there. I was actually hoping to see a more lively discussion on this forum with regards to this matter ....

jd

jodirren
7th March 2003, 23:32
Originally posted by Mekugi

Maybe Billy-Bob the farmer heard the the word "Jujutsu" as a description at a demonstration in his local town. Over in the next town visiting his cousin he saw another demonstration and in the confusion of what was going on Billy-Bob pipes up "That's jujutsu". Then everyone started saying "jujutsu" when they visited their cousins in the next farm over. Pretty soon you have the word spread across the country. Is that the explanation you're looking for?
Well, clearly this is a possiblity. I'm not going to say it didn't happen that way. The whole point of me raising this subject was not because I know the answer, but because I'm trying to find out if anybody out there has some understanding of it that they could share. If nobody can say, then perhaps you're explanation is as close to reality as anything else.

So, yes, the word "jujutsu" could have come to its current usage through the way you described. The two ways I suggested also are possibilities. So the question is, in like so many things, which is the most likely explanation? Can anybody offer any counter evidence to the two reasons I suggested? The reason Russ offerred cannot be proved or disapproved so there is not much more we can do with it. And the more I think about his explanation and how so many words come to use in any language, it does seem like a valid explanation. So then I guess I would feel better if somebody could help me understand why it would not have happened in the two ways I suggested. What ryu were associated with those in power when the word "jujutsu" first came into use as a generic label?

Oh yeah, and which ryu are known to have used the word "jujutsu" before it became a generic label? Or does this become indeterminable because ju and yawara use the same kanji and yawara was obviously used well before "jujutsu" became a generic term?


Originally posted by Mekugi

When the first European settlers came to Australia, they saw this furry jumping thing with a pouch on it's tummy. They asked the locals "what is that" and they replied "kangaroo". Kangaroo meant "I don't understand". As in this example, the peasant didn't know what they were seeing, so they called it something they had heard or understood as a definition.
If true, then this supports my argument that we should be able to figure out the etymology of the word "jujutsu". This is the perfect example of a case where we know how the word "kangaroo" came into use. So why can't we do the same for "jujutsu"? This would obviously require knowledge of Japanese language and history and study of primary sources, so as I don't have any of these skills, I was hoping somebody out there has read something about this from a historian or otherwise.

jd

kaishaku
8th March 2003, 03:12
. . .since the use of "yawara" predates "jujutsu", then it seems likely that the etymology of "jujutsu" can be found by understanding the etymology of "yawara". This is an interesting subject which I would like to pursue as well (and if anybody knows anything about it, I would love to hear it. . .

As always, I preface the undernoted by stating that I am not an etymology expert on kanji; rather the information listed below is what I have been taught about the art. The translation of kanji always seems to elicit diverse responses.

To answer one of your original questions quoted above.

Ju is also known as yawara and has been defined as "tender, weakness, gentleness, softness", although I prefer "pliancy." Ju is comprised of two characters. If you look at the bottom half you will notice the kanji for "tree" and the upper half has the character for "spear." Hence, ju is a flexible strength, bending (like the tree) to endure but recognizing that the growth of that tree has the power of a spear (a weapon that is characterized in several other kanji dealing with the martial arts such as "bu.") One need only reflect on how a small sapling tree has the power to grow through impenetrable surface, like the concrete of my driveway!

Jutsu is known to mean "art, technique, skill, means, trick, resources and even magic." I like the defintion art, given the etymology of the kanji. Jutsu is written using the radical for "road" with another character that phonetcially means "twisting" and "adhering." Hence, to learn an art "form" one must "adhere" to the "twisting" "road". Although admittedly a bit romantic, one does not learn an art, or become an artist, in a short period. One must perservere, possibly for a life time, on the long and winding road (which reminds of the song using the same phrase.)

As a final thought, in another thread there was a discussion concerning whether jujutsu meant "unarmed." Interesting, it can be seen that the actual kanji for ju / yawara uses a spear. Thus, "ju" may describe an action, approach, strategy, philsophy etc. versus whether one employes a weapon or not.

As always, this is my opinion only.

Regards

Frederick D. Smith