The peace that comes from balance and flexibility represented by two tongues of fire balancing, surrounded by a flexilbe ring of bamboo.
Arlington Budoshin JuJitsu Dojo: Self Defense for the Rest of Us
Frequently Asked Questions Bookmark and Share


What is a martial art?

A Martial Art can be defined as a system of techniques, physical and mental exercises developed as an effective means for self-defense and offense, both unarmed and with the use of weapons.

What’s a good martial art for me?

Most martial arts can be done by most people. But what you want from the class and from the training will have a strong influence on which styles would be a good match for you.

If you are primarily concerned about street self-defense training, then Kendo probably would not be the best match.
Some choices: Ju-Jitsu, Hapkido, Karate.

If you are looking for meditation and philosophy, then Western Boxing would not be the best option.
Some choices: Aikido, Tai Chi, Kendo, or Iaido.

If you want sport competition, Tai Chi would probably not be first on the list.
Some choices: Fencing, Judo, Boxing, Tae-Kwon-Do, Brazilian JiuJitsu, and Savate.

These are all generalities, and there are always exceptions. Any art can be taught in a manner which promotes any of the above. The way to know if a class is right for you is to look at three things:

What is Ju-Jitsu?

Ju-Jitsu, the gentle art, is an ancient Japanese martial art with its origins over 2 millennia ago in China. It is characterized by the use of the attacker’s own strength and momentum against them. It also includes the use of joint locks, strikes, blocks, and throws. It is the parent art to Judo, Aikido, and some forms of Karate.

Encyclopedia Britannica description

Wikipedia description

Finally, here is a newsreel from the 1930s with a brief demonstration of JuJitsu. These are all techniques we continue to do today.

Why gentle?

Ju is often translated as gentle, flexible or soft. The soft part means the minimal energy and strength expended by the defender.

How do I get started?

Observe a class or two (visitors are always welcome to observer our classes). To participate in the class you must register for the class with the YMCA. You do not need any equipment to start, just wear sturdy, comfortable cloths (sweat-pants and a t-shirt work well). Beginners can start at any time and you do not need to wait for the start of a new session (cost will be prorated).

When can I start?


Our classes run continuously. The best time to start is when you want to start. Observers are always welcome in our dojo. But the real secret to martial arts is practice, and that can only be done on the mat.

Is JuJitsu good for children?

Yes. Our Family Class accepts students age 8-13 (and adults when accompanied by their child). Younger chiildren may be accepted by the instructor when a parent is also participating in the class. Regular participation improves balance, coordination, and focus.

How does JuJitsu compare to other martial arts?

Ju-Jitsu is the parent art for Aikido and Judo as well as some forms of Karate and, as such, contains elements of all three. Here are three published comparisons:

George Kirby’s Comparison of Martial Arts1
Aikido   Judo   Ju-Jitsu Karate
hits with fists    

hard blocking    

soft blocking (deflecting)


open hand and arm strikes    

low kicks    

high kicks    





holds, locks, and grappling  

emphasis on nerves and
pressure points


flexible training oriented
to street situations

emphasis on controlling attacker
rather than injuring


wide variety of responses
to any given attack


Bruce Tegner’s Comparison of Martial Arts2
Aikido Boxing   Judo   Ju-Jitsu Karate Savate Wrestling
fist blows & parries  


open hand and arm strikes      

low kicks      


high kicks      





holds, locks, & grappling



emphasis on nerves and
pressure points

training emphasizes
flexible response


Keith Yates’s Comparison of Martial Arts3
Aikido Boxing   Judo   Ju-Jitsu Karate Kung-Fu Tae


open hand blows    


blocks & parries






holds & locks




nerves centers &
pressure points



A couple caveats: While both Kirby and Tegner indicate that Ju-Jitsu training includes high kicks (above the waist), these are not part of the curriculum at the Arlington Budoshin JuJitsu Dojo. Also, Kirby and Tegner do not agree on Ju-Jitsu training’s emphasis on flexibility in response. Traditional Ju-Jitsu was practiced in a stylized format that limited flexible response training. The curriculum at the Arlington Budoshin JuJitsu Dojo does encourage this flexibility, though not to the same degree as a combat sport such as boxing. Finally, it should be noted that while Kirby and Tegner were both writing books specifically about Ju-Jitsu, Yates’ book is a survey and comparison. Yates’ training is primarily in Tae Kwon-Do.

  1. Intermediate Ju Jitsu; George Kirby; Ohara; 1985
  2. Bruce Tegner’s Complete Boot of Jujitsu; Bruce Tegner; Thor; 1977
  3. Warrior Secrets; Keith Yates; Paladin Press; 1985

So this is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) or cage fighting, right?

No. MMA (aka Brazilian JuJitsu or Gracy JuJitsu) is an agressive sport where the participants’ intention is to subdue their opponent. We teach a traditional style of Japanese JuJitsu with an emphasis on the values of self-decipline, respect and honor. Our technical instruction and practice is designed for self-defense, not sport.

Is it good for practical self defense?

Yes. While we do explore the art aspect of JuJitsu, our focus is practical self-defense against the most common street attacks.

How long does it take?

A person seriously studying a martial art must have patience. It takes many small steps to climb a mountain, and the steps must be in certain places. Learning is not a rapid do-it-once-know-it process. It requires being patient with yourself and allowing yourself to grow at your own rate.

George Kirby, founder of Budoshin Ju-Jitsu, Chairman of American Ju-Jitsu Association (AJA)

I have bad knees...

The primary concern in the class is student safety. As with any physical activity there is a potential for injury, but all techniques are presented with emphasis on safety for both you and your partner. All students have the option to step off the mat if they feel unsafe doing a particular technique.

I’m not very strong...

Ju-Jitsu works under the assumption that in a real self-defense situation your attacker will be bigger and stronger than you. Body mechanics, leverage, and use of your attacker’s momentum are the main tools in Ju-Jitsu. This is not an art that requires brute strength.

I’m middle aged...

So is the instructor and about 1/3 of the class (depending on when you think middle age begins!). Age is not a factor (Our class age ranges from 13 to 57). The only requirement is that you are willing to learn and practice. Oh, and check out Secrets of a Black Belt Mother.

Is there competition?

The focus of this class is self-defense. The only competition the class holds or participates in (about once or twice a year) is more akin to gymnastics and figure skating where individual performance is scored. Sparring, where two people fight each other in an attempt to defeat each other, is not practiced in this dojo. To make sparring safe would require prohibiting many of the techniques that are particularly effective for self-defense.

What about the pajamas?

The gi (pronounced ghee) is a heavy cotton jacket (along with pants) that is intended to take the wear and tear or constant grabbing, pulling, and stretching. The gi is not necessary to study the art, and we do not recommend that new students purchase a gi until after they have completed one eight-week session.

Where can I get more information about Budoshin Ju-Jitsu?

  1. Check the Budoshin Ju-Jitsu Yudanshakai site.
  2. Visit the BJJY Forum.
  3. Join the Budoshin Ju-Jitsu LinkedIn group.
  4. Write to us.

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