The Principle of Jū

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translates as “soft,” “gentle,” or “passive.” Yet, this is the same “jū” in “jūdō” and “jūjutsu,” and those don’t exactly look gentle.

[insert a photo of some guy sailing through the air in the middle of a judo throw. Use your imagination; make it look brutal. Have fun. ]

Jū does not oppose strength, because gentleness is a form of strength. Jū only opposes the unnecessary expenditure of strength. When someone pushes you and you push back, the stronger person must exert all of their strength to gain a slight advantage, and the weaker person loses; such is the nature of hardness (gō).

Instead, when pushed, give in, and allow yourself to be pushed -- and then pull. Your opponent’s power and momentum will then be added to your own, allowing you to throw your opponent with the strength of two people! Superhuman strength isn’t something that only exists in comics books and escapist fiction -- it is a real consequence of vector algebra. Such is the nature of gentleness. By turning the opponent’s own strength against them, the more powerful your opponent is, the more powerful these techniques become.

Remember, that which is called strength is not true strength. Being large and muscular only qualifies one for a life of manual labor. Anything besides an unrewarding life of toil requires developing skill. Martial arts are a set of skills -- learned skills -- and learning martial arts is no different than learning mathematics, or the guitar. Skills can only be cultivated through consistent and focused practice.

[Illustration of go and ju]

In Goshin-Jutsu, we always incorporate the Principle of Jū into our defenses to some degree. Although there may appear to be no softness in a series of incapacitating blows, there is. In our style, every striking combination varies between low and high strikes. Punching an opponent in the abdomen will cause them to double over, slamming their face into your fist as you go to punch them in the face. By working with your opponent’s reactions -- instead of working against them -- you can trick your opponent into further injuring themselves, turning simple fender-benders into head-on collisions.

Jū is a feeling, like cold, or sweet, or bright. You must experience it for yourself. Then, when you understand that sensation, you can cultivate it. The Principle of Jū is most prominent in takedown techniques. We will use takedowns as our primary vehicle to explore this sensation -- so anyone who tries to intimidate you with violence, will only wind up being humbled by your intimidating gentleness.