Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The school of Jan de Jong Blog

I've decided to write a blog dedicated to the school of Jan de Jong.

When I say the school of Jan de Jong, I refer to a school of thought rather than a physical place of teaching. Much the same way as the school of Rembrandt refers to a school of thought rather than a physical school. This is the Jan de Jong legacy. He didn't just teach a martial art or martial arts. He taught a way of thinking about the martial arts.

I initially wrote a blog under the title of Kojutsukan. It was written to introduce the public to the work I was doing in using science to understand and study the tactics and techniques taught by the martial arts and used in violence generally. Given my association with De Jong, I received many requests for more information on the man himself. I'd already drafted a chapter on the school of Jan de Jong in my originally conceived how-to book on Jan de Jong jujutsu, so, a little more research and I posted what I'd written.

What I posted was met with quite an amazing response. Not the least of which was that I was considered the unofficial historian of De Jong and his school of thought. Other's considered him and his school of thought important enough to contact me and contribute what they had to this story.

My writing was not met with universal approval. A member of the De Jong's family took exception to some of what I'd written. I attempted to appease their concerns by amending some of what I'd written, but for whatever reason I did not amend the description of a particular photograph that described it as being taken at the 860 Hay Street dojo. This is what Mr de Jong had told me and so I was going to stick with it until proven otherwise. As it turns out, there was an unintended wonderful consequence to this action.

Harry Hartman saw this photograph and contacted me to correct me. Harry trained under De Jong from 1954 to 1958. He obviously loved his time with De Jong and felt compelled to contact me. We have since commenced a correspondence, which I treasure. He generously forwarded me photographs and other documents of his time with De Jong. They have shed some light on the past and the development of the school of Jan de Jong.

Two former senior instructors of the school, before my senior instructors, have since given me two shopping bags (ecologically friendly of course) full of documents that I am in the process of studying. They gave them to me because they consider De Jong and his school of thought important, and, it would appear that I am the only one to take the history of De Jong and his school of thought serious enough to actually study.

So, this blog is about De Jong and his school of thought. It will disturb some, but it will also contribute to his legacy. Some may not want to hear what is written, but others will gain a greater appreciation for what De Jong developed. I believe he was no 'librarian'. He was not simply another person in a linage that passed on the same information. He did not simply pass on what he was taught. I believe he developed so much, including a way of looking at all martial arts, a systems approach to martial arts.

Anybody who wants to contribute to this project, please do. With great appreciation.

The first thing readers can do is, provide me with the contact details for Michael Parry. He was a journalist with the Daily News (Western Australia) who was writing a book on De Jong. I have a draft of his first chapter, which will be printed in this blog in the near future. A memo was circulated within the school for people to provide Parry with stories about De Jong, with De Jong's endorsement. What stories were told?

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