Monday, August 8, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 8.1 - Filling in the gaps

Recall from my previous blog that I was investigating certain details concerning Jan de Jong's gradings and his involvement with the Australian Ju Jitsu Association (AJJA). Brierley Bailey OAM (7th Dan), Secretary and Treasurer of the AJJA, was kind enough to contact me and fill in some of the gaps. Many thanks Brierley.

De Jong was awarded 4th and 6th Dan by the World Ju Jitsu Federation(WJJF). He was awarded 4th Dan in 1980 and 6th Dan in 1982. The WJJF obviously thought highly of him as Alan Campbell explains:
In February 2002, Alan visited Jan de Jong Self Defence School in Perth who was regarded as a highly respected member of the World Ju-jitsu Federation. Regrettably, Jan de Jong has since passed away but his Self Defence School will continue to be considered an honorary member of the World Ju-Jitsu Federation. Jan de Jong's efforts will always be recognised by the World Ju-Jitsu Federation, in particular his efforts in promoting martial arts within Australia.
Brierley explained that the AJJA did not award De Jong complimentary gradings as had been previously thought by some. He pointed out the AJJA was only formed in 1985. Brierley thought very highly of De Jong as his forward in the Jan de Jong Self Defence School's 1988-89 yearbook (Hakusho) suggests:
My first meeting with Sensei Jan de Jong was at a Victorian dojo in 1985. As I approached the dojo I wondered what I could expect from a man that I had only read about, a man with a worldwide repuation and amongst the finest in the Martial Arts. ...He greeted me with a warm welcome and I felt that we had known each other for years. Sensei de Jong has the uncanny ability to put a person at ease rather quickly. ...

I feel that it is his presence within the Australian Ju Jitsu Association that has brought Ju Jitsu together around this vast country of ours, and also moved Ju Jitsu in Australia forward in world circles.

Sensei de Jong I consider to be a humble man, a man who has set his direction in the best possible way, is always seeking ways of gaining more knowledge through the study of martial arts and also passing on knowledge to Ju Jitsuans who come in contact with him.
Brierley informed me it was the AJJA who awarded De Jong his 8th and 9th Dans in 1989 and 1996 respectively. Mystery solved! ... thanks to Brierley. De Jong had received many higher Dan grades from various individuals and organisations:
I have got several certificates for 10th Dan. The [xxxx] and [yyyy] Associations gave me a 9th Dan. They sent me a belt, it was very nice but I never wore the thing - only in the photographs.('Shihan Jan de Jong: Fifty years of teaching in Australia: 1952-2002' Australian Blitz, Robert Hymus)
I was present at a seminar in Europe when an uninvited '10th Dan' instructor took over the seminar. He awarded De Jong a 10th Dan at the end of the seminar. De Jong did not reject the grading, which is not to say that he accepted it. He was always careful to not cause others to 'lose face' in a very Indonesian/Japanese way. It is quite telling that the only higher grades that he acknowledged were those awarded to him by the WJJF and then the AJJA.

The photograph at the top of this blog is of De Jong performing a stick technique on his son, Hans de Jong. Hans was awarded a 6th Dan by the AJJA in the years since De Jong passed away. The higher grading is in recognisition of the depth of Hans' knowledge and experience. When you read the tributes on his school's website (http://www.hansdejong.biz/sensei.htm) you will quickly see that he is following in his father's footsteps in more ways than just in terms of martial arts expertise.
I have always found Sensei Hans de Jong to be a true practitioner of the art of Ju Jitsu, his knowledge of the Art is remarkable. Sensei Hans de Jong has always been able to impart his knowledge, with a great degree of ease and has the uncanny ability to hold the attention of the lower grades through to the Dan grades in whatever he is demonstrating. This Sensei is a true gentleman of the Art and has the respect of myself and other long time Instructors. Brierley Bailey OAM.
His knowledge of the art, and the way he relates to students of all levels is uncanny. Hans' love for the martial arts is evident by his involvement spanning 50 years to date. He is very highly recommended by senior instructors both Nationally and Internationally. Hans is truly one of nature's gentlemen, and without doubt, one of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. John Beckman, AJJA President.
It is clear that he has learned from one of the greatest jujitsuka, his father Jan de Jong. Hans de Jong possess the true spirit of a martial artist which a very rare to find these days. We all know him as a warm, humorous and very skilled jujitsuka. Christian Hvidberg, 3 dan Mizo-no-kokoro ju-jitsu, Chief Instructor Aalborg selvforsvar og ju jitsu klub, Aalborg, Denmark.
Hans had the unique experience of training with his father and Yoshiaki Unno (see a previous blog) while Unno was involved with De Jong. In an interview with Blitz Magazine ('In the name of the father'), Hans explains that they trained with Unno from 7 until 9 every morning, 6 days a week for the 2 years he was involved with De Jong.

Recall from my previous blog that the AJJA logo is based on a photograph taken of three of De Jong's instructors. Brierley explained that De Jong had given permission to use this photograph as the AJJA logo. This would appear to be following the same process De Jong used to develop the logo for his own school. He used one of the photographs of the Saito brothers (see a previous blog) which Wim Zwiers, a well known Dutch artist, turned into an ex-libras which in turn became the logo of his school until shortly before he passed away. That same logo is now being used, fittingly, by Hans for his school, the Hans de Jong Self Defence School.

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