Monday, January 30, 2012

The Jiu Jitsu Photo Album of Hans van der Stok

Over the years I've been in contact with Johan Smits who is researching jujutsu in Holland from 1900 to 1945. He recently published The Jiu Jitsu Photo Album of Hans van der Stok: Dutch Resistance Fighter and Secret Agent.
Hans, an ardent practitioner of jiu jitsu, had escaped from occupied Holland to England, trained as a secret service agent, and returned to Holland to join the Dutch resistance. While resisting the occupation of his homeland he was captured, imprisoned and eventually executed.
Smits explains that the photo album was given as a gift by the mother of a student (van der Stok) to his jujutsu instructor, 'a well known jujutsu master, Johan van der Bruggen.'

This book can be purchased through Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Jitsu-Photo-Album-Hans-Stok/dp/1470973049/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327935696&sr=1-1#reader_1470973049).

The Dutch Resistance Museum 'tells the story of the Dutch people in Word War II. How did Dutch people respond to the Nazi occupation? Who resisted? Why, and how?' They explain:
Taking photographs was restricted during the German occupation. Many subjects were considered undesirable by the Nazis. ... Thankfully, all these restrictions didn’t stop a number of photographers recording wartime conditions. Many of the photographs taken by professional photographers became familiar images after the war, but the pictures taken by amateurs generally disappeared into family albums stored away in cupboards.
The museum was established in 1985. It was relocated to its present premises in 1999, the same year that Jan de Jong visited Europe for the last time. I'm sure he would have been interested in visiting the museum.

The New Netherlands Institute have this to say about the Dutch resistance in Hans Koning's biography:
Koning was educated at the University of Amsterdam from 1939 to 1941, ... While at the University of Amsterdam, he joined the Dutch resistance against the Nazis, but the resistance was infiltrated by the Nazis to such a degree, that it was extremely dangerous to be part of it.
Recall from the post on Jan de Jong's war years, reference to Englandspiel, the 'England game'. Englandspiel was the infiltration of the Dutch resistance by the Nazis. They operated captured transmitters and reported to London from 1942 until 1 April, 1944, All Fools Day, when the sarcastic message was sent to Mssrs Blunt, Bingham & Co. advising them that their 'sole agent' in occupied Holland was signing off after their 'long and successful cooperation'.

Operation Englandspiel delivered more than 50 Allied agents straight into the arms of the Gestapo of which only eight survived. 4,000 messages had been exchanged with London, 350 resistance workers had been arrested, and 350 containers of supplies were dropped to the waiting enemy.

This is a photograph of a memorial erected in Holland to those who perished as a result of Englandspiel. It reads:
They jumped into their death for our freedom
ENGLANDSPIEL
1942 -1944
In grateful memory of the 54 Dutch agents and all those that fell during their intelligence missions.

Towards the end of 1943, two agents escaped from a Dutch prison and made their way back to England to warn SOE that what they believed to be a strong Dutch resistance was in fact a fiction. Giskes (pictured right, the officer in charge of Englandspiel, had sent a message to England warning SOE that the two agents had been turned and were in fact double agents. The agents were promptly imprisoned when they arrived in England.

Was Hans van der Stok one of the victims of Engandspiel?

Smits is correct when he writes that Hans van der Stok's story fully deserves to be told, as I do concerning Jan de Jong's.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stories

Anyone who was ever involved with Jan de Jong for any length of time has a story to tell about him. He was that sort of character. I asked Harry Hartman, a former student that has featured quite often in previous blogs, if he had any stories about De Jong, and if he'd be OK with me sharing them. He did, and he is.
Any story I share with you about Jan you can use and share with whoever you like.

I remember me attacking Jan with a sword and I holding back, afraid to slice his skull. He just stepped aside and said: 'the meaning is to hit me,not to wave it [the sword] like a flag.' The same story when we used a bludgeon.'Don't hold back,the thing is made for hitting' Jan himself never held back.
That most definitely sounds like De Jong.

I remember seeing him in his 70s or maybe 80s, demonstrating kusurigama (sickle and chain) defences against a katana (sword). The katana was wielded by Robert Hymus, a senior instructor of De Jong's who was very 'warrior-like' in his approach to martial arts. What you saw was this 'old guy' with an inferior weapon 'stalking' a fitter, younger, aggressive, trained warrior armed with a sword, who was slowly retreating through the sheer will that was De Jong.

Hymus tells the tale of a session he had with De Jong when preparing for the knife vs unarmed free fighting shodan grading. He, the younger, fitter, aggressive, trained warrior was armed with the knife; and De Jong was unarmed. Straight out of the blocks, De Jong kicks Hymus' hand and the knife ricochets off the ceiling. Hymus is confounded: 'You've always instructed us never to kick when confronted with a knife. Why did you do that?' De Jong explains: 'Because I could.'

De Jong and myself were doing some training for a demonstration at a Norway summer camp (though their idea of summer and mine are quite different). He was armed with the kusurigama, and this time I was the katana wielding adversary. I'd attack with a downwards strike, which he would sidestep while ensnaring the blade with the chain and attacking the side of my neck with the sickle. I'd lean to the side a little, which De Jong was unhappy about. He explained that it didn't look good. So, using sheer willpower to overcome my sense of self preservation, I attacked and did not lean to the side. I then felt a trickle of blood running down my neck. 'That's why I lean to the side', I exclaimed. 'That time I thought you were going to lean to the side', De Jong explained.

Oh, and who can forget De Jong's massages? De Jong is a qualified physiotherapist. In my formative training years, an inexperienced student took me across his bended knee so that my back went from convex to concave in milliseconds. De Jong took me into the instructors changeroom which had a massage table. 'Dear God in heaven', I thought, 'what have I ever done to you to deserve this.' His massage could be legally classified as assault. However, he might of thought he was one hell of a masseuse because when he asked if the injury is feeling better I'm quite sure that 100% of his 'patent's' would have enthusiastically replied in the affirmative (simply to avoid any further punishment).
The way he threw you on the mat!! One day we did a demo at an institution for juvenile delinquents. Outside the building on the grass we demonstrated some throws and locks. Some smartaleck reckoned he could free himself out of a certain lock and make a counter attack, so Jan invited him to try. Can you imagine what happened?
Hymus tells the story when De Jong went to instruct the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) that the troopers were not all that convinced about this 'old guy' telling them what to do. So, the very first trooper looked to put this old guy in his place, much to his personal distress. Needless to say, respect was paid following that painful demonstration.
Once we did a demo in a dancehall.Jan asked me to attack him [any attack] So I dived [with a yell] forward aming for his legs,the next thing that happened I landed between chairs and tables.I still remembered that the other day.
We were conducting a seminar in Holland once and De Jong was explaining something to the participants - in Dutch. I don't speak Dutch. He then turned and faced me to demonstrate a technique that he had been talking to the participants about - in Dutch. I had no idea what attack he wanted, let alone what defence he was going to demonstrate. He gestured his impatience, so, I figured, what the hell. I rushed forward with a high punch, and promptly found myself on my back looking up at De Jong, who asked: 'Why did you try and hit me?' 'Because I don't speak Dutch', I explained. He then laughed and shared the story with the seminar participants, who also laughed at my expense. This is part and parcel of being an uke, so I'm told.

De Jong was never aloof. I recall a seminar in Aalborg, Denmark, where one particular instructor was celebrating some milestone. The head instructor approached De Jong for his help in a particular tradition. De Jong 'decided' to teach handcuffing techniques in the next session, with the aforementioned instructor being accepted as the willing volunteer. When De Jong had handcuffed the aforementioned instructor, he stepped aside while the other instructors took the handcuffed instructor outside and pelted him with pepper. Some strange Danish tradition, so I'm told.

Much like the Gammel Dansk (Old Danish) tradition. Gammel Dansk is a Danish alcoholic beverage. Our host informed us that a Danish tradition is to start the day with a shot of Gammel Dansk. I hate spirits. So, I knocked the shot back in one take, and my displeasure was evident in my face - much to our host's amusement. He then informed me/us that I had to have another shot otherwise I would be walking around in circles because only one leg had been filled. I can see a certain logic in the argument, but ...

I always loved the story about De Jong grading Peter Clarke his wakizashi grading for third dan. Now Peter is the consummate martial artist. At the end of the grading, De Jong congratulates Peter for passing the grading, but, he explained he had to fail him for the first technique because it wasn't the right defence. Peter was confused: 'What do you mean? That's the defence you taught us.' 'Yes, I know,' said De Jong, 'but I taught you the wrong technique.' ... De Jong could afford to do those sorts of things in gradings because it was never ever a question of whether a candidate would pass with his instructors, it was only a matter of by how much.

If anyone has a story to share and wouldn't mind sharing it with the world, please write to me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blocking Techniques - Response to Comments

The following are extracts to the blog I posted on blocking techniques. The first:
Interesting exploration of blocking/evading/facilitating etc. A traditional "block" can be all of these things, or I guess none of them depending on how you look at it. I'm always interested to find out more about how Jan De Jong taught.
Firstly, thank you for letting me know you found my essay interesting. Secondly, exploring 'how you look at it' is revealing. Two former senior students of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School have approached me to take them through to shodan. I read something recently which expresses my view of shodan:
What is the amount of time an average student takes to get black belt? Answer: Average students don't get black belts.
The Jan de Jong Self Defence School jujutsu grading sheets for shodan refers to it as an 'Instructor's Grade'. That is the way shodan was explained to me by some of the senior instructors. First kyu (black and white) was a fighter's grade, and shodan was an instructor's grade. That may be overstating the case in the former, but a review of the grades in shodan will definitely confirm the latter.

My aim is that anyone who is graded shodan by me is a world-class instructor. This entails 'standing on the shoulder's of giants.' De Jong produced very good instructors; my challenge is to do even better. The way I intend to do this is by going beyond Jan de Jong jujutsu, going beyond the martial arts, to reference biomechanics, psychology, physiology, etc. to produce even better instructors.

Returning to 'how you look at it'; a quality instructor should be able to identify and explain the purpose of each and every movement in a technique, in a defence. Many, many instructors can tell you how to do a technique or defence, where they fall down is in explaining the 'why' of the 'how'. And we have to go beyond 'shoehorning' and 'this is the way we did it'.
The 'soft' blocks are often used to position either the attackers arm/leg or your own to facilitate the next movement in the defense cycle.

It was certainly my understanding of why we used empty or brushing blocks on certain techniques, yes the sabaki 'protected' you from being struck, but the hand position facilitated the defensive technique, be it lock or throw (takedown? have you answered that question yet!).
Congratulations 'Aus-Samurai'. It appears that you might be a student of the school or one of its derivatives. It also appears that you have thought about the function of certain blocks beyond the explanation given by certain instructors; often summed up in, 'this is how we did it.'

Absolutely! The soft blocks purpose are not to block, rather, they are to position a body limb in order to execute another movement. That seems such a simple explanation, but it is often not considered because we are considering a 'block'. In Jan de Jong jujutsu, and in many martial arts, the concept of a block needs to be reconceptualised. How do you reconceptulise a block; ask, 'what is its function?'

I'd agree with your explanation concerning a brushing block, but an empty block? An empty block is no block at all. An empty block is a bob and weave in boxing parlance. A bodymovement is used to evade the attack, but since there is no block, by definition the hands are not positioned to facilitate a defensive technique. The 'empty block' category of blocks is a catch-all category. When no block is used for any purpose.

Ah, now you appear to ask the question concerning the difference between a throw and a takedown. A distinction I initially campaigned on. Fair enough. I've moved way beyond that now so, the next blog will explore the distinction between throws and takedowns, and given this blog is dedicated to Jan de Jong and his jujutsu, it'll use the distinction used within the teachings as a case study.

Thank you for you comments.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blocking Techniques

This blog is inspired by one I read on japanesejiujitsu.blogspot.com entitled 'Block This!' It's also inspired by the use of blocks within Jan de Jong jujutsu (JDJJJ).
'Every strike is a block, and every block is a strike.'

A good block can be quite jarring and can cause damage or stun your opponent. A good block is actually the initial set up or entry into the next technique. More accurately, it can be thought of as being part of the technique itself, whatever that may be.

Most times, an effective block does just enough to move the incoming strike off its target or line.

A good block, especially for in-close systems like Jiu Jitsu, only needs to redirect the incoming force slightly. Quite often, we don’t meet the attack with any force whatsoever, we just re-direct or guide it off to the side or past us as we shift out of the path, using your opponent’s strength and momentum against them.

Ultimately, everything you do in the martial arts should reduce/protect you from injury, put you in a better position, or put your opponent in a worse one. Ideally, you’ll do all three at the same time. Effective blocking is one tool in achieving these goals.
I do not disagree with anything the author writes. The goal of my work is to provide the means by which to analyse and better understand the methods taught by all martial arts and those activities associated with preparing a person to survive a violent encounter.

The author's comments are not only reflective of most jujutsu, but most martial arts. If a block is used to protect oneself from injury, what does that imply?

Jan de Jong introduced the mon system at the front end of his grading system to introduce the student to the 'basics' of the system before tackling the more practically oriented kyu system. The development of the mon system, as explained by De Jong, was influenced by his work with developing a close quarter combat system for the Australian Army, and in particular the Special Air Service (SAS). Thus, 'he divided the skills into phases', as is the standard teaching method adopted by the army.

The comment - divide the skill into phases - comes direct from Gerry Carr's Sport Mechanics for Coaches:
Divide the skill you're interested in coaching into phases. This process is important because it makes your job much easier when you look for errors in your athlete's performance. Quite simply, it stops you from becoming confused by trying to watch too much of the skill at the same time.
Carr, in this description, seriously underestimates the benefits of adopting this approach to analyse, teach, assess, train, and correct martial arts students.

Explicitly dividing the skill into phases is very, very rare in the martial arts. Jigoro Kano, the found of judo, is one notable exception. He divided judo techniques into kuzushi-tsukuri-kake, unbalancing-fitting in-technique execution. Nakayama, in the classic, Dynamic Karate, divides a skill into pre-, during, and post- execution of a karate technique when analysing and explaining stances. (So does injury science in terms of analysing an injury event)

De Jong intuitively understood the phases in the defences taught by JDJJJ. These are reflected in the mon grades, although it takes some extrapolating then to adopt the process to analyse defences. One which was not commonly adopted by most of the instructors, preferring instead to continue with the traditional approach. The division is:

Taisabaki-kuzushi-waza; bodymovement-unbalancing-technique.

Taisabaki/bodymovement - I now refer to that as a 'phase' rather than as a specific technique, or movement. Different bodymovements may be used during all three phases, however, the taisabaki phase refers to the evasive movement. These phases DO NOT imply that these methods are used in each defence. If so, this method could not be used to analyse defences taught within ALL activities associated with preparing a person to survive a violent encounter.

Was a bodymovement used to evade the attack? If so, which bodymovement (a discussion for another time)? If not, how did you avoid being hit? The obvious answer is: you used a block.

The explanation of blocks by the above author in terms of protecting oneself implies that bodymovements are not being used to evade an attack. If they were, the blocks would not be needed for this purpose. Aikido, and JDJJJ rely on bodymovements to a great extent as part of their tactics. They rely on bodymovements to evade an attack. So, when a block is used, you have to ask, 'What is the purpose of that block?' It's no longer to protect you because the bodymovement did that.

'Blocks are unbalancing' - this was an explanation I received when I asked the question, if an answer was proffered. It was suggested by some instructors that blocks are (a) unbalancing, and (b) are categorised as pushing, pulling, hard, soft, grabbing, or empty.

PHYSICAL unbalancing requires applying a force to the opponent to stop, start, speed up, slow down, or change direction of their 'weapon'. That is undeniable as that is the mechanical definition of a force. And a force is simply defined as a push or a pull. So, pushing and pulling blocks - unbalancing? OK. Grabbing, ditto. Hard blocks are the impact types of blocks the above author refers to. Unbalancing? Hmmm. Soft blocks are deflection blocks, or as JDJJJ refers to them as, brushing blocks. Unbalancing? Empty blocks refers to no blocks at all (remembering that bodymovements are used to evade the attack). Unbalancing? Not likely. The 'shoehorn' answer for soft and empty blocks is that the attacker would stumble because they didn't meet the resistance they expected. Really? It can happen, no doubt, but are you going to base your defence on the fact that the opponent will fall off balance because they didn't hit you?

The answer to the dilemma is that (a) the categorisation of blocks was used by De Jong in pencak silat, with no link to unbalancing, and (b) it was adopted as theory by some in jujutsu. The theory did not explain the practice, so, the solution is to 'shoehorn' an explanation, or, worst of all, is to change effective technique is to fit with defective theory.

This discussion leads to the heart of the matter: 'What are your blocks used for?' Protection, then bodymovements are not being used to evade an attack. If bodymovements are used to evade an attack, and a block is used, what is its purpose? It, by definition cannot be to protect from the initial attack. It can be used to unbalance, as in pushing, pulling, and grabbing blocks. Therefore, these blocks are unbalancing in the kuzushi phase. If they don't unbalance an opponent, but they are used in the kuzushi phase, this then leads us to look at what the kuzushi phase is. This leads to the question, 'What is the purpose of kuzushi?'

What is the purpose of kuzushi? A question long debated. The simple answer is; it facilitates the execution of a technique. It makes it easier to do a technique. So, when a block, or even a strike, is used in order to enable you to execute a technique, it is also a facilitator. Thus, it could be argued that the kuzushi phase is more accurately thought of as the facilitator phase. What, if anything, is being used to facilitate the execution of a technique? Unbalancing, a block, a strike? A jab in boxing could be considered to facilitate the execution of the knockout right cross.

Two final points. Firstly, what is the point of 'deflection', or brushing, blocks when a bodymovement is used, such as commonly used in pencak silat? Secondly, a comment on the abovementioned blog explains that uke (receiver) refers to the attacker that receives the technique in jujutsu, judo, and aikido, but refers to the defender who receives the techniques from the attacker in karate. It reflects different ways of looking at the violent experience, but does the different viewpoints reflect anything about the 'perspectives' of the different martial arts? These questions are only raised for speculative purposes only.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu Jujutsu - Style Over Substance - Response to a comment

I received the following comment to my previous blog titled 'Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu Jujutsu - Style Over Substance'. The comment deserves a response that is not hidden away in the comments section of this informal history of the 'School of Jan de Jong.'

This is a great subject and touches on some important matters - can you speak of the evidence linking Tsutsumi Masao to Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu, other than his name was Tsutsumi, quite a common name - for example he is not listed in the lineage shown in the BRD.
Thank you for your kind words and support.

In response to your question, there is no direct evidence linking De Jong's instructors, the Saito brothers, with the Tsutumi Hozan ryu tradition, nor the Tsutsumi tradition. In fact, they are two different schools, and there is no grading certificate issued by De Jong that refers to Tsutsumi Hozan, only Tsutsumi. There are many possible explanations for this anomaly, but they are only conjecture.

There is one instructor in particular who has to associate his background with a traditional warrior school. I find it fascinating to contemplate if it was ever definitevly proven that the Saito's were not part of the Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu tradition, what would that mean for him? Would he have to re-evaluate the very basis of his understanding of his combative methods?

When I've discussed these issues with said instructor, his explanation, verbally and in print, is that it is an 'oral tradition'. There is obviously an oral tradition phenomenon, but in this case I'd suggest it's possibly more an example of 'shoe horning'.

I have acquired a copy of your often referred to work Jan De Jong the man his school his jujitsu system - you yourself attempt to espouse this link, unsuccessfully. What helped change your mind?
You are absolutely correct, and I'll never back away from it. I do, in fact, espouse the link with Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu in the publication that I produced for Jan de Jong and the Jan de Jong Self Defence School. I reproduced the accepted, and propagated, version of the history of the school. I confirmed each and every sentence in that publication with Jan de Jong, and a number of senior instructors who were included in the editing process. In hindsight, I should have explained the basis for this historical version of the history of the jujutsu Jan de Jong was teaching. You live and learn, your knowledge expands, and your questioning of accepted doctrine develops and produces questions that lead to discovery.

What changed my mind? I haven't necessarily changed my mind, but more the way I accept the accepted doctrine. I don't reject the notion, but neither do I unquestioningly accept the orthodoxy (as is the norm in many martial arts schools, and despite the protestations otherwise, also in the Jan de Jong Self Defence School). If you are telling me we have an association with a historical tradition, (a) demonstrate it, and (b) demonstrate why it matters.

Associating one's self with a traditional school is a part of Japanese martial arts tradition. Hell, it's a part of Western culture as well. You gain credibility or prestige by associating yourself with something that has the perception of credibility or prestige. This can have different perceptual impacts. For instance, the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu fraternity might sneer at the association with a traditional Japanese martial arts tradition.

Given Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu is associated with kumi uchi, which involved grappling in armour, you could argue its teachings are largely irrelevant today, if those teachings followed tradition. 'The teachings evolved' - so how much value is invested in the origins in grappling in armour?

I wonder if de Jong actually made this link between tsutsumi hozan ryu and tsutsumi masao himself if other would be historians did it for him?

Maybe there was an insecurity element which was coped with by an association with a Japanese tradition - by either the Saitos or De Jong. Who knows? For me, this issue is a red herring, other than for the instructors who have to associate themselves with the Tsutsumi brand. Yes, I said 'brand'. After all, that is what it is.

I can mount a STRONG argument that De Jong developed the dan and mon grading system. I would also argue the same for the kyu system. It is a very good system. It has room for improvement, but that I put down to the 'fact' that it was a first attempt. I would suggest that it speaks volumes to the credit of De Jong that he developed this system. The instructors that the system produced are world class. That is not just my opinion, it is the opinion of many others throughout Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and various parts of Asia. In fact, I would suggest that to continue to suggest he was a 'librarian', simply transmitting wisdom develop by past masters seriously underestimates the contribution of De Jong; the insights of De Jong; the conceptual skills of De Jong. The continued association of De Jong with Tsutsumi does, in my opinion, a disservice to De Jong.

You could refer to 'conservatism' when discussing this issue. I discussed the idea of publishing a book with De Jong on many occasions. He didn't want to do so because, in his words, 'they wouldn't need me any more.' That is an obviously short sighted viewpoint, but, we have to respect it based on the environment that produced it. I tried to suggest, you do tours of Australia and Northern Western Europe. Wally Jay does tours of the WORLD. You have a school with over 1,000 students (at one time); Jay has always only had a very small school. Jay's reputation, his demand, was based on one (maybe two) small, very basic, books on jujutsu. Jay does not teach a 'system' - he teaches, in his books, a series of 'tricks'. The strength of De Jong's teachings was his systems approach. ... To this day I am still frustrated.


I agree - the notion that the ryuso of tsutsumi hozan ryu left takenouchi ryu to pursue a certain modern method of training for his students is ridiculous and shows a lack of understanding of koryu jujutsu.

There is one important note to raise here, that of transparency - if some teahcers still claim to teach tsutsumi hozan ryu, people are being mislead. Real koryu jujutsu is a cultural asset and the few teachers in Australia whom are qualified to teach it would have spent a long time pursuing this knowledge.
Obviously I do not disagree, to a degree. The statement about teaching Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu does need to be qualified, until definitive support is provided either way. But that would be the case in another world that is not the fantasy world of the martial arts.

Now I'll continue this stream of thought, and maybe paddle down a couple of tributaries inspired by this comment.

The Tsutsumi brand. Of course Jan de Jong Martial Arts Fitness (1) promotes the proposition that they teach Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu jujutsu. As does Hans de Jong Self Defence School (2), Indian Ocean Dojo (3), and South West Self Defence School (4).

#1 is the school that evolved out of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School, headed by Paul Connolly and Maggie de Jong. To suggest it is the continuation of the same school would be correct, if, there had not been signifcant changes introduced (see below). The other schools were formed by former instructors of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School/Jan de Jong. #2 is the school formed by De Jong's son, the longest serving instructor within the De Jong tradition. #3 is Rob Hymus' school, and #4 is Jamie Francis' school he established in the south of Western Australia.

Debbie Clarke established Southern Cross Bujutsu which teaches Peter Clarke's Tsutsumi Jugo Ryu. He rebranded the style of jujutus he's teaching to refelect what he considers to be a significant change in method. Or simply to rebrand - see Friday's Legacies of the Sword for a discussion on this issue which has been around as long as there have been martial arts traditioins.

Based on received information, it would appear that a member of Jan de Jong Martial Arts Fitness has gone from 3rd kyu to 1st dan in approximately a year (confirmed by Youtube postings). Congratulations. Under De Jong's grading system, there are 18 seperate gradings to complete from 3rd kyu to 1st dan. Admitedly, they are not all physical grades. Simplistically, that is 1.5 grades per month. I did get Maggie de Jong through 5 or 6 dan grades in 4 or 5 weeks, but that was only because (a) she was already trained, (b) I trained her specifically for those gradings, and (c) I understood the difference between teaching and training.

The Jan de Jong Self Defence School produced very good teachers, but did not produce trainers. I had to learn that skill on my own, as I taught private pupils, then I extended that approach to my classes. However, 3rd kyu to 1st dan in a year without a 'coach' - that is seriously impressive under the De Jong system. That student would be the equivalent at least of Hymus and Clarke, which, based on Youtube vision, can not be supported.

If we work on the proposition that the very fast promotion of this individual is a compromise on the system or standards that De Jong introduced, how does that impact on the Tsutsumi brand? What does that say about the jujutsu taught by Hans, Paul, Peter, and Jamie? Nothing? Something? It is standard practice to change the name of your brand when it is assocatied with negative connetations. See WorldComs history.

What commitment do the individuals have to the common brand? You obviously cannot force an unrelated individual/organisation to comply with a particular standard. A standard that will refelect upon your product.

De Jong did not understand this issue. He agreed that another school could refer to their teachings as Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu. They had been significantly influenced by De Jong's teachings, but they had not adopted his grading system, and hence his teachings wholesale. Forever in a day, the product of that system will be representative of De Jong's school. You only have to look at Pat Harrington's The Principles of Jujitsu to see that it is preserved for posterity that that school is now a continuation/inheritor of the De Jong/Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu tradition. We need an astrix in the diagram.

The commentor that motivated this blog referred to 'transparency'. I'm all for transperecny. Let's examine what we provide as support for our teachings. End of line, if De Jong's teachings are not based on a centuries old Japanese tradition, is that better or worse? I think you know my opinion.