Jujitsu History and the founding of Godai Jujitsu


"Jū" can be translated to mean "gentle, soft, supple, flexible, pliable, or yielding." "Jitsu" can be translated to mean "art" or "technique" and represents manipulating the opponent's force against himself rather than confronting it with one's own force. Jujitsu developed to combat the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon. Because striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.


There are many variations of the art, which leads to a diversity of approaches. Jujutsu schools (ryū) may utilize all forms of grappling techniques to some degree (i.e. throwing, trapping, joint locks, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking, and kicking). In addition to jujutsu, many schools teach the use of weapons.


Today, jujutsu is practiced in both traditional and modern sports forms. Derived sport forms include the Olympic sport and martial art of judo, which was developed by Kanō Jigorō in the late 19th century from several traditional styles of jujutsu, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which was derived from earlier (pre–World War II) versions of Kodokan judo.


Japanese jujitsu systems typically emphasize more on throwing, pinning, and joint-locking techniques as compared with martial arts such as karate, which rely more on striking techniques. Striking techniques were seen as less important in most older Japanese systems because of the protection of samurai body armor and were used as set-ups for their grappling techniques.


In jujitsu, practitioners train in the use of many potentially fatal moves. However, because students mostly train in a non-competitive environment, the risk is minimized. Students are taught break falling skills to allow them to safely practice otherwise dangerous throws.


The word Jujitsu can be broken down into two parts. "Ju" is a concept. The idea behind this meaning of Ju is "to be gentle", "to give way", "to yield", "to blend", "to move out of harm's way". "Jitsu" is the principle or "the action" part of Ju-Jitsu. In Japanese this word means science or art.


The Swedish physiotherapist, boxer and elite-sportsman Viking Cronholm travelled to South-Africa in 1904. It was there that a few years later he was taught Ju-jutsu by an English officer.


He returned to Sweden, and immediately introduced Ju-jutsu to his old boxing friends.


The first official Ju-jutsu exhibition followed by a course in self-defence, was held in January 1908. Cronholm continued his studies with various Japanese Ju-jutsu masters, probably those who had started the Ju-jutsu institute in London.


His first Ju-jutsu demonstration in Stockholm was given immense attention, and he gained great interest and support from the most prominent sporting leaders in Sweden, amongst others the "father of modern sport", the General and head of the Central Gymnastic institute, Viktor Balck.


Cronholm´s efforts to start a boxing an Ju-jutsu institute in Stockholm were not so successful, however, so he devoted the rest of his lifetime to the instruction of the military, police, watchmen and other uniformed groups in close combat and self-defence techniques. Cronholm did, however, willingly demonstrate Ju-jutsu in sports clubs. Due to Cronholm´s efforts "jiu jitsu" became an recognised term in Sweden. Because so many people learnt his techniques, Ju-jutsu did not become surrounded by the mysticism that is often related to budo. Ju-jutsu in Sweden (in contrast to many other countries) has never become esoteric nor exotic.


It must, however, be emphasised that Cronholm´s Ju-jutsu never developed into a sporting system, nor was it practised systematically or to any great extent within any sports organisation. The sporting practise of Ju-jutsu had thus not yet been established.


On the other hand, the Ju-jutsu which Cronholm practised has many similarities with the present style, and many of the techniques he taught are still practised today, although in somewhat different manner. His Ju-jutsu was less dynamically orientated than that of the present day, using the reaction to pain more extensively, not least of all in the techniques applied to the wrist, which were amongst his favourites (kote gaeshi, ude osae, hiji gatame). Viking Cronholm was incredibly quick in his movements. He liked to use "small" techniques, but also dramatic atemi, the use of thrusts to vital anatomical points or the moment of surprise. His personal favourite was called "the kiss-hold", particularly useful for women confronted with unwelcome attention. It is very similar to one of the techniques found in the present Ju-jutsu system.


Viking Cronholm remained active until he was around 75 years old, holding demonstrations and instructing the military. He died in 1961, at the age of 87, and had hence been involved in Ju-jutsu for nearly 60 years. By then he come in contact with the first representatives of modern budo who had begun their activity in Sweden around 1950. Cronholms´s classical, close combat Ju-jutsu differed, however, from the style inspired by judo which was now being imported from the Continent.


Cronholm´s well known book "Jiu-jitsu Tricks" from 1908 has been published in more than 30 editions and was on sale into the 1990:s. This would make it one of the most popular sports-books in Sweden. Many tens of thousands of Swedes had also been instructed in Ju-jutsu by Viking Cronholm. He was even a pioneer in the teaching of Ju-jutsu to women; his wife Ester participated in demonstrations in the early part of the century, and was very adept at Ju-jutsu.


Due to Cronholm´s efforts, Ju-jutsu became the budo-sport with the incomparably longest history in Sweden.


In the sports-press of the 1920:s and 1930:s there was also a great interest in Ju-jutsu. Through comprehensive articles especially in the boxing-journal "Swing", young men, and maybe even women, taught themselves a primitive form of Ju-jutsu. Instruction in Ju-jutsu could also be taken from Alex Wiemark who ran an institute for boxing and Ju-jutsu in Stockholm from the 1920:s until the end of the 1940's. Some of Cronholm´s pupils also gave instruction in self-defence, among them the policeman Arthur Lidberg, active in Gothenburg during the 1930:s, and Ernst Wessman, who had gained his Ju-jutsu education in Germany and who was particularly interested in self-defence for women, subsequently starting an "Amazon-Order" in Stockholm.


Soke Erik Karlsson is one of Sweden's most respected Martial Artist and a very popular Jiu Jitsu and Iaido Master in the world.

He is the man behind a lot of dojos in the south part of Sweden. He invited Soke Richard Morris to Sweden in the late 70s and he started up 25 dojos at the time in the area.


Soke Erik Karlsson, 10th Dan became one of the finest Jiu Jitsu masters in the world under the able guidance of Japanese master Soke Inoue from Hontai Yoshin Ryu. He is now the Chief Instructor for Hontai Yoshin Ryu in Sweden. Every year he travels to the Honbu Dojo in Japan to develop his skills in the ancient Japanese arts of jujitsu and Iaido.


Soke Karlsson is the founder and Chief Instructor of the Swedish Jujitsu School. Other grades that he holds are: 9th Dan Hoku Shin Ko Ryu Jujutsu, 5th Dan Hontai Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu, 4th Dan Hontai Yoshin Ryu Iaido, 3rd Dan Toyama Ryu Iaido and 1st Dan Ninjutsu.


1985 Keith Saut began training Jujitsu under Kurt Durewall and went on with training under Jan-Erik Karlsson. Before this, in 1967 Saut began training Kung Fu and was promoted to 4th Dan in Kung Fu. In 1991 Saut was promoted to Black belt in Jujitsu. With the Kung Fu training and knowledge he got he was very interested in Godai (The Five Elements) and was constantly working with them in his martial arts training.


1991 Magnus Degéus began training Hoku Shin Ryu Jujitsu in Karlshamn and took after one year over the responsibility of the school. After training jujitsu 5 years he was during a seminar with Jan De Jong promoted to Black belt by Jan-Erik Karlsson in 1995. At this time Degéus was allready a high ranked black belt in Hapkido and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In 1996 Degéus trained Hapkido, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Jujutsu and in secrecy began studying Dim Mak. This was how Degéus interest in Godai (The Five Elements) and Yin and Yang started.


1993 Magnus Degéus and Keith Saut met on a camp in Halmstad where Saut was instructing and both of them was drawn to the other and friendship was established. From this moment Saut and Degéus kept in close contact but in secrecy due to their thoughts of creating something new. In 2004 Keith Saut founded his system The Five Elements Kung Fu Jutsu but could not by himself alone put together a jujitsu style based on the five elements. Then, Saut asked Degéus to join him and together form a Five Elements Jujitsu style. During the years the style has been carefully put together by both of them. In 2018 Saut and Degéus went public with their jujitsu style Godai Jujitsu. Saut and Degéus are both previous system founders and have together 90 years of martial arts experience together.



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