Jigo Tenshin-Ryu or JTR Jujutsu International consists of practicing potentially dangerous and lethal techniques. Training is quite safe, however, and injuries tend to be no more than minor bruising or stiffness in joints. Most of the training involves practicing pre-arranged self-defense techniques in which student partners know what is going to happen beforehand. We train in powerful techniques, but do not permit training methods that injure our fellow classmates. With pre-arranged practicing potentially dangerous techniques can be practiced safely under the watchful eye of the instructors, while still being available for use at practical speed against one’s opponent.
JTR Jujutsu classes consist principally of working with partners of different body types and sexes, taking turns with one’s partner in practicing various self-defense techniques. Instructors ensure the safety of each student by making sure all techniques are taught with partners performing the techniques slowly until each person is comfortable with the technique. After students have gained confidence with the moves, they will then be allowed to gradually increase the speed and power of the technique while practicing with another student. As skill and fitness increases, strikes are “pulled” at decreasing distance, joint-manipulation techniques performed more under “tap-to-stop” conditions, and pressure-point pressure rises. Periodic full-power striking drills against punching bags or hand-held pads also help build destructive power upon which the student can draw in a real-life self-defense situation.
Hanshi Kim built his school to offer a serious, yet friendly, atmosphere for his students. JTR jujutsu is not a program for competition and instead helps students focus on actual self-defense. The character is essential to this martial art. Egos and disrespect are left at the door, humility is essential, and the only competitiveness permitted is internal to each student -- as each strives to learn more, to improve, and to refine the practice. Hanshi Kim approached his students as if they were family, while yet always pushing them to comprehend the seriousness of every technique taught and to treat both their fellow students and the art itself with the utmost respect.
This style employs two main types of sparring: “appointment” sparring and free-style sparring. Appointment sparring -- in which the training partner knows ahead of time what techniques will be applied -- allows students to practice techniques safely and repeatedly, helping them learn such moves at the level of muscle memory while protecting their partners from injury. Freestyle sparring is a higher-level approach, in which techniques are applied on a more improvisational basis, without partner foreknowledge. Strikes are still not landed with power, but such drills obviously demand more care and precision from both parties than appointment sparring -- not least in that one’s training partner may need to perform to avoid injury. Training partners will also sometimes wear limited protective gear, depending upon the circumstances. Safety is of great importance in our dojo, this is not a “combat sport,” we do not compete, specific techniques are not allowed even in free-sparring, and while carefully-overseen sparring can be a powerful training tool, it is not the primary focus of our program. Our martial art has been enriched by Hanshi Kim’s mastery of Hapkido and honed with the assistance of limited sparring drills, but Jigo Tensin-Ryu jujutsu is a traditional self-defense art that descends directly from the lineage founded by Fujita Chosuke Fumoto Norisada in the first years of the 19th Century by combining elements of the Yoshin Ryu and Kasahara Ryu jujutsu lineages.