Goshin Jujutsu (自衛柔術) is a modern self-defence-oriented style of jujutsu. As there is no single creator of Goshin Jujutsu, per se, the name of the style refers to systems which are rooted in traditional Jujutsu, but also draw heavily from sports such as boxing (both Western and Thai) and certain techniques from Judo (itself a Jujutsu derivative), but in a street (i.e., non-sport) application. A distinctive trait of the system is the significant emphasis on modern weapons defense (guns, knives, etc.) from the onset of training, as opposed to sport-oriented systems that omit weapons training entirely, or systems that train in traditional weapons (e.g., sai, sword). Goshin Jujutsu is taught by name most commonly in schools in the Midwestern United States There are England, Scotland and Spain since at least the 1970's.
Ukemi (Falling /Rolling)
Ukemi is a fundamental skill that is a part of every class. Forward shoulder rolls (off both sides), break falls (both sides), front-fall, back-fall, side-fall, flip, etc. There is a minor point worth mentioning on forward shoulder rolls and breakfalls: there are two ways in which the hand can be placed when rolling, on the back of the hand which is more traditional, and rolling with the palms facing the floor. As the system is designed for real-life usage, some schools will engage in periodic tests to see whether rolls can be performed smoothly on non-mat surfaces such as at a park or on hardwood floors.
Stances & footwork
Stances and footwork are a meld of boxing and traditional martial arts. As in boxing, the closer an opponent the higher the hands should be and the tighter the chin should be tucked to the chest. A more “open” stance (i.e., more of the chest exposed) is preferred over traditional “side-on” stances due to increased mobility. This type of stance does expose more of the vital organs on the front, but more importantly it protects the back, as if an opponent gets behind they can attack with minimal response, for example applying a choke. It also limits the possibility of getting being hit on the back of the skull or the spine, techniques that are commonly illegal in completions but might be used in a self-defense scenario.
The uppercut and hook are effective close-range boxing punches and are an important part of Goshin Jujutsu as well as the jab and cross. Elbow strikes (where, technically speaking, the point of contact is actually about an inch or two above the elbow on the forearm) are practiced going across to the face, up under the chin, and down on the chest. These can also be performed where the contact point is 1-2 inches towards the triceps and may be used as a reverse strike in a rear bear hug, or as an elbow-drop to a grounded opponent. Elbow strikes are arguably the most important close-range strikes due to the forearm being such a strong part of the body. Something that deserves comment is that the effectiveness of a punch is considerably tied to proper hip-torque, which in turn is tied to proper footwork. This is an important illustration of the inter-relationship between subjects that is holds true throughout the system (e.g., punching isn’t a completely separately topic from footwork).
There is a preference in Goshin Jujutsu for simple low-to-mid-level kicks, the most common is a Karate style front kick (contact point is the ball of the foot, target is bladder or groin), roundhouse (contact point is the bridge of the foot, target is usually stomach or side of body), the side kick, and Muay Thai-style leg kicks (usually striking with the shin where target is the opponent’s knee or side of leg). Knee-strikes, technically speaking, are classified as kicks in Goshin Jujitsu and are used in close-range.
The Jujutsu Part
Goshin Jujutsu prioritizes street-effectiveness over flash. While elbow strikes, and hand-strikes such as jabs, hooks and uppercuts are a core part of training, it’s generally not good strategy to repeatedly trade blows with somebody at close-range, particularly when the aim is self-defense. A better idea is to use strikes as a setup and use Jujutsu as the fight-stopper. Joint locks (and assorted restraining/submission techniques), chokes, throws, and defenses from all of the above are the essence of jujutsu. Techniques used as a part of Goshin Jujutsu include joint locks such as wrist locks, elbow locks (commonly called “arm bars”) Chokeholds No-gi (over-under choke, sleeper hold, guillotine choke, arm/leg triangle, etc.). Sweeps, reaps or Trips and throws are also a part of the training regimen.
An understanding on how to grapple and fight on the ground is critical. Though it is not particularly advantageous to be on the ground in a crowded place, the need still exists to understand how to fight from any position. Goshin Jujutsu strives to maintain a sense of realism in grappling by encouraging practitioners to throw (light) punches during grappling to remember to cover up, because when on the bottom in a real emergency the opponent probably may not be trying to “pass your guard.” That said, the fundamentals of the grappling positional hierarchy (e.g., guard position, side control, mount position, back), movement, and escapes are an important part of training, many of the locks and chokes on the ground are the same or similar to their standing applications (e.g., key lock, rear naked choke, etc.)
Scenario Based Training
A great deal of time in Goshin Jujitsu is teaching techniques in the context of “attack scenarios.” When practicing the techniques, the tori is the person that is performing the defense technique, and the Uke is the aggressor, including defenses from wrist shoulder and lapel grabs, from pushes, running charges bear hugs and defense of chokes and headlocks.
Goshin Jujutsu emphasizes modern-weapons defense, such as guns, knives, bats, and chains, as opposed to traditional weapons such as the sword, bo, and sai, etc.
Training with other people is a fundamental part of Jujutsu training, and knowing how to deal with a variety of body types develops the sensitivity to know which techniques can work on which people, and which techniques are the most effective for your own body type. Likewise, while the uke seems simply to be “the attacker that gets beat up,” it’s more complex than that. Receiving techniques develops the reflexes to respond at the right moment, and ironically, only by receiving techniques do you really begin to trust them.