August 2022 Book Survey Part 1


 Welcome to the August 2022 book survey, part one. I decided to break this month's survey into two posts, as I did last month.


In August 2022, I (Richard) continued my reading plan. This post describes 8 books that I surveyed in August. A subsequent post will address the other 7 that I surveyed last month. Read on to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Bokuden Ryu Jujutsu: A Record of Intensive Lessons of Jujutsu, Otsuka Nobuyoshi, translated by Eric Shahan, 2016

Bokuden Ryu Jujutsu is one of several Eric Shahan translations I've bought. This small paperback (also now available via Kindle) was written in 1916 and first published in 1917. There appears to be no real information on the author save his photograph. 

There is some detail on the style founder, Tsukahara Bokuden, from a cited 1885 text. Dr Hall's great encyclopedia notes that Tsukahara Bokuden lived from 1489-1571 and was founder of Kashima Shinto Ryu. He was born into the Yoshikawa family, who were guards at the Kashima Jingo (shrine). The Tsukahara clan adopted him, hence his new name. Dr Hall says that Bokuden learned Katori Shinto Ryu from his adopted father.

The content in this book that caught my attention, and prompted discussion in the Martial History Team Discord, was this photo from page 13:

It reminded me of a famous photograph of a teenage Jigoro Kano, founder of judo (available from the IJF):

I never realized that Kano was likely adopting a traditional jujutsu stance. Note that he is covering his thumbs with his fingers. We'll see this again in the next book. 

The book offers line figure techniques on pages 14-86. In the "odd category," page 87 appears to show breaking a piece of paper with paper, page 88 seems to show putting birds on their backs via shouting a kiai, and page 89 talks about stopping heat and burns by chanting.

Overall this is a nice piece of history made accessible to westerners thanks to Eric Shahan's work.

The Complete Martial Arts of Japan, Volume 2: Jujutsu, Sadamoto Sugawara, translated by Eric Shahan, 2014

The Complete Martial Arts of Japan, Volume 2: Jujutsu is another Shahan translation. I appear to have an older version. The author of this book is a mystery. He wrote books from 1898 to 1926. He may also have used the name Hisamatsu Sadamoto. The text claims a March 1898 date, and mentions "Sekiguchi Ryu Jujutsu, direct transmission from Amaha Setsuo." It calls "jujutsu [the] elder parent of the bujutsu [military techniques] Riku Gei" of bow, horse, sword, spear, cannon, and rifle.

This book would benefit from greater differentiation between the original translated text and the translator's commentary. Of note is the translator's mention on page 19 of a 1926 book that also shows wrapping fingers around the thumb. 

Here is an example from page 24.

Page 25 explicitly mentions tucking the thumb inside the fingers: 

Pages 24-124 of this book feature line figures with techniques. 

This is another book of historical interest to judo and jiujitsu researchers.

Jiu-Jitsu or Jiu-do: Selection from Kodokwan Method, K. Yamanaka, 1918/2007

My copy of Jiu-Jitsu or Jiu-do: Selection from Kodokwan Method is a 2007 Argos Classic Reprint reformatted version of the original 1918 book published by the Rikko Art Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The original was previously available at the Internet Archive, but it appears to now be missing. 

This book mentions the art "founded by Professor Kano, in a selection from the written instructions of Prof [Sakujiro] Yokoyama [1864-1912, one of the Four Guardians of the Kodokan]." 

This is a judo book. It uses the term judo, but also jiu-do, jiu-dow, jiu-jutsu, and jiu-jitsu. 

The book discusses throwing, grappling, and limited striking. It is useful as an historical snapshot of judo as envisioned in 1918.

USJA Jujutsu Manual, Ben Bergwerf and Ronald Allan Charles, 2019

I bought the 2019 edition of the USJA Jujutsu Manual to get a sense of what modern practitioners do with "traditional" jujutsu, in a non-koryu setting. The USJA here is the United States Judo Association, which was formerly the Armed Forces Judo Association. 

This is a massive softcover book measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches and offering 487 color pages. It's a reference manual and curriculum for this particular system, with medical implications, rank requirements, etc, through page 39, and techniques from page 40 to 482. These include wrist grab / clothing grab / bear hug / choke / headlock escapes, throws, strikes, joint locks, and ground control.

I loved seeing color photos in this large print format. They are pretty well laid out and explained, too. I also appreciated the use of English and Japanese terminology throughout.

This book could serve as an example to other systems for how to package your curriculum in a single large manual.

Shintai Kyousei Jutsu: The Art of Effortless Opponent Body Control, 2020 Revised & Expanded Ed

I bought Shintai Kyousei Jutsu to get a second look at another modern jujutsu version. This is another massive print on demand book measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. However, this 451 page monster is all black and white, likely to keep the cost down.

This book provides a 14 page introduction, followed by 58 pages of theory, 62 pages of "pre-skills," and 336 pages of techniques. It mentions a planned second volume to apply SKJ concepts to other techniques. 

I liked how the author integrated concepts and demonstrations from many other arts. The content is quite varied. The pictures are a bit small with too much blank dojo wall space showing. 

Jujutsu: Traditions, Ways & Modern Practices, 2nd Ed, Andrew Yiannakis, 2019

I bought a copy of Jujutsu: Traditions, Ways & Modern Practices because it was fairly inexpensive yet highly rated. This is a bit of a low-cost affair, with a pixelated cover and a collection of essays, mostly by Dr Yiannakis.

Bruce Bethers of the US Ju-Jutsu Federation endorsed this book in his prologue. Apparently Dr Yiannakis developed his own "Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu" in the early 1980s and that is the basis for this title.

The sources for this book include Wikipedia (ugh), Watson's Father of Judo (yikes), and Stevens' Way of Judo (which I like). 

This book is probably only useful for students of this system.

Kokushi-ryu Jujutsu, Nobuyoshi Higashi, 1995

I bought an old used copy of Kokushi-ryu Jujutsu because the author is the father of famous judoka Shintaro Higashi. The book is a black and white paperback published by the famous Unique Publications house. At 250 pages, it is almost all techniques. Unfortunately the pictures are too small. 

I bought it to get a sense of what professor Higashi (junior) might have learned from his father. I enjoyed seeing the English and Japanese technique names throughout.

Traditional Ju Jitsu Groundwork, Simon Palmer, 2017

I bought Traditional Ju Jitsu Groundwork to get a sense of a "modern" jujutsu, non-judo, non-BJJ take on newaza. The book itself is a small color paperback measuring 5 1/2 inches by 8 1/4 inches. It offers a really great layout for such a small format. In places the pictures use the whole page.

The content offers English and Japanese terminology. It appeared to me to be more of a reference than an instruction manual. There didn't seem to be enough content for each technique to teach someone unfamiliar with the movements. I recommend a double-sized book (8 1/2 by 11) and more pictures per technique.


Overall, none of this month's titles jumps out as a "must buy." Eric Shahan's translations are always interesting, however. The USJA jujutsu manual is worth perusing if you are considering a similar project for your style.

Stay tuned for part two, later this month!

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