Saturday, January 29, 2011

Injury and Pain - Book Update

I've completed 95% of the first draft of my tentatively titled: Throwing Techniques and Takedown Techniques of ALL Martial Arts. While the two terms are used within the martial arts, there is no understanding of what the difference is between the two types of techniques. In answer to the sceptics, if the difference doesn't matter, why are the two terms used? A definitive distinction based on biomechanics is presented for the first time in the English-language literature. In addition, the common conceptions and misconceptions are also reviewed. There is also a chapter on unbalancing (kuzushi) which also covers the misconception that is 'mental unbalancing'.

I was going to include a chapter on martial arts breakfalling techniques and injury science which can be used to understand and study breakfalling techniques, however, I found these chapters did not do justice to the subject. So, another book was born which I am currently working on. It is very tentatively titled: Injury Science and Pain Applied to the Martial Arts.

The introduction to the book asks, 'what is at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts?'

Dolf Zillmann defines human aggressive behaviour in Hostility and Aggression as ‘any and every activity by which a person seeks to inflict bodily damage or physical pain upon a person who is motivated to avoid such infliction’ (1979: 33). He then subdivides human aggression into two basic subclasses:

1. Aggression is offensive when a person seeks to inflict injury upon a person who is not attempting or has not been attempting to inflict injury upon him or her.
2. Aggression is defensive when a person seeks to inflict injury upon a person who is attempting or has been attempting to inflict injury upon him or her. (1979: 39)

Somewhere between the definition of aggression on page 33 and the subdivision of aggression on page 39, Zillmann lost the specific reference to pain when describing offensive and defensive aggression. This could be explained in that the reference to injury in the subclass definitions includes both bodily damage and physical pain, or, it’s simply an oversight. In any event, Zillmann’s conceptualisation of offensive and defensive aggression will be taken to include both injury/bodily damage and physical pain.

At their most basic level, what are the tactics and techniques of the martial arts designed to do? They are designed to deal with a person who is seeking to inflict injury or pain upon a person who is motivated to avoid such infliction. That is, they are designed to deal with an offensive aggressor. How are the tactics and techniques of the martial arts designed to achieve that objective? They are often designed to achieve that objective by inflicting injury or pain upon the offensive aggressor, that is, through defensive aggressive activities. Zillmann provides the following expansion on his definition of defensive aggression which reflects this analysis of the purpose of martial arts tactics and techniques and the means by which they achieve their objective:

In general, defensive activities are aimed at warding off an attack; that is, their goal is to prevent the infliction of injury or harm. In pursuit of this objective, they can, however, develop into full-fledged counterattacks. The possibility that the offensive aggressor may suffer more injury than the defensive aggressor is not in conflict with these definitions. (1979: 39)
Aggression is often a judgement laden term. Many martial arts will suggest they are teaching methods to deal with aggressive actions but they will be reluctant to suggest they are teaching aggressive behaviour. Zillmann deals with aggression in a non-judgemental way and conceptualises both offensive and defensive aggression in descriptive terms only. This conceptualisation assists us in studying the whole of the aggression experience.

What is at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts? Based on Zillmann’s conceptualisation of offensive and defensive aggression – injury and pain. The avoidance and infliction thereof. The martial arts teach ways to avoid the infliction of injury and pain on oneself by an offensive aggressor and ways to inflict injury or pain on another in the role of the defensive aggressor. Even those tactics and techniques which are not designed to inflict injury or pain on an offensive aggressor are at the very least attempting to prevent the offensive aggressor from inflicting injury or pain on oneself. Injury and pain are at the very heart of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts, and to the best of my knowledge they have never been explicitly studied within the martial arts literature. Not until now that is.

Included in this book are chapters looking at a relatively new science which specifically studies injuries - injury science. The concepts and theories are then used to undestand and study nature's and martial arts breakfalling techniques. Nature's breakfalling techniques are evolved strategies we use to reduce the risk of serious injury in a fall. We look at the clinical studies associated with my so-called nature's breakfalling techniques before we look at the martial arts attempts at improving on nature with their breakfalling techniques. A unique study in the Netherlands looked to the martial arts for techniques to reduce the risk or severity of injury from falls. These studies have been referred to in previous blogs and are looked at in these chapters. The breakfalls taught by Jan de Jong jujutsu are included, which includes the relatively unique sideways roll. A model developed from injury science is then used to understand and study ALL percussion techniques, unarmed and armed. I'm then planning to include a chapter which uses the work from injury science to assist us in our duty of care when it comes to training the tactics and techniques of the martial arts. Finally, the subject of pain, including pain tolerance, is covered. An expert in the field of pain suggests we have learnt more about pain in the past 10 years then we have in the past 1,000. For the first time, this knowledge will be used to shine a light on a discipline which has pain at its very core - the martial arts.

All of this knowledge is developed and presented to facilitate the understanding and study of the tactics and techniques of the martial arts as per Attillio Sacripanti's previously referred to dictum.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jan De Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 3

The 1995 Indonesian tour continues.

The photograph to the right was taken when we visited a pencak silat school/instructor in Bandung. It would appear that pencak silat has far greater respect in Indonesia than most martial arts in other countries as the tourist maps of the city included a number of silat schools to visit. We visited one such school which taught Mande Muda style of pencak silat.

The instructor's young son was playing with toy cars on the ground when we introduced ourselves. Jan de Jong paid some attention to the young lad who, when invited by his father, put on the most amazing impromptu display of pencak silat. The instructor showed some of his tactics and techniques using, you guessed it, yours truly as the receiver of the techniques. He then asked if we wanted to see how they condition their arms for combat, to which De Jong expressed his interest.

I was instructed to sit on the ground with a specific leg configuration (see photograph). The instructor then proceeded to beat my forearm from wrist to elbow along the ulna with a short stick. He only stopped when there was an unbroken, raised welt the full length of the ulna. He then proceeded to massage a truly revolting smelling liquid into the bruised flesh (see photograph). Then the bashing continued, followed by more massaging of the bruised flesh. I'm not sure what hurt more, the bashing or the massaging of the bruised, tenderised flesh that was my forearm. Not wishing to embarrass De Jong, I didn't object to this assault and tried not to register any expression of discomfort or pain. After repeated cycles of this process I must confess to having thoughts about what other uses the short stick could be put to. I ended up with a perfect, unbroken, raised, deep purple bruise running the full length of my ulna. Apparently they go through this process twice a week before moving onto harder materials to condition their forearms.

We ran into one of De Jong's pencak silat students in the back blocks of Java. The tourist 'attraction' where we ran into this student was a place with bubbling, grey, sulfur-smelling mud. Sulfur-smelling meaning it smells of rotten eggs. Why sulfur-smelling mud is a tourist attraction is beyond me, but, that is where we ran into De Jong's student. De Jong of course remembered who he was. He had an amazing memory in this regard. At one of the seminars in Holland in the mid 1990s, a grandfather of one of the young seminar participants approached De Jong and asked him if he remembered him. De Jong looked at him for a moment or two then said he did and that he was one of his students during WWII, nearly 50 years previous. The grandfather confirmed De Jong's identification and then tearfully and proudly showed him his membership card he'd kept all those years.

We visited many places of significance to De Jong. The house where he grew up, various places he practiced as a physiotherapist after WWII, and of course the place where the Saito's dojo used to be. De Jong pointed out the school he used to attend in Semarang and told of the time when his father visited the school to check on his son's progress. His father was somewhat surprised to learn that his young son had not attended the school in the past six months. De Jong had been attending his jujutsu classes instead of his school classes. De Jong explained, with a rye smile, that his father was not pleased.

We also visited Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city. Shortly after writing the blog concerning De Jong's return to Indonesia after WWII, a newspaper article was published which told of an Australian 'who had a front row seat as history unfolded' ( British Brigadier General A.W.S. Mallaby was killed by Indonesian independence fighters in 1945 to which the British responded 'with a terrifying and vengeful sweep of Surabaya aided by a huge air and sea bombardment.'
'That was the cruelest thing I had seen,' says Rafty. 'They didn't care who they bombed. They killed many women and children. There was no justification for what they did to the city of Surabaya and its people.' It was a bloodbath, which Rafty vividly recorded in a series of sketches. Some 10,000 Indonesians died and many more fled the city as the British gradually asserted control after three weeks of ferocious fighting. The day the bombardment in Surabaya was launched, November 10, is National Heroes day in Indonesia, its equivalent of Anzac Day. And, like Anzac Day, it honours a terrible defeat.
This was in addition to the deal Lord Mountbatten made with the Japanese to disarm the Indonesian's before they surrendered to the British in order to pave the way for the Dutch to reclaim their colony. Interestingly, it was Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, who advised the British of Mallaby's assassination which sparked this post WWII bombardment.

Don't you find it interesting (or hypocritical) that a basic tenet of our legal system is that only proportionate force is legally allowable to an attack in cases of self defence. However, our governments, in our name, have often used force against others which is out of all proportion, e.g. the bombing of Vietnam and the British bombing of Surabaya.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 2

Recall from the last post that Jan de Jong, his wife and daughter (Maggie), and myself travelled to Java, Indonesia in 1995 to meet with a Chinese-Indonesian entrepreneur to discuss a possible franchise opportunity. De Jong took this opportunity to nostalgically tour the country of his birth and to visit various Javanese martial artists. It really was the most amazing of experiences. Among the many highlights was a visit to the world heritage listed Buddhist temple, the Borobudur (see photograph right). It is the most amazing structure with the most amazing history (see

I'm not sure how it was arranged, but De Jong was the honoured guest at a jujutsu event held in the Javanese countryside. It was like a scene from an Asian martial arts movie. We arrived in SUVs to find Javanese jujutsuka in pristine white gis standing in military precision, row upon row, in the very hot tropical sun. The location was in a dried paddy field bordered on three sides by rice paddies, tended by a local farmer in his conical hat leading a row of geese with a long stick and a rag hanging off it. He didn't seem to pay much attention to this odd scene of white-gi clad martial artists in the middle of his rice fields. The paddy field had coloured banners planted around its borders, and the mountains in the distance shimmered in the heat haze.

The Javanese put on a demonstration before a ceremony was held to award a number of them higher dan grades. De Jong was the honoured guest overseeing the ceremony and participated in congratulating the awardees. We then put on a demonstration.

Our demonstration 'team' consisted of De Jong, Maggie, and myself. Guess who did all the attacking? The attendees loved it. So did the villagers who sat on the outskirts, and the youngsters were enjoying themselves but were also so respectful. The gentleman to the right of De Jong in the above photo was known as 'the Tiger'. He had a moustache and was missing his front teeth, but he had a smile that could only enlargen. He was the 'sergeant major' who stood in front when the jujutsuka were on parade and directed them. De Jong used him to demonstrate a particular technique/trick/principle in which he disengaged the Tiger's strangle using the thumb and pointer finger of both hands, and with no force. The Tiger loved it! He proceeded to chase De Jong around the field, his smile getting wider, attempting to strangle De Jong to which he responded by disengaging the Tiger's hands with no effort whatsoever.

Our demonstration was met with enthusiastic encores which De Jong happily satisfied. Why not? He was not the one being flung to what was fast becoming a muddy surface, or having painful locks applied to various joints of his body by the consummate martial artist, or being on the receiving end of various weapons-based techniques.

A couple of days later, we were in a bungalow in the hills above Semarang. We were going to ride horses up some mountain-side to some temple and watch the sun rise. Apparently it's a wonderful experience. 'Apparently', because that morning De Jong found me profusely sweating and unable to straighten my leg. He took one look at me, and my fever, and the red line running the length of my leg up to my groin, and diagnosed me with blood poisoning. Maggie and I had done a little practice in our motel room prior to the paddy field demonstration and I had slightly grazed my leg. Voila: muddy field + tropics + soft Westerner = blood poisoning + fever + a possibly fatal outcome.

De Jong immediately took me to the local hospital. As it turns out, it was the hospital where De Jong practiced physiotherapy when he returned to Indonesia from Europe after WWII (see previous blogs). It was also the hospital Hans de Jong was born. The room I was treated in turned out to be the room De Jong practiced in. I had my antibiotic injection within five minutes of arrival, but De Jong did not emerge for another 30 or 40 minutes. He got talking to the doctor who, as it turned out, knew the doctor De Jong practiced with and who had only retired a couple of years ago.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 10 - Indonesia 1995 Pt 1

In 1995, Jan de Jong was invited to Jakarta, Indonesia by a Chinese-Indonesia entrepreneur (CIE) to discuss the possibility of francising Jan de Jong jujutsu using the Jan de Jong brand. De Jong took this opportunity to visit various jujutsu contacts in Java, Indonesia and partake in a bit of a nostalgic tour. De Jong was accompanied by his wife, daughter, and myself.

De Jong and his wife travelled seperately to Maggie (his daughter) and myself. On arrival, Maggie and I were confronted by stern faced, gun-toting, military who were performing customs duty. They started searching our luggage and came across some brochures with a gi-wearing De Jong assuming a pose using short sticks in (what I consider) a very pencak silat manner. When Maggie explained that this was her father in response to their questions, the stern faces quickly turned into the most welcoming smiles as they helped us re-pack our luggage and assisted us to our awaiting transport. I've another story to tell where De Jong's name helped me through customs, but that's another story for another time.

Not long after we'd arrived, we gave a demonstration on the seventh floor of a high rise office building the CIE had built in the Jakarta CBD. When I say 'we', I mean that I attacked and De Jong and his daughter demonstrated various defences. Again, always the uke never the tori.

The building was newly constructed and the floor we were on had not been fitted out. The CIE had imported tatami (mats) from Japan specifically for this demonstration. The photograph above is of this demonstration location. De Jong is center, Maggie is left and I am right. The tatami are underfoot and you may or may not be able to see they are still covered in plastic wrapping at the time the photograph was taken. We removed the wrapping prior to the actual demonstration. The Jakarta CBD skyline is outside the windows. I can tell you it is a surreal experience being thrown with a tomoe nage (whirl throw or more commonly stomach throw) and seeing any CBD skyline seven floors up at eye level while you're upside down in the air. The demonstration was attended by over a dozen national newpapers and magazines, three national television networks, and various dignatories including many from the military, including General Eddie Nalapraya of past blog fame. One of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School's younger members would return from holidays to explain how surprised he was to see his instructor (Maggie) demonstrating jujutsu on Indonesian national TV.

When in Jakarata, we stayed with an old friend of De Jong's who was one of the Indonesian jujutsuka who had visited De Jong in Perth (see previous blog). Very hospitable. He lived in one of the 'suburbs' of Jakarta with earth roads rather than paved. Each morning I'd sit on the tiled veranda drinking the strong kopi tubruk (mud coffee) listening to the bread man calling 'roti, roti, roti' (bread, bread, bread) which was echoed by the neigbour's mimicking bird. After we'd returned from our travels, the grandmother washed my dirty gi. She literally boiled them in a tub over an open flame. Unfortunately, the badges we wore on our gi were red and white, so, my white gi became a pink and white tie-dyed gi. I've seen camouflage gi in recent times, but my pink and white tie-dyed gi never caught on.

The CIE was very keen on franchises. His most recent venture had been the franchise of Korean restaurants. After one particular meal, he drove us to his palatial home. Once there, De Jong provided an unoffical private lesson for the CIE which explained his 'school of thought'. We sat on the floor of the CIE's private ballroom at his home, complete with chandelier, to discuss the franchise opportunity. He explained he owned a house in the Jakarta CBD which was earmarked for the first dojo, and which was to be the accomodation for a De Jong instructor, and he had a car and driver already assigned to the instructor. The CIE had some tatami (see above) and explained how he intended to obtain more. There was a great deal of interest expressed from both the CIE and De Jong.

When we returned from our travels 'in-country', the CIE showed us his sporting complex where he hoped the Indonesian international tennis open would be played. That same night he took us to a colonial style restaurant as he knew De Jong (a) enjoyed Indonesian cuisine, and (b) had certain nostaligic feelings for the Indonesian ristafal (literally rice table, an Indonesian banquet). The old colonial building complete with black and white checkered tiles reminded De Jong of a restaurant he worked in as a young man. When the Indonesian women came to our table with the various dishes for us to choose from, De Jong was quite emotional. It took him back to a time long since past.

This is but a small part of this most remarkable of adventures.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

'Shorter People Have Certain Advantages In Fighting And Warfare'

I came across this book this morning while researching certain aspects of injury science (I'll update readers on the progress of my now two books in a later blog). The book is titled Human Body Size and the Laws of Scaling: Physiological, Performance, Growth, Longevity and Ecological Ramifications edited by Thomas T. Samaras. The chapter titled 'Advantages of shorter human height' reviews a number of physical advantages related to shorter height.
This chapter will show that smaller people have certain inherent advantages which can result in outstanding athletic abilities. These advantages include faster reaction time, higher acceleration, greater strength to weight ratio, and increased maximal oxygen uptake and endurance. Other physical benefits include faster rotation, lower risk of death from accidents, lower hip fracture risk, and lower chance of heat stroke. Failure to recognise these assets is probably due to a preference for taller, bigger athletes by sports coaches. As a consequence, smaller men and women with considerable athletic potential from entering many sports. Yet Alexander (1999) reported that smaller bodies are inherently more athletic than larger ones. (47-48)
Thank ... you! It seems these days that taller is better, but this chapter provides support and encouragement for all those (like me) who do not fit this idealised model of an athlete.

Shorter people have faster reaction time: 'Shorter people have a shorter transit time for stimuli initiated in the brain and can thus respond to threatening or dangerous situations more quickly' (48). It appears that tall people would become extinct in the normal course of events as they don't have the features which would be selected for in evolution.

Shorter people have greater strength to weight ratios:
Since the muscles and bones of the smaller athletes are stronger in proportion to body weight, they are more agile and less likely to get injured from high velocity activities and hard landings from sports. Although many big men are outstanding in martial arts, the performance of shorter, lighter athletes are faster and more agile with more exceptional movements compared to tall and big athletes. Examples include Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan.(48-49)
Shorter people can accelerate their limbs at a faster rate. Injury is defined in injury science in terms of exposure to energy (the subject of book #2 I'm currently working on), including kinetic energy (KE) which is mathematically defined as one half the product of mass multiplied by velocity squared. Mass is arithmetically proportional to the injury potential inherent in injury, but velocity (speed by any other name) is logarithmically proportional. Double mass double KE, double velocity/speed quadruple KE and the potential for injury.

Shorter people have greater endurance. Shorter people have relatively higher power output for their weight. Shorter people have faster rotational capacity. Shorter people have greater agility.
As a result of their greater acceleration, higher strength to weight ratio, and faster rotational ability, shorter people tend to be more agile than taller, heavier people. Thus, they can stop, start and change direction of body movements faster. In addition, they can duck, maneuver and avoid body contact with opponents more easily. ... Short gymnasts and martial arts experts also display great agility. (53)
Shorter people have a lower centre of gravity and greater stability. The concepts of stability and balance (which it appears shorter people possess to a greater degree than taller people) form part of my Throwing Techniques and Takedown Techniques of ALL Martial Arts book.
Shorter People Have Certain Advantages In Fighting And Warfare.
Although brute strength can be a valuable asset in hand-to-hand combat, many highly effective warriors have been small, such as the Gurkhas of Nepal who have been noted as being the fiercest and most effective warriors in recent times. The Japanese have also demonstrated great warrior skills as have the Viet Cong of Vietnam. Many native American tribes of relatively short men were noted for their fighting skills, such as the Commanches, Apaches, and Navajo (Samaras, 1994). The relatively short Gordon highlanders of Scotland were also exceptional warriors (Allinson, 1981). The Greeks and Romans were relatively short but very effective warriors. Audie Murphy, who was shorter and lighter (165cm and 50kg) than the average US soldier, was the most decorated war hero in WWII. Being small may be an advantage in field combat based on statistician Frances Galton who calculated that a tall that a 33% higher risk of being killed in combat compared to a shorter one. Sarna et al (1993) also reported that basketball players in the Finnish military had the highest combat death rate during WWII. In contrast, the shorter athletes had the lowest combat mortality.
In karate and martial arts, many shorter men have excelled due to their greater speed and agility. Some famous smaller size martial arts experts include Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Chuck Norris. However, there are certainly larger fighters in the martial arts who could defeat outstanding smaller fighters if they were well trained and fast for their size.(55)
Smaller people have reduced risk of injury during falls and death from motor vehicle accidents: 'For taller people, tripping while walking can result in more serious injury to the body than for shorter people' (55). The explanation is based on kinetic energy and the definition of injury based on exposure to energy which is the subject of book #2 which I'm currently working on.

There is more, but the more relevant passages have been included within this blog. It offers support for the shorter martial artist, or may change the perception of the martial arts instructor or trainer (there is a difference) concerning their students. I can now explain my exceptional martial arts abilities as I had an advantage in being shorter than many of my contemporaries :).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 9.2 - Internationalisation Pt 2

Recall from the last blog that Jan de Jong conducted annual teaching tours of Europe from 1982 until ill-health prevented him from doing so in 1999. These tours would be for periods of six to twelve weeks and involved travelling to different cities/towns in different countries.

The first 'tour' I was a part of was in 1991. De Jong was invited to a three day seminar held in Aarlen, Germany which was put on by Herr Teichmann, a Dutch or German judoka who imported diamonds from South America. The final night had a door prize of a diamond. Many jujutsu masters from around the world were invited. A capoeira team from Brazil was invited and put on a demonstration on the final night. They were 'hard core'. I found out later that one of them was a police officer and participated in the illegal 'blood sports' in his home city.

Soke Fumon Tanaka and his daughter Midori were also honoured guests, along with a member of the Japanese royal family. On the final evening when the invited masters put on demonstrations, Midori demonstrated the use of a naginata and Tanaka demonstrated the use of the katana. The demonstrations went on until the early hours of the morning and Tanaka was one of, if not the last demonstration. He demonstrated cutting a thick bamboo pole representing the thickness of a person's neck. They tried to balance the bamboo pole but the airconditioning kept on blowing it over. Finally, Tanaka simply drew his katana and cut the bamboo pole as it was falling. He cut clean through with the two parts simply separating as they descended uninterrupted towards the floor. Quite something to see.

Our 'team' consisted of Peter and Debbie Clarke, Hans de Jong, Greg Palmer, myself, and of course De Jong. The above photograph is of Peter and Hans training the pencak silat which was part of our demonstration on the final night. We also demonstrated jujutsu and the use of various weapons including the unique use of a short stick or long torch. Peter demonstrated the use of a manrikigusari, a chain with weights on either end. Watching the video of the demonstration brings a smile to my face as the commentator on the night explains that this is a weapon used by the police in Australia (they don't).

One of the gradings in third dan in De Jong's jujutsu grading system is to demonstrate the use of the manrikigusari. Peter was training for third dan and as is his way, he makes the weapon he is training a part of him. I recall seeing him walking down the streets of Munich twirling his manrikigusari. He had it in his pocket as he went to board the plane back to Australia and put it into the tray along with his wallet etc when he went through the metal detector at the airport, then put it back into his pocket and boarded the plane. Different times. I recall arriving at Hamburg airport, or another German airport, and picking up a very large duffle bag loaded with weapons - swords, jos, tanbos, knives, replica guns, etc. I walked through the airport with the bag slung over my shoulder and was not approached once by any official. Different times.

I was the first from De Jong's school to conduct an international seminar independent of De Jong in 1993. I was living in London and was invited to conduct a two day seminar celebrating a milestone anniversary for Wim Mullens' school in Rotterdam. What made this seminar noteworthy was that I was graded first dan (shodan). No shodans conduct seminars in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter). Participants came from throughout Holland, and also Germany and Belgium and more than half were higher graded than me. Such was the reputation of De Jong that they would attend a seminar given by one of his instructors even though he was a lowly shodan.

When I attended the seminar in Aarlen in 1991, I was graded 1st kyu which in our school is represented by a black and white belt (white stripe running the length of the belt in the middle of the belt). Peter Clarke told me that the first thing I'd be asked would be what grade I was because nobody else uses this belt except judo which previously never awarded women a black belt, but a black and white belt. Peter was right. I didn't even make it out of the change rooms the first day I was there and I had to answer that question. It proved quite handy actually as they didn't know how to categorise me so I got to move freely between seminar classes.

Since De Jong's passing in 2003, the tradition of teaching in Europe is continued by his instructors. I believe Maggie de Jong and Paul Connolly taught in Europe one year. Greg Palmer taught in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany before he passed away, fulfilling a dream to teach internationally. He also taught in South Africa if I remember correctly. Peter Clarke and Hans de Jong, independently, conduct annual teaching tours now.

Les Periera wrote an article about the celebrations associated with De Jong's 50th year of teaching professionally titled 'Only doing what I enjoy doing' ( which was published in Australasian Fighting Arts. He wrote:
With Shihan de Jong's international reputation the Hay St dojo is almost a mecca for Ju-jitsuans around the world, with regular visitors from Switzerland, Denmark,Holland and England, as well as some Pencak Silat practitioners also from Switzerland.
Perth, Western Australia, has been described as the most isolated capital in the world, and yet, De Jong's reputation was such that many did indeed make the 'pilgrimage' to train under De Jong and his instructors. Periera missed out a few of the nationalities which have visited here, including, of course, many who've made the trek from the east coast to the west coast of Australia. One of the first groups to visit De Jong's dojo was a group of jujutsuka from Indonesia.

The photograph to the right accompanied the Periera article. It is a wonderful photo of a younger De Jong executing a painful technique on Ian Lloyd. Lloyd was a senior instructor for De Jong. He owned the Wednesday night classes at the dojo for more than two decades. His was the first class of jujutsu that I attended - April 1983. He has a relaxed style of teaching and would start of each class with a joke, while still in seiza of course. He travelled with De Jong (and others) when De Jong toured Indonesia in the 1980s.

The previous blog referred to the school in Aalborg, Denmark which De Jong taught at annually and the close relationship we have with that school and its instructors. Periera wrote in connection with De Jong's celebration:
Several presentations were made, including a statuette from Sensei Per Brix, of Denmark, for whom Shihan de Jong has held several seminars over the last three years. The presentation was made by Sensei Soeren Markussen, one of the senior Instructors at Sensei Brix's school, who spent three months in Australia training at the school.
I'll leave this part of De Jong's story with another quote from Periera's article:
An indication of Shihan de Jong's reputation and standing on the world stage may be gained from the number of telegrams and cards from wellwishers both interstate and overseas - Singapore, Japan, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Holland....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan de Jong Pt 9.1 - Internationalisation

In Jan de Jong: the man, his school and his ju jitsu system (1997), I refer to the internationalisation of Jan de Jong. I should have referred to the internationalisation of the school of Jan de Jong (see first blog in these series for further details) given how his teachings have influenced so many he taught throughout the world .
I still teach almost every day. I have to travel around a lot too. Each year I am asked to go to different places like New Zealand, Europe, Scandinavia and places like that. Also, each year I go all around Australia, Adelaide, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Darwin. I sometimes go to Alice Springs and to Groote Eylandt Island off the north coast where a mining company has a big jujutsu club. So I am kept very busy at all times of the year. (Interview with De Jong by Mike Clarke published in Australasian Fighting Arts, Aug/Sept 1991)
De Jong first accepted invitations to teach overseas in 1982. Since then, he has conducted seminars in Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the USA (in addition to teaching throughout Australia).

Following the first very successful tour in 1982, the 'European tours' became an annual event until ill-health forced De Jong to refrain from travelling in 1999. He would spend between six and twelve weeks travelling throughout Europe each year, teaching for different schools, instructors, and organisations. The seminars ranged from a few hours to week long camps. He would be accompanied by some of his instructors and later by instructors from other schools in Australia or Europe. Maggie De Jong (De Jong's daughter) assisted him on many of these tours, and I suspect I am the instructor with the second highest number of tours.

De Jong tried to accommodate as many invitations as possible, however, that was not always logistically possible. There were scheduling challenges involving seminars at different dates in different towns and cities in different countries for different people and organisations. De Jong would spend months organising these tours himself. The transportation around Europe involved hiring a car or van and partaking of a 'road trip'. Everyone who accompanied De Jong have their own stories concerning these road trips.
The trip has had quite an impact on my life. ... The trip has helped me to see that the road to mastery of jujutsu is long and unending. ... Between training/teaching sessions in various places, there were the funny occurrences that come part and parcelled with any fun trip. The first of these memorable experiences was that of being a passenger in the car driven by Shihan de Jong. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that, he didn't get his nickname 'Leadfoot Shihan' by mistake! Our first demonstration was held in Helsingborg, Sweden. I must say it was an awesome sight to see approximately 600 jujutsuans under one roof. (Interview with Sam Gervasi, principal of his own school in Victoria, in Ju-Jitsu Australasia 1990)
The photo to right was taken on one of the European tours circa 1995. De Jong is demonstrating the use of the kusurigama against a katana. I'm pretty sure the photograph was taken by Renate Sluiter who was/is an instructor of Hans Roos (Bara ryu jiu jitsu) in Holland. In the abovementioned book, they, along with Wim Pieck provided the following tribute (extract only):
With this letter I want to thank you again for teaching in the Netherlands. Once again you have proved to be a great master of jujutsu. I am proud to have hosted your seminars for the past five years. Since the first seminar, my students and I have admired you for your great skills and knowledge of jujutsu. I hope you teach us for many years to come. ... You teach us the correct use of the principles and how to apply them to techniques. Your tactical and technical lessons are of enormous value to us. I am sure that every time you teach us the quality of my, and my students jujutsu increases enormously.
I never knew De Jong when he was at his physical peak so he may very well have been different in younger days, however, this photograph for me epitomises how De Jong approached combat. Not flashy, not flamboyant, but totally controlled and focused. He would continually stalk his opponent by creeping forward with complete concentration. His indomitable spirit was almost a physical presence. I recall seeing Robert Hymus, one of De Jong's senior instructors, being forced backwards when demonstrating the use of the same weapons, even though Hymus had the katana and was fitter and younger and had a pretty 'aggressive' (for want of a better word) attitude of his own.

I also recall demonstrating the same weapons with De Jong at a seminar in Norway. One morning we were practicing and I kept on leaning my head to one side as De Jong ensnared my sword blade with the rope and attacked my neck with the kusurigama blade. He told me not to do that as it didn't look good for the demonstration. Following my respected teacher's instructions, I resisted my evolved self preservation impulse and did not lean my head to the side. As the blood started to trickle down my neck I said, 'that is why I lean my head to the side'; to which he replied, 'I thought you were going to do it again'.

It's been said that weapons were not taught within most jujutsu systems in Europe prior to De Jong's demonstration of them in his team's 1982 demonstration at the World Ju Jitsu Federation conference, and his subsequent teaching of them since. Over the years he's demonstrated the use of the katana (sword), wakizashi (short sword), jo (short staff), tanbo (short stick - based on the Indonesian pencak silat use of the stick and adapted to jujutsu by De Jong), kusurigama (sickle with weighted chain/rope), manrikigusari (weighted chain) and hojo-jutsu (rope tying art).

The photograph to the right is De Jong demonstrating the use of the jo on, what one reporter described in her article as, 'the hapless John Coles'. Unfortunately, this is how many people might remember me, always the uke (receiver) never the tori (giver). Many times I'd be the only or senior student/instructor of De Jong's on these tours and would consequently be used to attack when demonstrating techniques. One especially memorable occassion was at the end of a week long summer camp in Norway where I was going to be given the opportunity of showing what I could do. The teachers at the seminar had to put on a demonstration and the De Jong team consisted of himself, Maggie, myself, and Soren Stiller Markussen.

The relationship with Soren is a very special one arising from De Jong's European tours. He was an instructor at the Aalborg Selvforsvar & Ju-jitsu Klub in Denmark (by the way guys, I need a new t-shirt as my other one has been worn so much it literally fell apart). De Jong had a strong relationship with the Aalborg and associated instructors and enjoyed visiting and teaching there nearly every year. There was one particular milestone event for one of the instructors and De Jong was asked if he would demonstrate handcuffing techniques on said instructor, ... and not release him so that the other instructors could take him outside and pound him with cinnamon (I think/hope). Some strange Danish/Aalborg custom I suppose. This appealed to De Jong's sense of fun and he gladly joined in.

Soren has visited Perth on numerous occassions spending up to three months at a time where he trained six days a week (that is not to say that there was not a lot of socialising and beach going to be had). Soren is an adopted member of the Jan de Jong jujutsu school in every sense of the word(s). He was (and I'm sure still is) a very fit, athletic, proficient, and dynamic practitioner. I was going to be given the opportunity of showing what I could do in full flight with the aid of Soren attacking. The commentator announced our demonstration: 'Jan de Jong demonstrating x with John Coles attacking'; 'Maggie de Jong demonstrating y with John Coles attacking'; 'Soren Markussen demonstrating z with John Coles attacking' ... and so on. Yes, I attacked for every single group, but, I was going to be given the opportunity of demonstrating what I could do ... or at least that was the plan. De Jong later explained that he forgot about my two groups. To add injury to insult, Maggie put me on my head on the floor boards with a magnificent jo technique that completely upended me, and De Jong injured one of the ribbed structures in my throat with a walking stick technique. For six months there was a clicking sound in my throat each time I swallowed.

This is the first of the blogs concerning De Jong's international experiences. I'll leave you with one further tribute from the first mentioned book, this time by Mike Wall, a long-time supporter of De Jong and his European tours:
He is a living legend ... Jan de Jong is one of the friendliest and most humble people I know in the world of martial arts. He always has time for a smile and a good joke ... few are the masters who have the experience and knowledge that he does. ... He can express details and philosophies which few other masters are able to and his visits are always one of the highlights of the year. ... If you have never met Jan de Jong you have missed one of the highlights of the year.