Jujutsu (also commonly and incorrectly spelled as Jiu Jitsu, Ju Jitsu) meaning 'Gentle/Yielding/Compliant - Craft/Skill/Art', is a method of close quarter combat. Another historical name for Jujutsu is 'Yawara'. It is classified as a grappling art and covers a vast array of techniques such as: blocking and deflections (Uke), striking techniques (Atemi Waza): punching (Tsuki) and kicking (Keri), grappling (Katame Waza), breaking balance (Kuzushi), joint locking skills and dislocations (Kansetsu Waza), strangles and choking (Shime Waza), holds and pinning (Osae Waza), throws (Nage Waza), counters (Kaeshi Waza), and vital points (Kyusho Waza).
Jujutsu is a Japanese Martial Art and can be traced back to the ancient times of Japan, owing most of its glory to the skilful and brave Samurai Warriors who continued upgrading and refining its vast array of scientific techniques in actual combat. The basic principle of the art is to defeat the enemy in any way possible. Jujutsu expresses the philosophy of yielding to an opponent's force rather than trying to oppose force with force. Manipulating an opponent's attack using his force and direction allows Jujutsu-ka to control the balance of their opponent and hence prevent the opponent from resisting the counterattack. It is also known as the Mother Art, as it gave birth to other arts and styles. All Japanese Martial Arts practitioners used to have to master Jujutsu as this was the quintessence of Martial Art's philosophy.
To date, many Ko-ryu (old styles/schools) of Jujutsu still exist and this is thanks to unbroken transitions of leadership trough the ages. One such school is Takenouchi Ryu which is the oldest still in existence. In later times, other Koryu developed into systems more familiar to the practitioners of Jujutsu commonly seen today. These are correctly classified as Edo Jujutsu, and after or near the end of the Togukawa period (1868) what is known as Gendai Jujutsu started developing. Techniques and methods can vary greatly between the different Ryu (styles).
Some of the Jujutsu Ryu also include Seifukujutsu (adjustment and restoration art) and Kappo (resuscitation). It was strongly believed that one who knows how to cause damage to the body and to life, must also know how to reverse it and preserve life.
Over time, Gendai Jujutsu has been embraced by law enforcement officials worldwide and continues to be the foundation for many specialized systems used by police. The most famous of these specialized police systems is the Taiho-jutsu (arresting art) system formulated and employed by the Tokyo Police Department. Jujutsu techniques have been the basis for many military unarmed combat techniques (including British/US/Russian special forces and SO1 police units) for many years.
Some derivative forms developed into competitive sports, most notably Judo which became an Olympic sport and BJJ. Having said this, many who study Judo believe, as Jigaro Kano (the founder of Judo) did, even though he emphasized Randori training, that Judo is not a sport but a self defense system creating a pathway towards peace and universal harmony. Kano always considered Judo a form of, and a development of, Jujutsu.
Jujutsu, the current standard spelling, is derived using the Hepburn Romanization system. Before the first half of the 20th century, however, Jiu-Jitsu and then Ju-Jitsu were preferred, even though the Romanization of the second Kanji as Jitsu is unfaithful to the standard Japanese pronunciation. The term Jitsu has a different kanji and means something else totally unrelated to Martial Arts. Since Japanese martial arts first became widely known of in the West in that time period, these earlier spellings are still common in many places. Ju-Jitsu is still a common spelling in UK, France, Canada and the United States while Jiu-Jitsu is most widely used in Germany and Brazil.
Although Jujutsu is mainly unarmed or lightly armored combat Art, many Jujutsu systems include teachings of weaponry Arts such as Bojutsu (six foot staff) and Hojojutsu (cord).