History of Bushido: part 2

The history of the Bushido Ju Jitsu Academy – Part 2

By David Brough

Ju jitsu socity membership

The students of Uyenishi would go on to establish the British Ju Jitsu Society (BJJS), potentially in 1924 with Percy Bickerdike as the first secretary. Unfortunately little exists of the BJJS today. However BJJA(GB) Chairman Martin Dixon did uncover BJJS documents dating from the mid-1920s. These documents include a letter of invitation to join the BJJS, a membership form, a booklet called ‘The Art of Ju-jitsu’, and a prospectus. Members of the BJJS received a BJJS badge and learned ‘the secret sign of the Society’. I managed to buy a BJJS badge dated (from the makers stamp) 1928 from a Canadian seller. So who could have owned this badge? We know the BJJS stops appearing in newspaper reports in the early 1930s, so the badge must have belonged to someone who was practising Jujitsu in the UK in 1928 and who shortly after went to Canada. A potential owner of the badge could have been Harry H Hunter (1884-1941).

Ju jitsu socity

Harry H Hunter had learned Jujitsu whilst based in Japan with the Navy in 1904. By 1924 Hunter was teaching Jujitsu out of a dojo in Liverpool at Hercules Athletic Club, Lord Street, and was calling himself the ‘Jujitsu Champion of Europe’. One of Hunter’s students in Liverpool was Benjamin Green, who appears in Hunter’s book ‘Super Jujitsu’ (1927). In 1929 Hunter left the UK for Canada where he remained.

Harry H Hunter Ju jitsu 1928

Liverpool was home to other significant British Jujitsu influences such as Jack Britten (1889-1978), and Gerald Skyner (1908-1971). Jack Britten started learning Jujitsu in 1910 and may have been a student of Gunji Koizumi (1885-1965). Koizumi and Yukio Tani would lead the development of Judo in the UK. Skyner would learn from another Japanese judoka called Mikinosuke Kawaishi (1899-1969). Kawaishi would fight professionally in Liverpool under the stage name Matsuda. The autograph below was given to a young female fan in Liverpool on the night of one of his fights. It is a very rare example of Kawaishi signing using his stage name. In 1936 Kawaishi moved to Paris to lead the development of Judo in France. An insight into the Jujitsu taught by Kawaishi and its influence on British Jujitsu can be found in his book ‘My method of self defence’ (1952).

Harry H Hunter Ju jitsu 1924

As we can see Liverpool has a very rich Jujitsu heritage, and all these influences would shape the Jujitsu we know in the Bushido Jujitsu Academy.

British Ju jitsu Society membership badge 1928
Matsuda "Mikinosuke Kawaishi" 1935

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