History of Bushido: Part 1

The history of the Bushido Ju Jitsu Academy – Part 1

By David Brough

To fully understand the history of the Bushido Jujitsu Academy we need to go back to the introduction of Jujitsu to the UK in 1899. Edward William Barton-Wright (1860-1951) was working as a railway engineer in Japan between 1895 and 1898 where he learned Jujitsu. Barton-Wright learned Shinden-Fudo Ryu Jujitsu with Terajima Kuniichiro, and Kodokan Judo with its founder Jigoro Kano. When Barton-Wright returned to London he wrote four essays that appeared in Pearson’s Magazine between 1899 and 1901. These essays by Barton-Wright detailed his development of a new type of self-defence which he called ‘Bartitsu’ and which contained demonstrations of Jujitsu techniques. The moves Barton-Wright demonstrates in these articles are likely the first Jujitsu techniques taught and practised in the UK. In 1900 Barton-Wright opened his Bartitsu School of Arms and Physical Culture in 1900 at 67b Shaftesbury Avenue in London. To help teach the Jujitsu classes of Bartitsu Barton-Wright, through correspondence with Jigoro Kano, invited several Japanese Jujitsuka to the UK to teach. In 1900 the first Japanese instructors to arrive were the brothers Kaneo Tani, the teenage Yukio Tani (1881-1950), and Seizo Yamamoto. In addition to teaching at his club Barton-Wright wanted the Japanese to take part in wrestling contests on the music hall circuit. This was not a problem for Yukio Tani, but offended Kaneo Tani and Yamamoto who promptly returned to Japan. Their exodus led to Barton-Wright coordinating the arrival of another Japanese in late 1900 called Sadakazu Uyenishi (1880-?).

Barton-Wright 1899

In Japan, Tani and Uyenishi had been students of Mataemon Tanabe (1869-1942) of Fusen Ryu Jujitsu. As a child Mataemon Tanabe started learning Jujitsu from his father. Tanabe was an exceptionally skilled Jujitsuka and specialised in ground fighting (or newaza). Tanabe came to the attention of Jigoro Kano when he beat all Kano’s top men in Jujitsu contests, mainly because of his superior ground work. So good was his ground fighting that he became known as ‘newaza’ Tanabe. It is suggested that Tanabe is responsible for Kano’s development of ground fighting within Judo. Indeed, later in his life, Tanabe would be awarded ranks in Judo. Thus Tani and Uyenishi are likely to have arrived in the UK with excellent ground fighting skills and with a good knowledge of Fusen Ryu Jujitsu, and much Jujitsu that would become Kodokan Judo.

Yukio Tani 1905
Sadakazu Uyenishi 1905

Tani and Uyenishi became famous through their exploits in the music halls. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu club closed in 1903 and Uyenishi and Tani would open their own dojos. Tani and another Tanabe student, Taro Miyake (1882-1935) opened a dojo called the Japanese School of Jujitsu at 305 Oxford Street W, London. Uyenishi opened a dojo called the School of Japanese Self Defence, at 31 Golden Square, Piccadilly Circus in London. At this time Jujitsu was a real craze and many people were being taught in the dojos of Tani and Uyenishi, including wrestlers, boxers, and importantly Suffragettes. Both Tani and Uyenishi published influential texts that remain relevant today. In 1905 Uyenishi published ‘The Text Book of Ju-Jutsu as Practised in Japan.’ In 1906 Tani and Miyake published ‘The Game of Ju Jitsu’. Uyenishi was also the Jujitsu instructor to the Army at Aldershot Barracks. Ultimately Uyenishi left the UK in 1907 to tour Europe before returning to Japan, but his Jujitsu lived on through his students who continued to teach in the UK. Uyenishi’s students included Edith Garrud (who taught the Suffragettes), William Garrud (who wrote the excellent ‘The Complete Jujitsuan’ in 1914) and Percy Longhurst (who was also a prolific author on the subject). The teachings of Tani and Uyenishi, their students, and their publications, lay the foundation for the development of Jujitsu in the UK.


Textbook of Ju jitsu 1900 >>>>

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