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Judo had its origin in the ancient Japanese art of jujutsu a system of hand-to-hand combat The bushi of feudal Japan samurai are usually credited for developing jujutsu at their time the art was known as Yoroi kumi-uchi a grappling method for fighters fully clad in Japanese armor However the Nihon Shoki the Chronicle of the Japanese nation documents public unarmed competitions hikara-kurabe dating back to 230 BC Jujutsu has been known by several names throughout Japanese history taijutsu yawara kempo kugusoku kumiuchi koshinomawan What is unique to the art is that one did not use brute strength to overpower an opponent but rather skill finesse and flexibility Economy of energy balance and grace were the outstanding hallmarks of the good jujutsu practitioner Unlike the Western hand-to-hand fighter the jujutsu fighter was expected to be soft and pliable winning by appearing to yield In classical form during the feudal period jujutsu was part of the bushi training along with archery spearfighting swordsmanship horsemanship maneuvering and etiquette Its importance grew with the rise of the bushi class after the late Heian period Throughout subsequent periods of Japanese history Kamakura 1185-1336 Muromachi 1336-1573 into the Tokugawa period 1603-1868 the art became more diversified and specialized being taught in schools ryus Ryus organized around different aspects of the art perpetuating their founders vision The schools differed in emphasis and strategy Some specialized in throwing nage others in groundwork osae shime kansetsu and others in striking atemi In matters of strategy some schools valued taking the initiative in combat while others preferred timely reaction to an opponents aggression Those that followed the principles of swordsmanship insisted on sudden total attack Others preferred to neutralize the opponents attack once it was in motion Given the constant state of war in Japanese feudal history ryus tested their vision of jujutsu on the battlefield where the premium was on survival The three hundred years of peace that followed the Japanese civil wars
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