Japanese Ju Jitsu is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. It is still practiced today and had a huge influence on both Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In fact, it was one of the earliest disciplines that used submission holds such as armlocks and other methods of control such as pins and takedowns.
As a result of its effectiveness, it’s no surprise that people may want to learn about it. Here, we’ve taken the best Japanese Ju Jitsu books out there. These are based on price, articulate writing, detail, illustrations, and depth. We’ve also included a couple of books which are more to do with the culture and history as opposed to just learning techniques.
Japanese Jiu-jitsu by Darrell Max Craig
This book acts as a comprehensive guide to learning the art of Japanese Ju Jitsu. It has sections on hand techniques, throws, strikes, and even weapons. What’s more, each section is also supplemented with pictures which means it’s easier to absorb the information.
Therefore, if you want a good starting point then this does a good job at looking at all areas of Japanese Ju Jitsu. Even if you’re an experienced practitioner then this book will help you as you’re bound to pick up some techniques due to the sheer volume on offer.
Jiu-Jitsu Combat Tricks by H. Irving Hancock
Originally, this book was released in 1908 but has since been updated and reissued since then. As the title suggests, this is about tricks and tips to help improve your Ju Jitsu skills. Obviously, you won’t get much closer to the source than this as this book is now over 100 years old.
In other words, if you want to go straight to the heart of Japanese Ju Jitsu then this book is a great place to start. Expect the usual array of strikes, wrist locks, and throws as well as much more. As these moves are the basics, it also means they’re as relevant today as they’ve ever been.
Ju Jutsu by Andrew Yiannakis
This book is incredibly well detailed and was written by a 6th dan Judoka, which as a martial art actually evolved from Ju Jitsu. Here, he doesn’t just look at the moves and techniques like other books, he also goes into depth about the history and culture behind the Japanese martial art
With this said, this book isn’t just about the physical side of training, Yiannakis also does a good job looking at the mental and spiritual side of things too. For anyone interested in the history of Ju Jitsu, this is a solid read.
Japan’s Ultimate Martial Art by Darrell Craig
Here, author Darrell Craig blends in a mixture of history and technique as he looks back at the past of Japanese Ju Jitsu. He also focuses heavily on the self defense applications of the martial art in modern day. This includes looking at its use in the Tokyo police force.
As a result, it’s fair to say that Ju Jitsu has impacted Japanese life pretty well. However, it’s not just a history book either. You will also learn about pressure points, throws and submission holds so it offers something for everyone.
Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks by George Kirby
Another specialist book for those wanting to improve certain aspects of their game is Figure 4 Locks by George Kirby. As you may have figured, this is basically an encyclopedia of Figure 4 submissions. This means armlocks and wristlocks.
In Ju Jitsu, these holds are often considered as some of the best submissions to perform. The reason for this is that they are so good at controlling the opponent and subduing them. This is supported by various photos and has a lot of variations to keep your opponent guessing.
The Text-Book of Ju-Jitsu by S.K Uyenishi
If you’re interested in learning techniques then this book has you covered and goes into intricate detail whilst doing so. For example, it has an entire section dedicated to breakfalls. Obviously, this is a key part of learning Ju Jitsu so you may as well do it right for your own safety.
Of course, it has plenty of offensive stuff too, and is easy to understand and well written. For beginners in particular that want to learn as much as possible, this is a very good starting point and gets straight to the point.
Traditional Ju Jitsu Groundwork by Simon Palmer
As the title suggests, this book is solely devoted to groundwork when it comes to Ju Jitsu. So, if you’re great at throws and stand-up technique but suck on the ground then this book is ideal. The author Simon Palmer is also a well versed martial artist and has a black belt in other disciplines too.
What’s nice about this book is that it’s also coupled with over 470 photos as well as literally hundreds of submission techniques and pins. For instance, you may know a couple of chokes, but do you know 50 variations? Put simply, this book will make you more versatile on the ground.
Jujutsu 1913 by Noguchi Senryuken
This book was originally written by Noguchi Senryuken and has since been translated into English. It’s also quite old but you know it’s straight from the source. In other words, the information in this book is timeless.
Here, it acts as both a guide on how to learn Ju Jitsu as well as his own experiences when it comes to training which is a nice touch.
Advanced Jujitsu by George Kirby
Whilst some of the books listed in this article are suited for newcomers, this book is not one of them. Instead, this is for advanced practitioners who have been training for a couple of years and beyond. Typically, these moves may require more athleticism or simply a mind that is more tuned into the physics and mechanics of Ju Jitsu.
Kirby also delves into what it means to be an advanced practitioner away from the dojo. He writes about humility and how Ju Jitsu can create the perfect mindset. As we know, martial arts doesn’t just improve physical progression, it also helps with your mentality.
Jiu Jitsu Complete by Kiyose Nakae
This book was written by Kiyose Nakae during his 70s, so it’s fair to say that at that point – he’d trained Ju Jitsu for years and knew a thing or two about the art. What separates this book from others is its approach to concepts, rather than just techniques.
Here, Nakae doesn’t just list of numerous techniques, he delves into the finer mechanics and physics of moves. In Judo, this is called Kazushi and is the basis on which all attacks are used. By reading this, hopefully the reader will also take this in and improve their technique as a result.