Edwin Li, of Edinburgh University, spoke to Support through Sport UK about the university’s Jiu Jitsu Club.
Hi Edi. First off, what exactly is Jiu Jitsu and how does it differ to other martial arts, such as Karate and Kung Fu?
Jiu Jitsu (or just Jitsu) is a martial art that comprises throws, joint lock and strikes. The principal is to use as little energy as possible yourself and to use your agressor’s energy to your advantage. There are several key differences, making it a distinguishable martial art. Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwando etc. are more static, and you use set sequences, unlike Jitsu. We promote and focus on fluidity, instinct and practicality. We simulate everyday situations, where people try to grab your hand, right the way to two-man attacks.
Are there different types of Jiu Jitsu and, if so, what style does the Edinburgh University Club practice?
There are two main different Jiu Jitsu parts: Japanese and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Japanese is the one we focus on (Shorinji Kan Style), however we also include some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also known as BJJ). They differ in a key aspect - the Japanese style is fought standing, whereas BJJ takes place on the ground (BJJ is ground-work, similar to Judo). So we teach you how to fight standing - but also how to defend yourself when you are on the floor.
How big is your club and do you have to be an Edinburgh University Student to be a member?
We are a big club with over 150 members. You don’t have to be a student to join our club - everyone is welcome!
Do you have both male and female members?
Yes - Jiu Jitsu is for everyone - whether you just want to get back into fitness, want to learn a practicable martial art or just want to learn how to defend yourself. We have small girls throwing big guys around!
Is Jiu Jitsu accessible to disabled people?
Yes it is.
Is there a good social side to your club?
Obviously! You kind of have to get to know the other members because you've just tried to punch / throw them for two hours. We go to the pub after every session and have many social events. We also have ties to the Napier, HW and City Jitsu club - as we are all from the same Foundation. Additionally, we have national events where you practise and compete with people from all over the country. There are also regional sessions, where instructors from other areas come up and teach - and bring their own club.
Can Jiu Jitsu be used to help counter aggressive situations?
Yes, definitely. We do train our members to act and react in aggressive situations, and how to deal with aggressors safely.
Why else would you encourage people to take up Jiu Jitsu?
Jiu Jitsu is so much fun; it’s a great martial art. It’s great for fitness, you get to meet great people and it’s always safe to know self-defence! Our social side is also legendary, seeing as we have won the drinking boat race for ten years in a row!  It’s definitely worth trying it out!
Club: Jiu Jitsu (Self Defence) Edinburgh University
Contact: Edwin Li; eujjc.c@gmail.com
Brief Description: Jitsu is a martial art based on the traditional styles of Jiu Jitsu that originated and developed in medieval Japan. The core of the art comprises a system of throws, joint locks and strikes. Based on the principal of using an aggressor’s energy to their own disadvantage, Jitsu skills can be used by men, women and children to counter aggressive situations ranging from unwanted harassment to armed physical assault. Jitsu is a progressive martial art that offers a means of personal and physical development, as well as an effective system of self-defence. Regular training can help to improve strength, fitness, flexibility, co-ordination and posture. Moreover, most people find that over time Jitsu can improve their self-esteem and self-confidence. Edinburgh University Jiu Jitsu Club is part of the Jitsu Foundation and the style of Jitsu taught is Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu.