Martial arts fanatics in Kuwait are turning to the latest craze these days — Ju-Jitsu. They find it more exciting, more practical and useful away from the traditonal forms of martial arts.
Juijitsu also known as Ju-Jitsu originated in feudal Japan and was a perfect unarmed compliment to the armed combat of the Samurai. Ju-Jitsu translated as the “gentle way” or “the way of compliance” is an effective form of martial arts. Ju-Jitsu techniques do not rely on strength but on an understanding of the human body, physics and centre of gravity to achieve powerful and devastating punches, kicks, locks and throws. Ju-Jitsu is a Japanese martial art and a method of close combat for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon or only a short weapon.
Ju-Jitsu is the modern art of street-fighting and a very useful form self-defence especially at these fast changing times. Ju-Jitsu schools may utilise all forms of grappling techniques to some degree such as throwing, trapping, joint locks, holds, gouging, biting, disengagements, striking and kicking.
Japanese Jiu Jitsu, the original samurai art that some call the “mother art”, incorporated everything that they needed to use on the battlefield when the samurai soldiers were fighting. Obviously certain assumptions come along with that; that you are big and strong, that you are wearing armor and that you’re carrying a samurai sword (a katana).
Over the years in Japan the art was passed down from one generation to the next and it was sort of, not watered down, but it was obviously made a bit safer in some ways. As an example, the original “hip throw” wasn’t your back to someone else’s stomach. You would rotate around and it was your back to someone else’s back. You would throw them over the top so that they would land on their neck. The idea on the battlefield was breaking their neck, something you can’t really practice very often.
So there were certain things that were changed and adjusted over the years. But, the interesting thing about Japanese Ju-Jitsu is that it contains so much. There are so many different elements to it in the classes. You might do grappling sometimes, but you also might do “kata” (synchronized movements, or “forms”). It could be the throws that you see in Judo. It could be Aikido or directional throws. It could be striking, some of which got brought over into Karate. So there are lots of different elements under the umbrella of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu or Ju-Jitsu.
Sensei Abdulwahab M. Alburaidi, the National Technical Director of World Ju-Jitsu Corporation Kuwait (WJJC-K) who has 17 years of extensive martial arts experience, in this interview, takes us to the world of Ju-Jitsu to better understand this gentle way of martial art, its importance in self-defence, the growing interest of the millennials as well as adults in Ju-Jitsu, different techniques from the straight punch, hook, upper cut and hammer punch to grappling, coping with pain and other challenges and the future of Ju-Jitsu in Kuwait and the Middle East.
Question: When did you start your interest in martial arts?
Answer: I started when I was eight years old and I’ve been hooked to it ever since.
Q: What made you decide to learn martial arts?
A: When I was kid I was a big fan of action and martial arts movies so I asked my father to get me into any martial arts school and that’s how it all began.
Q: What type/s of martial arts did you learn first?
A: I started with taekwondo then kickboxing, Kajukenbo, Arnis then, seven years ago, I found the best martial art for me and this is Ju-Jitsu.
Q: How did you find your training in your early years?
A: It was very traditional, very hard. I’ve experienced different kinds of body pain after every class because of the exercise, movements and techniques but when I got the hang of it, everything had become very easy. It became part of my lifestyle.
Q: What were the challenges that you had to face when you were still starting?
A: There are a lot of challenges as I have mentioned earlier when you’re starting with martial arts, you just have to keep on going to master it. Currently, I’m facing the biggest challenge, being the Sensei of the only school in Kuwait and the Middle East that teaches the new modern Ju-Jitsu for street fighting and self defence system, hence, not too many people understand what Ju-Jitsu is all about and how it came to Kuwait. But I believe, Ju-Jitsu will soon be in the forefront in the art of self-defence.
Q: Was there a point in your life that you feel like quitting martial arts?
A: No never! Quitting is never part of my vocabulary. The thing with martial arts, you learn self-discipline and the determination to hurdle all the challenges no matter how difficult the task may seem. It teaches you to be a real fighter not only in class but in life as a whole.
Q: When did you start joining competitions? How was your first competition? Did you win?
A: I started when I was in kickboxing. I lost by points in my first competition not because my opponent was more skilled but because of the confusion of the general atmosphere during the fight. But in my later fights, I did well in some competitions.
Q: From your martial arts training what are the values that you have learned that are useful in life?
A: You get to learn a lot of values that you can apply in your life but the most important lessons that we learn are respect, discipline and self-control in all aspects of your life.
Q: How popular is martial arts in Kuwait then and now?
A: Martial Arts has been popular years ago because of the movies but now, martial arts has become more popular or I may say very, very popular because of the social media and people get to understand that the martial arts is not aggressive and only for fighting, it’s a lifestyle and they learn so many new skills. In the past only the boys could practice martial arts, but now everything has changed, everybody is practicing martial arts now boys, girls, women and even old people. You can be into martial arts, regardless of gender or age.
Q: As an athlete, why did you shift to Ju-Jitsu?
A: In Ju-Jitsu I learned about reality, no fancy things and I learned when and how to do the techniques exactly and why? In Jujitsu, I don’t need so much flexibility or fitness, it’s focused on the techniques so that means everybody can practice Ju-Jitsu.
Q: What’s Ju-Jitsu?
A: Ju-Jitsu is a Japanese word which means the gentle art
Q: What is the difference of Ju-Jitsu with other types of Martial Arts?
A: Ju-Jitsu is the main martial art and most of the other martial arts came from Ju-Jitsu. Our Ju-Jitsu is very modern and updated for these days of street fighting and self-defence system unlike the other types which are very traditional or fancy and not practical.
Q: What’s the type of Ju-Jitsu that you’re into?
A: Our Ju-Jitsu is the Japanese martial arts developed in England and it’s for street fighting and self-defence
Q: How did you find about Ju-Jitsu?
A: I found it on social media when I started searching for this martial art then I found a small traditional school that teaches Ju-Jitsu so I contacted them directly and joined them.
Q: When did you set up the World Ju-Jitsu Corporation Kuwait (WJJC-K)? What inspired you?
A: The World Ju-Jitsu Corporation Kuwait (WJJC-K) was officially established in March 2015. I was looking for a professional Ju-Jitsu organisation for a long time to upgrade myself and my techniques so I kept searching for some of the best Ju-Jitsu masters so I found my master Shodai Soke Adriano Busa, the founder of WJJC. I joined his school then he started teaching me his new Ju-Jitsu style step-by-step after undergoing trainings then I decided to open the WJJC School in Kuwait — the first modern Ju-Jitsu school in Kuwait and the Middle East. The WJJC-K which is the first Ju-Jitsu group in the Middle East is a non-profit sports organisation that operates under the World Ju-Jitsu Corporation (WJJC) — an international organisation based in Florence, Italy that is both modern and still deeply-rooted in the English Ju-Jitsu style. The WJJC is based in the United Kingdom, the head-office being in London, England, with its headquarters being in Florence, Italy. Shodai Soke Busà is the founder of the World Ju-Jitsu Corporation. He is a Ju-Jitsu and Ko-Budo expert and a highly skilled professional in self defense techniques for Police and Military.
Q: What are the WJJC’s goals and objectives?
A: Our main goal is to show and let people know and understand what does the real Ju-Jitsu look like, no fancy moves or fake masters so they learn the true Ju-Jitsu from a certified Sensei from WJJC. The WJJC is entirely devoted to studying and developing both Ju-Jitsu and KoBudo, both in the sports sector and in the professional sector.
Q: How does it feel to be a Sensei, teaching Ju-Jitsu to kids and adults?
A: It feels great! You get this different kind of satisfaction. It’s a combination of teaching and practicing what I love at the same time. It’s hard and challenging sometimes especially with kids but we have a lot of fun.
Q: What are the tips or advice that you usually tell your students?
A: I always teach my students about respect. It’s all about respecting everybody and this is taught in all forms of martial arts. I also tell them to focus on honing their skills and maintaining a positive outlook. Always stay positive!
Q: How useful is Ju-Jitsu in terms of self-defence as compared to other forms of martial arts?
A: Our style is updated for the current times of street fighting so we use modern weapons like knives, sticks ,belts etc … not the old traditional Japanese weapons such as Samurai. We are also focusing on the striking and ground work not only throwing and locks like the old days because most of people now know about these stuff so you must be ready for any kind of attack.
Q: In Ju-Jitsu, there are a lot of grappling and gripping? Any tips on this?
A: In grappling or gripping for that matter, first is focus on the strength of your hands. Your fingers and hands will naturally become stronger after a couple of years of training, but if you want to turbo charge the process, you will need to seek out supplemental training. There are countless grip-strengthening gadgets and courses on the market, each of which I’m sure has some value. Do your research. Try it out and you’ll see a big improvement. The second, is efficient gripping. No matter how strong your grip is, if you’re holding onto the cloth using too much strength, your eventually forearms will fatigue and your grip will weaken. And finally, where to grip is of vital importance. You have the strongest, most efficient gripping technique in the world, but if you’re still holding onto the wrong things you’ll struggle to generate the requisite amount of leverage required to achieve your objectives.
Q: How do you deal with pain or injury in Ju-Jitsu?
A: As a martial artist, you never really appreciate what true pain is until you see someone dislocate a shoulder or pop a knee in the middle of a class. Pain and risk of injury go with the territory of contact sport so if you’re going to participate in Ju-Jitsu, you should learn to expect and overcome pain if you want to be successful. First things first, when you’re in pain, you should always relax your body as soon as possible when you injure yourself until you determine the extent of how badly you are hurt. If you are in the middle of an activity, you should disengage quickly and move away from the contact area. If this is not feasible right away, then try not to use the affected part of your body. But of course, depending on the case, seeking medical attention immediately is a must.
Q: Do you see any trend of people in Kuwait getting into Ju-Jitsu?
A: Yes, I can see an upward trend but a lot of them are just too careful and I don’t blame them because there are a lot of types pf martial arts so they tend to confuse them with Ju-Jitsu. However, the moment, they get to learn about what Ju-Jitsu is, they immediately join my classes and they even bring with them some friends. WJJC Kuwait is just more than a year but we are picking up. Hopefully, this will continue. Ju-Jitsu is very useful for everyday life especially in times of danger, you can easily defend yourself and be out of harm’s way. We are also looking forward to establishing our stronghold in the Middle East.
Sensei Abdulwahab M Alburaidi is the National Technical Director of World Ju-Jitsu Corporation Kuwait (WJJC-K) who has 17 years of extensive martial arts experience, a former athlete of the Kuwait National Team and have competed in various martial arts competition. A former bank employee, Alburaidi, finds his passion in teaching Ju-Jitsu to kids and adults every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at Hassan Abul Sports Centre in Dasma. To those who are interested to join the Ju-Jitsu classes, they may check the group WJJC_Kuwait on Instagram or its website on www.wjjckw.com or www. wjjc.biz or may contact 99583552 for more details. He is also into motorcycles and has a penchant for world history when not in the dojo.
Sensei Abdulwahab or ‘Wahbz’ works closely with Shodai Soke Adriano Busà who is the founder of the World Ju-Jitsu Corporation based in Florence, Italy. The WJJC is based in the United Kingdom, the head office being in London, England, with its headquarters in Florence, Italy. The WJJC-K, the first Ju-Jitsu group in the Middle East is a non-profit sports organisation that operates under the World Ju-Jitsu Corporation (WJJC) that is both modern and still deeply-rooted in the English Ju-Jitsu style.