In the 1920 text, Secrets of Jujitsu by Captain Allan Smith (the pdf is readily available by googling), Smith refers to the abdominal region as the "Stahara". I've done some Japanese arts before, but have always heard this region referred to simply as the "hara". After doing a search, the only usage of this word I've been able to find online is in reference to Captain Smith's text. Is there some further connotation to using the prefix "Sta"? Is this legitimate Japanese word usage according to the principles of Judo or Jujitsu?
In the text, he explains the origin of this term. And he points out that it's his word, not something the Japanese would say:
This seems like a reoccurring theme in West meets East. Some Western guy (this guy happens to be from the U.S.) goes to Japan and is taught whatever the Japanese feel comfortable teaching him, and do so while having communication problems. He tries it and finds out it's really hard. After being thrown around and joint locked a lot, he learns some things, but he's still frustrated by how bad he is and how good everyone else is.
Then one day he's sitting around sipping on some rice wine while eating his sushi when it comes to him. It's some brilliant, much better way to think of jujitsu than what he was taught. So now he thinks he's just figured out the secret to jujitsu that the silly Japanese haven't figured out yet in the several hundred years they've been at it.
He goes to the Japanese guys, explains his big idea, and asks to try it out on them. They humor him. They're polite and diplomatic about it, making him look good. So he takes that as a sign of success and goes back West to teach it as a way of learning jujitsu much faster than the normal way.
Like I said, this a reoccurring theme.
Personally, I don't see anything new in the document. And I am 100% certain the Japanese didn't learn "hara" (or shitahara or stahara) from him. They already understood it quite well, but probably didn't emphasize it when teaching foreigners for a number of reasons - mostly having to do with communication issues, but also the reluctance of the Japanese to teach foreigners the complete art.
My thoughts anyway.