I've trained at a couple of "traditional Jujutsu" clubs, but as far as I can tell their syllabuses seem to have been inspired by early 20th century judo, perhaps with a bit of aikido thrown in.

Are there any schools of Jujutsu still around today that can trace their roots/teaching to one of the actual Japanese Jujutsu schools pre-judo?

(Excluding the obvious examples of aikido and judo themselves (and those derived from them, i.e. bjj, sambo etc).)

  • Depens on your location. But chances are, if you're near a large metro area, you'll find some classical jujitsu schools. Classical jujitsu is the phrase I use for any jujitsu that originated prior to the Meiji Restoration period. So these would be schools that originate in Samurai ryu. In fact, many JJ schools just go by their "ryu" name. You might consider Bujinkan. I had positive experiences with it. It's a collection of 9 classical ryu, 6 samurai and 3 ninja. Their "ninja" stuff is almost non-existent compared to their classical jujitsu stuff. It's a fun school. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 16:01
  • Another thing to add. Classical jujitsu ryu often incorporate striking and weapons training. It's not just unarmed grappling. FYI. If you're expecting an empty-handed version with just grappling, it might be harder to find. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 16:03
  • hakkoryu.com I believe there are a few others but this one comes to mind.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


Not a definitive answer, but for historical context:

Kano (founder of Judo) states in Kodokan Judo, published by Kodansha International Ltd., 1986, p. 19:

Eventually judo displaced jujutsu in Japan, and no one speaks of jujutsu as a contemporary art in Japan, although the word has survived overseas.

Kano died in 1938. I think you can safely interpret that pre-judo jujutsu has not been popular in Japan for quite some time.


There are some schools that pride themselves on keeping alive the original, pre-Meiji restoration martial arts of Japan. (From what I gathered from heated discussions on various boards, these claims and the documents supporting them are not always undisputed, and authentic schools may be hard to come by especially for non-Japanese, but that's another matter.) The keyword you want to search for is "koryū" ("old school"), which leads, for example, to Wikipedia's link of koryu schools. This also includes various unarmed (i.e., jujutsu) styles, plus some schools with a jujutsu component.

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