Reflecting on Jujitsu Pioneer George Kirby’s Towards One Technique

Kirby, George. Jujitsu: Toward One Technique. California: Black Belt Publishing, 2019.

In his most recent release, American jujitsu pioneer George Kirby discusses the journey to achieve one technique. This “one technique” is not the single or only technique a jujitsuka must or should learn – it is more than that. The “one technique” Kirby discusses is not only the technique used when confronted by someone outside the dojo, but a state of mind that allows both the mind and body to response, not react, to the threat or danger at hand. To reach such a level in jujitsu or any martial art for that matter, Kirby emphasizes two important factors: practice and patience.

Throughout his book, Kirby describes the benefits and drawbacks of certain training methods, i.e. kime-no-kata, kata-no-nage, freestyle kata, and isolated and integrated practice. He also warns nage to not become complacent while partaking in the listed practices, as it may create a false sense of security in nage, where the techniques may not be executed in the most effective and efficient manner.

In addition to the above training methods, Kirby provides a five-step process to better demonstrate how a jujitsuka makes the journey and achieve “one technique:” patience, repetition, understanding (how the technique works), experimentation (change/modify technique), and evaluation (how well does the technique work). He encourages the reader to go through the process multiple times to see which technique and what modifications would be needed to create an effective technique. In doing so, the practitioner gains a better grasp of the selected technique(s) in different contexts and situations.

Though Kirby spends a great deal of his newest book on the types of practice and training methods a practitioner can use to achieve the level of “one technique,” he also reminds the reader throughout on patience, providing short explanations on the topic while discussing various training methods. To Kirby, it is from patience that the practitioner can fulfill the desire to achieve “one technique;” because without patience, there would not be any high-level jujitsuka.

The last topic Kirby covers is the role of uke in the technique. To Kirby, uke needs to take an active role in the technique, so they may provide nage with a realistic and moving attack, help nage feel and understand the correct, mechanical form of the technique, and gain knowledge and insight regarding the technique. The static attacks of uke to nage have their place in the beginning ranks, but, as he makes clear, once a student reaches the intermediate and advanced ranks, static attacks must be replaced with realistic and moving attacks, so that nage may truly begin their journey to the “one technique.”

George Kirby closes his book, reiterating that achievement of “one technique” takes time, patience, and practice while honing the mind to be calm and empty so that the body can instinctively respond with the “one technique” when the time comes. Kirby mentions that the way one trains in the dojo is how one will respond when attacked outside of the dojo. Therefore, to better prepare oneself for such a response, as he concludes, it is appropriate and important to train in the dojo as you would if confronted on the street. Without such purpose and manner of training, the journey to the “one technique” may take much longer or not be achieved at all.


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