The origins of our style Shorinji Kan Ju Jitsu are hard to trace, but it all starts with Shihan Matthew Komp. Matthew Komp began his martial arts study in the 1940's in Germany when he took up wrestling. After joining the police force, he began to study judo and ju jitsu as part of his police self-defense training. He also studied karate, aikido and taekwondo. He had a number of instructors from Japan, Germany and Korea and from these influences; Matthew Komp formed his style of ju jitsu which he took to Australia in the 1950's, where he founded a school in Footscray, near Melbourne.
One of his earliest students was Brian Graham, who was amongst the first of Komp Shihan's students to achieve the rank of black belt in jiu jitsu and judo. On his return to England, Graham Shihan renamed the style to Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu, and this name has been kept to the present day. Graham Shihan established the first "Samurai Jiu Jitsu Club" in Keighly, West Yorkshire, England. Brian Graham is Shorinji Kan's founding father, but the style continues to branch out as Graham's teachings of the late sixties onwards spread. Graham Shihan sadly passed away in June 2005.
The late Peter Farrar began studying ju jitsu at the Keighley club at the age of 9. Farrar Sensei moved to Plymouth in 1979 to attend the then Plymouth Polytechnic, where he opened the Plymouth Polytechnic club. This club produced a number of instructors who have become senior instructors within the style. The style has since spread rapidly in Britain. An association was formed called the National Samurai Jiu Jitsu Association, which was renamed The Jitsu Foundation in 1990. Much of its success can be attributed to his charismatic leadership and the hard work of the Tertiary Board. Peter Farrar died in 1997, but the Foundation continued to grow under the direction of Directing Tertiary Dave Walker and now the Tertiary Board.
Jitsu New Zealand was founded in 2002 on the emigration from the UK of its Chief Instructor Simon Ogden. Although Jitsu New Zealand has a UK heritage, the style it teaches has continued to evolve in New Zealand due to its exposure to different styles of Ju Jitsu and to other martial arts. It means that Jitsu New Zealand has moved to principle and fundamental based teachings focusing on mind and body development, rather than isolated 'technique-based' study. Fundamentals encompasses the study of breathing, relaxation/tension, posture, awareness, the development of a connected mind and body, balance, sensitivity, coordination, recovery, and more across all sorts of movement contexts.
Although Jitsu New Zealand practices a primary 'style', we strive to practice and foster openness and curiosity, always engaging in and welcoming the exploration of everything the world of martial arts has to offer irrespective of style, school, or affiliation. Our regular classes are often infused with such cross-training insights and experimentations with the hope to broaden and deepen our understanding and skill. Jitsu New Zealand organises special sessions and seminars outside of regular classes that are not shorinji kan ju jitsu based which encourages its students to broaden their study of and understanding of Budo. Some examples of these arts are; Warriors Escrima, Aikido, Judo, Krav Maga, Systema, Aunkai Bujutsu, Military CQB, Batto-jutsu, Olivecrona Ju Jitsu and Karate.
The instructors of Jitsu NZ also hold grades and teach Olivecrona Ju Jitsu, Aikido, Judo, Goju Ryu Karate and Krav Maga, in addition to teaching Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu. With our combined, multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge we strive to provide you with the highest possible professional level of training and instruction and create the most conducive environment possible for your learning and development. We teach to the syllabus of our founding organisation the Jiu Jitsu Foundation UK but as the grades progress we then incorporate the principles of Olivecrona Ju Jitsu.