Up until the mid to late 19th century Jiu jitsu in Japan had been the definite home of its technical master of body mechanics and its long-standing legacy of constant refining in technique and ability of sword work and the moral code that followed. The practitioners, of whom were mostly Samurai and Jujitsu Masters, had dedicated their careers and life to the Bushido code of morals. Their successors, varying from arts within Jiu jitsu chose to break from the art and tradition to focus on parts of the art. This was done partly because the art could not be commercialized in its current state and as a result it was harder to garner more pupils, while doing away with the ancient Menkyo system.
The first U.S. ships entering Japans waters by the United States in 1853 by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, under the direction of U.S. President Franklin Pierce (1853-1957) with the goal to gain access to Japanese ports and have diplomatic ties with Japan, (forcefully) led Japan out of isolation and to trade and exchange ideas with Western Nations. The Meiji restoration (November 26, 1868) brought in consolidation of the nation, industrial dynamism and aggressive foreign policy, change happened from the top to the bottom of Japanese life and culture downward. The Emperor began to live in Tokyo, which he had previously lived in Kyōto, and thus put forth Tokyo as the new Imperial Capital, bringing the country under Imperial rule and ending Shogunate rule by the Tokugawa family which had ruled for 265 years. Japan allowed people to study western culture and ideas in the Imperial University, these studies were called yogaku (Western learning). In 1871 the samurai class (Bushi) was no longer allowed to wear swords and by 1872 Japan created a national military and a navy, in addition the government had banned all top knots (knots on top of their head) which had symbolized the rank of each samurai (this was a high honor to have and the core of distinguishing a samurai). The government was now beginning to break up and ban the older Jujitsu arts and thus not allowing the masters of the art to practice, this purge of the arts was in the belief to rid Japan of the feudal up bringing’s and infighting it had in its past. Saigō Takamori, a samurai who was later a general, privately supported uniform training for the military; leading to the creation that would mandate all males to serve for a time, this included higher levels of Japanese society. These actions had outraged the samurai class causing friction in the government which lead to a revolt with the Bushi in the 1870’s, finally being defeated in 1877 (there were small revolts in the 1880’s where the samurai hid and fought), ringing in the modern era of the industrial world and the end of the medieval era under the grip of feudalism, which had lasted nearly 700 years.
In order for the art to survive from a rigid and strict new government it needed to change, resulting in the creation of Kodokan (an institution for studying the way) Judo (Jigoro Kano the founder of modern Judo), and as way to avoid the strict government ban (government would later hire Jiu jitsu masters into the police force), Kano had insisted that the art was a philosophy to build character rather than to learn how to fight on the battle field. Kano would also take some forms and techniques from scrolls of the Menkyo system and preserve them in katas. At the time Kodokan Judo was heavily criticized by Jiu jitsu masters, who believed Judo was unfit for self-defense and could prove problematic, as well as betraying the Menkyo system by giving out the information that was on the scrolls. Hikosuke Totsuka was one of those who had criticized Kodokan Judo and its attempt to use the concept of kuzushi (off balancing) an opponent, prior to this development by Kano, Jiu jitsu techniques had been developed for those in armor and not in simple street cloths. This development had been new to those who had not witnessed it and would later gain a good standing in the martial art community due to its effectiveness. Decades later Aikido was founded in 1931 by Ueshiba Morihei and other major arts were also created by others, and a new black belt system (originally created in Kodokan Judo) consisting of colored belt ranks instead of the archaic system of Menkyo, relying on years of training and prolonged time of learning from a headmaster before you are certified for your proficiency in the form of scrolls (sometimes you never got recognized), ending the nearly one thousand years of the Menkyo system in Japan.
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