History of Trident Jiu-JItsu

Denis St. Jean (Founder) - Ninja-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu

Denis St-Jean - Founder of Ninja-Ryu Jiu-JItsuThe roots of Ninja-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu, can be traced back to the pre-sport Judo, as practiced at the Kodokan, from the turn of the century, until the Second World War. This was known as Kosen Judo , and it contained body locks, leg locks, head locks, and unusual choking techniques that were later discarded as Judo evolved into a sport. The judoka and prizefighter Mitsuyo Maeda had trained extensively in this type of Judo, and taught it to Carlos Gracie from 1917 till about 1923.

Kosen Judo, was introduced to France by Mikonosuke Kawaishi, beginning in 1935 and eventually spread to neighbouring countries, such as Holland. At first, Kawaishi taught classical judo (in other words, Kosen Judo) but eventually developed his own teaching method. By the the time he broke away from the French Judo Federation in 1957, Kawaishi had made a number of refinements. He began referring to his method, as Jiu-Jitsu in order to distinguish it from the sport version being promoted by the Kodokan.

In Eastern Canada, Jiu-Jitsu can be traced to Henk Jenssen, who had trained in Kawaishi Jiu-Jitsu in Holland. Jenssen was chief Jiu-Jitsu instructor at Frank Hatashita’s Judo Club in Toronto. In 1958, Ronald Forrester , one of Hatashita’s Judo students’ transferred to Jenssen’s Jiu-Jitsu class, and in 1962, when Jenssen returned to Holland, Shodan Forrester became the Club’s Chief Jiu-Jitsu Instructor. Forrester introduced striking and free sparring into the curriculum. The striking techniques had been taught to him by Masami Tsuruoka , who was Chief Instructor of Chito-Ryu for Canada, at the time. Such additions changed the art from a grappling system, to a grappling and striking one. This became known as the “Canadian Jiu-Jitsu System”.

One of Forrester’s top students was George Sylvain , who after being promoted to Shodan (December 1963) in Canadian Jiu-Jitsu, opened the Sylvain Jiu-Jitsu Dojo in Ottawa. Sylvain made changes to Canadian Jiu-Jitsu, and eventually named his style “Can-Ryu”. He added new techniques in the area of pressure points. The concept of blow-throw-blow was most likely introduced into the system by George Sylvain.

Denis St. Jean, a renowned Ottawa area Judoka, turned to Jiu-Jitsu in 1965, and joined George Sylvain’s school. John Therien <http://www.jiu-jitsu.com/english/about/kyoshi.html> was also a student there at this time. Under Sylvain’s guidance, they received their Black Belts and shortly thereafter both John Therien, and Denis St-Jean opened their own schools. Therien in April ’68, and St. Jean in September of that same year.

Denis’ school was called the St. Jean Jiu-Jitsu Dojo, where due to his Judo background, there was a greater emphasis on throwing and grappling. In John Therien’s school, there was more emphasis on standup striking techniques. In September 1972, Denis St. Jean went into partnership with one of his students, Jules Ladouceur and renamed his school “The Ninja Jiu-Jitsu Dojo”. This name was given before Ninja legends were brought to the attention of the general public. It was chosen because as in the spirit of the historical Ninja, the school emphasised cleverness, trickery, adaptability, and using whatever worked in order to get the job done. In time, the Ninja Jiu-Jitsu Dojo became famous for its incredible demonstrations, as well as for producing quality instructors.

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