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Jiu Jitsu in Britain

Britain it would appear was the first country to be visited by Japanese Jiu Jitsu instructors. The first Jiu Jitsuka to arrive in Britain and declare himself as such was Takashima Shidachi of the Yoshin Ryu. He gave a lecture on Jiu Jitsu, Judo and the Yoshin Ryu at the first meeting of the Japan society in London on 29th April, 1892.

On 26th September 1899 an English engineer W.E. Barton-Wright who had been working for some 9 years in Japan brought Yukio Tani and his brother to London as instructors of Jiu Jitsu. Yukio Tani who was an extremely proficient student of Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu Jiu Jitsu proved to be the main inspiration of the Jiu Jitsu movement in Britain in the early part of the century.

Through the influence of Barton-Wright, Yukio Tani appeared at music halls giving demonstrations of Jiu Jitsu and placing challenges to all comers. On stage he was known as the "pocket Hercules" and was famous throughout all levels of London society.

In 1904 Tani opened the Japanese School of Jiu Jitsu at 305 Oxford St, London W1. Tarro Miyake, a Yoshin Ryu Jiu Jitsuka had arrived in London by this time and shared tuition at the Oxford St dojo.

They did not however open the only school of Jiu Jitsu, Sada Kazu Uyenishi from Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu opened a school at 31 Golden square, London W1.

In 1905 Uyenishi published through the Athletic Publication Company, "The text book of Ju Jitsu as practised in Japan". Soon after this one of Uyenishi's students, the society woman and suffragette, Emily Watts published with his help a book entitled, "The Fine Art of Ju Jitsu". This was in 1906, and in that year Tani and Miyake followed suit by publishing "The Game of Ju Jitsu".

In May of that same year, Gunji Koizumi arrived in Prestatyn, North Wales. Koizumi was a student of Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu and had learnt Jiu Jitsu and Kenjutsu. Koizumi travelled to Liverpool and after reading an advert in "Strand" magazine, he tracked down the Kara Ashikaga School of Jiu Jitsu. He found that Mr. Ashikaga had returned to Tokyo and Koizumi was offered the post of Chief Instructor. This only lasted two months as the dojo was a failure.