Krav Maga In Focus


There are many, many close quarters combat videos on the Internet and most are not worth watching. The closest I have seen to what I was taught was one documentary on the French Legion. Following that one video, the system that consistently comes closest to what we do is Krav Maga, the Israeli military hand-to-hand combat system.

Krav Maga was developed in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 1930s by Imi Lichtenfeld who eventually became the Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness and Krav Maga at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) School of Combat Fitness (visit Wiki for more on Krav Maga).

It is not hard to imagine why Krav Maga and Atemi-Jujitsu are similar. In his book “The Israeli Connection”, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi notes that there were strong connections between the Israel Defence Force and South Africa Defence Force and especially when it came to military training. It was the IDF that help create the SADF Reconnaissance Commandos and Soke Ben Mängels was QCB instructor to these same Reconnaissance Commandos (Recce’s).

There are times when the techniques from Krav Maga are almost identical to those I was taught (and times when they are not). I am usually ambivalent about seeing them. I am usually torn between thinking “great stuff” and “how come they’re getting airtime and not us”. But envy is not attractive. And I have learnt that the best teachers are not always the most popular. Soke Ben and Shihan Thaya were never interested in the limelight.

In the next couple over posts I am going to look at some Krav Maga techniques aired on “The Human Weapon” and share my thoughts on each.

The History of Jujutsu

The History of Jujutsu

The roots of Jujutsu can be traced back to the earliest historical records of Japan, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan – 8th century). The sumo tradition, thought to have common origins with the ancestor systems of Jujutsu, is said to be validated by these Chronicles. The ancestor systems of Jujutsu can be classified into two broad categories. Those systems developed during the Sengoku Jidai or Warring States period (1467-1568), and those developed during the Edo Jidai or Edo period (1600-1868).

During the Sengoku Jidai, many of the Bujutsu Ryu (Martial Art Schools) developed grappling systems to supplement their weapons systems, and these earlier systems generally included the use of some sort of minor weapon, such as the jutte (truncheon), tanto (knife), and ryofundo kusari (weighted chain). These methods were generally classified as the katchu bujutsu or yoroi kumiuchi (fighting with weapons or grappling while clad in armour).

The Edo Jidai was one of peace. With the establishment of the Tokugawa bakafu, a long period of war was halted, and consequently martial arts became increasingly available to the common people. During this period, many schools were founded that focused on unarmed combat techniques for civilians. These schools were classified as: Suhada bujutsu or fighting while dressed in the normal street clothing of the period, kimono and hakama.

Although these grappling arts are commonly referred to as “Jujutsu”, the art has been known by different names, during different periods, at different ryu (school or tradition): Hakuda, yawarra jitsu, and wa jitsu to name a few. The style of Jujutsu also differed from school to school, some schools focusing on many kanetsu waza (joint-locking techniques), or nage waza (throwing techniques), others focusing on many atemi waza (hitting vital-point techniques). Compared with the martial arts of China, Korea and Okinawa, Japanese Jujutsu systems place more emphasis on nage and kanetsu waza than on atemi waza. But some schools – such as the SAIUC’s Atemi-Jujitsu and the schools of Hakuda, Kempo, Tenjin Shinyo Ryu – also emphasise atemi waza.

The History of Jujutsu in South Africa

Jujutsu was brought to South Africa by a Japanese sailor, Seishi Teppi, who formed the Kodokwan Jujutsu school in 1928. The school became the South African Jujutsu Association, the oldest Japanese martial arts association in South Africa. The school taught Tenshin Shinyo Ryu Jujutsu or “School of the Natural Way”. Tenjin Shinyo Ryu was famous for atemi (hitting vital-points), kanetsu (joint-immobilization), and shime waza (strangulation). The founder of the Ryu was Iso Mataemon who created Tenjin Shinyo Ryu from the Jujutsu of Akiyama Shirobei Yoshitoki (physician) and Yamamoto Tamizaemon (police officer). Iso Mataemon fought many Jujutsu masters and was NEVER defeated. In 1822 – at the Kyoto Temple (the foremost Zen Buddhism Temple in Japan) – Iso Mataemon taught his skills to students for the first time influencing both the development of judo and aikido. When Seishi Teppi returned to Japan in 1948 he handed the kwan (school) to Charles Johnson. Soke Mängels studied Kodokwan Jujutsu.

Jujutsu is the ideal art to study for self-defence purposes. It is suited to all types of hand-to-hand situations, and is used by military forces in its original meaning as a close combat system, and is used by police forces to fulfil certain police tasks, or is taught as a civilian method of self-defence.

Source: Philip’s post on

Growing Up Tough

Clinton Raymond Frieslaar grew up in a tough neighbourhood in Sanctor, Gqeberha ( Port Elizabeth), South Africa. He was 18 years old when he first started learning Atemi-Jujitsu under the guidance and expertise of Shihan Thaya Moodaley.

He was introduced to the system by his cousin Rushdie Lagerdien who told him and his cousin Kevin Mortimer about the “little old Indian man” who was more explosive than any martial artist that he has ever seen. On the first night, he was introduced to Shihan Thaya Moodaley he was overwhelmed by how humble he was and he could finally do something that he had always dreamt about. From the very first night, he and Kevin were hooked and trained every Tuesday and Thursday night to get to grips with the various techniques. They trained relentlessly during their free time in Kevin’s family garage to improve their skills, and this carried on for many years.

He then started training on his own to improve his skills and visted numerous fighting schools to observe and understand the various fighting forms.

In 1994 Clinton joined the South African Police Services and left them after more than 11 years of service. He stayed away from Atemi Jitsu classes for 7 months but kept on training on his own at the SAPS training college. Here he tested the system against the official system taught by the SAPS and found that the very basic knowledge he had from training with Shihan Thaya was superior to what was being taught to the SAPS students. When he questioned the instructor he was belittled and told that he does not know what he was talking about. For his questions, he was severely punished, military style and this continued for two weeks straight, and when he eventually he had enough he told the instructor that one of the techniques, a knife – disarm was ineffective and placed them in harms way.

This resulted in a challenge being posed by the instructor. He was requested by the instructor to show how effective the system (Atemi-Jujitsu) is and was requested to defend himself against one of the biggest and most respected students in the platoon. Being a man of a small stature, he was not fazed much by the imposing size of the attacker. After three aggressive attacks, the attacker eventually tapped out for the last time. He was beaten three times in a row by the much smaller Clinton applying Atemi Jujitsu. This resulted in a renewed respect for Clinton from the instructor and fellow students. He was later requested to aid the instructor during classes and train those who were lacking after lectures.

When he returned to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) he returned to the teachings of Shihan Moodaley. Here he trained twice a week and every night at home to sharpen and hone his reflexes adn skills and would have someone attack him with a broomstick. This would continue relentlessly for two hours nonstop. Clinton would often go to classes battered and bruised and his desire to improve his skills resulted in him doing Aikido and Judo. His involvement in Judo led to him becoming the Eastern Province Judo Associations Registrar and later the Eastern Province Judo Association Vice-Chairperson. Having a family tree of bodybuilders, wrestlers and boxers it was inevitable that he would follow suit. All of this transcended into his martial arts and he became a formidable force to reckon with.

The striking and groundwork became second nature to him, particularly in his fighting style. Working as a police officer for more than 11 years and growing up in a tough neighborhood enabled him to use the skills he was taught by Shihan Thaya and really test them in real-life situations. The police and his tough neighborhood were the perfect environments to use it in. As a result of the skills he was taught, he was widely respected in the community as he would never fight unless it was essential or when thugs assaulted innocent persons. By using the system during active duty in the police, he made more than 200 hundred arrests and never had any assault charges of police brutality brought against him. He also started teaching and doing self-defence seminars, talks and lectures to various organizations for police-driven community and neighbourhood watch programmes. These lectures span over a period of more than 28 years and he is still doing it today.

Clinton started bringing his own fighting style into classes with the permission of Shihan Thaya. Here they worked on various techniques and variations and improved on many others. They also worked extensively on defences for women against sexual assaults and rape attacks. When graded to Black Belt he was promoted and became Shihan Thaya’s 2IC of the SAIUC (second in command). Shihan and Clinton then worked on incorporating more groundwork, Judo Throws and improved the restraining techniques. This was all due to the fact that Clinton could use what they worked on in class, on the streets as a police officer.

Due to his exposure to the police environment, he developed a training program for law enforcement officials and security personnel. This covered many of the shortfalls he identified whilst in the service and beyond. When Clinton was graded to his 4th Dan in Atemi-Jujitsu, Shihan Thaya Moodaley decided to go into retirement and stopped training at the Institute. He would only come in on an ad-hoc basis until when Shihan Thaya then handed over the South African Institute of Unarmed Combat (SAIUC) to Clinton Raymond Frieslaar.

Clinton incorporated more groundwork, grappling, rape defences, knife work, single-stick and double-stick fighting, firearm defences, handcuffing techniques, judo throws and more into the Atemi-Jujitsu system. He later changed the name to Frieslaar Ryu Atemi-Jujitsu now known as FRAJJ. His system is based on a round fighting system that can be taught to any age group.