The Japanese martial art of Juttejutsu (also spelled Jittejutsu) is the “art of the forked baton”; the technique of fighting with a Jutte. The art was mainly practiced by the modern equivalent of police officers during Japan’s Edo period (1607 to 1867). It was used to disarm and apprehend criminals in a non-lethal way.
What is a Jutte (Jitte)?
The Jutte is a thin baton that’s approximately 1.5 feet in length and originally made from iron. The handle is wrapped in a cord and originally its color would signify the owner’s social standing. Just above the handle, a short prong runs in parallel to the baton.
Who practices Juttejutsu?
Today, the martial art of Ikkaku-ryū juttejutsu specialises in fighting with a Jutte (Jitte). It is taught as a way to defend against an aggressor armed with a Japanese sword (a Katana). It was originally practiced by the security forces in Japan during the Edo period.
The martial art is still practiced today, although a wooden jutte and katana are used in training for safety reasons.
In common with other Japanese martial arts, Ikkaku-ryū juttejutsu, also incorporates several kata using the Jutte.
How were Jutte (Jitte) used?
The Jutte was used in a number of ways.
Perhaps most obviously it was used like a baton to strike at the assailant’s head, arms and hands. Its weighty iron construction would have inflicted a great deal of pain and would have been sufficient to stop an aggressive attacker in their tracks.
Perhaps more surprising was that the jutte was used to assist a number of arm locks. These were often performed when the opponent had been brought to the ground and needed to be restrained.
One common move was to bring the individual’s arm behind their back, in a typical arm lock. The Jutte was then put through the crook of the elbow and twisted. The jutte would provide extra leverage to lock.
Some of these techniques can be seen in the video below:
The most unique element of the jutte was the short prong at the top of the handle. This was used to trap the blade of an attacker’s katana.
At an opportune moment, usually at the end of a katana’s downward’s strike, the prong would be thrust onto the back of the sword’s blade. At this point the jutte could be violently twisted, snapping the blade in two.
Alternatively, the Jutte could be slid quickly up the blade to the handle. This allowed the Jutte wielder to get in striking distance of the assailant.
These techniques can be seen in the following video:
Is a Jutte (Jitte) a good weapon?
The Jutte was a deceptively powerful weapon. Whilst looking like a forked baton, it could be used as a simple striking weapon. In more experienced hands, the Jutte could be used to add additional leverage to joint locks and to disarm katana wielding assailants.