JUJITSU PIONEER FOR 50 YEARS
When jujitsu master George Kirby was named %ODFN %HOW·V 2007 Instructor of the Year, it was in celebration of a martial arts career that spanned four decades. His run was far from over, however.
Kirby began teaching jujitsu in 1967. As his skills developed, he sought to spread his knowledge to a wider audience, so naturally he started contributing to Black Belt in 1980. “Simply put, I like to write, and Black Belt provided an outlet for me — plus it allowed me to meet some great people at the magazine and in the martial arts community,” he said.
One day while roaming the halls at Black Belt, Kirby ran into *HUL 6LPRQ SXEOLVKHU RI 2KDUD %RRNV WKH PDJD]LQH·V VLVWHU company. “She indicated that she was considering a book on jujitsu and asked if I was interested in submitting a proposal,” he recalled.
That proposal was accepted, and the result was Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art, published in 1983. It SURYHG WR EH WKH ÀUVW RI PDQ\ ,Q .LUE\ DQG 2KDUD released Jujitsu: Intermediate Techniques of the Gentle Art, in 1987 Jutte: Japanese Power of Ten Hands Weapon, in 2001 Jujitsu Nerve Techniques: The Invisible Weapon of SelfDefense, in 2006 Advanced Jujitsu: The Science Behind the Gentle Art, in 2009 Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks: Submission Holds of the Gentle Art, in 2011 Jujitsu: Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art – Expanded Edition DQG LQ Jujitsu: Advanced 7HFKQLTXHV IRU 5HGLUHFWLQJ DQ 2SSRQHQW·V (QHUJ\
“Writing books served as a learning process for me because it allowed me to explore and required me to write my thoughts down in an organized manner, thus making me a better teacher and allowing my students to learn the art of jujitsu more HIÀFLHQWO\ DQG HIIHFWLYHO\ μ .LUE\ VDLG
In the middle of his publishing spree, Kirby was awarded the title hanshi (1997) and received his 10th-degree black belt (2000).
For much of his adult life, Kirby served as chairman of the board of directors of the American Ju-Jitsu Association, an organization founded in 1972. He retired from that position in 2016. “In a sense, it was like sending my baby out into the world,” he said. “However, I have faith that the board of directors will continue to work to accomplish the goals set forth in the AJA constitution and bylaws.”
'HVSLWH KLV GHSDUWXUH IURP WKH $-$ .LUE\·V FRQWLQXLQJ KLV martial arts journey. Now 72, he still teaches for his Budoshin Jujitsu Dojo and manages his Budoshin Ju-Jitsu Yudanshakai. ´7KH %XGRVKLQ -XMLWVX 'RMR HYROYHG LQWR D F QRQSURÀW educational foundation in the 1980s at the suggestion of our insurance carrier,” he said. “One of the criteria was that it operate solely through community agencies such as the park department — which it always has anyway.
“Budoshin Ju-Jitsu Yudanshakai was created by me to serve as a home base for my black belts, as well as those working toward their black belts following my home-study course. It has a senior advisory board and an executive board to help with policy decisions and governance.”
7KLV \HDU *HRUJH .LUE\ PDUNHG KLV th year as a jujitsu instructor. In this day and age, when people tend to change FDUHHUV HYHU\ WKUHH WR ÀYH \HDUV RQH ZRQGHUV ZKDW WKH VHFUHW of his longevity is. In a word, attitude. “Someone once said that if you stop learning, you stop living,” he said. “I believe that. I also think that still teaching jujitsu helps give me purpose in life. I like WR VHH SHRSOH VXFFHHG HVSHFLDOO\ LI ,·YH KHOSHG WKHP DFKLHYH ZKDWHYHU OHYHO RI VXFFHVV WKH\ DFFRPSOLVK ,W·V IXOÀOOLQJ μ