Black Belt - - BLACK BELT TIMES -

 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

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