The information for much of the next part of the story comes largely from a conversation I had with Sensei’s James Pape, Eric Marshall, and Bob Ashworth, at the Bushido course (28/04/2018), and Sensei Paul Geoghegan subsequently.
In the 1960s Bob Clark was a student of Jack Britten’s and took his early grades there, maybe up to blue belt (1). At some point in the late 1960s Bob Clark left the Alpha Ju Jitsu club of Jack Britten and went to train with James Blundell, who had initially founded an organisation called the British Ju Jitsu Association in 1956 and then further developed it when Clark, and another Ju Jitsu student, Richard Morris, teamed up with him (2).
Richard Morris had been a student of Alf Morgan, who had in turn been a student of Yukio Tani (3), just as Jack Britten had been, and so we see a similar lineage. Sensei Eric Marshall trained with Jack Britten for several years in the 1960s, and also trained at Skyner’s dojo, before moving to James Blundell’s, where at that time, as Sensei Marshall recalled, Bob Clark was a brown belt. Together, Blundell, Clark, and Morris developed a new syllabus and a new organisation, the World Ju Jitsu Federation, for which the BJJA was the British Branch (in 1976 (4).
From what information I have found, and Sensei Marshall and Sensei Geoghegan’s recollection, Clark is the man mainly credited with the development of the new syllabus (2, 4), and was the chief instructor of the BJJA/WJJF. Around this time there was also a collaboration with the Juko Kai organisation of the American Rod Sacharnoski, and the naming of the style Juko Ryū and the adoption of the Juko Kai logo on the badge. Sacharnoski had studied Judo and Karate and had come up with his own style which was Juko Ryū (5). There was very little influence on the style or syllabus by the Juko Kai and Sensei Marshall considers it was merely an affiliation. The Juko Kai did, however, provide James Blundell with a ‘sokeship’ (6) which I guess helped validate the status of the new syllabus/style.
By 1982 Bob Clark was an 8th Dan and styled ‘Soke’ e.g. founder of the style, probably reflecting Bob Clark’s claim to be a founder. The syllabus developed by Clark (white to black belt) is available on YouTube.
You can see that it is ‘essentially’ the same core syllabus we use today in Bushido. By all accounts, Clark was an excellent martial artist and with Clark as chief instructor, Blundell as founder and figurehead, and Morris as the Chairman of the BJJA/WJJF grew in popularity (7). Bob Clark and the BJJA/WJJF produced many outstanding students, too many to mention here, but of greatest relevance to our story are Senseis James (Jimmy) Pape, Paul Geoghegan, Eric Marshall, and Bob Ashworth.
In the late 1980s, a number of splits in the BJJA/WJJF were occurring. Many new organisations and federations were being established, including the now governing BJJAGB led by Sensei Martin Dixon, which was established in 1988 (8). There are numerous reasons for the splits, mainly political and financial, and it seems that by the time James Blundell passed away in 1989 the organisation had become completely fragmented. I believe that for most people practising Ju Jitsu in the UK, we share a common history up to this point, more or less. At this time there were many splinter organisations formed, that have subsequently splintered into many more new organisations, and so it is almost impossible to chart their development, and so from here, we chart the development of our current organisation, the Bushido Ju Jitsu Academy.
In 1991, a consortium of some of the best of the BJJA/WJJF split to form the Bushido Ju Jitsu Academy. At this time the BJJA/WJJF was being driven by financial motivations, and senior students were growing concerned about a dilution in standards (9). This consortium led by Paul Geoghegan included Charles Allmark, John Steadman, Eric Marshall, Kenny Blundell (James Blundell’s son), and Jimmy Pape (9, 10). In 1997, Senseis Richard Asbery, John Idle, and Philip Atkinson, students of Sensei Bob Ashworth (who had left the WJJF and the BJJA in 1986 prior to the formation of Bushido), joined Bushido (11).
Further splits (you can see from the thread that splits are an inevitable part of martial arts organisations!) brings us to the present day where Bushido Ju Jitsu Academy is led by Senesis Jimmy Pape (10th Dan) and Paul Geoghegan (9th Dan), with senior Senseis John Idle (7th Dan), Richard Asbery (7th Dan), Philip Atkinson (6th Dan), Philip Rhodes (6th Dan), and Andy Pryce (6th Dan) actively involved in the management of the organisation. Sensei Pape is one of only two 10th Dans in the BJJAGB and is one of only 5 National Tutor Coaches (12). Sensei Pape is also a founding member of the United Nations of Ju Jitsu (UNJJ), an international umbrella group formed in 1991, through which the international competitions are organised (13).
To be continued….
If you missed the first 3 parts of this series, catch up below…
(5) Beginning Jujitsu: Ryoi-shinto Style (Ryoi Shinto Ryu) by Katsuharu Hashimoto and James G. Shortt, ISBN 901764-426.
(9) FIGHTERS The martial arts magazine, November edition, 1991