What is the American Ju-Jitsu
The American Ju-Jitsu Association was founded in 1972, by
George Kirby & William Fromm at the request of their sensei, Jack Seki, for
the purpose of bringing different ryu of the art together in an atmosphere of
mutual cooperation and respect. Since that time it has grown from two dojo to
approximately 24, plus international affiliates. The AJA has established itself
as a reputable organization within the martial arts community and works closely
with other major Ju-Jitsu organizations in the United States and
internationally in areas of mutual concern.
The AJA is a non-profit amateur
athletic association registered with both the state of California and the
United States government [IRS code 501(c)(3)]. It is a non-profit corporation
with a charitable foundation status. Although originally recognized by the IRS
as a "social club", because there was no other way to recognize the AJA as an
amateur athletic association, formal recognition of the AJA as a true amateur
athletic association, according to the criteria of the United States
government, was secured in 1976 under the Sports Act of that year. To our
knowledge the AJA is the only martial arts organization in the U.S. that is
classified by the United States government [IRS] as an amateur athletic
How is the AJA governed?
In addition to the board of directors each
region may have a regional board, or state directors. A member may provide
input to any level of the AJA. Decisions are made according to the procedures
established by the Constitution and Bylaws.
Who may join the AJA?
Any Ju-Jitsu dojo representing any ryu of
the art may join the AJA. The instructor, who must hold a yudansha grade in
Ju-Jitsu, must submit a formal application for membership on behalf of his/her
dojo. Once dojo membership is secured [normally a 2-4 month process],
individuals within that dojo may secure their individual memberships.
What are the benefits of AJA a
First, and most important, you
are supporting an organization that is dedicated toward furthering the art of
Ju-Jitsu, whether it be the traditional values of some dojo, or more modern
attitudes that may involve amateur competition in various formats. In addition
the AJA is involved in a number of international organizations who work closely
with one another to further the art. Individual members of the AJA may secure
certificates of rank, be considered for national awards administered through
regional directors, and receive the quarterly newsletter, among other
How involved can I become?
You may become as involved as you wish! The
AJA encourages participation in all levels of the organization.
How many ryu are represented on
the board of directors?
There are currently
at least five Ju-Jitsu ryu represented on the Board of Directors. The Board
serves as an excellent example of how different ryu of the art can work
together for the mutual benefit of the art. The varied composition of the Board
is one of the major strengths of the AJA.
Does the AJA have any annual
conventions or training camps, etc.?
Starting in 1992 that AJA board of directors decided to have a
national convention every other year. Individual dojo, groups of dojo, or
regions may conduct training camps, seminars, tournaments, and other activities
suitable to the members local needs.
Will my Ju-Jitsu rank be recognized by
The AJA reviews all applications very carefully.
Certificates of rank are verified for authenticity regardless
of the language they are written in. There's a great deal of cooperation
between the major Ju-Jitsu organizations in the U.S. as well as
international cooperation in this area. Applicants with an unfamiliar
ryu must also submit belt rank requirements for all Kyu and Dan
grades of their ryu, as well as other data that may be required
by the Board of Directors. If everything checks out, which it
usually does, the AJA will grant recognition of your dojo. You
may then request the AJA to issue a Certificate of Rank for your
existing Yudansha grade. All recognized black belt ranks are also
asknowledged in the Yudansha Database (http://www.americanjujitsuassociation.org/yudansha.htm)
Does the AJA test individuals for black
The AJA does not normally become involved
in the national testing of yudansha grade candidates. In certain
rare cases the National Black Belt Board will consider candidates
for promotion, but only to Nidan or higher grades. The AJA, as
an organization, will not test candidates for Shodan; that is
normally left to individual schools or dojos to manage through
their normal training cycle and formal testing. In cases where
no AJA dojo is nearby, one can also work through the Budoshin
Jujitsu Yudanshakai (http://www.budoshin.com/home.htm)
to earn a black belt, but the requirements are as stringent -
or more so - than to earn a Shodan through a regular school.
Please feel free to contact us. We'll be glad to answer any
questions you might have.
Webmaster Jeff Wynn
AJA President John
AJA Chairman Prof.