Our Legacy

The History of the AJA

The American Ju-Jitsu Association was founded in 1972 for the purpose of bringing different ryu (styles) of the art together in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and respect. Since that time, it has grown from two dojos to approximately 30, plus international affiliates. The AJA has established itself as a reputable organization within the martial arts community, and it works closely with other major jujitsu organizations in the United States and internationally in areas of mutual concern. The founder was recognized by Black Belt Magazine as Black Belt of the Year in 2011. Take a look at our newsletters which document the history of our organization, they date back to the early 90’s.

The AJA is the United States representative for a number of international organizations.

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)]. Use of the name may be authorized only by the Board of Directors of the American Ju-Jitsu Association. Misuse or abuse of the corporate name may result in criminal and civil liability as determined by a legal counsel. To our knowledge the AJA is the only martial arts organization in the U.S. that is classified in this manner as an amateur athletic association. The AJA supports a variety of safe competitive formats for a full-spectrum martial art that basically is not a sport. The AJA also issues certificates of rank to qualified members who meet the criteria of their particular ryu.

The AJA Today

The American Ju-Jitsu Association (AJA) is comprised of a wide range of different ryu (styles) of ju (or jiu, gentle or flexible) jitsu (art) Jujitsu. To see how wide our net is cast, just scroll through our Directory! Each ryu brings its own unique character, and each contributes a positive influence on the martial arts community as a whole. Ju-jitsu (which is also transliterated as Jujitsu, Jujutsu, and Jiu-Jitsu) is the most ancient martial art, with evidence of its existence found as far back as 2000 years ago. It encompasses most elements of more recent break-off arts such as Karate, Judo, and Aikido, among others. Ju-jitsu is a superset of all of these and much more. The emphasis in Ju-jitsu is always extreme practicality: Does a technique work for you, for your particular training background, and for your physiology? If so, then it should be part of your self-defense toolkit. If you wouldn’t be willing to bet your life on it, then focus on other techniques – but learning all of them makes you wiser and more capable.

While Ju-jitsu casts a wide net it is also highly adaptive. If you have an injury or a physical limitation, you are not excluded – you simply adapt the huge self-defense tool-kit available to you (Prof. Kirby lists over 800 separate techniques in his Big Book). A short person generally finds it easier to execute a koshi-nage (hip throw) on a taller person than the other way around, which might seem to be a disadvantage for tall people. Instead of viewing it as a limitation, however, a logical adaptation would be for a taller person to perfect an ippon-seio-nage, a one-arm hip-throw, or tai-otoshi, a basic drop-throw. Do you have an injured knee or other problem? Practicing the full range of techniques with that injury risks a cumulative injury – you could make the problem worse. Instead, adapt, and focus on techniques that work for YOU. There is even a wide range of techniques that can be used from a sitting position, including virtually all pressure-point attacks. Ju-jitsu is the self-defense system for almost everyone.

In our Directory, you will find a large and ever-growing number of schools in the USA and all over the world. The AJA’s instructors are dedicated professionals who have devoted much of their lives to the discipline of mind, body, and spirit. Their programs stimulate the student’s ability to learn and can enable you to develop all the skills necessary for real personal safety through awareness and self-defense. All of the dojos listed in our directory follow the rules established by the AJA Board laid out in the AJA Constitution, approved Sept.15, 2023

If you hold a black belt in Ju-jitsu and find yourself searching for an organization to belong to, the AJA can help. We invite you to read further and to consider a membership in our family of dedicated teachers and trainers.


All material presented on this website is provided for informational purposes only. Before undertaking the study of any martial art, you should consult your physician. You should be aware that if you engage in a martial arts class, you are doing so entirely at your own risk, including any present and/or future physical or psychological pain or injury that you may incur. The American Ju-Jitsu Association (AJA), its officers, and the author of this website cannot assume any responsibility or liability for any injuries or losses you may incur as a result of acting upon any information provided by this website, or any links to other sites found herein. Nor can the AJA, its officers, and the author of this website assume any third-party liability arising out of any legal actions you may be involved in as a result of the training you received by engaging in a study of any martial art, as presented by this website or any other source. Although there may be a number of instructors, dojo, other organizations, seminars and other activities listed in this website, the AJA, its officers and the author of this website cannot be responsible for their claims, instructional strategies, materials, facilities, or consequences that may arise by studying any martial art under their supervision and can make no recommendations or inferences as to the quality or effectiveness of their instructional programs.

Get in touch for further information