Journal of Non-lethal Combatives, Oct 2000

The Secrets of Jujitsu, A Complete Course in Self Defense, Book IV

By Captain Allan Corstorphin Smith, U.S.A.

Winner of the Black Belt, Japan, 1916. Instructor of Hand-to-Hand Fighting, THE INFANTRY SCHOOL, Camp Benning, Columbus, Georgia and at United States Training Camps and Cantonments, 1917 and 1918.

In Seven Books.



Columbus, Georgia, 1920.


This electronic version is copyright EJMAS © 2000. All rights reserved.

Contributed by Thomas J. Militello, a 15-year member of Astoria, New York's non-profit Horangi Taekwondo Dojang, which is headed by James Robison.

Readers interested in seeing film images should note the following film held by the National Archives and Record Administration:


Title: Physical and Bayonet Training, 1918.

Scope and Content: Recruits at Camp Gordon, Georgia receive detailed instruction in boxing and jiu-jitsu. Wrestling and jiu-jitsu holds are used against a foe with a bayonet. Troops do calisthenics and play rough games calculated to make them physically fit.

35mm film, 15 minutes

See also Don W. Farrant, "Vintage Jujitsu: World War I Style,"

Judging from responses from the US Army historians at Forts Myer and Benning, little biographical information is available concerning Captain Smith. Therefore readers with additional information are requested to contact the editor at



If an assailant seizes you around the waist from behind, you may be able to get one of his fingers and so pry his grip open.

If he is a strong man, however, you will have difficulty in getting hold of a finger, and you will simply lose time making the effort.

Further, you will accomplish little, even if you break his hold, for he is still behind you and can strike you, or get a hold on you.

In a real fight if you broke his fingers he would kick, with more effect on you than breaking his fingers had on him.


This lesson teaches you --

How to make the elbow blow to the solar plexus when seized from behind above the arms.

It also teaches you to keep your balance, and makes you expert in the use of the elbow blow under any circumstances.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced Elbow blow to the solar plexus when seized form behind above arms

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.



When an Assailant seizes you around the waist from behind the most effective defense and the quickest escape is the elbow blow.

Fig 83


If his great strength makes movement impossible, stamp with your heel on his instep or kick him savagely on the shin.

Fig 84

Such a trick will momentarily weaken his hold and in that psychological moment twist down and out.

In practice make the kick with the strength of your whole body, not merely with the leg muscles. "Put your Stahara into it," but stop a few inches from the mark at which you aim.


Slip down through his arms, turning the left hip forward, swinging on the balls of the feet, making the effort from the Stahara.

Fig 85

Simultaneously bring your right elbow directly in front and six or eight inches away from his solar plexus (the pit of his stomach).


Drive your elbow into his solar plexus. In practice put all your force into the blow but stop it three or four inches from the target.

Fig 86

This blow properly delivered will knock him out. If not, repeat it till he drops.

Assailant must hold you lightly. In a real attack he would hold you tightly but the kick you would give would loosen his grip.

In order not to forget this kick in a real fight always practice it, counting audibly:
"TAKE HOLD"  Assailant seizes you.
"ONE"  Simulate the kick with all your strength.
"TWO" Twist down out of his grip, bringing elbow forward.
"THREE" Drive elbow back.

You will soon acquire a Houdini-like expertness in wriggling out of Assailant's grip, if you practice steadily. This practice is a most valuable exercise as it reaches every muscle in your body and teaches you to coordinate your movements.

It makes you alert and able to take advantage of an opening. The untrained man would be so clumsy, and delay so long after the kick, that he would lose the advantage of Assailant's momentary weakness.

When an Assailant has you in any kind of a grip that prevents your delivering a vital blow, always make a primary attack, which, though not sufficient in itself to defeat him, puts you in a position to deliver the real blow.

This practice trains you in the principle. Merely reading it is not enough, you must practice it.

This is a course in Fighting Jujitsu, not Competitive Jujitsu, so do not get the idea that kicking is allowed in a Jujitsu mach. This practice must all be done formally.

In repeated practices, the man behind knows what you are going to do each time, and it is an easy matter for him to prevent you by tightening his arms every time start making a move, and by dropping his body with you every time you drop.

This is a useless way to practice. The man who takes the role of Assailant must reproduce the conditions of an actual fight in which you would execute your defense before Assailant had time to change his tactics.

Repeated practice will make you quick enough to knock a man out before he grips with his full strength.

Practicing this trick will develop your reflex action until you have a hair-trigger mind.


This lesson teaches you --

How to make the elbow blow to the neck when seized from behind below the arms.

It gives you further experience in keeping your balance, and in becoming expert with the elbow blow.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced Elbow blow to the neck when seized from behind below arms

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.



When an Assailant seizes you around your waist from behind, passing his arms beneath your arms, you cannot strike him in the solar plexus with your elbow, his arms are in the way.

Fig 87

First strike him violently on the nose with the back of your head.

In practice put all your strength into this effort. Make the whole body deliver the blow, not the neck muscles alone.

Stop the blow a few inches from his nose.


His head flies back and his muscles loosen, momentarily at least.

Fig 88

At this moment swing your right elbow round onto his neck or the point of his jaw, making the blow come not from the arm muscles but from the Stahara.

Turn on the balls of the feet.


If he ducks to the left swing to your left and give him your left elbow on the jaw or the neck.

Fig 89

Stop the blow a couple of inches from the target but put all your force into it.

As he staggers back repeat the blow to the abdomen, giving him the quietus.

Fig 90


You hear a lot about "Quick-thinking" in moments of danger. Most of the quick-thinking is simply the trained man's subconscious acting as it has been trained to do by long practice.

This course will train you in this way. You will begin to realize this when you instinctively give the elbow blow to the solar plexus when seized above the arms and to the neck when seized below the arms.

Merely reading this course will not train you to readiness of action but practice of these two tricks will.


The elbow blow has a far wider field of application than the two examples given here.

The best way to deal with a rush from a footpad who attacks you suddenly from some dark alley, at night, is the elbow blow.

The way to acquire an ability to use it in any emergency is to practice these two tricks till it becomes second nature to use your body in the correct manner.

"TAKE HOLD"  Assailant seizes you.
"ONE"  Simulate butting him on the nose. (Your partner must loosen his grip and let his head go back.)
"TWO" Swing your right elbow to his neck.
"THREE" Swing your left elbow to his neck.

Do this three times each, acting as Assailant alternately.



This lesson teaches you the back throw, an alternate method of escape and defense when seized around waist from behind below arms.

Each method should be practiced to the point of efficiency where you are able to achieve victory by that one trick alone, but in a real fight. The victory often depends upon the number of attempts you make and the variety of methods you employ.

You should maneuver so quickly that your opponent has not time to change his front to meet your fresh attack.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced The Back Throw

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.


Assailant seizes you around the waist from behind, below your arms.


Stamp hard on his instep with your heel. This will loosen his grip.

Fig 91


With your right hand seize the front of his right trousers-leg.

Fig 92

Shove with your right hand, twist your left hip forward, swinging on balls of feet, and making effort from Stahara.


With left hand strike Assailant a vigorous blow below the belt.

Fig 93

This should be sufficient to lay him out.

Stop the blow three inches from the mark.


With your right foot, step behind opponent. Get well down so that your hips are beneath his thighs.

fig 94

With the front of your right thigh, knock his left hip up at the same time your right arm knocks his body backward.

Fig 95

It will be sufficient to practice lifting opponent into position of Figure 95.

Do not try this trick on a slippery floor with a heavy partner, or you may both fall and be injured.

In practice lift him and hold him for a few seconds. This develops your strength and teaches you to keep your balance.

In a real fight you would throw him with a backward sweep of your right elbow.

The punch in the stomach would make him let go, but supposing it did not, you would fall on him and knock him out.

The ability to do this can be developed without either of you having to fall.
"TAKE HOLD"  Assailant seizes you.
"ONE"  Simulate the kick to his instep.
"TWO" Seize his pants and twist your left hip forward.
"THREE" Simulate the punch to his stomach.
"FOUR" Step behind and lift him.

Practice this trick three times each alternately.

In Figure 94, be sure that the forward knock your hips give him is at right angles to his line of support, i.e., a line drawn between his heels.

This will unbalance him and make it easy to lift him. If your effort is made parallel to his line of support you cannot unbalance him and you are working against his strongest point.

If you find this principle difficult to understand do not lose time over it just now, it is not very necessary for this course and will be explained fully in the Second Course.



This lesson teaches you a scientific method of throwing an Assailant over your shoulder when he seizes you around the neck, or around the arms, from behind.

You seize the sleeve of your opponent, unbalance him, place your center of gravity below his, and throw him, instead of the old-fashioned method of reaching for his head and throwing him by main strength.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced Slipping down, Fig. 97 Lifting, Figs. 98, 99  The Shoulder Throw

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.


Assailant seizes you around waist, from behind, above arms.

Fig 96

(When taking the role of Assailant, do not hold too tightly at first, and do not complicate matters, or prevent his mastering the trick by dropping down when he drops.)

Throw your right leg outside and behind his right leg, placing your toes on the ground, and keeping your leg close to his.

Fig 97

Slip down through his arms, raising your arms sidewards.

Turn your body slightly to the right. Grasp the upper part of his sleeve with both hands. Pull his armpit over your shoulder, thus unbalancing him.

Fig 98

Always grasp opponent's sleeve instead of his elbow or wrist. This gives you tremendous leverage.

(Every part of your body must be limber except the Stahara, which should be strong and balanced. At first you will be exactly the opposite, your arms will be all tensed and your Stahara will be relaxed.)

Straighten your right leg raising your hip, bend slightly forward, and you will easily lift him.

Fig 99

Fig 100

(Practice lifting him before a mirror, taking the position of Figures 98 and 99 alternately, counting "ONE" -- "TWO", until you get the knack of lifting him by the roll of your body, not by arm or leg strength.)

Slowly rotate your right side close to the ground, rolling him gently off your back. Keep your balance in your Stahara so that you do not fall.

Hold on to his sleeve to prevent his falling heavily. Practice on a mat or grass.

We have some wonderful photos of a man's feet flying through the air straight above the opponent's head. But if these illustrations were used here the trick would look too difficult and you would not see how it was done.

Also if you tried to do it so at first you might hurt one another.

By practicing the positions of the photos shown here you will quickly master the trick and will be able then to throw your opponent's heels as high as you wish.


There is quite an art in wriggling out of a man's grip. If you try to force his arms up with the strength of your arms you will fail unless you are much stronger than he is.

Slip down through his arms, making the effort from the Stahara, just as if the Stahara were a corkscrew, and your shoulders were the cork.

Do not bend forward, do not force his arms up with your arms, but raise your arms as his grip slackens.


Take the position of the right hand man in Figure 98. Tense your leg and arm muscles only, leaving the Stahara limp. Tell opponent to lift his feet off the ground and attempt to support him in that position. If he is a heavier man than you, you will probably collapse.

Again take the same position, make the Stahara strong (not by tensing the superficial abdominal muscles, but using your body as this course has trained you to do). You will now find that you can easily bear his weight and that you have considerable reserve power.

The two positions illustrated in Figures 97 and 98 are shown and explained separately in order that you may more quickly master these two points.

As a matter of fact there are not two movements here, the Jujitsu man instantly goes from Figure 96 to Figure 98 and you would not see him in position of Figure 97.
"ONE"  Simulate the kick to Assailant's shins.
"TWO" Slip down and seize his sleeve.
"THREE" Throw him.




This is one of the most important lessons in the course.

It teaches a deadly counter to the shoulder throw.

It shows you a safe method of practicing this deadly hold until you are perfect in it.

This lesson teaches more than just a defense. It teaches a hold that can be used in countless situations either of offence or defense.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced The Rear Strangle

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.


As opponent slips down to take shoulder-throw position, bring the sharp wrist-bone of your right arm against the front of his neck.

Fig 101

Counter to Shoulder Throw -- The Rear Strangle

With the strength of both arms, press the wrist-bone on his throat, your chest meanwhile pressing against the back of his neck.

This is a very severe grip and can render a man unconscious instantaneously.

Do it slowly at first so that there is no danger of injury. Let both of you "feel it out" first, the one on whom it is tried making no resistance.

OPPONENT GIVING SIGNAL OF DEFEAT (Showing clearly the action of the wrist-bone)

In practice exert only sufficient pressure to force opponent to give the signal of defeat.

Fig 102

Opponent Giving Signal of Defeat (showing clearly the action of the wrist-bone)

Practice it on each other unresistingly, playing the game of "Tickle my nose." This will make you so expert that you can force one another to quit without injury, and at the same time you will have such a margin of reserve force that in a real fight you could make your opponent unconscious.

The secret of this hold is use the sharp wrist-bone on his throat, and press the neck forward with your chest.

Practice the stranglehold in the following manner:
"TAKE HOLD"  Seize your opponent around the waist, from behind, above the arms.
"ONE"  Opponent simulates kick to your shins.
"TWO" He drops down and seizes your sleeve, you bring your forearm against his throat.
"THREE" He makes no effort to throw you, and you slowly choke him.

Do not try to choke him by arm strength alone, but keep your strength and balance in your Stahara. Practice till you can make him quit instantaneously yet so gently that you do not hurt his throat.

Do this for several days before you try the Advanced Practice.


Execute "TAKE HOLD" -- "ONE" -- "TWO" as above, then instead of saying "THREE" say "GO" when your opponent will try to throw you with the shoulder throw before you are able to choke him.

You will try to choke him before he can throw you.

Practice this alternately on each other, and it will increase your efficiency with both the shoulder throw and the strangle hold.

Do not go in for violent practice, but try it again and again for the purpose of improving your style.

The man who is doing the shoulder throw must not utilize the "Escape from strangle hold" taught in Lesson 17. That is practiced separately.



This is a very important lesson.

It teaches the escape from the rear strangle.

It enables you to throw over your head anyone who attempts to strangle you from the rear.

It will make you doubly expert at the shoulder throw.

  Name of Partner Date Commenced Escape from Rear Strangle

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.


As opponent slowly commences to put pressure on your throat, tug his sleeve violently forward with both hands, thus lessening the pressure on your windpipe.

Simultaneously turn your chin into the crook of his elbow. This exposes the large neck muscles to his attack and gives you ample time to complete the escape and throw him; whereas if you allow the pressure to continue on your windpipe one second is enough to make you quit.

Fig 103

Perform this slowly in an experimental spirit, not in a spirit of competition between you and your partner. Do this once or twice in front of a mirror and compare your position with the photos.

Keep your balance in your Stahara so that neither requires to support himself by clinging to his opponent.


The moment you escape from the strangle hold you must throw opponent.

If you remain where you are after escaping and simply try to hold his forearm off your neck, your assailant is in the strategic position and can hold you and perhaps finally choke you.

If you attempt to throw him from such a position as Figure 104 you will not succeed unless you are disproportionately stronger than he is, as your center of balance is too high.

Fig 104

Drop your Stahara down, slipping your right foot slightly to the rear, thus bringing your center of gravity below his; then the principle of applied mechanics will make it easy for you to throw him.

Fig 105

In practice be careful however to lower him gently to the ground.


The following method is the best way to become expert as it centers all your practice at the crucial point where opponent is all set and ready to choke you.

It also makes the practice of this dangerous hold perfectly safe.
"TAKE HOLD"  Assailant seizes you around the waist from behind, above the arms.
"ONE"  Simulate a kick to his shins.
"TWO" Slip down through his arms and seize his sleeve with both hands.
"THREE" Opponent tries to choke you, execute the escape and throw him

THE KICK is retained in all three foregoing tricks ("The Shoulder Throw" -- "The Strangle" -- "The Escape"), in order to make the counting in each trick the same. This gives you less to think about when practicing.

When revising the lessons, practice each one separately. When practicing the shoulder throw, Lesson 15, opponent must not complicate matters by countering with the strangle hold.

When practicing the stranglehold, Lesson 16, opponent must not counter with the escape.

When practicing the escape from the strangle hold, Lesson 17, opponent must not counter with the deathlock (Book 7). After learning the deathlock, make it the fourth trick in this series, as a counter to a counter-counter.

The third trick in the series teaches you how to escape from any strangle which is done by strength of arms alone. The deathlock chokes you with the strength of the whole body and unbalances you while doing so, and from it there is no escape.


This lesson teaches you: --


Giving you further versatility in dealing with an attack from behind, and a further education in the correct use of your body, and in unbalancing Assailant.
  Name of Partner Date Commenced Ankle Throw

Make a check mark against each trick each day you practice it.



Assailant grasps you around the waist from behind, below the arms, with his right foot between your legs. In this position he is well braced and is not so open to the previous methods of escape.

Fig 106

The usual counter is to grasp his knee, lift it up, and throw him if you are able.

Fig 107

This does not give half the leverage the following method does.


Lean well forward and grasp his ankle. Even if he is holding tightly make the effort from the Stahara and you will reach down.

Fig 108

It may be necessary sometimes to make a feint for another trick which he would defend by paying attention to another part of his body. You can then deliberately bend forward and pick up his ankle.

Do not try to pull his leg up by the arms only.

Fig 109

Stand up, making the effort from the Stahara and you will have twice the power.

Practice this slowly otherwise you will bang his head on the ground and thus summarily end the practice for the day.

Fig 110

In practice the Assailant must let go when he feels himself falling and so land gently on the mat.

In a real fight, if he holds on, fall on him and that will knock him out.


When trying to throw Assailant by the ankle throw, if he retains his balance and hops around on his left leg it will be impossible to throw him by a straight pull forward.

Fig 111

Swing his foot away round to your left. This will unbalance him and you will throw him without any trouble.

Do not put your full force into the swing.

Fig 112

Have your Assailant let go as he falls. This will save him from your falling on top of him.

You will become expert in these tricks more quickly if you practice in this prescribed formal manner than if you make a wrestling match out of each trick.


If Assailant does not let go you would fall on him like this and knock him out.

It is a very dangerous fall so avoid it by practicing formally.

You can become quite expert by formal practice.

Also pick up Assailant's left foot. Get him to hop around on his right retaining his balance.

Throw him by swinging to your right.

Practice this with each foot alternately until you no longer hesitate about the correct direction in which to swing him.

JNC Oct 2000