BRITISH KEMPO JU-JITSU FEDERATION
The British Kempo Ju-Jitsu Federation was formed to further the teachings of Hanshi Bill Heffer. Hanshi Bill was a dedicated Master of Ju-Jitsu and spent a vast amount of his time dedicated to furthering the principles of the style he formed called Zen Ju-Jitsu Ryu.
Like so many early Ju-Jitsu masters, Hanshi Bill started his martial arts life in the early days within the British Judo Council (BJC) formed by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, Hanshi Bill was also a member of the British Judo Association, albeit he became disillusioned with their politics and went on to form the Southern Judo and Ju-Jitsu Association, in membership of the BJC. Hanshi Bill developed the largest Judo and Ju-Jitsu group in the South of England. Following on from this he had the good fortune to meet Sensei Dominic McCarthy of the Zen Judo Club in Petersfield and went on to form a strong friendship with (Mac) until he passed away. During this Period Hanshi Bill set up the style of Ju-Jitsu which is still practiced by South Coast Martial Arts (member of BKJJF) called Ryu Kempo Ju-Jitsu.
Zen Ju-Jitsu Ryu had many associations over the years from the Martial Arts Commission, to the British Ju-Jitsu Association, The Amateur Martial Arts Association and Tom Hibbert, to include United Kingdom Ju-Jitsu Federation and the well-respected Sensei Gunner Salders and his close friend Sensei Jim MocClair, to a myriad of groups too many to mention. Needless to say Hanshi Bill left his mark on modern martial arts.
Hanshi Bill was extremely well respected within the martial arts fraternity both in the United Kingdom and abroad in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Unfortunately we were robbed of his superb leadership and prowess following a debilitating brain haemorrhage at the young age of 54. Hanshi Bill soldiered on with disabilities until his untimely death 10 years later.
Not many people in this world have the chance to leave a lasting legacy, however, Hanshi Bill was one of those lucky people who has been able to leave a lasting impression on everyone who came into contact with him.
Before he died, Hanshi Bill commenced work on writing a book, which sadly was never finished, however below is a small excerpt from his journals on his views on the conduct of martial arts:
“Do not spoil any art by dictatorship or the creation of individual wealth!
Look at the way they work their art with thoughtfulness and understanding. I teach the throwing art of Judo, the foundation for the style of Ju-Jitsu I practice, but I do not teach competition Judo. If a student wishes to pursue competition as a way to fulfilment, then there is numerous Judo society’s that only train for competition. That is good, if that is what one wants out of a martial art.
However, my teaching of Judo is the foundation of throws in the Ju-Jitsu art that I teach.
Today’s competition Judo would have no place in this. In the Ju-Jitsu art there are lots of schools, or as we call them Ju-Jitsu Ryu.
So what gives one Ju-Jitsu Ryu the right to think that they have the right to become a dictator Ryu?
I have been in martial arts since the age of eighteen, and at this time of putting pen to paper at the age of fifty, I have spent my time obtaining knowledge from all styles of martial arts, and so have formed my Ju-Jitsu Ryu by taking the best from each of these styles. Having been busy researching this for many years, I find that all the founder members of Ju-Jitsu Ryu’s are very much self-styled.
As there was no grading syllabus ever laid down in the world by the old masters of Ju-Jitsu, no
Ryu should hang their dirty washing out in public, but first look to see the good and the bad within their own style, as their Ryu came into being the same way as their counter-parts.
Their dedication to the Ju-Jitsu art I honour, and walk close to the ground in the hope that they see my point of view, in doing so honour my Ryu by, coming to see me, and then understand that we in the Ju-Jitsu art should not live under the black sword of dictatorship. Each Ryu should work to promote co-operation and friendship between all Ju-Jitsu Ryu’s being non-party in politics and non-sectarian in religion, race or creed.
I have set this programme out and dedicate it to all members of the Zen Judo Ju-Jitsu Council, and to all free martial artists that have the wisdom to see, so be creative. I do not feel that any organisation should have the right to state its policy or principles on any martial art organisation, but I would be the first to agree, that an organisation should be set up so that all Ju-Jitsu organisations in the country could be represented by a representative from each Ju-Jitsu organisation. In doing this you would get advancement in the country, and not dictatorship by one body, or a syllabus that you may not agree with.
I will make no apology whatsoever to any one person or to any organisation not agreeing with my notes……“
This quote from Bill Heffer was written 4 years before his near fatal brain haemorrhage, but never published. Sensei Bill Heffer lived on for a further ten years, somewhat disabled, but retired from the martial arts soon after his illness.