“A Sensei will open the door, but you must enter by yourself”

Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation

In 1968 a group of Black Belts from NY that were assiocated with the AJJF "American Judo Jujitsu Federation" from the west coast, decided to set up their
own Federation.

The Society of Black Belts of America is recognized both Nationally and Internationally, with the Nippon Kobudo Association in Japan.

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization on June 11th 1968

Co-Founded by:

Professor Angelo L. Albergo, Soke - Supreme Grand Master


Professor Theodore R. West


Founding of the
Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation



- - - - Our purpose in presenting this information is to introduce you to the art of Jiu Jitsu and our organization, The Kydan Jiu Jitsu Federation. The views and requirements expressed here have been carefully formulated and approved by the membership. As practitioners of many styles of Jiu Jitsu, our members come from many different martial arts backgrounds, and beyond Jiu Jitsu, or The Kyudan Federation, they share a sincere desire to improve Jiu Jitsu and bring the knowledge of its value to public attention. We hope this information will be both interesting and informative.



                Jiu Jitsu is a general term, which may be translated as gentle art or gentle technique. The term is used much as the word Karate is used, to encompass a wide range of styles. More than seven hundred styles of Jiu Jitsu have been historically documented. Today, unfortunately, most of them have been lost to us forever, and of those styles that remain, few exist in Japan.

                The reasons for the decline of Jiu Jitsu in Japan are complex, but important enough to cover briefly here. The first blow to the traditional martial arts of feudal Japan was dealt by the implementation of the “open door” policy in 1853. This open door policy was greatly facilitated by Commodore Perry’s visit to Japan’s shores. The decline of feudalism, and the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, followed Perry’s visit by less than fifteen years. The Meiji restoration that followed ended the power of the military in Japan until about the time of World War I. With the loss of status, and privilege, by the military elite, interest in all of the martial arts declined sharply, and many forms vanished completely.

                In the case of Jiu Jitsu, further factors also applied. Even in settled times, physical happen. Interest in Jiu Jitsu remained much stronger than in other arts; however, problems still beset it. In time, some irresponsible teachers taught the art to thugs who used it to terrorize the public, and others encouraged their students to stage public shows (like our TV. wrestling) in which only spectacular techniques were used. Still other instructors, without the practical testing ground of actual combat, let their students develop their styles in ways totally unrelated to the realities of actual fighting. All of these problems combined to give such a bad image to Jiu Jitsu that most would not openly involve themselves with the art, and as a result, even the remaining schools found it difficult to survive.

                At about this point in time, a man came to the art that would change it forever. His name was Jigoro Kano, and the year was about 1870. Kano San was a small man of slight build, who hated being bullied by larger and more muscular schoolmates, so he secretly began to study Jiu Jitsu. Though it was against the wishes of his family, and even after the original reason for his study ceased to exist, still Kano San continued in his studies. After years of studying several styles of Jiu Jitsu, and researching countless documents, Kano Sensei found his answer, how to purify and preserve the art he had come to love. His approach to the task was to make his art respectable. He gave it a new name, Judo, the gentle way. Those techniques which were too dangerous to practice were removed, as were those that wouldn’t work in practical situations. Finally, to perfect his art, Kano Sensei added philosophy to the physical values of his new Judo, named it a sport, and described the whole as a way to self-improvement. Following in a quote from a speech delivered by Kano Sensei to the Asian Society of the British Embassy in Tokyo:

                “The result of a systematic training in Judo is not only       
to develop a strong and healthy body but also to
create in a man or woman a perfect control over mind
and body, and make him ready to meet any emergency,
either from accident or attack.”

                The sport of Judo, as introduced by Kano Sensei in 1882, was certainly not the same Judo we know today. It emphasis today is totally on sport and though discipline is maintained, even in the best schools, the philosophical aspects of the art are assigned a secondary role. A good Judo player can certainly use his ability to defend himself, but most schools spend little time one the specialties of self-defense until after the first degree black belt is attained. The sport of Judo, as Kano Sensei presented it in the 1880’s, won instant recognition and in short order was rapidly gaining popularity. By 1886, Judo had come into competition with the older styles so strongly that a contest was held between Kano Sensei’s students and those of one of the major styles then in power. Judo won by a wide margin and immediately captured public interest. In the great enthusiasm for the new Judo, Jiu Jitsu declined even more, and many styles were lost. Those that remained went underground, left the country, or modified their technique to resemble the new art. It is from the few sources that remain today that Jiu Jitsu is once again being reborn and starting to gain more and more students.



- - - - Certainly no one can deny the benefits and advantages of sport Judo to the young or dedicated athlete. Karate, in most cases, is also taught as a sport and has advantages for those who enjoy kicking and striking more than throwing and grappling. Both have in common the fact that they require a high level of physical conditioning, and a considerable investment of leisure time. Another point to consider is that both Judo and Karate, when practiced as a sport and in competition have a considerable higher ratio of injuries to students that do Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu is not a sport. There is usually no body contact competition. To excel, good conditioning is needed, but one need not be an athlete to study and enjoy the art.

- - - - The individual with limited spare time can learn and maintain skills in as little as three hours weekly. Jiu Jitsu styles were, and usually still are, entirely concerned with the problems of self defense, and they utilize the widest possible range of methods to give each student a balanced system of self defense. Jiu Jitsu is a practical art, which permits the instructor to adapt techniques in various ways calculated to accommodate to the physical build, strengths and weaknesses of the individual student. The number of directions that can be pursued within the styles of Jiu Jitsu are amazing and endlessly challenging.

                As a final consideration, the headlines in your daily newspaper write the last statement. We hope that you never need to defend yourself or your family against unexpected violence, but if you ever do, be capable of doing so.



                In the 1960’s, studying Jiu Jitsu was definitely not the thing to do. In the decade from 1960-1970, Judo was enjoying great success, and Karate was becoming the darling of movies, television, and martial arts promoters. In the eastern section of the United States there were a few small Jiu Jitsu dojos. Some instructors set up dojos in small stores, some in their homes, or in their garages. Like Karate, Jiu Jitsu has many different styles and variations. Because of these differences, many black belts could not or would not come together on a common ground. Many even shunned their fellow Jiu Jitsu enthusiasts, and isolated themselves in the name of “avoiding politics.”

                People in general and Jiu Jitsu people in particular, are gregarious, and seek the company of their fellows. America is a political country, built on the principle that people of different faiths, creeds, and beliefs can come together and rule their own affairs. Politics are a part of our way of life; accordingly, even in those days, some schools belonged to loosely organized Jiu Jitsu federations. Because the organizations were so diffuse, however, they were often disorganized. The officers were so widely scattered that they could only meet infrequently to conduct the business of the organization. The officers were thus unaware of the needs of a good number of their members, and the predictable end result was total dissatisfaction.

                In an attempt to establish a structure that would function, one group of black belts came together on a common ground, their mutual interest in the art of Jiu Jitsu. This group worked together to bring reason and order out of what was chaos. Jiu Jitsu cannot be learned from a book or a film. It requires the active participation of another interested, talented, motivated human being. This group felt that if the meeting point was their love of Jiu Jitsu, there was no problem so insurmountable that it could prevent them from coming together in mutual respect and effort. After many months of meetings these black belts, from a wide assortment of styles, agreed and committed themselves to disregard decisions and opinions based on one’s style. The end result of their deliberations and their work was the formation of a Jiu Jitsu federation representing a wide cross section of styles.

                The Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization on August 8, 1968. Its objectives were to represent, defend, and promote the interests of its members, regardless of style. Of the original founders, Prof. Angelo L. Albergo is still active in the Federation, as Prof. Theodore R. West, he has since passed and will missed by many. They both have worked through the years to promote and achieve the aims of the Federation.

                Those original signers, and all that followed them, have agreed that it is imperative that the membership set, supervise, and maintain standards for grading. The Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation does not seek to force all martial artists into one style, but by our very organization, we must respect all styles. In order to grade practitioners fairly, grading boards are comprised of teachers from a wide cross section of styles. The grading board is required to judge each applicant on the basis of range of knowledge, facility of performance, and the use of technique, as opposed to strength. The candidate’s instructor must submit a resume of the student’s martial arts background, as well as his personal recommendation of the student for promotion. The instructor must assure the grading board of the student’s high moral and ethical standards; thus, we eliminate the probability of an instructor presenting a student for a test before that student is capable of assuming the duties and responsibilities of rank. If the student under examination fails, by lack of preparation, knowledge, technique, or ability, it is as if the instructor has failed, and at the same time, receives the judgment of his peers. We find our system to be more than adequate to maintain the high standards of quality that we seek.

                Many of our black belts are ranked in other martial art forms as well, but we do not concern ourselves too greatly in these areas. We have found that just dealing with the many problems to be found in our own field takes up most of our energies. We are in friendly contact with other federations, and their students are always welcome on our mats. Without outside contact, there wouldn’t be any effective exchange of ideas or technique’s between various styles. It is our philosophy, that when man ceases to learn, man ceases to be man, and thus, becomes a vegetable.

                Our members hold themselves responsible for providing technical advice and assistance to any sincere person requesting it. To carry out its mandates, our federation seeks to associate with all Jiu Jitsu groups within its jurisdiction. We recognize and affirm the need to cooperate with and exchange ideas with other martial arts organizations and individuals. Toward this end, the Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation stands ready to furnish services to all individuals or groups interested in Jiu Jitsu. The federation, through its members, will do anything necessary, expedient, or incidental to achieve these ends. We will not, of course, enter into any conduct or affiliation which falls outside the limits of prudent, moral, and ethical behavior. The federation operates on democratic principles.  Every two years there is an election of officers, and every three, an election for president. Any member in good standing may run for any office.

                Because of our fair but stringent policy on grading, our certificates are recognized by the Society of Black Belts, International. Though successful, our federation is still small in size. Our small size is not an accident. We are small by design, due to our selectivity. Many have applied and have been refused either due to lack of proper credentials or lack of ability.  Others, a few, joined and were unwilling to maintain our standards, or could not accept our “one man, one vote” policy. In the Kyudan Jiu Jitsu Federation, degree of rank holds no sway in voting! Any member’s vote is equal to any other! Although our policies do not promote rapid growth, they do guarantee the quality of membership that our members value so highly. The federation’s ability to survive and grow is not based on shunning outsiders, but exactly the opposite. By encouraging all qualified applicants to join, and by mixing styles, we make each member that much stronger. Our strength is in our unity and that unity is built on the foundation of mutual respect – respect for the true Jiu Jitsu practitioner.



                There can be no question that there are great advantages to the participants in our federation. There is strength in unity, high standards, and recognition by other prestigious organizations, permanent rank registration, and participation in charting the course of the organization, and having an organization to express your needs and those of you students. Last, and most important of the benefits we offer, is the fellowship of good people coming together with a common interest toward a common goal.

“Mutual benefit through mutual trust”

2949 Bruckner Blvd
Bronx NY 10461