Jiu-Jitsu Lessons From Theodore Roosevelt’s Personal Coach

Jiu-Jitsu Lessons From Theodore Roosevelt’s Personal Coach

Theodore Roosevelt was an incredibly interesting person, who was – among other things and being the President of United States – was a keen martial artist. He trained boxing in his youth but, after suffering a blow that blinded him in the eye (which happened while he was a sitting president), he turned his attention to grappling. So, during his time off as the Man of the White House, he’d get Jiu-Jitsu lessons from Professor John J. O’Brien; who had trained the Gentle Art while working as a police inspector in Nagasaki (Japan).
According to a 1902 article in the New York World, Roosevelt said that he: “… hopes soon to be able to break the arms, legs, or neck of any Anarchist or thug who may assail him.”

Sounds cool? It sure does! So, if you would like to learn some of the Jiu-Jitsu moves that Theodore Roosevelt once trained, then below you may take a look at the excerpts from a book that his instructor published in 1905 – as originally shared by Art of Manliness.



Grip your opponent’s left hand:

theodore lesson #1

Raise that arm, turning your opponent’s wrist inward. Slide your other hand under the opponent’ arm:

theodore lesson #1.2

Grip your opponent’s lapel; stiffen your arm, pushing your opponent’s arm from you until it rests on your forearm. At the same time, twist your opponent’s wrist inwardly and down.

theodore lesson #1.3



Grip your opponent’s arm with so that your thumb will rest on the back of his knuckles and your four fingers on the ball of your opponent’s hand:

theodore lesson #2

Raise their hand as shown on the photo below:

theodore lesson #2.1

Press your opponent’s hand backwards with your thumb and at the same time twist his hand to the right with your fingers:

theodore lesson #2.2



Take your opponent firmly by the lapels of the coat, drawing him to you:

theodore lesson #3

Throw the coat over his shoulders, drawing your opponent’s arms firmly together:

theodore lesson #3.1

Step to right quickly, placing your left leg behind your opponent’s left. Give him a sudden push backwards and to the right, and this will result in a throw:

theodore lesson #3.2



Place your right arm inside your opponent’s left as illustrated below and step to the right:

theodore lesson #4

Raise your opponent’s arm:

theodore lesson #4.1

And force your opponent’s arm up, which will cause him to bend forward:

theodore lesson #4.2


Take a look at more techniques that Theodore Roosevelt was taught on this Art of Manliness link.