The Bartitsu Society has been researching the relationship between early competitive jujitsu and Kodokan judo for a while, trying to get a handle on the early jujitsu training of Bartitsu Club jujitsu instructors Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi (the first jujitsuka to take on European wrestlers).
Incidentally, Mitsuyo Maeda traveled to and competed in London before he went to Brazil. There, he worked with Uyenishi (a.k.a. "Raku") and fellow "international" judo/jujitsu pioneers Akitaro Ono (who wrestled professionally as "Daibutsu") and Taro Miyake. All of them received extensive exposure to European wrestling styles, including Lancashire (catch as catch can), and most of them competed against these styles in the mixed-style matches pioneered in England by E.W. Barton-Wright, the founder of Bartitsu.
The gist of this issue is that ne-waza may have been more in the nature of a personal specialty of Tanabe Mataemon's, than a notable aspect of Fusen-ryu per se; also that it appears to have characterized the KOSEN competition format before being formally integrated into the Kodokan syllabus.
The connection seems to be the Handa dojo in Osaka, which was referenced by both Uyenishi and Taro Miyake. The teacher there was named Yataro (also spelled Yatarou) Handa. In a 1915 newspaper interview, Miyake distinguished the Handa dojo style from Kodokan judo and implied that the style taught there was much more concerned with ne-waza than was Kodokan judo. Note that Miyake was referring to the time that he had been training in Japan, i.e. late 1800s, rather than the situation that existed in 1915:
We know that Tanabe Mataemon was connected to the Handa dojo and that Uyenishi, Miyake and Tani were all experts at ne-waza circa 1900; we have no evidence connecting Tani nor Uyenishi to Kodokan judo at that time.Quote:
All, or practically all, of the Japanese jiu-jitsu experts who have
exhibited in this country [e.g., the USA], have been exponents of the
Kodokan style, which has its headquarters in Tokio. Kodokan jiu-jitsu
became popular here because it is the style brought into play when two
men are standing and it is spectacular. Therefore, it was the most
suitable method to furnish Americans and Europeans with an
illustration of how to repel attacks in ordinary assaults.
The other school of jiu-jitsu is called Handa, and its great teachers
are at Osaka, where I learned. Handa is more particularly the kind of
jiu-jitsu used when two men are on the mat, as in catch-as-catch-can.
The jiu-jitsu tricks of the tiny Japanese policemen, which have been
written about so much by travelers, embody the elementary principles
of the Kodokan method, and some of the policemen are quite good at
them. As I have said, there is little stand-up work in catch-as-catch
can and Handa experts are the ones to offer a comparison between the
Japanese and American methods.
Of course, every Kodokan expert knows more or less about Handa, and
every Handa man knows a lot about Kodokan, but nevertheless they are
each highly specialized, individual professions. Both have the same
fundamental principles applied in all jiu-jitsu, which consists in
going against the grain, so to speak. That is, if you grip a man's arm
and can get it out straight, you apply the pressure at the elbow
against the direction of the natural crook of that joint, and so on,
but each school has its own box of tricks.
Evidence does point towards Uyenishi, Tani and some of the other pioneers having competed very successfully in high school/technical college jujitsu matches before leaving Japan for London; these matches were probably the precursors of the KOSEN format. Little-known fact; while Kano formalized Kosen judo in 1914, there had actually been numerous intra-mural jujitsu competitions between Japanese technical colleges, high schools etc. dating back to the 1880s. One theory is that the emphasis on ne-waza came about partly because ground grappling was considered to be safer for kids than high-amplitude throwing. In any case, these competitions may represent the first time a wide range of jujitsu ryu-ha come together under relatively safe competition rules.