Explaining my concept of “UplandJitsu”

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Is mountain hunting a sport? Or is it an art? Semantics aside, of course, it’s a bit of both. Is it more one than the other? This is where the argument never ends. When I think of sport, I imagine the opposition and the need to score points. I think there are people who are actually very good examples of that mentality – the people who are always worried about who has limits and who are probably taking pictures of upland game hung in their gritted teeth . Yeah. Those guys. Is there anything wrong or illegal in their behavior? No. Technically no.

Hunting in the mountains, from my point of view, is an art much like fly fishing. I just feel like these styles are more authentic forms and seek to preserve tradition in a way that long range deer hunting or bait fishing cannot. A few years ago, I came up with my unique concept of “The Art of Mountain Hunting” and started calling it UplandJitsu. It turned into a blog for mountain hunting, and while I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get out of it, I knew I wanted to portray mountain hunting in a different light.

I wanted to tackle provocative subjects. I knew I wanted to tell stories and help people get started in mountain hunting, but I also wanted to use my creativity to get my point across to my own philosophy. When people hear the word “UplandJitsu”, they thought I was probably some kind of Jiu-Jitsu maniac who also hunted. This is partly true, but the meaning of The Art of Upland Hunting goes a little deeper. Jitsu (or Jutsu) roughly translates to “the way” or “the art of”.

Growing up with highland art

Hunting was always a bit of a topic when I was a kid. It’s practically part of my DNA. The other constant in my life was martial arts. At 6 years old, I was a shy and insecure child. I had a few run-ins with bullies and the next thing I knew I was in karate class. I have been into some form of martial art ever since. Thanks to this, I acquired practical means of defending myself and I gained confidence in myself and in my voice. As I got older, I studied various martial arts and became interested in the common philosophy of cultivating one’s mind. In their most practical form, martial arts are skills learned to defend and defeat an opponent. But the real art is really about getting better and being the best you can be in whatever martial art you study. Martial arts is more than sport, combat, attack or defense. It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about getting better. Martial arts, by design, were meant to spill over into your personal life as well. It’s about growing and being present in this world and appreciating nature, art and all living beings (even our enemies). Essentially, you learn to fight so you never have to, and I found that very empowering.

learning to hunt and learning to respect nature, and especially respecting the shotgun in my hands, I felt and saw many parallels with my martial arts studies. There were rituals, customs and a respect for tradition. Thus, “UplandJitsu” was born. Walking in the highlands is like entering the dojo for me. I bow my head in reverence and respect, surrender and accept the lesson to come. I am grateful for this time. I clear my head and I am present. I view my time in the field as an opportunity to not only challenge myself, but also to learn, teach and become better. In the extreme, I’m ready to die here, much like the martial artist promises when he or she prepares to train.

It’s not about how many birds fit into my vest, it’s about the journey it took to get there. This is what I learned while striving to be a better highland hunter. And of course, it’s about the knowledge that I pass on. It’s about appreciating the birds, especially those who sacrificed themselves in the pursuit of enlightenment in the highlands. This is Upland Jitsu.

READ MORE: BECOMING A HUNTING MENTOR IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT (AND CAN SAVE TIME)

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