‘Tai-Jutsu’ means body-science, and that was the principle behind the composite style that Soke Jack McKeown put together in 1984. Bringing together the strongest technique from the styles he had previously trained, Master Jack created one of the first cross-style martial arts in the UK.

Attracting like-minded martial artists, Tai-Jutsu has continued to develop with a focus on simple, direct technique intended for practicality.

Founded in 1984, our youth is one of our greatest strengths; we remain respectful of tradition without being restricted by it.

Where other styles teach the same techniques used hundreds of years ago, we have the flexibility and freedom to develop and improve our style through evaluating, adapting and refining our techniques.

We’ve eliminated techniques that rely on a compliant partner, instead focusing on neutralising an opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Over the last 30+ years we have continued to develop a simple and effective means of self-defence, based on a range of fighting styles including western boxing, muay thai kickboxing, traditional jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, amongst others. What sets us apart at Tai-Jutsu is a focus on techniques for today’s real-world application.

At Tai-Jutsu we’ll teach you how to punch and kick effectively, use elbows and knees, blocks and throw. We’ll provide an insight into the psychology of violence, how to identify potential threats, develop an awareness of your surroundings, and other tools for use in the real world.

As you grow and your skill develops we’ll show you how to defend against multiple attackers, teach you how to use traditional and improvised weapons, all on the road to attaining your black belt.

If that all sounds daunting don’t worry, we’ll start you off with the basics and build from there. Each of our clubs provides a safe training environment, and our experienced team of instructors will help you develop to the best of your potential. 

Find us at one of our clubs in Carryduff, Comber, Downpatrick and Queens University, Belfast.

Northern Ireland Tai-Jutsu: a brief history

Bolton, 1984. Jack McKeown has developed a style that set itself apart in its brutal effectiveness whilst maintaining traditional martial art values.

With decades of training in multiple styles, Master Jack combined and distilled his experience, selecting only the strongest tried-and-tested techniques to create one of the first true cross-style martial arts in the UK, and gave it the deceptively simple name: Tai-Jutsu.

So how did we end up here, in Northern Ireland?


Gary McAllister (7th Dan Tai-Jutsu, and our current Chief Instructor) first met Master Jack at a martial arts course in Liverpool in 1980.

Already an experienced martial artist, Gary identified with the strength and efficiency of the Tai-Jutsu style. The following year Gary, Colin Mills and Billy Murray, along with several others, travelled back to Liverpool for a course where they once again met with Master Jack.


Gary, Colin and Billy continued to train locally in their established styles of Juko-Ryu Ju-Jitsu, while travelling regularly to Bolton to study with Jack. In 1983 they were awarded their 1st Dan Black Belts in Tai-Jutsu.

Master Jack was invited to Belfast in June 1984, along with several of his black belts, to teach a course. This proved very popular, with the emphasis on practical application of techniques and more physical training striking a chord with those in attendance. Shortly thereafter Gary, Colin and Billy founded the Northern Ireland Tai-Jutsu Association.


A long friendship with Grand Master Sken, former chief instructor for the British Thai Boxing Council, resulted in the strong use of low-leg kicking, knees and elbows that Tai-Jutsu is known for.

More than 30 years later and our Chief Instructor Gary McAllister continues to explore, adapt and incorporate new techniques while staying true to our core tenets of avoidance, disengagement and counter-attack.


Sadly Master Jack passed away in November 2009, but we continue to enjoy a strong connection with his old training partner and Chief Instructor of the Taijutsu UK, Sensei Andy Russell (8th Dan).