Keith Kolb wrote:
I once had someone in a martial arts chat room correct me that jui-jitsu is an incorrect spelling and means something about fruit, where jujutsu is propper. My knowledge of Japanese is very minimal, does anyone know if he was right?
I should really write this reply in Japanese, since you would then see the differences in the various expressions more clearly. The problem you allude to relates to how Japanese was transcribed in Roman/English letters.
There are three terms in Japanese that could be transcribed as jujitsu:
充実： じゅうじつ = fruitful, replete, fulfilled
柔術： じゅうじゅつ = the martial art
呪術： じゅじゅつ = incantation, enchantment, magic.
If we were to romanize the words exactly in accordance with the hiragana, they would be juu-jitsu, juu-jutsu, and ju-jutsu, respectively.
However, there is no double 'u' in English and the English missionaries like Hepburn, who devised the earliest romanization system, devised a system for the sake of English speakers (since he was a man of his time). In addition, 'jutsu' sounds very much like 'jitsu' in English, rather like hombu/honbu and shinbun/shimbun.
So, the correctness of the (English) spelling depends on the romanization system you are following.
It is somewhat like the debate about the training suit worn by practitioners of Japanese martial arts. Is it 'gi' or 'dogi' or 'keikogi'? The debates about this are about as interesting and relevant to training as the religious debates that led to the Reformation.
PS. Eric Roku's post adds a further dimension, since he is talking about a non-Japanese martial art, which was presumably spelled correctly by its inventors.