BANNER JODO

Jodo has roots in the Japanese martial arts that go back also. In the latter half of the fifteenth century, Muso Gonosuke Katsuyoshi,a student of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu, founded the Shindo Muso Ryu, a school that devised the dynamic art of jo-jutsu. The legend tells that Gonosuke was the only person that could ever defeat the famous swordsman Myamoto Musashi. Approx. in the year 1605 Gonnosuke managed to defeat Musashi without causing him great harm. Gonnosuke became martial arts instructor to the Kuroda clan, located in northern Kyushu. Muso Gonnosuke, profoundly changed by his encounter with Musashi and by a divine vision atop Mount Homan, had created a pre-eminent staff art, the Shinto (or Shindo) Muso-ryu jojutsu. ~The Heavenly Way of Muso's staff.
There were wooden staff arts before Gonnosuke's time. The Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu had bojutsu methods using the rokushaku bo (six-foot staff).
In Shindo Muso Ryu are five martial arts captured:

Shindo Ryu Kenjutsu or sword art
Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu or Sickle and Chain
Ikkaku Ryu Juttejutsu or truncheon (a former police-weapon)
Uchida Ryu Tanjojutsu or walking stick
Ittasu Ryu Hojojutsu or rope tying art

Jo Techniques

Jodo is a powerful art, in which a jo is used against a swordsman.

The jo could be used to strike like a sword, sweep like a naginata, thrust like a spear (yari). Its two ends could be used, unlike the single point of a sword, and its ma-ai (fighting distance) could be varied according to the hand grip you take. Because of its speed and changeable ma-ai, it is a formidable weapon in the hands of a skilled master.

Kaminoda sensei and Shimizu sensei (right)
performing Ranai.
There are 12 kihon, which also form the basics of the modern Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei Jodo-bu (All Japan Kendo Federation Way of Jo Section). There are also 12 omote waza ("outward" forms), 12 chudan, 2 ran-ai, 12 kage, 6 samidare, 5 gohon no midare, and 12 okuden ("secret" forms).
Students begin with tandoku renshu (single practice), in which the basics, or kihon are performed solo. This is followed by sotai renshu, practicing in pairs, in which one person assumes the role of a swordsman against a jojutsu person.
The proper attitude for practicing kata is that all attacks are characterized by relaxed movements and postures, maximum focus of energy being applied only at the actual moment of impact. This allows maximum efficiency of movement and conservation of energy and also provides the trainee with a critical margin (yoyu) to be used in the case of something unforeseen occurring.


Beyond technique, however, there is a poem from the oral tradition that admonishes the student to: ". . . Concentrate on being a person who causes no injury to others. Our teaching is: In the heart of the jo is an arrow."
In another saying, Shimizu sensei himself taught his students that, "Jodo should be done to build one's character and that jodo should be like a steering wheel. The road is life. And there are all kinds of ways one can go down the road. Use jodo to steer as straight a course as possible through life" .....


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