Shinto Muso Ryu  Jodo

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Jodo?

What is the history of Jodo?
What is koryu or kobudo?
What is the difference between kobudo (old martial arts) and shinbudo (new martial arts)?
What equipment does Jodo use?
What is the Jodo uniform?
What is the curriculum?
What are the Jodo ranks?
Is there sparring in Jodo?
Can Jodo be used in self defense?
What kind of exercise can I expect doing Jodo?
Where can I buy weapons?
What can I expect to learn in a beginners' 8-week county parks and recreation Jodo class?
Do I need to learn Japanese for the beginners’ 8-week county parks and recreation course?
What are the teacher expectations for the beginners’ 8-week county parks and recreation class?
What is the basic dojo etiquette for Jodo?
Are there different types of Jodo?

What are recommended readings for Kobudo?

What are recommended Readings for Jodo?

 
What is Jodo?
Jodo is a 400-year martial art from Japan. It focuses on using a wooden stick against a sword. The full name of the art is Shinto Muso-ryu jo.

What is the history of Jodo?

It was founded in the early 17th century (about 1605) by Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi, an exponent of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu. Shinto Muso-ryu oral tradition maintains that Gonnosuke once fought Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous swordsmen of the time, with a staff (bo) in a training match and was defeated by Musashi’s cross-block (jujidome) technique. According to legend, Gonnosuke was dissatisfied with this outcome and retired to Mt. Homan, in what is now Fukuoka Prefecture, in Kyushu, where he engaged in a series of religious austerities, all the while contemplating the reasons for his defeat. Finally, he received "divine" inspiration about a new method of using a staff-like weapon, making it shorter (50 1/4") and thinner (7/8") for more rapid manipulation. He devised a number of techniques for this new weapon, which he called a stick (jo) (as opposed to staff or bo), that included the use of the thrust (tsuki) of a spear, strike (utsu) of a sword and staff and sweep (harai) of a naginata. Factual documents of the style (ryu) are quite rare. It is said that there is a record at Tsukuba Shrine, in Ibaragi Prefecture, that reports that Gonnosuke was able to defeat Musashi in a rematch. This story is not recorded elsewhere, however, outside fictional novels, and may not be factual. (Source: http://www.shinto-muso-ryu.org/)

 

Details of Muso Gonnoske and Jodo can be found at http://www.koryu.com/library/wmuromoto1.html

 

What is koryu or kobudo?

Koryu means "old" school or classical Japanese martial arts. Shinbudo or "new" martial arts is used to describe modern martial arts.

 

What is the difference between kobudo (old martial arts) and shinbudo (new martial arts)?

The easiest definition is the date of 1876 when the act prohibiting the wearing of swords (Haitorei) was instituted. Any art developed before 1876 is considered a killing art for combat but martial arts developed after that date are more for self development. However, this is by no means a complete and clear distinction and continues to be controversial. For more information see http://www.koryu.com/koryu.html


What equipment does Jodo use?
Jodo uses primarily two weapons: 1) a wooden stick or "jo" which is 50 1/4 in. long, and 15/16 in diameter, 2) and a wooden sword or "bokken". These weapons are the focus of Jodo and cover about 90% of the forms. There are additional weapons such as the short stick (tanjo) and sickle and chain (kusarigami) and metal short stick (jutte). These additional weapons comprise a small part of training and are only learned after many years in the art after most of the jo techniques are covered. Live blades or training blades (iato) are not used for training.


What is the Jodo uniform?

The uniform is the traditional indigo blue top seen in kendo dojos and the black skirt or hakama. Uniforms are recommended for long term serious students only.


What is the curriculum?
There are a total of 64 techniques in Shinto Muso-ryu jo that are divided into a number of sets, each with a different character. Training is systematic and develops the exponent’s technical skills and psychological abilities, from body movement and weapons handling to the proper use of timing, targeting, and distancing, and intense mental or spiritual training, all to enable the exponent to use the weapon successfully in mortal combat. Also included in the curriculum of the Shinto Muso-ryu jo are twelve techniques of swordsmanship called Shinto-ryu kenjutsu. There are also several separate arts that have been assimilated into the curriculum, including Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu, Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu, Isshin-ryu kusarigamajutsu, and Ittatsu-ryu hojojutsu. (Source: http://www.shutokukan.org/arts.html)
 

What are the Jodo ranks?

There are no ranks in a the modern sense: green belt, yellow best etc. Kobudo does not have ranks used in many martial arts today. You are simply a student or a teacher. When students train you simply say what your last technique is and train up until that point.

 

There are levels of recognition in Shinto Muso-ryu jo. They are okuiri-sho, sho-mokuroku, go-mokuroku, menkyo and menkyo kaiden. Menkyo kaiden is the style’s highest certification and only people at this level are legally qualified to teach and promote exponents of Shinto Muso-ryu jo.


Is there sparring in Jodo?
There is no sparring in Jodo. The focus is on prearranged forms with a partner. One person uses the jo and the other uses the bokken.

Can Jodo be used in self defense?

Yes and no. People in today’s world do not carry swords so the first answer is "No." In addition this art is taught in a traditional manner and does not cover modern self defense scenarios: "A guy comes up behind you in a dark alley, what do you do?" By training in this classical style the by-product is you can use any long object (umbrella, mop handle etc) and disable an opponent with strikes to the head and body. That is an outcome of training but not the objective.

 
What kind of exercise can I expect doing Jodo?

Jodo training is best considered as low-impact aerobic activity. It is not 70-80% your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes. However, you will feel the effects of training and benefit from increased endurance, strength, and flexibility.

 

Where can I buy weapons?

Traditional weapons are only recommended for serious students after extended training. Traditional white oak weapons can be bought in Baltimore at Kiyota Co Inc at 2326 N Charles St Baltimore, MD 21218 tel:410 - 366 - 8275. Please call to confirm hours. Another option is Budogu.com at https://www.budogu.com/index.cfm This site is run by Peter Boylan and Chuck Gordon.

 

What can I expect to learn in a beginner’s 8-week county parks and recreation Jodo class?

The class will cover three elements: 1) physical movement of jodo, 2) dojo etiquette, and 3) Japanese culture. Specifically the beginners’ class covers the first twelve basic movements of Jodo called "keehon."

 

Do I need to learn Japanese for the beginners’ 8-week county parks and recreation course?

No, it is not required. If you do the art for an extended period, you will pick up basic Japanese commands and words.

 

What are the teacher expectations for the beginners’ 8-week county parks and recreation class?

Think of the beginners’ class as an introduction into the art. The beginners’ class is not a weed out process for serious student but rather an opportunity to learn something new and have a good time doing it. If this is something that captures your interest and prompts you to study long term, then we can discuss the next level of expectations.


What is the basic dojo etiquette for Jodo?

Please bow when you enter and leave the dojo. Please do not lean on the jo and do not step over any weapons when they are on the ground. More etiquette will be covered later.

 

Are there different types of Jodo?

There is only one complete jo system and it is called Shinto Muso-ryu jo. That is the koryu version that will be taught in this class.A wooden staff is part of many martial arts including aikido. In those arts the jo is an auxiliary weapon with limited forms.

 
Some people know Zen-ken jodo which is an abbreviated form of Shinto Muso-ryu jo developed after WWII to popularize the art in Japan. It takes 12 techniques out of the 64 technique curriculum. This abbreviated form is taught in kendo dojos world wide. More information on this at http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncart_taylor_0900.htm
 
Within martial arts like karate or aikido there are different branches from the original style under a headmaster. For example in Aikido the original line is Akikai under Ueshiba's son and there are branches such as Ki Aikido under Tohei Sensei and Yoshinakn Aikido under Gozo Shioda Sensei. Shinto Muso-ryu jo does not have a headmaster and also does not have official branches of the art. The last headmaster Takaji Shimizu Sensei died in early 1978 without naming a successor. At that time the oldest practitioner, Otofuji Sensei, was running the original school in Kyushu and became the defacto head of the art. He died in 1998. Today there remains no headmaster bu simply large jodo schools run by senior students of Shimizu Sensei and Otofuji Sensei. These teachers include but are not limited to Kaminoda Sensei, Nishioka Sensei, and Matsumura Sensei. Quintin Chambers Sensei is one of the eldest direct students of Shimizu Sensei. He is part of the Relnick/Nishioka organization in the US. 

A biography of Takaji Shimizu Sensei can be found here

 

Recommended Readings for Koryu (Classical Japanese Martial Arts):

Recommended Readings on Koryu Books web site at http://www.koryu.com/guide/ryuguide.html#general

 

Recommended Readings for Jodo:

A very comprehensive jodo reading list is on the koryu site at http://www.koryu.com/guide/muso.html

 

Jodo the Way of the Stick by Pascal Krieger is the only recommended reference for this style of Jodo. It is out of print for 3 years but is available on-line. You can download it here for free: http://www.filestube.com/LX2j2jl8FAUdEBubMGEhE/Pascal-Krieger-Way-of-the-stick.html

 
I prefer to download from this site for a small fee but it takes a long time to view and download http://www.scribd.com/doc/36071752/Pascal-Krieger-Way-of-the-Stick The file is 65MB so it takes awhile.
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