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Questions


1. What is the difference between Bo-jutsu and Jo-jutsu?

2. Where can I learn Jodo?

3. What are kata?  Why does practice consist of kata?

4. Is there free-style sparring in Jodo?

5. Is Jodo purely a defensive martial art?

6. Does Jodo have techniques to defend against a weaponless body attack?

7. Are there competitions?

8. Where can I see a demonstration of Jodo?

9. Why is Jodo so obscure and unknown today?  Why have I never heard of it before?

10. Is it true that the stick was just a simple peasants/farmers weapon?

11. How many Shindo Muso Ryu members are there?

12.  Why is there a kamae called Ichiriki no Kamae, yet it does not appear in the Chudan Kata, Ichiriki?

13.  What is the name of the style of Ken-jutsu in Shindo Muso Ryu?

14. Why do you describe the final strike of Kasa no Shita (Omote kata series) as Gyakute Uchi?

15. Shindo Muso Ryu is Koryu, right? If the curriculum has been preserved for the past 400 years, then why do you contradict yourself on this website by saying that kata names and techniques have changed?

16. I`m thinking about starting Jodo. Do I really want to learn Jodo? What things should I consider before I decide?

 

 

Answers


       

1. What is the difference between Bo-jutsu and Jo-jutsu?

The Bo is the martial art of the long stick. Although historically the Bo is 242.5cm - 257.5cm in length, the standard length used today is 180cm (6 "Shaku", or 6 feet), whereas the Jo is a cut down stick of 128cm (4 "Shaku, or 4 feet). 

 

The Bo has a longer history than the Jo. There are several schools of Bo Jutsu and Bo techniques are incorporated into other martial arts like Okinawan Karate, in which the Bo is called a Kon.  BACK

 

2. Where can I learn Jodo?

My best recommendation is to contact the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo at (03)3216-5100, or check out the following URL (in Japanese only) http://www.nipponbudokan.or.jp/soumu/index.html . Ask for the Jodo Bu or the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Seitei Jodo section. Someone there should be able to put you in contact with Shindo Muso Ryu.

 

If you are not in Japan, I suggest simply searching the Internet. Outside of Japan, you can often find an Iaido Dojo that teaches some Jodo.   BACK

 

3. What are kata?  Why does practice consist of kata?

Kata is the principle training and study method of most martial arts that use weapons. 

 

Have you ever watched a gymnast do a 2-minute floor routine?  That routine is prearranged - it was not made up on the spot.  First the routine is learned than repeated many times to perfect each part. We could call that routine a Kata. 

 

Some Kata are only a few moves and take less than 30 seconds to complete. Some are very long and complex taking several minutes to perform. They can be practiced alone, but eventually they are done with a partner making them very real training exercises.

 

Each kata has a unique character and they emphasize some particular aspect of using the Jo in actual fighting situations.   BACK

 

4. Is there free-style sparring (Kumite) in Jodo?

No, not as you would imagine free-style.  Why? Because it is too dangerous. Free-style fighting (Kumite) would quickly result in death. Jodo is not a sport.     BACK

 

5. Is Jodo purely a defensive martial art?

Jodo is both offensive and defensive. Many Jo techniques are derived from the Yari (spear) and Naginata (Halberd), which are both offensive weapons.  Jodo is a skill meant to be used by a skilled individual against an unsuspecting person.    BACK

 

6. Does Jodo have techniques to defend against a weaponless body attack?

Atemi-jutsu, striking the opponent with the hands, arms, feet, is weakly incorporated within the training curriculum. Basics techniques include punches and strikes (12) to vital points like the kidneys, groin, and bridge of the nose, and well as some arm and wrist locks (4-5). When Shimizu-sensei and Hiroi-sensei taught Atemi-jutsu, there were also a few basic throws.    

 

Atemi-jutsu is part of the police training, but is NOT Taiho Jutsu.

 

A student will probably first encounter Atemi-jutsu when learning Tanjo-jutsu.  If you have not learned Tanjo-jutsu yet, try and get a copy of Matsui Kenji`s video, and you will watch him punch his opponent during a kata.

 

Another example is the Omote kata, Sakan.  You don`t have to swing the Jo to block the Tachi. Rather, you can hold the Jo and punch your opponent in the ear.     BACK

 

7. Are there competitions?

Yes, there are competitions of performance of kata within the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Seitei Jodo Bu. Periodically there are competitions, or Taikai, in which two individuals will compete against other pairs in their skill of performing kata.    BACK

 

8. Where can I see a demonstration of Jodo?

Again, my best recommendation is to contact the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, and if you are not in Japan, search the Internet as mentioned above.

 

If you are in Japan, there are events and festivals about once a month at which various martial arts are demonstrated, including Jodo. For example, the Kagami Biraki Festival held at the Budokan in Tokyo at New Years, and the Nippon Budo Festival held at the Budokan in Kyoto in May are both good opportunities to see Jodo demonstrated.    BACK

 

9. Why is Jodo so obscure and unknown today?  Why have I never heard of it before?

Simply because Jodo is so difficult to learn. It is one of the most difficult martial arts to learn, and most people do not have the time or patience to stick with it.

 

There is no merit in the fact that it is hard to learn. We all have to prioritize and choose the things in life that are most important to invest our time and energy into.      BACK

 

10. Is it true that the stick was just a simple peasants/farmers weapon?

No. It is a myth that the stick is a poor peasants weapon.

 

Rather the stick is an elegant weapon - more powerful than most people realize. It is a difficult skill to learn and the nature of the Jo requires a long period of training, but it is a master weapon: economical to produce and deadly because of it is so versatile. It can overcome most other weapons. The knowledge of the Jo was guarded for a long time by the Kuroda Clan, a warrior family - not by peasants.

 

In contrast, the sword is easy to learn and does not require much training. There are many who would argue and say, "It takes many many years to be skilled with a sword."  This is not true. Four hundred years ago, 13 year old children were sent to the battlefield. Learning to fight with a sword was so easy it was taught to kids. Anything the sword blade touches it is going to cut and do damage and injury. Remember to distinguish between form and function. A swordsman will spend many years mastering form, but function only takes a few lessons.     BACK

 

11. How many Shindo Muso Ryu members are there?

The numbers of members has dwindled and it would be difficult to find more than 300 competent Shindo Muso Ryu members worldwide. 

 

There are fewer than 20 Menkyo Kaiden, and the quality may not be what it used to be. Why? Because in many dojos today it is sufficient to know form, rather than both form and effective function.

 

The 1960`s was perhaps SMR`s "Golden Period" with more than 3,000 regularly practicing members.  With the death of Shimizu Sensei, the insular nature of the succeeding leaders like Otofuji Sensei separated the foreigners from the mainstream. The increase in TV, computers, video games, and other past-times give people more variety and choice in how they spend their free time. The combination of these two facts is the reason that Shindo Muso Ryu is a dying art.    BACK

 

12.  Why is there a kamae called Ichiriki no Kamae, yet it does not appear in the Chudan Kata, Ichiriki?

According to both Shimizu-sensei and Kuroda-sensei, there is NO CONNECTION between the name of the kamae and the name of the kata. In fact, it is thought by some that the name of the kata, Ichiriki, is not the original name or may be an incorrect reading of the kanji characters.      BACK

 

13.  What is the name of the style of Ken-jutsu in Shindo Muso Ryu?

The style of Ken-jutsu has been called both Kasumi Shinto Ryu and Shinto Ryu. During the period that Shimizu sensei and Kuroda sensei taught it was called Kasumi Shinto Ryu.

 

I was taught the name Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu, so that is the name I use on this website.

 

Both names have been and are still used depending on where and with whom you practice. In Japan, there exists a very small group in Hyogo prefecture that do a style of Kenjutsu called Kasumi Shinto Ryu, but looks nothing like the Ken-jutsu in Shindo Muso Ryu. To avoid confusion, Shinto Ryu is used by some. Other groups continue to call it Kasumi Shinto Ryu.    BACK

 

14. Why do you describe the final strike of Kasa no Shita (Omote kata series) as Gyakute Uchi?

The final strike of Kasa no Shita is done reverse grip, Gyakute Uchi because that is the way Shimizu sensei taught it the last few months he was alive. Yes, the final strike was Honte Uchi. However, it was changed by Shimizu sensei. Remember, nothing is wrong if it works!         BACK

 

15. Shindo Muso Ryu is Koryu, right? If the curriculum has been preserved for the past 400 years, then why do you contradict yourself on this website by saying that kata names and techniques have changed?

Yes, Jodo is Koryu. However, if Muso Gonnosuke was alive today he probably would not recognize Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo.  A lot of changes have occurred....think about it. Shimizu-sensei created the Kihon and ZNKR Seitei Jo kata. Kuroda-sensei added Oyogumite.

 

In addition, Shimizu-sensei taught Jodo in a more loose and fluid style compared to many Dojos today. For example, Shimizu-sensei would often ask, even during the middle of a kata, "What do you think the next move should be?" or "What feels more natural?"  It was taught that certain techniques naturally followed other techniques.

 

Jodo is DYNAMIC!  Jodo is not fixed... and that is what makes it good!

 

In reality, nothing that happened 400 years ago, or even 40 years ago, can be proven or perfectly preserved. Not only in Jodo, but in any other endeavor or activity in life, remember this: 

The only truth and value is in what you can do today

People do not judge you by what you know, but by what you can do.

BACK

 

16. I`m thinking about starting Jodo. Do I really want to learn Jodo? What things should I consider?

New members are very welcome. Please be aware of and consider carefully the following before you decide:

1.       Observe Jodo.

I strongly recommend that you go and observe Jodo in action by a high ranking Shinto Muso Ryu member first.

 

2.       Learn from a licensed Shinto Muso Ryu instructor.

If you are still interested after observing Jodo, make sure you find an authorized and knowledgeable instructor of Shinto Muso Ryu. (Be careful to differentiate between Shinto Muso Ryu and Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Jodo.)

 

3.       Consider carefully how much time and energy you are willing to spend.

Jodo is complicated because there is so much to learn. Be aware that you will not learn everything in 6 months or a year. It takes years to be skilled at using the Jo, and you may find yourself frustrated if you only practice 1 – 2 times per week. Also, Jodo is a Koryu art and requires a different attitude from sportive martial arts like Karate or Judo.

 

4.       Consider whether you are willing to research, study and take notes.

You will be required to know the curriculum, and Japanese Kata, application and technique names in the correct order. If you are not adept at learning languages you may find it challenging to remember everything. Are you willing to study and take notes?

 

5.       Invest in the proper equipment.

We practiced in a traditional split skirt called a Hakama and a jacket. (It is similar to a Kendo uniform without the protective gear.) You will also need to purchase your own Jo, and long and short wooden Tachi.

 

 

 

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