Even though the Shintō Musō-ryū was founded by a samurai (Muso Gonnosuke) in the Keichō era (1594–1614) it continues to have a significant influence on policing in the very modern society of Japan. Even today all police officers are trained in Jodo and in every Koban or Police Box you will see a group of Jo’s (4 foot staffs) ready for immediate use.Why has this ancient weapon remained so much in use the modern day? What applications does it have and how does its training enhance modern combat methods? Indeed how does a 400 year old school that specialises in old style Japanese weaponry manage to draw many thousands of experienced martial arts adherents to its ranks worldwide?
The Jo (or Tsue) is a staff of approximately 128cm (4 shaku, 2 Sun, 1 Bu) long and 26 millimetre (8 Bu) in diameter. There have been several Ryu (schools) in Japanese martial history which have used this weapon. Perhaps the best known and most significant is the Shinto Muso Ryu (SMR) founded by Muso Gonnosuke in approximately 1605 CE. The legend goes that Gonnosuke met his match against famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi and was inspired to develop a system using the Jo from years of ascetic training resulting in a ‘vision’ at the Kamado Shrine on Mt Homan.
Jojutsu (or Jodo) incorporates the thrusting action of the spear (yari), the sweeping action of the glaive (naginata), the striking of the long staff (bo) and the cutting action of the sword (ken). Legend further says that Muso Gonnosuke inflicted the only defeat on Musashi at a later bout using his new weapon system.
SMR Jo comprises 64 Kata set into several series commencing with Omote and completing with Okuden. Each series exposes the student to increasingly complex requirements while developing certain essential mental, physical and spiritual characteristics.
Dan & Kyu Gradings are available to students while the Shinto Muso Ryu also preserves the Mokuroku system (traditional certification of Oku Iri Sho, Shomokuroku, Gomokuroku, Menkyo and Menkyo Kaiden). Classes available to people over 15 years only.