Jojutsu: Wikis


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Jodopose01 centre.png
Also known as Art of The Jo Staff, or Way of The Jo Staff
Focus Weaponry
Country of origin Japan Japan
Creator Musō Gonnosuke
Olympic sport no

Jōdō (杖道:じょうどう ?), meaning "the way of the ", or jōjutsu (杖術:じょうじゅつ ?) is a Japanese martial art using short staffs called . The art is similar to bōjutsu, and is strongly focused upon defense against the Japanese sword. The is a short staff, usually about 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) long. However, the art was not used, as one might expect, by travelers to ward off aggressive bandits or swordsmen. The martial art of jōdō was the province of professional warriors.


Legendary origin of the first school of Jōjutsu

Shintō Musō-ryū jōjutsu (sometimes known as Shinto Muso-ryu jōdo - "Shindo" is also a valid pronunciation for the leading character), is reputed to have been invented by the great swordsman Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi (夢想 權之助 勝吉, fl. c.1605, date of death unknown) about 400 years ago, after a bout won by the famous Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, 1584–1645). According to this tradition, Gonnosuke challenged Musashi using a , or long staff, a weapon he was said to wield with great skill. Although there are no records of the duel outside of the oral tradition of the Shintō Musō-ryū, it is believed that Musashi caught Gonnosuke's in a two sword "X" block (jūji-dome). Once in this position, Gonnosuke could not move in such a way as to prevent Musashi from delivering a counterattack, and Musashi elected to spare his life.

Gonnosuke then withdrew to a Shinto shrine to meditate. After a period of purification, meditation, and training, Gonnosuke claimed to have received a divine vision. By shortening the length of the staff from roughly 185 cm to 128 cm (or, in the Japanese measurements, four shaku, two sun and one bu), he could increase the versatility of the weapon, giving him the ability to use techniques created for the long staff, spear fighting and swordsmanship. The length of the new weapon was longer than the tachi (long sword) of the period, but short enough to allow the reversal of the striking end of the in much tighter quarters than the longer . Gonnosuke could alter the techniques he used with the stick, depending on the opponent he faced, to provide himself with many different options of attack. He named his style Shintō Musō-ryū and challenged Musashi again. This time, when Musashi attempted to use the jūji-dome block on the staff, Gonnosuke was able to wheel around the other end of the staff (because of the reduced length), forcing Musashi into a position where he had to concede defeat. Returning the courtesy he received during their previous duel, Gonnosuke spared Musashi's life.

This may be a fabricated origin of the creation of jōjutsu, as the oral tradition of the Shintō Musō-ryū is the only mention of this duel, or for that matter, a person defeating Musashi in combat. Witness accounts of Musashi's life, as well as his own writings, insist he retired from dueling undefeated. What is known, however, is that Gonnosuke eventually became the martial arts instructor for the Kuroda clan of northern Kyūshū, where jōjutsu remained an exclusive art of the clan until the early 1900s, when the art form was taught to the general public.

Modern practice

The modern study of the , known as jōdō (way of the ), has essentially two branches. One is the koryū, or "old school" jōdō, which also incorporates other arts and weapons, such as the short staff (tanjō), the chained sickle (kusarigama), the police truncheon (jitte), and a lesser-known art called hojōjutsu, the art of tying up one's opponent after subduing him. All of these point to jōdō's strong connections to law-enforcement, which is probably what it was originally used for. The other branch is called Seitei Jōdō, which is practiced by the All Japan Kendo Federation (全日本剣道連盟 Zen Nippon Kendō Renmei) in conjunction with kendo, the art of Japanese fencing, and iaidō, the art of drawing and cutting with a real blade. Seitei Jōdō starts with 12 pre-arranged forms (kata), which are drawn from the koryū system. After mastering these 12 kata the student continues with the study of the koryū. Today, jōjutsu has also been adapted for use in the Japanese police force, who refer to the art as keijō-jutsu, or police stick art.

See also


  • Michael Finn: The Way of the Stick Paul H Crompton, 1984, ISBN 0-901764-72-8
  • Pascal Krieger: Jodô - la voie du bâton / The way of the stick (bilingual French/English), Geneva (CH) 1989, ISBN 2-9503214-0-2
  • Matsui: Jodo Nyuumon (Japanese, with illustration of all seitei gatas, kihon) Tokyo, 2002, ISBN 4-88458-018-4

Lists of martial arts that include Jodo/Jojutsu

External links

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