|Founder||Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi (夢想 權之助 勝吉, fl. c.1605, dates of birth and death unknown)|
|Date founded||Sometime between 1602 and 1614|
|Period founded||Early Edo period|
|Current headmaster||No single leader. 25th and last (unofficial) headmaster was Takaji Shimizu.|
|Current headquarters||No single headquarters|
|Jōdō or jōjutsu||Art of the staff|
|Tanjōjutsu||Art of wielding a walking stick|
|Kusarigamajutsu||Art of the chain and sickle|
|Juttejutsu||Art of the truncheon|
|Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū|
|Ikkaku-ryū • Ittatsu-ryū • Isshin-ryū • Shintō (Kasumi)-ryū • Uchida-ryū|
|Keijojutsu • Seitei Jodo|
Shintō Musō-ryū, or Shindō Musō-ryū (神道夢想流?),a most commonly known by its practice of jōdō, is a traditional school (koryū) of the Japanese martial art of jōjutsu, or the art of wielding the short staff (jō). The technical purpose of the art is to learn how to defeat a swordsman in combat using the jō, with an emphasis on proper combative distance, timing and concentration. The system includes teachings of other weapon systems which are contained in Shintō Musō-ryū as auxiliary arts (Fuzoku ryuha). The school is sometimes abbreviated as SMR.
The art was founded by the samurai Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi (夢想 權之助 勝吉, fl. c.1605, dates of birth and death unknown) in the early Edo period (1603–1868) and, according to legend, first put to use in a duel with Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, 1584–1645). The original art created by Musō Gonnosuke has evolved and been added upon ever since its inception and up to modern times. The art was successfully brought outside of its original domain in Fukuoka and outside of Japan itself in the 19th and 20th century. The spreading of Shintō Musō-ryū beyond Japan was largely the effort of Takaji Shimizu, 1896–1978), considered the 25thd headmaster. With the assistance of his own students and the cooperation of the kendō community, Shimizu spread Shintō Musō-ryū worldwide.
- 1 History
- 2 Modern day Shintō Musō-ryū
- 2.1 Jōdō and jōjutsu
- 2.2 Grades – new and classical
- 2.3 Weapons and training gear
- 2.4 Fuzoku Ryūha (Assimilated Schools) of Shintō Musō-ryū
- 2.5 Weapons for integrated arts
- 3 Organizations
- 4 Notable Shintō Musō-ryū practitioners
- 5 Footnotes
- 6 Acronyms used in text
- 7 See also
- 8 Other
- 9 References
- 10 External links
According to its own history, Shintō Musō-ryū was founded in the Keichō era (1594–1614) by Musō Gonnosuke, a samurai with considerable martial arts experience. A wandering warrior himself, Gonnosuke would eventually cross paths with the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi defeated Gonnosuke, however, and in defeat the latter, now shocked by his relatively easy defeat, retired to a cave for meditation on his defeat. Gonnosuke would eventually create a set of techniques for the shorter staff jō with at least one goal of defeating Musashis two-sword style. These jo techniques constituted the core of Gonnosukes new school (ryu) which he named Shintō Musō-ryū. Gonnosuke used his training in kenjutsu, naginatajutsu, sōjutsu and bōjutsu, which he acquired in part from Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū and Kashima Jikishinkage-ryū, to develop a new way of handling the jō in combat.
|“||..know the solar plexus with a round stick||”|
Gonnosuke was said to have fully mastered the secret form called The Sword of One Cut (Ichi no Tachi), a form that was developed by the founder of the Kashima Shintō-ryū and later spread to other Kashima schools such as Kashima Jikishinkage-ryū and Kashima Shin-ryū. Gonnosuke developed several techniques for the jō that were to be used against an opponent armed with a sword, partially by using the superior length of the jō to keep the swordsman at a disadvantage. The legend states that Musō Gonnosuke fought two duels with Miyamoto Musashi. Gonnosuke was defeated in the first, but was victorious in the second, using his newly developed jōjutsu techniques to either defeat Musashi or force the duel into a draw. One of several legends says that while resting near a fire in a certain temple, Gonnosuke heard a voice say, "With the round stick, know the strategy of the moon in water" (丸木を以って、水月を知れ maruki wo motte, suigetsu wo shire?). Supposedly that was his inspiration to develop his new techniques and go fight Musashi a second time. After the creation of his jō techniques and his establishment as a skilled jōjutsu practitioner he was invited by the Kuroda clan of Fukuoka, in northern Kyūshū, to teach his art to their warriors. Gonnosuke accepted the invitation and settled down there.
Shintō Musō-ryū survived the abolishment of the samurai in 1877, and the Second World War. With the efforts made by Shiraishi Hanjirō and his successor Shimizu Takaji (清水隆次), the art's 24th and 25th unofficial headmasters, respectively, the art progressed into an international martial art with numerous dōjo all over the world.
Modern day Shintō Musō-ryū
Jōdō and jōjutsu
Because Shintō Musō-ryū has had no single head-organization or single governing body since the late 1600s, there's no standardized way of passing on the tradition. Dōjos belonging to individual SMR groups has individual ways of training and passing on the tradition. As with several other arts, such as iaidō and aikidō, Shimizu Takaji renamed "jōjutsu" "jōdō" in the year 1940. (Note that the use of the appellation "jōdō" is still not universal for all SMR practitioners and groups.) Shimizu Takaji never held a formal position of leader of SMR so although he had influence in the SMR world he was not officially appointed leader. The words jōjutsu and jōdō are normally used interchangeably by the various groups.
Being a koryū, an old school with a traditional way of teaching, SMR uses verbal teachings (as opposed to detailed instruction manuals of the more modern era) that are passed on from teacher to student in order to teach the large majority of the practical applications in the art. The teacher-student relationship is very important to koryu-arts. The training forms (kata) alone do not (and cannot for practical reasons) reveal all the large number of practical applications and variations of the arts techniques. This can only be done properly by an experienced teacher who spends many years passing on the teachings to the student in person. Many koryū arts have deliberately hidden some, or all, applications inside their training forms making it visible for all to see, (but still hidden), unless properly explained by a teacher knowledgeable in the art. This was done as a way of making sure the secrets and principles could not be copied by rival schools and/or individuals, should an outsider accidentally (or by deliberate spying) observe the techniques in action.
The SMR tradition has been shaped over the centuries as to teach the student, besides the actual fighting techniques, the proper value and application of combative distance to the opponent (maai), posture (shisei), mental awareness (zanshin) among other skills. As a traditional Japanese martial art there is also a high emphasis on etiquette, such as bowing (rei) and attaining proper mental attitude in the student and approach to his/her training.
In the pure fighting art of SMR, the aim is to use the staff defeat an opponent armed with one or two swords. In SMR the staff is a flexible weapon and can be used in several ways. A staff-wielder can use the superior length of the staff to keep the opponent at a distance (as opposed to the length of an average katan of the day. The staff is also used, when applicable, to get very close to the opponent and use the staff to control the opponent's arms or hands. The staff can be used in a manner that enables the wielder to defeat the opponent without killing him. Common methods include controlling the opponent's hands, wrists, and other targets by using the staff to either strike, thrust or otherwise manipulate the target-areas. When applicable, more lethal strikes are aimed at the opponent's more vital areas such as the head, solar plexus and temples.
The forms (kata) and fundamentals (kihon) are at the center of what is taught in SMR, and there exists no form of organized and standardized sparring-system such as in karate, kendō, judō and other modern Japanese Arts. A normal procedure is to teach new students the twelve basic techniqes. This process includes slowly working its way into the first series of "kata", which starts with the "Omote"-series. There are approximately 64 forms with the staff, although the number can vary from the individual SMR groups and organizations. The auxiliary arts incorporate their own sets of forms with their respective weapons.
A normal training session is very systematic with the Sensei or senior studentcommanding the pace and direction of the session. Depending on the individual dojo and/or group, the entire group of trainees often starts training as one body, especially during warm-ups and drills afterwich the training is split up into beginner and advanced groups. Sometimes additional drills are added to further sharpen the basic techniques of both beginnger and advanced students. Drills and forms involving newer students are often performed with a more senior student taking on the role of the attacker"attacking sword" (打太刀 uchidachi?). In all paired techniques and drills, in addition to the uchidachi, there is always a receiver of the attack, "doing sword" (仕立ち shidachi?). The uchidachi is usually the senior to the shidachi in terms of experience. This is done as a way to develop the younger shidachi's skill by having them face a more experienced and confident swordsman which thus heightens the combative feeling.
Training with the staff under a responsible leader is done with a high emphasis on student safety. Unlike the wooden-sword, which is generally not lethal and only used in training, there is no safe version of the staff and the weapon used in training is the same weapon that would have been used in actual combat. When applying strikes or thrusts to vital area the student is taught not to use full force but to halt the staff within a few centimeters of a particular vital area such as the temples or other parts of the head. Other less sensitive areas on the human body are struck, though with much reduced force. The practice of forms and techniques is conducted under the supervision of a senior student that ensures the techniques and forms are proper and within safety margins.
Etiquette and traditions in the dōjō
A typical Shintō Musō-ryū dōjō practices the same courtesy and manners as found in Japanese society generally; placing great emphasis on etiquette and tradition. In some dōjō, Japanese verbal commands are used to guide basics, warm-ups, and the training of the "standard forms" (seiteigata).
The traditional Japanese bow (rei) is practiced in all Japanese and Western dōjō. Although not all dōjō use exactly the same routine, they do generally contain the same set of principles. Students bow to the front of the dōjō (shōmen) when entering the dōjō or leaving it, and observes the hierarchy with instructors (sensei), seniors (senpai), and juniors (kōhai).
During the practice of basics and forms, certain rules of behavior are applied when switching positions and weapons between shidachi and uchidachi. This is done in order to have an orderly training session and to reflect good manners, as well as for safety reasons. The students bow before and after performing a kata, drill or any other exercise. The switching of weapons is, by tradition and experience, a way to minimize any threatening appearance and show respect for the training partner.
Kazari 飾り(かざり) is the traditional SMR-way of initiating and ending kata-training. Kazari (meaning ”ornament”) is also done in all the auxiliary arts. Kazari starts with the two practitioners crossing their weapons and placing them crossed on the floor, retiring a few steps to perform a squatted bow (rei), and ends which the practitioners going forward to retain their weapons and start kata-training.
The practice of forms (kata) is an old way of teaching traditional martial arts in Japan, and is the core of many "old school/flow" (koryū) martial arts. Forms are used as a way to teach advanced techniques and maneuvers through a series of scripted movements and actions against one or several opponents. In the majority of the old martial arts, forms are at the center of the art with little or no sparring as compared to modern martial arts (gendai budō) such as Karate, Kendō or Jūdō.
The modern Shintō Musō-ryū system holds approximately 64 staff-forms divided into several series, though this number is including variations and is not always counted as an individual form. Students following the teachings of Shimizu Takaji normally learn 5 more kata in a separate series called Gohon-no-midare. This series is not taught in all SMR-groups. A common procedure is for new students to begin their form training by learning two or more forms from the "standard staff forms" (seitei jōdō, 制定杖道) due to their (relative) technical simplicity.
The series Gohon no midare (五本の乱れ), was created by Shimizu in the late 1930s and are not part of the original "scroll of transmission" (denshō), which contains the list of official SMR techniques. Thus, the Gohon no midare is not taught in all Shintō Musō-ryū dōjō.
The "basic techniques of striking and thrusting" (kihon no uchi tsuki waza, 基本の打ち突き技) is a system of twelve techniques drawn from the existing staff-forms with minor modifications. They are used as a way to better introduce a new student to jōdō and is also a good tool for further skill development for seniors. The basic techniques were developed and systematized mainly by Shimizu Takaji  at his Tokyo dōjō for the purpose of easing the introduction to (complex) forms training. Shimizu's peer, Takayama Kiroku, leader of the Fukuoka Shintō Musō-ryū Dōjō, saw the value of these basic techniques and introduced them into his own training sessions. Shimizu would eventually remove or modify some of the more dangerous techniques and beginner-level forms so as not to cause injuries to newer students.
The basic techniques are trained both individually (tandoku dosa) and in pairs (sotai dosa), with the defender using the staff and the attacker using the sword. Today, new students normally begin with tandoku dosa, learning the staff first and later switching to the sword, and then finally learning the entire technique with a training partner. The techniques are normally trained in sequence.
During the Edo period and well into the 20th century the attacker was always the senior student, with the defender (being the junior), starting and training only the staff forms for several years before learning the attacker's role. In modern times for the most part, a beginner learns both the sword and staff right from the beginning of his training.
- Honte uchi (本手打 main strike?)
- Gyakute uchi (逆手打 reverse-grip strike?)
- Hikiotoshi uchi (引落打 downward-pulling strike?)
- Kaeshi tsuki (返突 counter thrust?)
- Gyakute tsuki (逆手突 reverse-grip thrust?)
- Maki otoshi (巻落 downward twist?)
- Kuri tsuke (繰付 spin and attach?)
- Kuri hanashi (繰放 spin and release?)
- Tai atari (体当 body strike?)
- Tsuki hazushi uchi (突外打 thrust, release, strike?)
- Dō barai uchi (胴払打 body-reaping strike?)
- Tai hazushi uchi migi (体外打右 body-releasing strike, right side?); tai hazushi uchi hidari (体外打左 body-releasing strike, left side?)
The twelve basic techniques are used in both Shintō Musō-ryū and in the Seitei jōdō of the All Japan Kendō Federation (Zen Nihon Kendō Renmei, ZNKR, 全日本剣道連盟), although the latter uses a slightly modified version.
Seitei Jōdō Kata
The Seitei Jōdō kata were developed by Shimizu Takaji in the 1960s and presented to a committee tasked with the creation of a compact Jōdō system to be taught in Kendō dōjōs. The result was the Zen Ken Renmei Seitei Jōdō system consisting of twelve forms and twelve basic techniques. Ten of these forms are drawn from the existing Shintō Musō-ryū Jō forms with minor modifications, and two other forms were created specifically for Seitei Jōdō and based on Uchida-ryū Tanjō-jutsu forms. The latter forms are taught in various Shintō Musō-ryū dōjōs outside the main series of Kata.
Grades – new and classical
For many of the classical martial arts organizations the highest rank available in is the "License of Complete Transmission" (Menkyo Kaiden) of the teachings of the system, and includes the technical as well as oral tradition. This rank is used in many classical martial arts of Japan. In SMR, a student considered for a Menkyo Kaiden must first attain the separate rank of Menkyo. This process will take many years, depending upon the skill, dedication and maturity of the student. Shimizu Takaji himself was issued his Menkyo Kaiden very early in his life in comparison to modern western standards.
A person with a fully valid Menkyo Kaiden has the right to teach the art to whoever he chooses and also holds the right to issue scrolls of transmissions to his students. The Menkyo Kaiden holder may also, if he so chooses, implement modifications in the SMR system to techniques or kata. As Shintō Musō-ryū does not have a single organization with a single leader, these changes will only be relevant to that teacher's direct students, and will not be universal. Instead, every person who has been issued a Menkyo Kaiden can technically be described as teaching their own variation of the ryū, known as "ha". "Ha" is a variation of a martial arts system taught by a Menkyo Kaiden but is still a part of the main ryū. However, if a Menkyo Kaiden decided to make radical changes to the system, such as adding or removing parts of the art, he would be departing from belonging to a ha, and in effect be creating a new style.
A recent example of a ha turning into its own style is found in the iaidō art Musō Shinden-ryū created by Nakayama Hakudo. Nakayama trained in Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū iaijutsu, and decided to modify what he had learned and officially label it Musō Shinden-ryū, thus creating a new style with no official ties to Eishin-ryū.
There are five classical ranks in Shintō Musō-ryū, as follows in ascending order of seniority:
- Certificate of Entering the Interior (奥入書 Oku-iri-sho?)
- First Syllabus (初目録 Sho-mokuroku?)
- Later Syllabus (後目録 Go-mokuroku?)
- License (免許 Menkyo?) – Awarded after the first of the five Gokui-kata have been taught.
- License of Complete Transmission (免許皆伝 Menkyo Kaiden?) – Once all five Gokui-kata have been learned, the Menkyo scroll is officially stamped by the senior instructor and thus becomes a Menkyo Kaiden.
Grades in the All Japan Kendo Federation Jōdō Section
The Jōdō Section of the All Japan Kendo Federation has adopted the modern dan/kyu system going from Ikkyu (1st Kyu, 一級) to Hachidan (8th Dan, 八段). Additionally, there are the three teaching licences of Renshi (錬士), Kyōshi (教士) and Hanshi (範士) (collectively known as Shōgō (称号)) which can be awarded at the last three grades (6th, 7th and 8th Dan respectively). As the practical examination for these grades involves only Seitei, they are not representative of a practitioner's koryū ability.
Other forms of Grades
Modern-day Shintō Musō-ryū is practiced within several large independent organizations which includes the European Jodo Federation, Nihon Jōdōkai, International Jōdō Federation, International Jodo Association, Sei Ryu Kai to name a few. As such the individual organizations has different grading requirements and in some cases different type of grades.
European Jōdō Federation
EJF is headed by Pascal Krieger and incorporates three separate grade systems.
- 1. The classical system of giving licenses of transmission: "Oku-iri", "Shomokuroku", "Gomokuroku", "Menkyo" and "Menkyo Kaiden".
- 2. The dan/kyū system which is used in the majority of modern Japanese martial arts today.
- 3. The "Shoden, Chūden and Kuden" ranks, belonging to a system invented and put into effect by Donn F. Draeger and Pascal Krieger. It is used today by the International Jodo Federation and its sub-organisations including the European Jodo Federation.
Grades in the International Jōdō Association
The IJA follows the grading system used by Ichitarō Kuroda. Students grade up to 5th dan and thereafter receive licenses of transmission. Students must also grade with the Zen Nippon Kendō Renmei in the Seitei series of Kata.
- 1. The classical system of giving licenses of transmission: "Oku-iri", "Shomokuroku", "Gomokuroku", "Menkyo" and "Menkyo Kaiden".
- 2. The dan/kyu system. Grades are issued up to 5th dan.
Grades in the Nihon Jōdōkai
NJK is headed by Kaminoda Tsunemori and incorporates two separate grade-systems.
- The classical system of giving licenses of transmission: "Oku-iri", "Sho-mokuroku", "Go-mokuroku", "Menkyo" and "Menkyo Kaiden".
- A new system developed by Kaminoda Tsunemori's organization to replace the Dan/Kyū system. The new system involves three ranks in three jō-kata series, "Basic" (表 Omote?), "Middle-level" (中段 Chūdan?) and "Shadow" (影 Kage?), after which the classical grade-system is used.
Ranks attainable in the Omote series:
- Basic Technique, First Grade (表技初級 Omote-waza Sho Kyū?)
- Basic Technique, Middle Grade (表技中級 Omote-waza Chū Kyū?)
- Basic Technique, Upper Grade (表技上級 Omote-waza Jō Kyū?)
Ranks attainable in the Chūdan series:
- Middle-level Technique, First Grade (中段技初級 Chūdan-waza Sho Kyū?)
- Middle-level Technique, Middle Grade (中段技中級 Chūdan-waza Chū Kyū?)
- Middle-level Technique, Upper Grade (中段技上級 Chūdan-waza Jō Kyū?)
Ranks attainable in the Kage series:
- Shadow Technique, First Grade (影技初級 Kage-waza Sho Kyū?)
- Shadow Technique, Middle Grade (影技中級 Kage-waza Chū Kyū?)
- Shadow Technique, Upper Grade (影技上級 Kage-waza Jō Kyū?)
Weapons and training gear
Jō – The staff
- The jō is featured in several Japanese martial arts. For more information see the jō and Jodo articles.
Essentially the jō is a wooden staff approx 128 cm in length. In modern times the measurements has been fixed to 128 cm in length and between 2.4-2.6 cm in width, though in the Edo-period the length of the jō was customized as to suit the height of the wielder. The jō is used in several gendai and koryu martial arts such as aikidō and Tendō-ryu respectively.
According to legend, Gonnosuke was inspired to create and use the jō from a divine vision some time after he was defeated by Miyamoto Musashi in a duel. In this vision, a divine being in the form of a child appeared, brandishing a stick (or log in one version) and proclaiming "maruki wo motte, suigetsu wo shire" ("Holding a round stick, know the suigetsu"). The jō, however, as a simple staff or walking-stick cannot be claimed to have a single inventor.
The jō, like its larger sibling the Bō, was never an effective killing-weapon on the battlefield in comparison to the sword, spear, glaive and bow. Although the jō and most other staves could be used to lethal effect when thrust at vital points of the body, when faced with a fully armored opponent those vital points would in most cases be covered by armour-plating. As a result there were very few ryu that were dedicated to the staff-arts in the warring era with other more effective weapons were available. There are several ryu that include jō-techniques in its system. One example is the jō-tradition found in the koryū art Tendō-ryū Naginatajutsu, founded in 1582. In Tendō-ryū, which uses the Naginata as the primary weapon, there are techniques with the jō that simulates a scenario where the naginata has been cut in two and the wielder has to defend himself with the staff-portion only. With the onset of peace with the start of the Edo-period (1603–1867), the conflicts with heavy armored warriors became a thing of the past. In this era, the jō-art would come into its own against non-armored samurai, rōnin, bandits and other opponents. It was extensively used to police the local clan domains.
Various other martial arts also include elements of jō that are not necessarily related to Shintō Musō-ryū. One of the most famous promoter of the jō outside of Shintō Musō-ryū in modern times, and indeed in the martial arts community as a whole, was the founder of Aikidō, Morihei Ueshiba. Ueshiba trained in a variety of ryu including Yagyū swordsmanship, but is not known to have trained in Shintō Musō-ryū. Ueshiba also used the long staff bō to perform the same techniques.
Ken – The sword
- The Ken is featured in several Japanese martial arts. For more information see the Kenjutsu article.
The Japanese Samurai sword, with its long history and many variations, has a prominent role in Shintō Musō-ryū. From the early Edo period and to the Meiji-restoration in 1868, the Samurai wore the Daishō, or two swords which was only allowed to be carried by Samurai and was an undeniable symbol of their status in the Tokugawa's Japan. The Daishō consisted of the katana (long sword) and the wakizashi (short sword) and they were the weapons of choice for samurai during their regular duties. When the Samurai went to war a heavier and curved sword (tachi) would be used instead. In SMR the katana is the weapon used, but for training purposes a wooden sword (bokken) is used to minimize risk of injuries. Every form (kata) starts with the attacker, called uchidachi, attacking the defender (shidachi), who in turn defeats the opponent. In addition to the Katana, the wakizashi/kodachi is also used. In some of the staff and sword forms of SMR, the long sword is used in tandem with the short sword and sometimes only the short sword is used. In addition to the sword training provided in jo-kata, an addition of twelve kenjutsu-kata is found in SMR.
In the majority of dōjos today, the jōdōka essentially uses the same clothing as practitioners of kendō, minus the armour and other protective padding: A blue/indigo uwagi (jacket), an obi (belt, often the same type as used in iaidō), a blue or black hakama (wide trousers used by samurai). The type of clothing worn is not universal for all Shintō Musō-ryū dōjōs. In some dōjōs, which in addition to jōdō may also have aikidō practitioners, the white keikogi and regular white trousers are allowed. All-white keikogi and Hakama are also used in various dōjo and/or on special occasions such as public demonstrations or competitions.b
Fuzoku Ryūha (Assimilated Schools) of Shintō Musō-ryū
The original Shintō Musō-ryū tradition is composed of around 59 jō kata and is divided into seven sets. (The "Gohon-no-midare" kata series and the 12 "kihon" are a modern invention.) Together with the 12 kenjutsu kata they compose the core of the SMR-tradition. From the Edo period to the Meiji period, several other arts were assimilated (fuzoku) into the various branches of Shintō Musō-ryū and were meant to be practiced alongside the main jō forms. But, for all intents and purposes, each of the fuzoku ryūha retain a separate identity with their own history and tradition and are generally not taught to people outside the SMR-tradition. Over the years several lineages of Gonnosuke's original art have added or dropped other fuzoku ryūha.
Matsuzaki Kin'emon was the third headmaster of SMR and is credited with the creation of the Ittatsu-ryū and the Ikkaku-ryu. These two arts were taught in the Kuroda-domain as a complement to the combat-arts of the bushi (warriors) which included the staff, sword and musketry. The arts were not specifically SMR-arts though they were taught to the same students. After the fall of the Samurai the two arts found their way into the SMR-tradition as taught by Shiraishi Hanjirō, the art's 24th unofficial headmaster.
In many Shintō Musō-ryū dōjo, the assimilated arts are not normally taught to a student until he/she has reached a designated level of experience & expertise and a certain level of proficiency in the jō forms. These designated levels are not standard but vary according to each organizations preference.
Isshin-ryū kusarigamajutsu is a school of handling the chain and sickle weapon. The 24th unofficial headmaster of Shinto Musō Ryu, Shiraishi Hanjirō, received a full license (Menkyo) in Isshin-ryū from Morikata Heisaku in the late 19th century,. Shiraishi would later transmit the Isshin-ryū to his own Jōdō students. Isshin-ryū should not be confused with the modern Okinawan karate system Isshin-ryu
Ikkakū-ryū juttejutsu utilizes the jutte as a way of self-defense for use against an attacker armed with a sword (katana). It was originally created by Matsuzaki Kin'emon, the third headmaster of SMR and originally did not limit itself to jutte training but had a variety of weapons. This weapon was mainly used by police forces of the late Edo-period of Japan. Chuwa-ryū tankenjutsu (中和流短剣術) is the name used for this art using the short sword (tanken, 短剣) instead of the jutte.
Kasumi Shintō-ryū kenjutsu (Shintō-ryū kenjutsu)
A collection of eight long-sword and four short-sword kata, including one two-sword kata are found in Shintō Musō-ryū. Neither the twelve kata nor the art itself had any known name in the Shintō Musō-ryū until the mid-19th century when "Shintō-ryū kenjutsu" started to be used and specific names were given for each of the twelve kata. In the 20th century, "Kasumi Shintō-ryū" or more recently "Shintō Kasumi-ryū" has surfaced as the original name for the twelve kata as taught in the Shintō Musō-ryū, though it is not yet an official name.c
Uchida-ryū tanjōjutsu – (Sutekki-jutsu)
Uchida-ryu is the art of using the tanjō, (a 90 cm staff). It was originally created by SMR menkyo Uchida Ryogoro in the late 19th century. It contains twelve kata, which at the time of their inception were loosely organised into a system called "sutteki-jutsu", were derived mainly from Shintō Musō-ryū and Ikkaku-ryū techniques. "Sutteki" was the Japanese pronouncement of the English word "stick". Sutteki-jutsu was further developed by his son Uchida Ryohei, who systematized his father's work and brought about the modern Uchida-ryū tanjōjutsu system. The art was first known as Sutekki-Jutsu and later named Uchida-ryū in honor of its creator. The art was adopted into SMR to be taught alongside the other arts.
A school of restraining a person using cord or rope for use by police forces of the Edo-period and up to modern times. Matsuzaki Kinueumon Tsunekatsu, the third headmaster is credited with creating the Ittatsu-ryū.
Weapons for integrated arts
As with the staff, the weapons found in the integrated arts were not inventions of Shintō Musō-ryū headmasters, but had been created and used long before they were chosen to be taught alongside the Shintō Musō-ryū Jo forms.
Jutte(jitte) and tessen
- The Jutte is featured in several Japanese martial arts. For more information see the Jutte article.
The jutte (or jitte) was a widespread Edo period police weapon used to control, disarm and subdue a criminal who would most likely be armed with a sword, without killing him (except in extreme situations). There exists at least 200 known variations of the jutte. The jutte used in Shintō Musō-ryū is approx 45 cm in length. In the integrated art of Ikkaku-ryū juttejutsu, the tessen, or war fan, approximately 30 cm in length, is used in tandem with the jutte in some of the kata.
- The Kusarigama is featured in several Japanese martial arts. For more information see the Kusarigama article.
The Kusarigama is a chain-and-sickle weapon. The weapon is used in several ryu and the design varies from school to school. The kusarigama used in Isshin-ryū has a straight, double-edged 30 cm blade with a wooden handle approx 36 cm long with an iron guard to protect the hand. The chain (kusari) has a heavy iron weight and is attached to the bottom of the handle. The chain is 12 shaku long (3.6 meters) and the attached weight can be thrown against an opponent's weapon, hands or body, either disarming him or otherwise preventing him from properly defending himself against the kama. In some kata, the iron weight is thrown directly at the attackers body causing injury or stunning the opponent. The kusarigama also has non-lethal kata designed to trap and apprehend a swordsman, partially by using the long chain as a restraint. A famous user of the kusarigama outside of Shintō Musō-ryū was Shishido Baiken, who was killed in a duel with the legendary Miyamoto Musashi. During kata practice a safer, all-wooden version, (except the metal handguard), is used with softer materials replacing the chain and weight. For demonstrations (embu) a kusarigama with a metal blade is sometimes used.
The tanjō (literally short staff) is a 90 cm short staff used in the assimilated art Uchida-ryū tanjōjutsu. Although of the same length, the tanjo should not be confused with the hanbo, which is used in other martial arts. The modern tanjō is the same width as a standard jō. The tanjō of the Meiji era were thicker at the top and thinner at the bottom, as was the design of the walking-stick at the time. The original inspiration for the tanjō was the western walking-stick which soon found a practical use in self-defense in the Meiji era.
After the death of Takaji Shimizu in 1978, SMR in Tokyo was left without a clear leader or appointed successor. This led to a splintering of the SMR dōjos in Japan, and eventually all over the world. With no single organization or individual with complete authority over SMR as a whole, several of the various fully licensed (menkyo) SMR-practitioners established their own organizations both in the West and in Japan.
From the end of the Samurai reign in 1877 to the early 20th century, SMR was still largely confined, (though slowly spreading), to Fukuoka city on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu where the art first was created and thrived. The main proponent of SMR in Fukuoka during the late 19th and early 20th century was Hanjiro Shiraishi, a former Kuroda-clan Bushi (ashigaru), who had trained in, and received, a "joint-license" from the two largest surviving jo-branches of SMR. Among Shiraishis top students of the early 1900s were Takaji Shimizu (1896–1978), Ichizo Otofuji (1899–1998) and Kiroku Takayama (1893–1938), Takayama being the senior. After receiving an invitation from the Tokyo martial arts scene to perform a demonstration of SMR, Shimizu and Takayama established a Tokyo SMR-group which held a close working relationship with martial arts supporters such as Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. Shiraishi died in 1927 and there now existed two main lines of SMR. The oldest of the two was found in Fukuoka, now under the leadership of Otofuji with the one in Tokyo under Shimizu. Takayama, the senior of the three students of Shiraishi, died in 1938 leaving Shimizu with a position of great influence in the SMR-scene as the senior-most student of Shiriashi, (Otofuji being his junior), that would last up to his death in 1978. Although Otofuji was one of Shiraishis top-students he was unable to assume the role that Shimizu had held in Tokyo. By the 1970s the Tokyo and Fukuoka SMR-communities had fully developed into separate branches with their own leaders. Unlike Otofuji, Shimizu was a senior of both the Fukuoka and Tokyo SMR, with great knowledge and influence over both. With Shimizu's death, Otofuji was not in a strong enough position to claim the authority over the Tokyo SMR and no sort of agreement could be made over who should succeed Shimizu. The informal position of headmaster over the SMR-community as a whole could not be filled. Otofuji would remain the leader of Kyushu SMR until his death in 1998.
From these two lineages, the Fukuoka and the Tokyo, there stems today several SMR-based organisations all over the world. One of the largest is the Jodo Section of the All Japan Kendo Federation (全日本剣道連盟杖道部), established in the 1960s to further promote Jo through the teaching of ZNKR Jodo, also called Seitei Jodo. It remains the most widespread form of Jo in the world today.
Notable Shintō Musō-ryū practitioners
- Donn F. Draeger (1922–1982) – U.S. Menkyo of TSKR and Menkyo of SMR (the latter awarded posthumously)
- The first foreign student of Takaji Shimizu and the first foreign Menkyo of Katori Shintō-ryū.
- Seiko Fujita (1898-1966)
- Hosho Shiokawa – Japanese Menkyo SMR
- Student of Takaji Shimizu and Nakajima Asakichi
- Head of Shiokawa-ha of SMR
- 15th Soke of Mugai-ryu Iaido.
- Ichitaro Kuroda (1911–2000) – Japanese Menkyo SMR
- Kaminoda Tsunemori – Japanese Menkyo SMR
- Student of Takaji Shimizu
- Head of Nihon Jodokai
- Soke of Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu.
- Matsui Kenji – Japanese Menkyo SMR Fukuoka line
- Menkyo of Asayama Ichiden-ryu
- Student of Takaji Shimizu and Ichizo Otofuji
- Scholar and author of several works on SMR-history and lineage.
- Matsumura Shigehiro - Japanese Menkyo in Suio-ryu and of SMR Fukuoka line
- Student of Takaji Shimizu and Ichizo Otofuji
- Head of the Kobujodokai organisation.
- Namitome Shigenori - Japanese Menkyo SMR
- former head of All Japan Kendo Federation's Jodo section
- Student of Ichizo Otofuji
- Tsuneo Nishioka (1934-2014) – Japanese Menkyo SMR
- Pascal Krieger, EU Menkyo in SMR
- Student of Takaji Shimizu and Tsuneo Nishioka (since 1994)
- Head of European Jodo Federation (EJF)
- Author of the book "The Way of the Stick" and prominent calligrapher
- Phil Relnick – US Menkyo in SMR and TSKR
- Student of Tsuneo Nishioka and Takaji Shimizu
- Pan-American Jo Federation.
- Steven Bellamy – GB Menkyo SMR
- Student of Takaji Shimizu and Ichitaro Kuroda
- International Jodo Association. Hanshi 8th dan Musō Shinden-ryū Iaido.
- ^a The names Shintō and Shindō, as used in Shintō Musō-ryū, are both equally correct. Different SMR-groups use the name Shintō or Shindō depending on their own tradition, no sort of consensus has been made as to which name should be used.
- ^b Competitions are held in Seitei Jodo only. Seitei Jodo holds competitions on which the performance of the uchidachi and shidachi are judged when performing kata. Shintō Musō-ryū holds no competitions of any sort.'
- ^c The name "Kasumi" Shintō-ryū is not the universal way of naming the 12 sword kata. The discovery of the name "Kasumi" was made from recent research into the history of Shintō Musō-ryū but is yet to be confirmed. The most common and older way of naming the 12 sword kata in SMR is "Shintō-ryu kenjutsu".
- ^d The number of headmasters is counted by combining all the known headmasters of all the branches of Shintō Musō-ryū Jōdō including the founder of Katori Shintō-ryū, the latter which the founder of SMR also held a Menkyo Kaiden, and Matsumoto Bizen-no-kami, the founder of the Kashima school that Musō Gonnosuke also trained in.
Acronyms used in text
- SMR = Shintō Musō-ryū
- TSKR = Tenshin Shoden Katori Shintō-ryū
- Bujutsu/Budō – The "Way of War" or the "Way of the warrior". Both terms are used interchangeably to refer to both the warrior arts and their ideals.
- Daimyo – The feudal aristocratic landowner of feudal Japan. They employed samurai as warriors in a vassal/lord relationship to both protect and expand the Daimyos domains before and during the Sengoku Jidai period. The Daimyo as a position lasted until the Meiji restoration and abolishment of the feudal system.
- Iaido/Iaijutsu – Martial Art – The art of drawing the Japanese sword.
- Koryu – A modern (Western) term, Koryu is used to describe Japanese martial arts created before the 1876 banning of the samurai sword. Any art created that was created post-1876, such as Judo, Karate, Aikido, Taido, are considered to be Gendai Budō. Karate, although preceding 1876, does not qualify as koryū due to the fact it did not evolve in Japan but on the Ryūkyū Islands (modern Okinawa Prefecture) which did not become a part of Japan until the 17th century.
- Samurai – The warrior elite of feudal Japan. The Samurai caste was abolished in the Meiji restoration's aftermath.
- Ashigaru – Originally the conscripted footsoldiers of Samurai-armies, after Tokugawa came into power they became professional soldiers and the lowest ranking samurai.
Other martial arts schools from the Kuroda-han area.
- Ise Jitoku Tenshin-ryū
- Jigo Tenshin-ryū
- Shiten-ryū (Hoshino-ha)
- Sosuishi ryu
- Takenouchi Santo-ryū
- Matsui, Kenji. 1993. The History of Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu, translated by Hunter Armstrong (Kamuela, HI: International Hoplological Society)
-  "Sticks and Stones Will Break Your Bones: A Look at Jo and Bo" by Meik Skoss
- Tsueno, Nishioka. Tsuneo Nishioka and the Pure Flow of the Jo
- Risuke, Otake (2002). Le sabre et le Divin. Koryu Books. p. 31. ISBN 1-890536-06-7.
- Watatani, Kiyoshi. Bugei Ryuha Daijiten. Tokyo Koppi Shuppanbu, Tokyo, Japan, 1979 edition. p. 426.
- : Krieger, Pascal - Jodô - la voie du bâton / The way of the stick (bilingual French/English), Geneva (CH) 1989, ISBN 2-9503214-0-2 #6
- Muromoto, Wayne. Muso Gonnosuke and the Shinto Muso-ryu Jo
- Taylor, Kim. A Brief History of ZNKR Jodo, Journal of Non-lethal Combative, Sept 2000
- Lowry, Dave The evolution of classical jojutsu, 1987.
- Official European Jōdō Federation website
- Information from Stockholm Jodokai affiliated with Kaminoda Tsunemori
- Northern Virginia Jodokai
- The International Hoplology Society
- Official Kobujodokai Website
- Site affiliated with Tsuneo Nishioka
- Former Sei Ryu Kai website
- Nishioka Sensei's My Wish in Toward the Future section
- Phil Relnicks Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū Website
- Phil Relnicks SHINTO MUSO-RYU JO Website
- Shindo Muso Ryu Jo Jutsu
- Beikoku Rembukan (US) (English)
- Japanese Shindo Muso-ryu Jodo info site (Japanese)
- Jodo Kai Australia Site
- Sumera Budo-juku Australia Branch
- European Jôdô Federation site (French)(English)
- Pan-American Jo Federation Site (English)
- Jodojo website (English) (Japanese) (Spanish)
- Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo on the Net (English)
- Swiss Jodo & Iaido information portal(German)(English)