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About Jodo

Baltimore Aikido offers training in the traditional Japanese art of Shinto Muso-ryu jo (神道夢想流杖) commonly called "jodo.".  Shinto Muso-ryu jo is a traditional Japanese policing art (as opposed to a battlefield art) which focuses on the use of a four foot long staff.  It also includes the study of swordsmanship, and a number of other traditional Japanese weapons.

Why Study Jodo?

Jodo was originally developed as a method of combat, specifically for policing activities, at a time when people‘s lives depended on their skill.  In Japan, the rise of various schools created a rich an unique martial culture, the purpose of which to develop a high level of martial ability, and to also develop strong individuals who are spritiually and intellectually mature. Today, of course the practical value of skill with jo and sword is limited. The spiritual and intellectual development, however, are perhaps more important than ever.

For questions about training jo at Baltimore Aikido, please see our Jodo FAQ.

Students interested in studying jodo should contact David Pitard to set up a time to observe a class.

More information about Shinto Muso-ryu and our wider jo community may be found at the following websites:

About Shinto Muso-ryu Jo

The school was founded sometime around 1605 by Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi, a warrior of the Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto Ryu and Kashima Jikishinkage Shinto Ryu.

The original martial art has evolved and been added upon ever since its inception and up to modern times - mainly as a closely guarded secret (otome-waza) martial art of the military police of the Kuroda-han in Fukuoka, Kyushu.

Today the rich curriculum of Shinto Muso Ryu includes approximately 64 sword/staff kata. As well as almost 80 related weapons kata. All of these are divided into specific sets designed to highlight specific lessons and guide an exponent towards a comprehensive understanding of this weapons system.

Shinto Muso Ryu Jo was successfully brought outside of its original domain in Fukuoka, and outside of Japan itself in the 19th and 20th century. Mainly through the efforts of Shimizu Takaji.

Legend tells us that Jojutsu was created as the result of a duel with the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Gonnosuke, as a  swordsman, was participating in ‘musha shugyo’. This involved traveling around Japan studying various martial arts and engaging in duels in an effort to improve his technique. Gonnosuke was reputed to be a very skilled swordsman and never defeated until he met Musashi. His first duel with Musashi ended in defeat, but luckily Musashi spared his life.

In an effort to understand his weaknesses, he retreated to a shrine, Kamado Jinja on Mount Homan near Dazaifu in Kyushu, to engage in meditation and austere training. Finally he had a vision that laid before him the use of a short staff  (about 4 shaku 2 bu 1 sun: 128 cm) as a remarkably flexible weapon. Jojutsu combines the striking motions of the Sword, the thrusting motions of the Spear and the sweeping motions of the Naginata

Other Arts

Although the jo is at the core of Shinto Muso-ryu, throughout its history the style has collected around it a number of other combat systems. Some of the systems associated with Shinto Muso-ryu are:

  • Shinto-ryu kenjutsu (Japanese sword)
  • Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu (short staff)
  • Isshin-ryu kusari-gamajutsu (chain and sickle)
  • Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu (truncheon)

Jodo Training in Richmond, Virginia

Interested in Jodo and live in the Richmond, Virginia, area?  There is an afiliated SMR study group which trains in Richmond at Aikido in the Fan.  Please  contact David Pitard  or Joe Montague if you have an interest.