The Path to Zen Ken Ren1 Jodo: An Abbreviated History of Shindo Muso-ryu and the Advent of Its Modern Offshoot2
Copyright Mark Tankosich 2017
Founder Muso Gonnosuke
The history of jodo – written in Japanese as杖道, and literally meaning “the way of the stick” – begins with a single samurai, a man most commonly known as “Muso Gonnosuke.” According to Muromoto, “We know very little that can be verified about the actual life of Muso Gonnosuke, and the little that we do know must be tempered with the knowledge that much of what has been written has been colored and embellished by later writers to make for exciting reading.” With this caveat in mind, let us briefly examine the story of Muso.
Originally known as “Hirano Gonbei,” (Muromoto; Hall Encyclopedia 334) Muso Gonnosuke lived during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He is most typically said to have trained in both Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu and another classical martial art3. Having become quite an accomplished practitioner, he engaged in several matches with well-known warriors of the time as a way of testing and improving his skills. He is said to have remained undefeated until the day – identified by Nakajima & Kaminoda (9) as being in “June, around the year Keicho 10”4 – that he met Miyamoto Musashi. After his loss to Musashi, Muso traveled to what is present-day northwest Fukuoka Prefecture.5 There, at a Shinto shrine on a mountain called “Homanzan,” he is said to have spent 37 (or some other number of) days praying (and/or meditating, performing acts of austerity, perhaps training, etc.). On the night of his final day, Muso had a dream that brought him a divine message. Said by at least some to have been delivered by a child who appeared in the dream, the message was, “Maruki wo motte, suigetsu wo shire.” Depending on the meaning that one ascribes to the words “motte” and “suigetsu,” a translation might be something such as “holding / using a log / round stick, know the interval(s) / the body’s vital point(s).”6
As obscure as Muso’s message may seem, it lead him to create a new weapon—a short staff, or jo—and techniques for the use of that weapon7. Nakajima / Kaminoda (9) and a Renbukan (17) book (whose history discussion Nakajima and Kaminoda seem to have borrowed fairly heavily from) tell us – and it seems to be commonly believed — that Muso’s jo was four shaku, two sun, and one bun long, with a diameter of eight bun. These “traditional” measurements work out to a length of 128 cm. (4ft., 2.4 in.), and a diameter of 2.4 cm. (0.94 in.), the dimensions of today’s “standard” jo8. Matsui (Shindo 86), however, says that there is no conclusive evidence regarding the length of Muso’s jo. Elsewhere, (Matsui Jiko 52), while not specifically addressing the question of the size of Muso’s weapon, he perhaps implies that the commonly-believed claim is false, saying that the establishment of a “four-two-one” standard is a modern development9.
Nakajima / Kaminoda (9) and the Renbukan text (17), as well as Muromoto, point out that the jo was about one shaku longer than what was apparently the standard length of the long sword of the time. This would, of course, be an advantage in a fight or contest. Yet, being shorter (and lighter) than the standard roku (six) shaku bo, it could also be manipulated easier and faster than could that older, well-established weapon (Skoss, Muromoto). Other aspects of the nature of Muso’s new weapon and art have been described thusly:
Gonnosuke’s development was jojutsu10, or stick art. This is actually a synthesis of the characteristic actions produced by other weapons in the classical bushi’s arsenal. Jojutsu makes use of the jo […] to accomplish the thrust (tsuki) of the spear, the strike (utsu) (sic) of the sword and staff, and the sweep (harai) of the naginata. […] One notable characteristic of jojutsu, somewhat lacking in bojutsu, is the speed and high frequency of reversals of the weapon in meeting a combative situation. (Draeger Classical 77)
The jo could be used to strike like a sword, sweep like a naginata, thrust like a spear. Its two ends could be used, unlike the single point of a sword, and its ma-ai (fighting distance) could be varied according to the hand grip you take. (Muromoto)
[…Muso] amassed a body of strategies with the shorter stick which were specifically designed to counter the strengths of the other weapons of the bugeisha (particularly the sword) and to exploit their weaknesses. (Lowry)
Armed with his new weapon and art, Muso is claimed by some to have challenged Musashi to a second contest, one in which he was able to defeat (or at least fight to a tie with) the famed swordsman11. Following this, he was hired by the Kuroda clan in northern Kyushu as a martial arts instructor 12.
Fukuoka and Beyond
Muso’s art, which was called, “Shindo (or Shinto) Muso-ryu” (SMR), went on to be taught in the Kuroda’s han (feudal domain) for generations, apparently as both a “secret” and an “official” martial tradition13 (Hall Encyclopedia 433; Muromoto; Nakajima/Kaminoda 9; Renbukan 17). Over the course of time, it underwent noteworthy changes as it evolved into the SMR known today: Modifications were made to the jojutsu curriculum (e.g., Hall Encyclopedia 434; Matsui Shindo 34), the kanji or Chinese characters with which the tradition’s name was written were changed14, and several other arts became associated with it as what are known as fuzoku or heiden (“attached” / collateral) arts15.
When, with the advent of the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s feudal domains were replaced by modern ken or prefectures, Shindo Muso-ryu’s hangai-fushutsu or “secret, and not to leave the domain” ban was removed (Nakajima / Kaminoda 10). One of – if not the – first to teach SMR outside of its traditional homeland was a man named Uchida Ryogoro. Accounts of when Uchida moved to Tokyo leave the timing of that event less than clearly established. Matsui (Tenshin 14) describes it as “after the Seinan no Eki” or Satsuma Rebellion16 (which took place in 1877), Hall (526) and Matsui (Shindo 78) indicate that it was “by 1902,” and Muromoto writes that Uchida moved to the capital and taught there “for a while in the early 1900s17.” Uchida’s students in Tokyo included the famous martial artist Nakayama Hakudo, whom he crossed paths with while teaching at the dojo of Komita Takayoshi, a founder of the Dai Nippon Butokukai18 (Matsui Shindo 78-79; Nakajima / Kaminoda 10). It was also while in Tokyo that Uchida created Uchida-ryu sutekkijutsu, the short staff / walking stick art noted earlier as a Shindo Muso-ryu “attached” tradition (Matsui Shindo 79; Hall Encyclopedia 526).
In what had become Fukuoka prefecture, Shindo Muso-ryu continued to be passed down through a succession of men who are typically identified as the “headmasters19” of the art. The 24th of these was a man named Shiraishi Hanjiro20 (1842 – 1927; Hall Encyclopedia 452). Shiraishi is described by Matsui as being a good-natured but bold man who practiced Zen (Shindo 43), and who, until the end of Japan’s feudal system, served essentially as a policeman (Tenshin 14).
Among Shiraishi Hanjiro’s students were three men: Takayama Kiroku (c.1893 – 1938; Matsui Shindo 82), Shimizu Takaji (1896 – 1978; Hall Encyclopedia 435), and Otofuji Ichizo (1899 – 1998; Hall Encyclopedia 435). Takayama, the most senior of the three, worked as a pump maker and seller. He would ultimately die an early death, perhaps as the result of overwork (Matsui Shindo 82). Shimizu, both a few years older than Otofuji and senior to him in the dojo (Otofuji 1-2), would go on to become the 25th headmaster of Shindo Muso-ryu. At least some would say that Otofuji became the 26th (Matsui Tenshin 14; “Shindo Muso-ryu Jojutsu”). According to Otofuji (1-2), the two men had a relationship that lasted more than 60 years, and Shimizu would apparently introduce Otofuji to others as being “closer than a brother.” In their younger years, they and others would meet at 6 a.m. to practice together, and then afterwards go running into Hakata Bay, where they would dive and, one imagines, otherwise have fun.
In May of 1920, Shimizu accompanied his teacher Shiraishi to Kyoto to demonstrate at a budo taikai (martial arts gathering) sponsored by the Dai Nippon Butokukai21. Present at the event was the illustrious Kano Jigoro, the founder of Kodokan judo. Kano was very interested in Shindo Muso-ryu, and when the taikai ended, he searched out Shiraishi and said to him, “I’ll be coming to Fukuoka soon. Please show me jojutsu more fully at that time.” Before long, Kano did indeed travel to Fukuoka. There, at the Fukuoka Butokuden, Shimizu and Takayama performed a demonstration for him. Afterwards, Kano had many questions for Shiraishi, and listened humbly to what Shiraishi had to say. He also talked about the value of jojutsu in a situation where one would have to defend oneself against an attacker with a weapon, and expressed a desire to have Kodokan fourth-degree-and-above black belts taught the art. He ended with, “Can’t someone please come to the Kodokan and teach?” Shiraishi was already at an advanced age, and his students each had reasons why they couldn’t fulfill the request at that point, but the day would come when Shimizu would indeed become a teacher at the Kodokan. (Sugisaki 43-45, 63)22 In fact, he would go on to become the single most important individual ever to play a role in the spread of jojutsu / jodo not only to Tokyo, but to the world at large.
Also at that 1920 gathering was Nakayama Hakudo, who spoke to Shimizu afterwards. Sugisaki (64) quotes Shimizu’s account:
This is what Nakayama Sensei told me, still a youngster. “[…] Shindo Muso-ryu jojutsu is truly a national treasure sort of martial art. I’m a kendo person, so I can’t sufficiently propagate jo. You are young, and a jo specialist. I’d like for you to really spread jojutsu.” He gave me this kind of encouragement. I was really moved…
When Shiraishi Hanjiro passed away on March 1, 1927 at the age of 86, his family decided to sell their home and move elsewhere, resulting in the loss of the dojo where his students had been training. When the students were unable to find a suitable new place to practice, Takayama converted a storeroom behind his home into a dojo. Thus, the “Fukuoka Dojo” was established in 1929. Takayama was the shihan or head instructor, Shimizu was the assistant shihan, and Otofuji and five other menkyo kaiden were kyoshi or instructors. (Matsui Shindo 81; Otofuji 2) Matsui (Shindo 81, 84) comments that around this time concern for / efforts toward spreading the art of Shindo Muso-ryu can be seen unfolding.
In May of 1927, because of a recommendation from Nakayama Hakudo, Takayama and Shimizu were invited by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to take part in its martial arts demonstration held at the Yayoi Shrine (Matsui Shindo 84). According to Matsui, the chief of the Metropolitan Police was in attendance and, favorably impressed with their performance, commented on the possibility of his department making use of jojutsu. As Matsui points out, this was the beginning of the Metro Police eventually adopting the art. It was also apparently at this event – or at least on this trip – that Nakayama introduced Suenaga Misao23, a man who would later play a significant role in the propagation of jojutsu / jodo (Matsui Shindo 84; Sugisaki 66, 73).
Also in May of 1927, Takayama and Shimizu participated in a martial arts taikai held at the Saineikan dojo on the grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace (Matsui Shindo 81; Otofuji 3). It is unclear if this was part of the same Tokyo visit discussed in the previous paragraph. In any case, Otofuji says that the stay associated with this event lasted a month, over the course of which they also taught (assumedly Ittatsu-ryu) hojojutsu and Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu at the Metropolitan Police Department and did public demonstrations at the Imperial Japanese Army Academy and other places (Otofuji 3).
Three years later, in May of 1930, after performing a demonstration at Kyoto’s Butokuden with Takayama Kiroku and Otofuji Ichizo, Shimizu Takaji departed for Tokyo, intending to relocate there. Uncertain of his ability to make a living in the capital, he left his wife and 3 children with his in-laws. (Matsui Shindo 84; Sugisaki 74) Suenaga Misao had urged him to move to Tokyo, reportedly saying:
Don’t stay around Fukuoka anymore; hurry up and come to Tokyo. Jojutsu will definitely get attention. [But] you have to come to Tokyo for that. (Sugisaki 74)
Sugisaki (74-75) describes how, following the Butokuden event, Shimizu headed for Kyoto Station and his night train. There, by chance, he ran into Nakayama Hakudo, who asked where he was going, and why. Shimizu explained that he was going to Tokyo in hopes of spreading jojutsu. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Nakayama’s reaction is quoted as being (somewhat loosely translated):
I see. No matter how much I do, jo[jutsu] doesn’t get any more popular. Listen, spreading jo is not going to work.
Undeterred, Shimizu caught his train, and the next day when he saw Suenaga, he told him what Nakayama had said. Suenaga responded:
No, that’s [just] Nakayama Sensei’s lack of understanding. Persevere [here] in Tokyo for 3 years. Because jo will surely become known throughout the country….
Suenaga provided Shimizu with not only moral support and encouragement, but other, more concrete help as well. For example, he invited Shimizu to live with him in his home, an arrangement that ultimately continued for about two years. He also quickly arranged for the jojutsu teacher to use a boxing facility as his dojo, dubbing it the “Mumon (lit. “no gate”) Dojo.” Apparently, Suenaga even made up a flier and otherwise worked to bring students in for Shimizu. Matsui notes that the Mumon Dojo was the first “base” for the propagation of jo in Tokyo. (Matsui Shindo 84-85; Sugisaki 75-76)
Half a year after Shimizu relocated to Tokyo, Takayama and Otofuji (who had become assistant shihan of the Fukuoka Dojo with Shimizu’s departure) traveled there, and the three of them took part in a martial arts event at the well-known Meiji Shrine. Otofuji writes that they demonstrated the use of the jo, kusarigama, jutte, and tanjo24. According to Matsui, eminent people from various fields were present at this event, which was very helpful with later efforts at spreading their art. The day after the Meiji demonstration, they were invited to do another at the National Police Academy. After this trip, for a fair number of years, whenever Shimizu would do a public demonstration, Takayama would travel to Tokyo to join him. (Matsui Shindo 82; Otofuji 3, 4)
Sometime after Shimizu had begun teaching at the Mumon Dojo, he was invited by Kano Jigoro to come and visit. When they met, Kano requested that Shimizu begin teaching at the Kodokan, as had been discussed many years prior. Shimizu agreed to do so, and beginning in January of 1931, he taught approximately ten high-ranking judo practitioners weekly. Eight years later, in 1939, when a teacher training program was established inside the Kodokan, jojutsu was made part of the curriculum, and Shimizu taught the fourth-dan-and-above students twice a week. This continued until the end of WWII. Sugisaki says that the Kodokan, Kano, and his students played a role in Shimizu’s growth as a person and a martial artist. (Sugisaki 81-83)
About six months after opening his dojo, Shimizu was taken by Suenaga to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture to meet Hara Michita, the head of the sea-oriented division of the Shonendan Nihon Renmei25 and leader of the Tokyo Kaiyo Shonendan (lit. “Tokyo Sea Youth Group”). Suenaga had had the idea of getting the navy interested in jojutsu26, but a friend suggested that they begin with the Kaiyo Shonendan, and introduced Suenaga to Hara. There is a bit of a convoluted story behind events leading up to it, but in January of 1931, a formal decision was made to have Shimizu teach the Tokyo youth group SMR once a week. Ultimately, from there, the art spread to the much larger Shonendan Nihon Renmei, as well. (Sugisaki 86-93)
Also in 1931, with the help of a famous shakuhachi27 player student of his, Shimizu Takaji was hired as a part-time instructor at the Metropolitan Police Department. Immediately, however, he ran into a problem: he had never taught large groups of people before, and…
There were 45 people in a class. I was to teach them [all] together in a small dojo. First, I taught them some warm-up exercises or basic movements. After they sufficiently grasped those, I turned to teaching the [SMR] kata. Until then, I had [always] gone straight to teaching the kata one-on-one. That was the only way to teach that I knew. At that point, there weren’t yet the jojutsu basic techniques that we have now. So, [with 45 students,] I didn’t know how to teach. I was at a loss. […] (Sugisaki 96)
In other words, as Matsui puts it, “… he didn’t have the means to teach a class of 45 people at one time….” Shimizu’s answer to this difficulty was to extract movements from the SMR kata and create twelve basic techniques to be practiced. Apparently, he did this on the advice of Suenaga, and with input from both Suenaga and one of his seniors from Shiraishi’s dojo. Along the way, he discovered that Nakayama Hakudo had already created a set of five basics for his students, but Suenaga told him that that was insufficient. Shimizu’s basic techniques were also adopted by his senior Takayama back in Fukuoka, and they later became the prototype for the twelve basics of Zen Ken Ren Jodo. In his effort to be a better instructor, Shimizu also studied how teachers of other arts taught, and got advice from Suenaga on teaching verbally. (Matsui Shindo 85; Sugisaki 95-98)
In addition to the propagation of jojutsu that was taking place in Tokyo, Matsui (Shindo 82) notes developments at home in Fukuoka during the first half of the 1930s that helped spread the art there, and in Ehime, Hyogo, and other parts of the country.
In February of 1933, Shimizu was summoned to the Metropolitan Police Department and informed that a new tokubetsu keibitai28 (lit. “special defense unit”) was being formed, and that he was being hired as a “regular” or formal member of the department to teach that unit jojutsu29. It had also been decided that the jo was going to be adopted for the first time as part of police officers’ equipment. The development of the new unit was driven by recent social upheaval that included an attempted coup d’état, the assassination of a prime minister, and a series of right-wing terror incidents. Interestingly, soon after Shimizu was given his appointment, he ran into an acquaintance who informed him that he had been trying unsuccessfully to get the jojutsu of Kagoshima’s Jigen-ryu adopted by the police. (Sugisaki 99-101)
Matsui (Shindo 85) points out that from the time of his hiring as a formal member of the police department, Shimizu jostled in with the great kendo teachers there and contributed to jojutsu being seen positively. Further, “This interaction with kendo people, revolving around the police department, continued until Shimizu Takaji died, and laid the groundwork for post-war membership in the Kendo Renmei.” Shimizu, quoted in Sugisaki (108-109), had this to say about his time with the police: “Ultimately, it was because of what I did at the Metropolitan Police Department that jodo’s flame didn’t go out. Had it been private citizens only, it would have died out…”
In February of 1935, Shimizu was invited to the home of Imperial Diet member Matsumoto Manabu. He knew Matsumoto from when the latter had been the governor of Fukuoka, and got along well with him. Matsumoto had been instrumental in the creation of Tokyo’s tokubetsu keibitai and in the adoption of the jo for policemen. On this day, he spoke with Shimizu about the importance of preserving and promoting Japanese kobudo (“old martial arts”), and told him that he was going to establish a body to do just that. Further, he said that he wanted Shimizu, as his “right hand man,” to play a central role with this new Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. In essence, Shimizu exercised leadership of the organization, a development which Matsui says resulted in greater renown for him. (Matsui Shindo 85; Sugisaki 109-111).
Matsui (Shindo 85) provides no clear dates, but indicates that around this time Shimizu also “… came to teach, one after another, at the Aoyama Seinen Doshikai Dojo, the Tenkokai Toyama Dojo, the National Police Academy, etc.” Meanwhile, in Fukuoka, on April 13, 1938, Takayama Kiroku passed away at the young age of 45 or 46, and Otofuji Ichizo became the shihan of the Fukuoka Dojo (Matsui Shindo 82).
Overseas Connections and a Jodo Organization
In 1939, a man heading to Manchuria as a martial arts instructor for young people asked Shimizu to teach him jojutsu. The young people where he was going were already learning (mainly) kendo and judo, but were expressing an interest in carrying weapons such as guns or swords. It seems there was a problem with mounted bandits. Civilians couldn’t carry such weapons in the state of Manchukuo, but carrying a jo was, after some persuasion, approved, and the man had been invited to Manchuria as a jojutsu instructor. (He was well-known as a kendo competitor during his college years.) After undergoing three months of jo training with Shimizu, the man departed for Manchuria, only to then invite Shimizu to join him there. Shimizu went and stayed for about two months. While there, he traveled around Manchuria teaching, and even made a movie about jojutsu, resulting in the art quickly becoming the object of much attention in Manchuria. (Sugisaki 112-115)
Shimizu was subsequently invited back to Manchuria every year after that to teach. Additionally, each year, until the end of the war, 25 people from there were invited to Japan to do intensive, long-term training in jojutsu with him. Those people would then return to Manchuria to teach the art to young people there. Sugisaki states that, “the jojutsu fever in Manchuria was great.” By the time that the war ended, Shimizu apparently wrote, 1,500,000 young people had learned jojutsu. Shimizu also pointed out the contribution of Nakajima Asakichi to this effort. (Sugisaki 115-117)
In 1940 the first jo organization, the Dai Nihon Jodokai, was established. With this, the art that had been known as jojutsu began to be called jodo30. Matsui says that over the course of many years Shimizu put much effort into organizational development. Further, he says that Shimizu got support in this from Toyama Mitsuru; Toyama’s son, Izumi; Suenaga Misao; and others connected to the ultranationalist Gen’yosha31. (Matsui Tenshin 18)
The same year that it was created, the new Jodokai published a book by Shimizu titled “Jodo Kyohan32,” which Otofuji Ichizo refers to as an instructional manual for Manchukuo jodo learners. In the book are photos and a listing that identify the organization’s officers. Some of them are people who have been previously mentioned here: Toyama Mitsuru, (Senior) Advisor; Suenaga Misao, Advisor; Toyama Izumi, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Shimizu Takaji, Director and Shihan; and Hara Michita, Director. (Otofuji 4; Shimizu 107, n.pag)
In December of 1943, Shimizu travelled to Beijing to teach jodo. His students there were about 70 councilors posted in Beijing and occupied areas of central China. The training lasted for a period of ten days. Shimizu also did demonstrations for the Beijing Nihonjinkai (“Japanese People’s Association”) and at a youth training center in Tian Shan. (Sugisaki 117-119)
In June of 1944, Shimizu went with Otofuji (who was visiting Tokyo from Fukuoka) and Toyama Izumi to see the Minister of Education, Science and Culture. In hopes of having jodo adopted in the junior high schools, he and Otofuji performed a demonstration. The visit was preceded by Shimizu and Otofuji meeting with the head of the ministry’s Physical Education Bureau on the previous day. (Otofuji 5)
The Postwar Period
Following the end of the war, martial arts practice in the schools and kendo practice by the police were forbidden by the occupation forces. The Dai Nippon Butokukai was also ordered dissolved. Unable to practice their own art, the kendo teachers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department learned jodo from Shimizu Takaji, and supported his efforts at spreading his stick art. (Matsui Shindo 85; Sugisaki 124-125)
When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was signed in 1951, an emerging kendo resurgence was accelerated and a movement appeared throughout the country for the creation of a kendo federation. In March of 1952, the Osaka Kendo Renmei was formed. Two months later, 43 groups in Tokyo united to form the Tokyo Kendo Renmei. Right before that unification took place, Shimizu was approached by the man whose role it was to promote the soon-to-be-born organization. Explaining that iaido and naginatado33 would also be joining his new federation, he invited Shimizu to have jodo become a member as well. Shimizu replied that he would be happy to do so once the organization was formed. Before long, kendo federations were created throughout the country, and in October, 1952, the national Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (All Japan Kendo Federation) was born. Jodo would ultimately become a member, but not for another few years. (Sugisaki 126-127)
In or around 1953, along with being a teacher at the Metropolitan Police Department, Shimizu began offering jodo instruction for private citizens only. He did this by arranging to use the Shibuya police training hall near his home as his own private dojo. Though unclear, this may be what Muromoto refers to when he writes that, “The still-rather (sic) exclusive membership [consisting of high-ranking judo players, naval officers, police officers, etc.] continued until circa 1955, when jojutsu was actively opened to the general public.” Matsui notes that another man played a central role in the dojo, assumedly with regard to teaching duties. (Matsui Shindo 86; Muromoto)
In June of 1955, Shimizu formed the Nihon Jodo Renmei with, again, Toyama Izumi as Chairman of the Board of Directors. That same month, the organization held its inaugural ceremony, followed by the Kaku-ryu Budo Taikai (“All Styles Martial Arts Gathering”). The taikai would go on to become an annual event, held a total of thirteen times before being taken over by different organizations and undergoing a name change. In 1956, the jodo federation changed its name to the Zen Nihon Jodo Renmei. (Matsui Shindo 85, Tenshin 18; Sugisaki 129-132)
Matsui (Shindo 86) notes that, “In 1950, the keisatsu yobitai (current kidotai) was born in the Metropolitan Police Department….” One would assume that this was essentially a postwar rebirth of the tokubetsu keibitai discussed above. In any case, six years after the yobitai came into being, in 1956, a system for creating assistant instructors was formed. When, in the late 50s to mid-60s, Shimizu made arrangements with at least three or four police training halls to run dojo (open also to private citizens), these assistant instructors played central roles. (Matsui Shindo 86; Sugisaki 133-135)
In 1956, Shimizu and his Zen Nihon Jodo Renmei joined the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei as an affiliated group. Thus, for a time, efforts to spread jodo were made both as part of the ZNKR and as the ZNJR’s own activities. This situation would last for about 12 years. (Matsui Jodo 24, Tenshin 18)
The Rembukan and the Advent of ZNKR Jodo
1965 saw the creation of the Rembukan, a hombu or headquarters dojo for jodo34. In a police training hall where Kaminoda Tsunemori – one of Shimizu’s assistant instructors – taught, there were several private citizens who also trained. Two of them were Suzuki Michio and Kobayashi Ichiro, men who had been friends since boyhood and who shared a strong interest in cultivating young people. As they learned jodo from Shimizu, that interest morphed into a concrete plan:
[…] Build a jodo dojo, and through jodo training, improve [their] physical condition and carry out spiritual training; and send outstanding youth who have learned self-defense and are useful to the nation out into society. This is how they thought. […] (Sugisaki 135)
To make this plan a reality, Suzuki provided a 100-tsubo35 piece of land in the Setagaya ward36 of Tokyo, to be used at no cost for a period of ten years. It had formerly been a parade ground for a field artillery regiment. Kaminoda, Kobayashi and a third man, Inoue Shinzaburo, took responsibility for the actual construction. (Sugisaki 135)
One might say that the Rembukan was a “secondhand” dojo. Part of a military barracks which, after the war, had been converted into a judo and kendo dojo by the kidotai and then used for many years, was taken apart. The building materials were then moved to the new site and the jodo dojo was built. Other used materials came from a Shinto shrine in Setagaya that had been rebuilt. The floor space of the new facility was 50 tsubo. Costs came to 1,400,000 yen; somewhere between about $12,200 and $17,500 at recent exchange rates, but it must be remembered that these are 1965 values. Based on a significant deposit (funded primarily by Shimizu, with a relatively small contribution by Kaminoda) into a credit union account, a loan could be arranged that covered the costs. (Sugisaki 136)
At least in 1970, when Chambers (22) was writing, the Rembukan was being run by Shimizu, Kaminoda, Kobayashi, and Suzuki. While a bit unclear, Chambers seems to say that their respective titles were “president,” “teacher,” and “teacher / secretary,” with Suzuki having no title. Matsui (Shindo 86) writes that, once the hombu dojo was created, people who had been training in the various police training halls were brought together there. Sugisaki (136) says that Shimizu, who was 69 years old when the dojo was completed, went to the Rembukan and taught nearly every day until he passed away at the age of 81. According to Muromoto, around the time the Rembukan opened, Kaminoda “became charged with teaching the police force, while Shimizu concentrated on spreading jo to civilians.”
Somewhat amazingly, there seems to be significant disagreement regarding just how long the Rembukan ultimately lasted. Sugisaki (136-137) writes that the dojo existed two years beyond the agreed-upon ten-year period, and closed on January 8, 1977, when there was a request for Suzuki’s land to be returned. Matsui (Shindo 87) says the training facility closed at the beginning of 1978. Finally, Hall (Encyclopedia 389) states that, “After Shimizu passed away in 1978, training continued there under his senior students / successors until 1982, when the building was demolished.” According to Sugisaki (137) and Matsui (Shindo 87), another dojo was found to replace the Rembukan, but it never became “home” for Shimizu37.
Returning to 1965, in September of that year, Shimizu, under the auspices of the Zen Nihon Jodo Renmei, held a founder’s memorial event honoring Muso Gonnosuke. It took place in Fukuoka, and Otofuji was also involved. More than 200 people from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Shimonoseki, Fukuoka and other places around the country participated38. Later in the day, a multi-style martial arts demonstration was also held. (Sugisaki 139-141)
Two years later, in 1967, Shimizu, in cooperation with the Fukuoka Dojo and others, erected Muso Gonnosuke Shrine in the precincts of Kamado Shrine on Homanzan. These same parties later added a memorial monument – a very large stone on which is carved, “The Birthplace of Shindo Muso-ryu Jodo” – next to the shrine in 1976. (Matsui Shindo 87; Sugisaki 141-142)
In 1968, the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei established its 12 basic jodo techniques and its 12 jodo kata39. (The latter are often referred to as the “seitei” or “established” kata.) Work on this took 12 years, and involved the creation by the ZNKR of a Jodo Research Committee centered on Shimizu and Otofuji. Matsui writes that the committee “examined what [ZNKR] jodo should be like to be both appropriate for propagation and unbiased toward any specific personal ryuha40.” Nakajima and Kaminoda say that the goal here was “to spread jodo on a national level.” (Matsui Jodo 24, Nakajima / Kaminoda 10)
Otofuji reports that by his 1964 visit to Tokyo, Shimizu had already submitted a proposal regarding the seitei kata. After consideration and research by the Research Committee, in 1968 Shimizu and Nakajima Asakichi presented the proposed kata to the ZNKR chairman in a demonstration, and they were approved. The following year, after practicing together only once41, Shimizu and Otofuji demonstrated the seitei jodo kata at the same Kyoto taikai where new seitei iaido kata were made public. Shimizu did the uchi or sword part, and Otofuji used the jo. (Otofuji 6)
The newly-established ZNKR seitei kata were basically taken from the Shindo Muso-ryu tradition. A listing of the kata, along with the ZNKR basic techniques and other related information, can be found in Chart 1. It is worth noting that, unlike SMR, ZNKR jodo does not concern itself with any weapons other than the stick and the long sword. There is no use of a kodachi or short sword, and no “collateral traditions” or “assimilated ryu” to be learned. ZNKR jodo involves only 12 jodo kata carried out with a jo and a bokken or wooden sword.
A word is in order here regarding the technical aspects of the seitei kata vis-à-vis the Shindo Muso-ryu kata. Recall that it was noted that during the time when Takayama Kiroku was the shihan of the Fukuoka Dojo an interest in spreading SMR could be seen. More specifically, some technical changes were made to the kata at that time in consideration of the art’s propagation, creating what Matsui calls the “Fukuoka Dojo kata.” These modified forms were taught in Fukuoka for years, but then Otofuji Ichizo reverted back to teaching the original kata sometime after the war. The modified forms were the kata which Shimizu took with him when he set off on his efforts at Tokyo-centered propagation, and which he then proceeded to change further. Ultimately, two different “flavors” of Shindo Muso-ryu resulted. (Matsui 81, 88)
This writer will not attempt a comparison of Tokyo SMR and its Fukuoka brother42, but it does seem safe to say that the Tokyo version is meant to be more propagation-friendly, and reflects an influence of kendo. Returning to the ZNKR jodo kata, it is clear that they are of the Tokyo Shindo Muso-ryu flavor. The 10 that were chosen from among the more than 60 SMR kata (as well as the two that were created) do indeed seem, in this writer’s humble opinion, well-suited to successfully spreading the art. They offer the learner exposure to a variety of different techniques as well as a spectrum of varying degrees of difficulty.
Nine years after adoption, in 1977, and again in 1987, partial revision of the seitei kata was carried out. After that, some differences in what was being taught by different teachers – mainly when proper execution had not been specified – lead to the desire to standardize criteria for testing and competition judging43. As a result, after spending two years doing a complete review of the kata, the ZNKR jodo committee established new standards at the end of 200244. (Matsui Jodo 24)
As noted, the ZNKR seitei kata where established in 1968. In time, Shimizu Takaji needed to choose between, on the one hand, his activities as an affiliate of the ZNKR, and, on the other, his efforts on behalf of the ZNJR. The decision that he made was to become part of, and commit fully to, the ZNKR. This meant the dissolution of the ZNJR, and carried with it the cost of, what must have been for Shimizu, a painful loss. In January of 1972, at a Rembukan party, he announced that he had ended his association with Toyama Izumi. Toyama, whose father had been an amazing supporter of Shimizu, and who himself had been a longtime backer of Shimizu’s efforts, believed that jodo should be left in the hands of the ZNJR. He was unhappy with the involvement of the Kendo Renmei in jodo affairs. Shimizu, however, was convinced that becoming part of the ZNKR would best serve his overriding goal of further spreading jodo. (Matsui Tenshin 18, Sugisaki 142-147)
In 1978, ten years after the ZNKR seitei jodo kata were established, Shimizu Takaji passed away. ZNKR jodo, however, is still very much alive. It is administered by a jodo committee, one of 15 technical committees inside the Renmei (Soshiki). ZNKR jodo is now all but certainly the most popular type of jodo practiced in the world45. While even approximate worldwide practitioner population numbers are not available, the Kendo Renmei estimates that its jodo is practiced in about 30 different countries, with roughly 25 of them being in Europe (Suzuki). Domestically, as of January 1, 2012 (the most recent year for which figures are available), the number of ZNKR jodo yudansha (“black belt holders”) in Japan was 22,127, with those practitioners located in 42 of the country’s 47 prefectures (ZNKR Setsuritsu). This represented an increase of 4,214 people and six prefectures over the January 1, 2003 numbers (ZNKR Zaidan), perhaps a bit surprising in the face of what many see as increased competition from Western sports and other leisure time options. No one, of course, can predict jodo’s future level of popularity, but it is hard not to be impressed with the successful results that Shimizu Takaji’s efforts to propagate the art have produced thus far.
- “Zen Ken Ren” is an often-used abbreviation for “Zen-nihon Kendo Renmei” (全日本剣道連盟) or “All Japan Kendo Federation.” Also frequently used is “ZNKR.”
- For the last several years, this writer has half-jokingly told Japanese friends and acquaintances that his next paper would be titled Nihonjin no shiranai nihon budo (“The Japanese Martial Art That Japanese People Don’t Know About”). This is because of the reaction that he has typically gotten anytime that he has mentioned his involvement with jodo to a Japanese person. Almost without fail, that reaction has been either, “Oh, you mean judo,” or a rather puzzled “Jodo? What’s that?” Clearly, jodo is not a very well-known art – even in its homeland.
- Nakajima and Kaminoda, in their book on koyru or “old school” jo practice, identify the second art as being Kashima Jikishinkage-ryu (鹿島直心陰流; Nakajima / Kaminoda 9). Matsui in two places (Shindo 33; Tenshin 13), along with a Rembukan text (17), say that it was Kashima Shin-ryu (鹿島神流), which is apparently also known as “Kashima Shinkage-ryu” (鹿島神影流; Hall Encyclopedia 244). Elsewhere, Matsui (Jodo 19) indicates that Muso’s second art was another, separate “Shinto-ryu,” written with different Chinese characters (新当流) than is Katori Shinto Ryu (香取神道流). Muromoto’s account agrees with the Nakajima / Kaminoda claim, and Lowry says that it was Kashima Shinto-ryu (with no Chinese characters provided). Finally, Hall, in his Encyclopedia of Martial Arts, describes Muso as a master of a single art: “… the Kasumi Shinto Ryu 霞神道流 – a tradition with origins in both [Katori Shinto-ryu] and Kashima Shinkage-ryu…” (334). (Note that Hall seems to be saying that Muso was influenced by Katori Shinto-ryu only by way of his Kasumi Shinto-ryu studies, rather than actually ever studying / mastering Katori Shinto-ryu itself.) This writer readily admits to lacking the knowledge of Japanese sword traditions that would be required to comment in any way on what these various writers have stated.
- The Keicho period began in 1596 (“Japanese Emperors”), so Keicho 10 would be the year 1605. Muromoto also identifies 1605 as the year of the match. Lowry notes that information contained in the Niten-ki, a Musashi biography whose account of the meeting he says should be “taken with a grain of salt,” seems to put the year at around 1610.
- While Muromoto and Lowry write as though Muso, “mortified” and “his belief in his skills…doubtless[ly] shattered,” “withdrew” or “retreated” straight to Fukuoka following his defeat to Musashi, the Nakajima / Kaminoda (9) and Rembukan (17) accounts say that it was some years before he arrived there. The latter two texts describe Muso as first travelling around, experiencing hardships and engaging in musha shugyo (wandering martial arts practice). (Note that the history discussion in the Nakajima / Kaminoda book seems to borrow fairly heavily from that in the Rembukan one.) The Rembukan account adds that he dedicated himself to finding a way to overcome Musashi’s signature technique.
- Motte, written as 持って, would mean “holding” or “having,” but written as 以て, it would mean “using” or “by means of.” Unfortunately, all of the Japanese sources utilized here present the word in phonetic hiragana (もって), rather than in one or the other kanji, and so do not remove the ambiguity. Muromoto translates this motte as “holding,” while Lowry and Hall (433) use “tak[ing].” Suigetsu（水月）is today used in ZNKR jodo to refer to the solar plexus. This is perhaps what Muromoto is referring to when he describes it as “an attack point on the body.” Lowry for some reason translates suigetsu as “the vital elements” (which, along with his rendering of shire as “take control of,” yields a somewhat unique translation of Muso’s message: “Take a log and take control of the vital elements.”). Finally, Skoss (quoted in Armstrong 5) adds in a very different sort of possible meaning when he writes, “Suigetsu here can refer to several things. The most commonly understood, perhaps, is solar plexus. This interpretation would imply, then, a knowledge of the vital points of the human body and an understanding of how best to attack to them. However, another interpretation of suigetsu is that of ‘interval,’ as in the interval between two opponents in combat. Although similar to maai (combative engagement distance), suigetsu may have connotations other than the sheer physical space between combatants; implying a psychological or emotional distance that enables the exponent to maintain his equanimity even in mortal combat.”
- It should be mentioned that Muso was apparently already skilled in the use of the roku shaku bo or long staff. Indeed, Lowry and Skoss describe him as “excelling,” “extraordinarily able,” and “famous” when it came to using the weapon. Note that a recent text by Otake Risuke, the current shihan or master instructor of Katori Shinto-ryu (an art that Muso is frequently said to have been trained in), includes bojutsu in the curriculum presented (154-177).
- Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (“Weights and Measures”) lists the approximate metric equivalents for the “traditional” measures: a shaku equals about 30.30 cm (11.930 inches), a sun about 3.03 cm (1.193 inches), and a bun is about 3.03 mm (0.119 inches). (Note that these equivalents were not standardized until 1891, potentially “muddying the waters” further here.) As an interesting aside, this writer somewhere “learned” that the final bun of length of the weapon was added because the Japanese reading of a jo length of four (shaku) and two (sun) would be shini, which is the phonetic beginning of the Japanese verb shinimasu or “to die.” Who or what the source of this information was is lost to this writer’s imperfect memory, and no claims are made here regarding its validity.
- Matsui (Jiko 52) reports that when he asked his teacher, Otofuji Ichizo, if it was true that the size of the jo has been set at the current dimensions “since the old days,” Otofuji replied, “I didn’t know there was a set size for a jo.” The teacher then went on to say that when he was learning the art, “We just used whatever was in the dojo.” Matsui also reports that the various jo inherited by the descendants of a bakumatsu (the final years of the Edo period) era teacher are all of different lengths. Further, he says that the old jodo densho (transmission documents) fail to provide evidence of set dimensions, and that his teacher’s teacher, Shiraishi Hanjiro, actually claimed a four shaku, one sun, and five bun length as “standard.” Elsewhere, Matsui (Shindo 86) discusses other sources claiming yet other lengths.
- Jojutsu is essentially an earlier name for jodo. More on the jojutsu / jodo relationship below.
- Hall (Encyclopedia 433) writes, “This second duel is not mentioned in the standard legends and hagiographies of famous warriors collected during the ensuing Edo period. However, the legend persists within Shindo Muso Ryu. […] Today there appears to be only one, slightly suspect, source mentioning this second duel; that is a single scroll preserved in Tsukuba Shrine in Ibaragi prefecture.” He goes on to say that famed martial arts researcher and practitioner Don Draeger, who was a member of Shindo Muso-ryu, “…noted that he had asked [headmaster] Shimizu Takaji about the second duel. Shimizu replied that the information had come from the school’s densho [lit., “transmission writings”]. When Draeger asked if he could see the documents, Shimizu replied, ‘the birds had gotten them,’” meaning that they had been destroyed in the World War II firebombing of Tokyo carried out by American aircraft. Draeger also apparently contacted the headmaster of a school that traces its origins back to Musashi, but the teacher “would neither confirm nor deny that the Nitenichi Ryu documents contain any information about a second duel between Gonnosuke and Musashi.” Hall’s information regarding the existence of the Tsukuba scroll came via SMR menkyo kaiden (a teacher who has received “full transmission”) Kaminoda Tsunemori in the 1980s, and the Draeger stories came from Draeger himself (Hall, “Source Inquiry”).
- Interestingly, though Muso’s employment by the Kuroda clan seems to be universally accepted, according to Matsui (Shindo 33), no mention of him can be found in their records. Matsui suggests that the connection may have been an indirect one, with Muso having been taken into the service of someone who served the Kurodas rather than having served the Kurodas directly.
- In Japanese, the terms are 藩外不出 (hangai-fushutsu) and 御留 (otome), respectively.
- The name of the art that Muso created was first written as 真道夢想流, then as 新當夢想流, and it finally became 神道夢想流 (Matsui Shindo 34, 36). All of these are read, “Shindo (or Shinto) Muso-ryu.” According to Matsui, the name changes came with developments that occurred within the art.
- Hall (Encyclopedia 434) lists the “collateral traditions incorporated into the Shindo Muso-ryu today” as Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu (truncheon techniques), Ittatsu-ryu hojojutsu (rope binding techniques), Isshin-ryu kusarigamajutsu (sickle-and-chain techniques) and Uchida-ryu suttekijutsu (sic) (short staff techniques). Jespersen’s (24-25) list of “assimilated ryu” adds to these (Kasumi) Shinto-ryu kenjutsu (sword techniques) and Matsubayashi-ryu jujutsu, as well as noting that Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu also incorporates the use of the tessen (iron fan). His list refers to Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu rather than sutekkijutsu, though the meaning is basically the same. A Dazaifu Jodo-kai document (Yano 5) includes Shinto-ryu kenjutsu as part of Shindo Muso-ryu jojutsu, and lists the additional arts as Chuwa-ryu tankenjutsu (apparently another name for Ikkaku-ryu juttejutsu), Isshin-ryu kusarigamajutsu, Ittatsu-ryu hojojutsu, and Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu.
- The Satsuma Rebellion, also known as the “Seinan Senso,” and the “Seinan no Eki,” was “the last major uprising against the new Meiji government and its reforms. Carried out by former samurai of the Satsuma domain […], the rebellion lasted from 29 January to 24 September 1877” (“Satsuma Rebellion”).
- Muromoto goes on to later say that Uchida taught in Tokyo for only a “short stint” before returning to Kyushu. Hall (Encyclopedia 526), on the other hand, never mentions a return to Kyushu, and perhaps implies that Uchida stayed in Tokyo permanently, or at least long term, when he writes: “Although living in Tokyo, Ryogoro often visited the Shiraishi Dojo in Fukuoka, which had become the ‘home’ training hall for the Shindo Muso Ryu. On those visits he also transmitted his sutekkijutsu to the members there, so that it proliferated in both Fukuoka and Tokyo.”
- “The Dai Nippon Butoku Kai(Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society) was established in Kyoto Japan under the supporting authority of the national government and the endorsement of Meiji Emperor to solidify, promote, and standardize all martial disciplines and systems extant in Japan. It was the first official martial arts institution and premier governing body of Japan sanctioned by greater authority than mere traditional Budo linage” (“History”).
- Issues such as exactly how one became, or came to be identified as, an SMR “headmaster;” what that status entailed in the way of privileges / responsibilities; and whether, at any given time, there was a single recognized headmaster for all SMR branches / practitioners remain unclear to this writer, and call for further research. The convention of using the term is followed in this paper for the purpose of convenience.
- Saying that, for example, Shiraishi was the 24th headmaster can be misleading, if one is unaware of SMR history. As Hall (Encyclopedia 434) and Matsui (Tenshin 13-14) point out, when 2 parallel lines of the tradition which had developed after the death of the 7th headmaster came back together to unite in the early 1900s, the headmasters from both lines came to be counted. Thus, each counted headmaster doesn’t really represent a separate period of “rule.”
- Matsui (Shindo 83) indicates that Takayama was also there and participated, but Sugisaki (43) makes it sound as though only Shimizu and Shiraishi attended.
- Draeger (Judo) reports a version of this story in which Kano directly asks Shimizu at the taikai in Kyoto to come to the Kodokan to teach. Sugisaki, despite not mentioning it when he introduces the Shimizu / Takayama meeting with Kano in Kyoto (43-45), also later (63) states that Kano asked for a teacher to come to the Kodokan at that point.
- Japanese Wikipedia (“Suenaga”) describes Suenaga Misao (1869 -1960) as a Japanese political activist, martial artist, and tairiku ronin. In directing the reader to the alternative term shina ronin, the Kokugo Daijiten Dictionary essentially defines tairiku ronin to mean something on the order of “civilian men who, from the Meiji / Taisho eras till around the time of WWII, crossed over to the Chinese continent, where they roamed around and got involved in political and financial worlds, resisting Europeanization.” The Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (“Tairiku Ronin”) explanation has a somewhat more sinister feel to it. Wikipedia’s entry notes that Suenaga was a member of the ultranationalist Gen’yosha group. Like so many others discussed here, he was originally from Fukuoka (Sugisaki 66).
- Interestingly, Otofuji (3) says that they also demonstrated something called 大和流抱大筒, an art which, as near as this writer can tell (“Yoryu hojutsu”), dealt with large caliber matchlocks, perhaps what is called a “harquebus.”
- This was the forerunner of the (Boy) Scout Association of Japan (Sugisaki 86).
- Interestingly, Kaiyo Shonendan group members were already routinely carrying an octagonal stick which was longer than a Shindo Muso-ryu jo. They used it when marching, when exercising, for rescue work, etc. (Sugisaki 87)
- A shakuhachi is a “vertical bamboo flute with a notched mouthpiece and five finger holes…. The shakuhachi is made from madake bamboo…” (“Shakuhachi”).
- This was the forerunner of the current kidotai or riot police.
- The members of the tokubetsu keibitai underwent jo training on a daily basis (Sugisaki 105).
- Similar nomenclature changes can also be seen with other arts: kenjutsu became kendo, jujutsu became judo, aikijutsu became aikido, etc. Related technical modifications aside, the name changes reflected a shift from an emphasis on fighting skill to one of self-development. Assumedly, as Muromoto writes, “Shimizu, like the founders of other –do forms, wanted a formerly combative art to also serve a higher philosophical and spiritual purpose.” “Jutsu” (術) here carries a meaning of something like “technique” or “skill,” while “do” (道) is “path” or “way.”
- Toyama Mitsuru was a “(r)ight-wing political leader, advocate of Japanese expansion on the Asian continent, and a founder of such ultranationalist groups as the Gen’yosha” (“Toyama”). Just as was the case with Suenaga, Shimizu was introduced to him by Nakayama Hakudo (Sugisaki 73). Likely among the “others connected to the…Gen’yosha” was Uchida Ryohei, Gen’yosha member, Toyama’s leading disciple, and the son of the Uchida Ryogoro who had taught jojutsu to Nakayama Hakudo (Sugisaki 73; “Uchida”). Given the connection between Nakayama and the elder Uchida, Nakayama had a close relationship with the son. Because of this relationship with Ryohei, Nakayama knew well the members of the Gen’yosha. Out of interest in helping Shimizu, Nakayama introduced him to Suenaga, Toyama, and others connected to the Gen’yosha. (Sugisaki 73)
- Not to be confused with the Rembukan Jimukyoku book by the same name, published in 1967 (Shindo Muso-ryu Jodo Rembukan Jimukyoku).
- Iai is a “(t)echnique of swordsmanship that includes the skill of cutting one’s adversary on the draw…,” while the naginata is “(a) weapon with a wooden shaft approximately 1.2 to 2.4 meters (4-8 ft) in length and a curved blade usually 30-60 centimeters (1-2 ft) in length” (“Iai”; “Naginata”). The “do” added to each of these words is the suffix previously addressed above in note 31.
- Chambers says that while the dojo was completed in 1965, the first practice there took place in 1966. This is no surprise, perhaps, as the facility was apparently finished at the end of 1965. (Chambers 22; Sugisaki 133).
- A tsubo is approximately 3.306 square meters or 35.58 square feet (“Weights”).
- Interestingly, Chambers (22) and Hall (Encyclopedia 389) say the Rembukan was in Shibuya.
- Sugisaki (137) writes that Shimizu only went to the new dojo for an opening ceremony and four or five other times prior to his death. Matsui (Shindo 87) seems to claim that he never went there.
- A similar (if not the same) memorial event continues to take place every two years today. Also, Otofuji (6) mentions a founder’s memorial event that took place eight years prior to this one.
- A kata is a prearranged sequence of combat movements that is learned and practiced repetitively by the martial artist. In jodo, kata are done with a partner who serves as one’s “opponent.”
- Ryuha is usually translated as “style,” school,” “tradition,” etc. This writer finds the phrase “unbiased toward any specific personal ryuha” somewhat surprising here, since ZNKR jodo essentially is based completely on the Shindo Muso-ryu tradition. Perhaps ryuha here was a reference to subdivisions within SMR.
- Otofuji (6) writes that he practiced once with Shimizu and once with Nakajima prior to the Kyoto demonstration.
- For interested readers, Matsui (Shindo 88) makes some observations relevant to the issue of the “two SMRs.”
- ZNKR jodo organizes and encourages tournament competition.
- A second edition of the manual containing the standards (ZNKR jodo) was published in 2008, but it is this writer’s understanding that no real changes were made.
- Along with Shindo Muso-ryu, other schools or ryuha of jodo also exist.
ZNKR Jodo Basic Techniques and Seitei Kata*
Name Reading Translation
- 本手打 hon te uchi basic hand strike
- 逆手打 gyaku te uchi reverse hand strike
- 引落打 hikiotoshi uchi pull down strike
- 返し突 kaeshi zuki returning thrust
- 逆手突 gyaku te zuki reverse hand thrust
- 巻落 maki otoshi wrapping dropping
- 繰付 kuri tsuke spinning sticking
- 繰放 kuri hanashi spinning free
- 体当 tai atari body strike
- 突外打 tsuki hazushi uchi thrust dodging strike
- 胴払打 do barai uchi body sweep strike
- 体外打 tai hazushi uchi body freeing strike
The basic techniques are practiced both solo (tandoku dosa) and with a partner (sotai dosa).
Name Reading Translation Origin
- 着杖 Tsukizue reaching staff SMR Omote kata set
- 水月 Suigetsu solar plexus Created by Shimizu1
- 引提 Hissage (none given) SMR Omote kata set, but uses long sword
- 斜面 Shamen slope Created by Shimizu2
- 左貫 Sakan left piercing SMR Omote kata set
- 物見 Monomi visible object SMR Omote kata set
- 霞 Kasumi mist SMR Omote kata set
- 太刀落 Tachi Otoshi sword knockdown SMR Omote kata set
- 雷打 Raiuchi thunder strike SMR Chudan kata set
- 正眼 Seigan aiming at the eyes SMR Chudan kata set; heavily modified
- 乱留 Midare Dome (none given) SMR Chudan kata set
- 乱合 Ran Ai (none given) SMR Odachi no Ran Ai
*Kanji, readings, and translations taken from Yoneno / Hiroi.
- Matsui Jodo 93
- Matsui Jodo 111
The author would like to express his sincere thanks to Professor David A. Hall for his kind correspondence and his assistance with acquiring written source material. The author is also grateful to Yusuke Suzuki of the ZNKR for his kind assistance, and to his wife, Yasuko Okane, for her patient Japanese language help. Any and all errors are, of course, solely the responsibility of the author.
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4 thoughts on “The Path to Zen Ken Ren Jodo: An Abbreviated History of Shindo Muso-ryu and the Advent of Its Modern Offshoot”
excellent piece thank you kindly.
Thank you very much. Excellent work, could I use on my Dojo’s page, please?
Thank you for your kind words. Yes, feel free to use it, so long as you note me as the author.