For other uses, see Jodo (disambiguation).
Also known as Art of The Jo Staff, or Way of The Jo Staff
Focus Weaponry
Country of origin Japan Japan
Creator Musō Gonnosuke
Olympic sport no

Jōdō (杖道:じょうどう?), meaning "the way of the ", or jōjutsu (杖術:じょうじゅつ?) is a Japanese martial art using a short staff called . The art is similar to bōjutsu, and is strongly focused upon defense against the Japanese sword. The is a short staff, usually about 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) long.

Legendary origin of the first school of Jōjutsu

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

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

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

Modern practice

The modern study of jōdō (way of the ), has two branches.

One is the koryū, or "old school" jōdō Shintō Musō-ryū, which incorporates other arts and weapons, such as the short staff (tanjō), the chained sickle (kusarigama), the truncheon (jutte), and a lesser-known art called hojōjutsu, the art of tying up one's opponent after subduing him.

The other branch is called Seitei Jōdō, which is practiced by the All Japan Kendo Federation (全日本剣道連盟 Zen Nippon Kendō Renmei). Seitei Jōdō starts with 12 pre-arranged forms (kata), which are drawn from Shintō Musō-ryū. After mastering these 12 kata the student continues with the study of Shintō Musō-ryū.

Jōjutsu has also been adapted for use in the Japanese police force, who refer to the art as keijō-jutsu, or police stick art.

Aiki-jō is the name given to the set of martial art techniques practiced with a jō, practiced according to the principles of aikido, taught first by Morihei Ueshiba then further developed by Morihiro Saito, one of Ueshiba's most prominent students.

List of martial arts that include Jodo/Jojutsu

See also


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

External links

  • European Jodo Federation
  • Jodo Kai Australia Site
  • Sumera Budo-juku Australia Branch
  • Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo Website
  • Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi article in Fight Times magazine
  • Jojutsu article in Fight Times magazine

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.