1 – History of Shindô Musô-ryû
Shindô Musô-ryû was founded circa 1605 by Musô Gonnosuke Katsukichi, following a pilgrimage he went on through the country (shugyô). This pilgrimage was meant to be lived as a drastic asceticism, consequence of his defeat against the famous Miyamoto Musashi.
He had managed to get to the deepest of the Tenshi Shôden Katori Shintô-ryû tradition and practice (okugi). It was indeed because he had been defeated following a long series of victories in duels, that this warrior entered asceticism.
This latter lead him to the Kamado sanctuary (竈門神社), on Mount Hôman (宝満山), in the current Fukuoka state where, after remaining confined for 37 nights and days, he reached illumination (satori). He then was able to create the jô techniques which allowed him to defeat Miyamoto Musashi during a new duel.
“maruki o motte suigetsu o shire”
“take a round stick, and find the solar plexus”
Then he became responsible for teaching the jôjutsu for the Kuroda clan. This tradition was jealously kept secret within the clan as its official secret tradition (otome bujutsu) until the Meiji restoration (1868), when the interdiction to teach this technique outside the clan was waived.
In 1940, Shimizu Takauji sensei (the current sôke) changed the name of the tradition from Shindô Musô-ryû jôjutsu to Shindô Musô-ryû jôdô, this latter reflecting better the change of the art, in full agreement with the new orientation of the modern society.
2 – The Shindô Musô-ryû curriculum
Nowadays, the complete martial education of a member of Shindô Musô-ryû comprehends the mastery of the 6 following traditions :
- Shindô Musô-ryû jôdô (stick)
- Uchida-ryû tanjôjutsu (short stick)
- Kasumi Shintô-ryû kenjutsu (sword)
- Isshin-ryû kusarigamajutsu (sickle with a chain)
- Ikkaku-ryû juttejutsu (metallic club)
- Ittatsu-ryû hojôjutsu (restricting rope)