A martial arts technique involving the use of the jo, a short staff (approx. 1.2m long) made from hard wood, such as oak, which was invented in the seventeenth century by Muso Gonnosuke.

After discovering that the bo staff was not effective enough when facing an opponent armed with a sword, he invented a different technique. Legend tells that it was by using jo-jutsu that he was able to overcome Miyamoto Musashi in combat, giving him the only defeat of his life.

The Shindo Muso-Ryu school was founded by Muso Gonnosuke, and taught sixty-four basic jo movements, designed to incapacitate or disarm rather than kill.

In 1955, a stripped down version of 12 movements were codified and jo-jutsu became jodo (the Way of the short staff).

One who practices jo-jutsu/jodo is called a Shijo, and generally wears a haori and a hakama.

Jojutsu or "way of the stick", is a Japanese martial art developed by Muso Gonnosuke about 400 years ago. After losing a bout with the great swordmaster Miyamoto Musashi, Gonnosuke withdrew into the isolation of a Shinto shrine to contemplate his failings. Here he developed a new form that incorporated basic martial arts with sword and spear fighting. He named this new style Shindo-Muso ryu, and after challenging the great master to another duel, he overcame and counteracted Musashi's own two sword strategy.

Believed to be one of the hardest martial arts to master, Jojutsu looks deceptively easy. But both the sport form (Jodo) and Jojutsu require absolute concentration, dedication and timing to work effectively.

Original Jojutsu consists of many forms, or patterns of movement, that fall into different categories.

There are 72 traditional forms:

It is a versatile martial art, suited for battling a wide range of styles and weapons but was aimed at fighting the sword. The forms include thrusts, parries, defections, locks, swings and other moves common in most armed arts. The Jo is used in Aikido. The Aikido style is based on Bojutsu and Jojutsu (two very similar styles) and Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba was a student of the Jo.

Only a handful of Shindo-Muso ryu still practice and teach unaltered traditional values, but there are many offshoots and hybrid forms around the world - See Keijo-Jutsu.

Acknowledgements: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jojutsu

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