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.

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