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Christchurch Jodō Kai

Jodō is one of the 3 arts of the ZNKR sandō (3 dō). Jodō is a little different to iaidō and kendō in that the actual outcome in all the kata scenario is not the dispatch of an enemy but a forced acquiescence. Jodō consists of kata between tachi (sword) and jo (approximately 4 shaku oak staff). Tachi is always the aggressor, and is subdued and forced to admit defeat by jo.

One of the more interesting aspects of jo is that the techniques in the kata are not pretending to strike or cut as in iaidō or kendō. In iaidō we need to imagine the enemy because of course we cannot cut through people in training. The same with kendō, our cuts must stop at the bogu for the same reason as iaidō but also because a shinai is not a shinken. With jo though there is no lethal strike that is held back for the sake of practice, it is all about convincing the aggressor to back down.

Jodō is the budō established on the jojutsu of Muso Gonnosuke, who was reportedly the only person to have defeated MIyamoto Musashi in a duel. The jo is a very flexible weapon and can take on characteristics of other weapons depending on how it is utilised. While the jo can be lethal, the purpose of jodō is to stop the fight before it reaches that stage.

Based on the oral narrative of Muso Gonnosuke and Miyamoto's encounters, both times reportedly ended with each sparing the life of the other. Initially Musashi won by being in an undefeatable position, but finished the tachiai upon Gonnosuke's acquiescence. Gonnosuke then worked on his technique and received enlightenment to a new style and shorter staff, so when he next met Musashi he was able to overcome the sword, but in turn did not deliver the final blow to Musashi.

We are under the instruction of our sensei in Japan and regularly visit sensei's dōjō and attend gradings in Japan when we go there. We are very happy to be part of the jodō community with sensei's support and do our best to improve and refine both our techniques and understanding of jo, and also our progress in budō.