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Shintō Musō-ryū jō
is said to be the oldest style in Japan for using a stick (jō) in combat. It was founded in the early 17th century by Musō Gonnosuke, an exponent of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū. Shintō Musō-ryū oral tradition maintains that Gonnosuke once fought Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous swordsmen of the time, with a staff (bō) in a training match and was defeated by Musashi's cross-block (jujidome) technique.

According to legend, Gonnosuke was dissatisfied with this outcome and retired to Mt. Hōman, in what is now Fukuoka Prefecture, in Kyūshū, where he engaged in a series of shugendō austerities, all the while contemplating the reasons for his defeat. Finally, he received "divine" inspiration about a new method of using a staff-like weapon, making it shorter (128cm) and thinner (25mm) for more rapid manipulation.

He devised a number of techniques for this new weapon, which he called a stick (jō) (as opposed to staff or bō), that included the use of the thrust of a spear, strike of a sword and staff and sweep of a naginata. Factual documents of the ryūgi are quite rare. It is said that there is a record at Tsukuba Shrine, in Ibaraki Prefecture, that reports that Gonnosuke was able to defeat Musashi in a rematch.




Traditional Curriculum


Training is conducted in two person pre-arranged forms (kata). In Shintō Musō-ryū jō there are a total of 64 kata which are divided into a number of sets, each with a different character.

Exponents begin their study of jō by learning a set of twelve basic stick and sword techniques (kihon waza), which contain all the essential movements of the style. They then proceed through the different sets of kata of stick versus sword(s).

This type of kata training is conducive to imbuing intricate patterns of principle into the trainee's body through an arduous process of continuous repetition and correction. Training is not to be undertaken lightly, it's demanding and intense, and given the size of the entire curriculum it does require a dedicated commitment.

The separate roles of Uchidachi and Shidachi are used for all kata practice, however the true nature of the relationship between Uchidachi and Shidachi is not an adversarial or competitive one. Rather the role of Uchidachi, being the more experienced and senior exponent, is that of the teacher who humbly leads and draws up Shidachi as a student, both technically and mentally, through an ongoing process of refinement and one-on-one interaction over time.

Also included in the curriculum of Shintō Musō-ryū are twelve kata of the swordsmanship system called Shintō-ryū kenjutsu. The first eight kata are long sword vs long sword, followed by four kata that are long sword vs short sword.

In addition to Shintō Musō-ryū jō and Shintō-ryū kenjutsu, a number of associated arts are taught during an exponent's training. These are considered assimilated arts within Shintō Musō-ryū and include

  • Uchida-ryū Tanjō (walking stick)
  • Ikkaku-ryū Jutte (truncheon - pictured left)
  • Isshin-ryū Kusarigama (ball, chain and sickle)








Training & Location


We hold full public liability and professional indemnity insurance through SportsCover Australia, and operate on a non-commercial (non-profit) basis with membership/insurance and training fee schedules that are intended to cover costs only, like venue hire and liability insurance.

In terms of Shintō Musō-ryū styles, we follow the lineage from Shimizu Takaji Shihan. In Australia, our Dōjō has been uniquely exposed to the in-depth teachings of both Hamaji-ha and Nishioka-ha, and those useful and pertinent variations in both waza (techniques) and associated riai (underlying rationale) between Shimizu Shihan's first and last menkyo respectively.

Our Dōjōchō's involvement within the transmission and teachings for 20+ years, including all the assimilated arts, has been, predominantly, an exclusive result of the extensive one-on-one training with and uninterrupted personal instruction from Japanese Shihan (master teachers) during regular and ongoing travel to Japan. Likewise, all densho documentation or catalogues (makimono) have been issued and received in person directly within Japan.

The martial arts are an especially important part of our lives, and we admit as prospective members those individuals we believe will likely share our enthusiasm and dedication, and could contribute back to our school in the future. Regardless of previous martial arts experience or none, you're welcome to come and watch a class with prior arrangements.



Kobudōkai Australia

Brisbane Dōjō
Tuesday &
Thursday 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm - 4:30pm

St Davids Hall
855 Logan Road
Holland Park

Dōjōchō: Greg Clarke

To enquire about Shintō Musō-ryū jō and Shintō-ryū kenjutsu training with us, please use our Nitojuku.com contact form: Click Here

Also please don't hesitate to visit our Facebook page for more information and articles on Shintō Musō-ryū, including training photos and numerous videos. Click on the "Visit us on Facebook" icon located at the top-right of this homepage.

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