When: Saturday 7-9 am
Where: Fullarton scout hall, Culross Ave Myrtle Bank
Suitable for:  Mature people of any age or sex. 
Health Benefits: Builds excellent awareness, fighting spirit, focus and strong upper body.
Cost: On application

The traditional jyo taught in this system is the short staff (in contrast to the Bo - long staff), which is approximately 1.4 metres long.  This is the weapon which the founder of this system, Muso Gonnosuke,  used to overcome the legendary Musashi Miyamoto (Book of Five Rings). Musashi was undefeated over the course of 60 life and death matches until he met Muso, who was a master of the Bo.  According to tradition, Muso challenged Musashi with his Bo and was defeated due to the unwieldy size of the weapon, but Musashi spared him because he had fought well and had only a wooden weapon.  Muso meditated on his defeat and decided that a shorter weapon would be more viable at close quarters, while still maintaining a reach advantage over the sword.  He practised alone with his shorter weapon and devised several techniques (taught in the Okuden kata) to overcome Musashi's famous two sword style.  He returned to challenge Musashi again and overcame the master swordsman for the first time.  This story is confirmed by Musashi in his writings, however many modern authors take umbrage at this version.  Not having been there - nor knowing anyone who was - I won't be taking sides.
Beginners commence with the kihon, a series of 12 basic movements practised alone and then with a partner.  These form the basis of the kata which follow Omote (12 techniques), Chudan (14), Ran ai (O-dachi & Ko dachi), Kage (12), Samidare (6), Go Hon no Midare (5) and Okuden (12).  A practitoner may choose to learn the other weapons which are taught in conjunction with the jo - Uchida ryu tanjo jutsu (short stick), Kasumi shinto ryu kenjutsu, Isshin ryu kusari gama jutsu (sickle and chain) and Ikkaku ryu jutte jutsu (a weapon similar to the karate sai).  Also taught by Kaminoda Tsunemori sensei is Hojo jutsu ( the art of tying prisoners with a rope).
In the present day, Shindo Muso ryu is taught under the umbrella of the Kendo association - complete with gradings and competitions.  The traditional style had only five dan gradings and menkyo (licences) - Oku iri sho, Sho moku roku, Go moku roku, Menkyo and Menkyo kaiden.  The Shindo Muso ryu is too dangerous for freestyle and is practised with a partner with a bokken, but well trained practitioners bring a focus and fierceness to their training which is mirrored in all old school weapons traditions, due to the life and death nature of their beginnings.  These together with combative distancing, cultural understanding and upper body strength are the reasons practioners of other styles seek out traditional weapons training.
I commenced my study of jodo with Paul Moloney in Sydney in 1980 and, at Paul's suggestion, went to Japan for nearly a year in 1981 to study with Kaminoda Tsunemori sensei and Phil Relnick sensei.  I returned to live in 1985 for 8 years and Kaminoda sensei eventually became my sponsor and mentor.  Likewise, Phil Relnick sensei who studied with Kaminoda and the late Donn Draeger sensei, under Shimizu Takeji sensei (the first to teach westerners) taught the traditional style with no thought of reward.

Shimizu Takeji
Kaminoda Tsunemori/Phil Relnick/Paul Moloney
Bill Fettes
Nathan Turk
Simon Roberts-Thompson