The traditional jo taught in this system is the short staff of the Shindo Muso ryu 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).
Beginners commence with the kihon (basic movements) and continue with the 6 koryu kata. Other weapons which are taught in conjunction with the jo are - Uchida ryu tanjo jutsu (short stick), Kasumi shinto ryu kenjutsu, Isshin ryu kusari gama jutsu (sickle and chain) and Ikkaku ryu jutte jutsu.
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 practitioners of other styles seek out traditional weapons training.
I commenced my study of jodo with Paul Maloney sensei 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. Relnick sensei and Maloney 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.