Jodo and Shugi Jutsu - Baton fighting techniques



      The baton technique (Bo - 1.80m, Jo - 1.20m, Hanbo - 0.90m, Tanbo -0.60m), even if it was not a fundamental discipline of the samurais as professional militaries, it has a long history in medieval Japan and a lot of schools had been included it their vast training curriculum (SoBudo is translated as a complete Budo, integral, and it was an important characteristic of the old schools Koryu) and neither Takeda Ryu is excepted.

   As a JO history, we find the baton as a fundamental weapon of the Buddhist monks, who were not allowed to injure or kill another alive being, animal or human being, so they helped themselves either to walk or to avoid the possible aggressions. However, JO was known as redoubtable weapon, when Muso Gonosuke succeeded to confront the famous swordsman Musashi, using a middle length baton – 1.20 m, a JO. Muso Gonosuke considered that this length give him advantage toward the sword length, but it is not so inconvenient as the long baton – BO (1.80 m). Inside the Takeda Ryu school, the art of using the baton began to be more attentive studied and systematized beginning with the EDO era (1603-1867). The importance of JO was realized when a lance or a halberd was broken and it had to use only the remaining part, it means the baton.

    There are two kinds of use of the JO:
-one was based on strokes, blocks inspired also from another famous school Kukishin Ryu (The 9 Demons School), existing some techniques exchanges;
-another one followed the secret strategy of Takeda family – AIKI – the harmony idea, the using of the adversary KI, exactly as in sword fight or with empty hands – AikiJo.

   JODO is a martial art exclusively defensive and comprise as IAIDO techniques which can be very well performed solitary, following the instructions of a master. So, all the basic techniques can be learned and performed alone: deviations, takings over, counterattacks… After that, there are Kata with partner for the advanced students, and also KumiJo – a kind of free practice with baton (fight). It is interesting to mention that in Takeda Ryu Jodo, the length of the baton was not essential, but it had to surpass a little the distance from the soil to the hip of the practitioner, so to fit to him.

   SHUGI JUTSU – it is another extremely interesting martial discipline of Takeda Ryu, which used one or two batons of medium length, for protecting himself of another SHUGI JUTSU - tehnica de baston scurt din Takeda Ryu de Sensei Pascal Lagouche si Sensei Laiber, seminar de Takeda Ryu SoBudo in Paris - 1999weapons attacks. In fact, the baton has to be used as a real extension of the body and not as an object separated from the body. Shugi Jutsu appears probably in the moment in which the baton of a lance or halberd had been broken in smaller pieces and the survival had became a higher priority than defeating the adversary.
    At technical level, in Shugi Jutsu we find elements from Aikijutsu, Jukenpo and Jodo, with a different control of the distance - MA AI (larger than Aikijutsu and Jukenpo, smaller than Jodo). However, we can see some semblances with another traditional Japanese discipline – Jutte Jutsu, used by medieval Japanese police.