ZEN NIHON KENDO RENMEI JODO
It is quite common in Jodo, as it is in Iaido, to start with a set of forms, composed by the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. This set of 12 forms is based on 12 fundamental Kihon movements and several techniques of the Shindo Muso Ryu.
These forms (or Kata) which contain the basic elements for proper Jo manipulation are often set as a standard and used in grading and Taikai. It takes many years to learn how to manipulate not only the Jo, but also the Bokuto (wooden sword). Consequently, some knowledge of Iaido or Kendo is most likely to be usefull. But most important of all is to practice on a regular base the Kihon movements, and once a certain degree of skill is achieved, comes the more fighting stuff : the Koryu kata (See bottom of this page)
There are not as many schools in Jodo as there are in Iaido, and the Shindo Muso Ryu is undoubtedly the most important and most practised throughout Japan and the world. These techniques are much more like fighting a duel, and less influenced by Kendo than the basic techniques of the Zen Ken Ren. The fact that the Jo can be used as three different weapons (sword, naginata and yari) is fully utilized in this style that was established by Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi around the end of the 16° century. (Remember his famous fight against Miyamoto Musashi ?) But there is a long way to go, to study the complete set of techniques (I am afraid a lifetime is not enough ) as this school contains more than 70 different Kata…
These are the volumes :
GOHON NO MIDARE
SHIAIKUCHI (or, more commonly, OKUDEN)
HIDENGOKUI (or, more commenly, GO MUSO NO JO)
Even more fun it is, to learn how to manipulate the short wooden stick or Tanjo, literaly based on the use of a walking stick. (Sometimes even called sutekki-jutsu instead of Uchida Ryu Tanjojutsu).
Click here for the name of the 12 kata, a keypointpicture and a short explanation.
Another element of the Shindo Muso Ryu school, where this time the Jo is not involved, but where the wooden sword (the long and the short !) are being used, is the Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu. Very different indeed from modern Kendo and Iaido !
Other more advanced techniques are : the use of the Jutte in Ikkaku Ryu Juttejutsu or the Kusarigama in Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu or the rope in Hojojutsu.