The history of the Sei Do Kai: Jodo – Kim Taylor, Renshi, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan Iaido Renshi and Roukudan Jodo Renshi

This is not an accurate history, it’s the type of thing that I would tell a class, absent any notes. There are plenty of resource materials listed on the website so I would invite you to visit there.

Here is the story of the origin of Shindo Muso Ryu jodo, the one I tell in Jodo class. This story is a bit different in the Niten Ichiryu classes but that’s hagiography for you. Muso Gunnosuke was a big man, and a great martial artist of the Shinto ryu who used a bo, or a large bokuto. One day Muso visited Miyamoto Musashi and requested a match. Muso was defeated by Musashi who used his famous juji dome, cross block, with his two swords. Muso went away and meditated on a mountain where he was visited in a dream by a small boy who told him to look for the heart of the oak. Muso woke, cut his bo down to 4 shaku (about four feet) and went back to meet Musashi again, this time Muso beat Musashi and from there he founded the Shindo Muso Ryu which was taught in Fukuoka ever since.

The other story, the one for Niten class? Muso asked for a fight and Musashi declined, when Muso pulled a four foot bokuto from a bag and attacked, Musashi, who was carving a child’s bow at the time, rose and drove Muso back against a wall where he then tapped Muso lightly on the head. Muso went away and invented Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu. Musashi was never defeated, and the story of Muso winning the return match is only found in a single temple scroll. It is not corroborated.

Hey, all this happened 400 years ago and there are stories that Muso and Musashi were friends, they both lived for a long time on Kyushu.

There is remarkably little information on Muso, compared to Musashi, but his school is alive today. Jodo is not terribly popular compared to other arts, but its inclusion in the Kendo Federation has helped keep it healthy. The figures I heard one time were 3 million kendoka, 300,000 iaidoka and 30,000 jodoka in the ZNKR.

Jodo was practiced in Fukuoka by the lower ranked samurai, the ones who would go out in the evenings and keep the peace, think of sending the drunken upper level Japanese off to their wives. You want a weapon that can control a sword without killing, and the jo was that weapon. Jodo was part of what was called the Men’s Arts, (Dan-I?) which were taught in three dojo in what was then the Kuroda han. The three dojo gave rise to three lines of practice, with their own licenses. These dojo also taught rope tying, jutte, sword, and the sicle and chain (kursari gama). Not always the same ryu in each dojo. Eventually, in the Meiji and Taisho periods these three lines came down to a single lineage under Shiriashi Hanjiro.

Mostly the art stayed in Fukuoka, although around the turn of the century (1900) a man named Uchida Ryugoro went to Tokyo and taught many people, including Nakayama Hakudo, a very famous swordsman. Uchida took the western walking stick, which was very popular during this period of westernization, and created what was eventually called the Tanjo Jutsu. These associated arts have been kept with the main art.

Shiriashi Hanjiro taught many people, and when he died Takayama Kiroku took over the dojo. During this time Shimizu Takaji moved to Tokyo, and began to teach jodo to the police there. When Takayama died, Otofuji Ichizo took over as the headmaster of the line in Fukuoka.

These two lines, Tokyo and Fukuoka have drifted a bit apart in their styles, but not so very much, in my opinion. I invite my students to look at the jodo of Nakayama Hakudo which you can find on Youtube if you wish to investigate how different SMR can be, while being in the same lineage.

The jodo practice in the Sei Do Kai comes from Kim Taylor so here is his story:

The first jodo I studied was in Aikido, and at one time I received a book by Pascal Krieger on SMR from John Prough of NYC. Some of the Aikido students practiced the kihon (basic movements) from that book for a while. Eventually I attended an iaido seminar in Baltimore taught by Suzuki sensei and Oumi sensei where I was introduced to formal training in SMR and the Kendo Federation Jo. At that time I agreed to practice Kendo Federation Jo to introduce it to the CKF. I did not wish to learn a third koryu (SMR) because I already practiced two others, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and Niten Ichiryu. I practiced for a short time under a fellow who does not want to be named, and then Haruna sensei brought Ide sensei to a Guelph Spring Seminar. Ide sensei (hachidan jodo) taught us for that seminar and then told us that he would send us his teacher, Namitome Shigenori. From that point we have practiced with many of the top jodo instructors of both Tokyo and Fukuoka. They have sat our grading panels for Kendo Jo, and have, over the years, taught us both Tokyo and Fukuoka styles of koryu. At the present, we are under the direction of Kurogo sensei, the current head of the Jodo committee of the ZNKR. During these many years we have been taught the Tanjo Jutsu by the senseis Eto (mother and daughter) and Namitome sensei. We were also taught Shinto Ryu by Namitome sensei and Shinohara sensei.

In the Sei Do Kai we currently practice the Tokyo style under Kurogo sensei. Our lineage would be a bit difficult to write down, we come through both Otofuji sensei and Shimizu sensei. Suffice to say our main direction is from the Kendo Federation. In Canada we have several lines of koryu which exist now, but we are all linked through the CKF and Kendo Federation Jo (Seitei Jo).

Our jodo gradings come through the CKF, and Kim Taylor is the long-time Chief Examinar for Jodo. We have mostly been self-sufficient in funding, holding our gradings when seminars were available to finance the travel of judges. Our senior gradings must be done with judges from Japan and Europe and this is expensive. In order to finance these gradings we have organized the Canadian Jodo and Iaido Fund, supported mostly by donation from the senior iaido and jodo instructors of Canada, and most recently Jodo Canada, an organization to raise money for Jodo by membership and by offering national kyu gradings in areas where access to the seminars is difficult.

There is no grading system for SMR jodo in the Sei Do Kai. We practice to learn.

Kim Taylor
Feb 2, 2020


U. Guelph Japanese Swordsmanship Club (Sei Do Kai): Tues. 9-11pm, Fri. 7-9pm, Sunday 1-4pm.
Contact for details.


To Shin Kai Jodo/Iaido classes, Clarke Hall, Port Credit, Feb 10, Mar 16
March 7, Iaido seminar, Port Credit.
March 8, Jodo seminar, Port Credit.
Apr 18, 19. Peterborough Haru Geiko, Jodo, Niten Ichiryu, MJER jujutsu, and one other I can’t remember.
May 15-18. Annual CKF Spring International Iaido and Jodo seminar and Jodo grading.
Instruction and equipment for the Japanese sword arts such as iaido, kendo, kenjutsu and jodo. Featuring journals, videos, manuals,…
Instruction and equipment for the Japanese sword arts such as iaido, kendo, kenjutsu and jodo. Featuring journals, videos, manuals, wooden martial arts weapons, and uniforms.

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