Jodo curriculum

Josaki

Below you can find the names and approximate translations of the various kata in the ZNKR Seitei and Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo syllabus. Koryu kata names come from a long history where meanings may have been different, the Chinese characters redefined or even rewritten and a certain degree of poetic license applied. To that end, it is not advised to take the translations too literally; they are names primarily and meanings secondarily. They may indicate a scenario, a methodology or simply a feeling within the kata. The Chinese characters used have multiple meanings depending on the context.

Each koryu section is prefaced with the introductory text by Shimizu Takaji Sensei from his book "Jodo Kyohan"

Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei Jodo

  1. Tsukizue - Walking stick

  2. Suigetsu - Solar plexus

  3. Hissage - Carry in the hands

  4. Shamen - Slope

  5. Sakan - Left thrust

  6. Monomi - Look out

  7. Kasumi - Mist

  8. Tachiotoshi - Drop the sword

  9. Raiuchi - Thunderstrike

  10. Seigan - Straight to the eyes

  11. Midaredome - Preventing chaos

  12. Ranai- From disorder to harmony

Zen Ken Ren Tsukizue
Omote Tsubawari Vito Tattoli
Ishido Sensei Otake Sensei Omote Kasanoshita

Shinto Muso Ryu

Omote - Surface:

(Shimizu Takaji Sensei) These twelve forms incorporate effective use of the body and frequent change in the manipulation and operation of technique. It is required that these are performed using correct, basic technique in the appropriate manner.

  1. Tachiotoshi - Sword drop

  2. Tsubawari - Break the guard

  3. Tsukizue - Walking stick

  4. Hissage kodachi Withdrawal/ Carry in the hands (short sword)

  5. Hissage odachi Withdrawal/ Carry in the hands (long sword)

  6. Sakan - Left thrust

  7. Ukan - Right thrust

  8. Kasumi - Mist

  9. Monomi - Look-out

  10. Kasanoshita - Under the hat

  11. Ichirei - One bow

  12. Neyanouchi - In the bedroom

  13. Hosomichi - Narrow road

  14. Uchiotoshi* - Strike drop

  15. Suigetsu* - Solar plexus

  16. Shamen* - Slope

* Denotes extra forms created by Shimizu Takaji to complement training. Last two forms drawn from Uchida-ryu Tanjojutsu

Chudan - Middle Level:

(Shimizu Takaji Sensei) The Chudan techniques comprise of 12 forms. On the whole there are many movements which are to be performed vehemently and vigorously and therefore require adequate feeling and practise to understand the contents of Chudan. The way of using the jo remains the same as Omote.

  1. Ichiriki - One strength

  2. Oshizume - Pushing stop

  3. Midaredome - Stopping chaos

  4. Ushirozue - Rear stick:

    1. Zen (front)

    2. Go (behind)

  5. Taisha - Turning wheel

  6. Kengome - Invade the space

  7. Kirikake - Hanging cut

  8. Shinshin - True advancement

  9. Raiuchi - Thunderstrike

  10. Yokogiridome - Stopping side cut

  11. Haraidome - Stopping sweep

  12. Seigan - Straight to the eyes

Harry Jones Andy Watson Chudan Yokogiridome
Stojanka Vidinic Elena West Koryu Ranai

Ranai - From Disorder To Harmony:

(Shimizu Takaji Sensei) Ran Ai presents a comprehensive variety of SMR techniques to be performed in a continuous fashion as one kata. This kata is not recorded in the original catalogue of kata and from which era it was devised from is not clear however, historically it has been transmitted for some time.

This kata requires the critical taking of initiative, taking advantage of weaknesses, creating the tension of two equally shrewd opponents; it is the longest of the kata and therefore is a highly combat practical and should be expressed elegantly and beautifully. This kata is incorporated into the ZNKR Seitei Kata at no.12.

  1. Ranai (Odachi) - From disorder to harmony (long sword)

  2. Ranai (Kodachi) - From disorder to harmony (short sword)

Kage - Shadow:

(Shimizu Takaji Sensei) The Kage techniques comprise of 12 forms. Each of the forms share the same name as those found in Omote. However the level of Kage presents changes to the content of the forms. There is no special speed attributed to the techniques and body movements of Kage but the contrast of calmness to movement, slow to fast as well as a contrast in breath control provides the special features of this set.

  1. Tachiotoshi - Sword drop

  2. Tsubawari - Break the guard

  3. Tsukizue - Walking stick

  4. Hissage (kodachi) Withdrawal/ Carry in the hands (short sword)

  5. Sakan - Left thrust

  6. Ukan - Right thrust

  7. Kasumi - Mist

  8. Monomi - Look-out

  9. Kasanoshita - Under the hat

  10. Ichirei - One bow:

    1. Sono ichi - Version 1

    2. Sono ni - Version 2

  11. Neyanouchi - In the bedroom

    1. Sono ichi - Version 1

    2. Sono ni - Version 2

  12. Hosomichi - Narrow road

Lukasz Machura Sida Yin Kage Kasumi
Ishido Sensei Andy Watson Kage Monomi
Shoji Sensei Otake Sensei Samidare Kodachiotoshi

Samidare - Early Summer Rain:

  1. Ichimonji - Straight line

  2. Jumonji - Cross

  3. Kodachiotoshi - Drop the short sword

  4. Mijin (zen) - Fragments (front)

  5. Mijin (go) - Fragments (behind)

  6. Gantsubushi - Crush the eye

Gohon no Midare - Five Forms of Chaos

(Ryoshinkan quotation) These are five synthesized forms that Shimizu Sensei created in order to develop flow and versatility in the Jodo student. They are generally combinations of pre-existing koryu forms and technically are not koryu per se.

  1. Tachiotoshi no midare - Chaos of sword drop

  2. Sakan no midare - Chaos of left thrust

  3. Kengome no midare - Chaos of invading space

  4. Kasumi no midare - Chaos of mist

  5. Shamen no midare - Chaos of the slope

Shimizu Takaji Sensei Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu

Okuden - Inner Teaching

(Ryoshinkan quotation) These forms are taught as kuden (oral tradition) and not generally taught except between a Menkyo Kaiden and their dedicated students.

  1. 先勝 Sengachi - To win the initiative

  2. 突出 Tsukidashi - To stick out

  3. 打付 Uchitsuke - Apply a strike

  4. 小手留 Kotedome - Block the wrists

  5. 引捨 Hikisute - Abandonment

  6. 小手搦 Kotegarami - Entwine the wrists

  7. 十手 Jutte/Jitte - Ten hands (Iron truncheon)

  8. 見返 Mikaeri - Look back

  9. 阿吽 Aun – Alpha and Omega

  10. 打分 Uchiwake - Dividing strike

  11. 水月 Suigetsu - Solar plexus

  12. 左右留 Sayudome - Stopping to the left and right

Further to the rough translations provided above, the following article has been produced for those wishing to understand a little more about the Japanese terms:

A Guide to Understanding Jodo Kata Names

by Andy Watson, Ryoshinkan Iaido and Jodo Dojo ©2020

Introduction

The following guide is written for the benefit of those who are not trained speakers of the Japanese language but seek to understand the meanings of the names and thus wish to develop a better memory for the names. By being able to understand the meaning of the kata names, it is hoped that the exponent can make links to the technical content of the kata and thus develop a better memory for the names and the form.

By being able to understand the components of the kata names, where the same components are used in later koryu forms, this may form a useful link to understanding more kata names than by single identification alone.

The placement of spaces between the Japanese terms is done purely at the discretion of the author. In Japanese there are no spaces between words but the author has deemed it easier to break the phrases down into more logical compound chunks rather than a stream of unpronounceable syllables.

Seitei

It is worth bearing in mind that the forms represented in the Seitei set are either taken from the Omote series (i.e. Tsukizue, Hissage, Sakan, Monomi, Kasumi, Tachi otoshi) or from Chudan (i.e. Rai Uchi, Seigan, Midaredome, Ran Ai). The forms Suigetsu and Shamen are additional forms created during the formulation of the Seitei series.

1. Tsukizue

tsuki - to reach

zue (Tsue) - stick, the jo

While this form literally translates into reaching stick, it is the Japanese term for a walking stick. This meaning is reflected in the form itself where the stick is held in the way that walking sticks or staves are held in Japan i.e. with the hand gripping the entire circumference near the top. This is more obviously demonstrated in the Kage version of the form where the exponent actually walks forward using the jo in the way it would be used naturally by one using it for walking assistance.

2. Suigetsu

sui - water

getsu - moon

The suigetsu is the term used in Chinese medicine for the solar plexus. In this form it is signified by the initial attack being made to the solar plexus.

3. Hissage

hi- (hiku) - to pull

sage (sageru) - to take back

The translation of hissage is to carry in one’s hands. This is demonstrated in this form by the initial posture of holding the jo to the side of one’s body as if merely carrying the jo. An alternative interpretation of this name may relate to the action of drawing the tachi back as a response to the first attack. This is a closer correlation to the more literal translation of the form names individual components (i.e. to draw back).

4. Shamen

shamen - slope, an inclined plane

The aspect of a slope relates to the position of the jo in response to the first attack i.e. an inclined attack to the temple from middle positioned hands.

5. Sakan

sa (hidari) - left

kan - pierce

While the literal translation of this form name is left thrust, this is not a single description of the action of the tachi but describes the response of the jo to the stabbing attack i.e. turning the body to face the left. Looking at older teachings of this form, it can also refer to the action of the Uchidachi trying to thrust the left side of the Shijo.

6. Monomi

mono - a thing

mi (miru) - to see

The modern translation of monomi is sightseeing. The older meaning is more likely related to some of the compounds of this term. This meaning is closer to the concept of a “lookout” or keeping watch. One might consider remembering this form by the necessity of very carefully watching the action of the tachi to facilitate the extremely critical timing this form requires.

7. Kasumi

kasumi - mist, the temple (of the head)

Kasumi in Chinese medicine is the temple point of the head otherwise known as kamikomi in Japanese. With this form however it is more likely to relate to the obscuring of vision caused by the initial kamae (i.e. the jo held at the middle of the face).

8. Tachi otoshi

tachi - the sword

otoshi - to drop (trans.)

The meaning of this form, to drop the sword, again is most likely to relate to the action of the jo striking down onto the tachi. This action of striking down occurs in both the omote (inc. seitei) and kage versions of this form.

9. Rai uchi

rai - lightning

uchi - strike

The literal meaning of this form, lightning strike, can be considered to represent the two downward thrusts in quick succession as a response to the tachi cuts in a similar way (doesn’t lightning always strike twice?)

10. Seigan

sei - straight, true

gan - the eyes

The meaning of this form relates to the first attack initiated to the jo as an action of thrusting straight to the eyes. It is the same meaning as seigan kamae often used with reference to the chudan kamae taken by tachi and once again relates to the action of pointing to the eyes.

11. Midare dome

midare (ran) - chaos, disorder

dome (tome) - to stop

The term “stopping chaos” is likely to relate to the constant progressive response to each of the tachi’s varying attacks.

12. Ran ai

ran - chaos, disorder

ai - harmony

Ran Ai has no normal meaning in modern Japanese and has been translated in many ways, “from disorder to harmony” being perhaps the most appropriate one. Ran is once again used here to relate to the varied attacks made by the tachi. Ai meaning harmonising (the same term used in the words aikido and iaido) relates to the constant response of the jo in either a forward or backward motion.

Omote

1. Tachi otoshi - see Seitei (8)

2. Tsuba wari

tsuba - the swordguard

wari (waru) - to break

The literal meaning “to break the swordguard” can here be taken to mean the various actions of attacking the wrists (in the Omote form) or literally striking the sword at the tsuba (as in the Kage version).

3. Tsuki zue - see Seitei (1)

4. Hissage - see Seitei (3)

5. Sakan - see Seitei (5)

6. Ukan

u (migi) - right

kan - pierce

In a similar vein to how Sakan is translated, this kata relates to the response of the jo to the tachi’s thrust attack in that the shijo turns to face the right hand side.

7. Kasumi - see Seitei (7)

8. Kasa no shita

kasa - hat

no - of

shita - under

The literal translation of this to mean “under the hat” relates to the initial posture taken by the Shijo in order not to knock off an imaginary wide-brimmed hat. Compare and make memory links to iaido forms such as Tana no shita (under the lintel) for the Japanese translation.

9. Ichi rei

ichi - one

rei - bow, salutation

The words used to make up this form name should be familiar to all jodoka as both being used during normal practise. One can consider the initial squatting position taken by Shijo being the context of the form name in that they are in a bowed position or that the final precursor to the Tai Hazushi technique at the end of the kata represent the “one bow”.

10. Neya no uchi

neya - bedroom

no - of

uchi - inside, inner

Once again the literal translation of “inside the bedroom” can be linked with the initial posture taken in the form as one who is resting (rather than lying down which would be a rather harder position to defend oneself from).

11. Hoso michi

hoso (hosoi) - narrow

michi - road

Once again the literal translation of this name, “narrow road”, is the only description given and does not immediately provide much insight into the kata content. Careful examination of the kata however suggest that while a slight angling of movement takes place during the form, all of the techniques are confined to a narrow space and consist of vertical or direct strikes or thrusts.