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Dave Lowry
1st April 2001, 13:51
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Skoss, et. alia,
Someone here recently submitted the suggestion there were only a couple of schools employing the use of the jo. Mr. Skoss noted a few other schools which included the jo in their teachings.

The question remains, though: are there any other classical ryu entirely devoted, as is SMR, to the jo? If there are, there can't be many; one never hears of them, and so, why are there so few? We know of several schools that featured the longer bo. Why didn't the jo become more popular as a central, exclusive weapon for training?

Cordially,

Kim Taylor
1st April 2001, 17:20
One possible reason is that given to me here by the Japanese sensei in the CKF Kendo section. Jo was a lower class weapon, one rather beneath the dignity of a "real swordsman".

Of course they're smiling when they say that, but...

Kim Taylor

Meik Skoss
1st April 2001, 18:52
I think the only other ryu that are strictly jo-related are Muhi Muteki-ryu, in Ibaragi, and Chikubujima-ryu, a very interesting system that also does bo and appears to be divided into two lines. One of them (the senior line, if I am not mistaken), is down in Nagasaki; the other is out in Fukushima. Another jojutsu/jujutsu ryu (*that* is a great combination, huh?!) that I recently learned a little about is called Ta(no)ura Muso-ryu. It is originally from Kagoshima, but I think the headmaster now lives in Hokkaido. My contact was a guy in Finland.

As for why there are so few schools that *specialize* in the jo, I think that's because jo were always considered an ancillary weapon, certainly not for battlefield use. As I recall, Tendo-ryu jojutsu (as is Buko-ryu bojutsu) has a basis in battlefield combat: one's weapon is broken and you're in the position of making do with what's left. The bojutsu in schools that are dominated by kenjutsu, such as Katori Shinto-ryu or Tatsumi-ryu, is also more in the nature of ancillary training. One trains with a bo since one might only have that weapon at hand, or to able to meet/defeat the weapon with a sword, if/when it's used against one.

Muhi Muteki-ryu and Chikubujima-ryu both started off as systems where the staff was a make-do weapon, used in extremis on the battlefield. Since the founders lived to tell of their deeds, they began to think, "hmmMMM..." and went on to create their own systems from there. It seems to me that's where battlefield-derived bojutsu or jojutsu would probably come from. I also think there'd be a great commonality of technique/principle. Buko-ryu bojutsu is derived, by the looks of it, from the nagamaki, and one can shift very easily from one to the other. It is a really nice facet of training in a composite system with a very coherent theoretical basis.

Thus endeth the lesson (hope it helped)...

KTT
2nd April 2001, 11:31
Dear Mr. Skoss,

Did any bushi of the ryu specializing in the jo actually go out onto the battlefield intending to use the jo as their primary weapon? If the jo was used as a backup weapon was it only if the shaft of a longer weapon broke? Or did they carry a jo along with their primary weapon(s)?

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Kevin T. Tanemura

Meik Skoss
2nd April 2001, 11:58
K. Tanemura wrote: "Did any bushi of ryu specializing in the jo actually go out onto the battlefield intending to use the jo as their primary weapon? If the jo was used as a backup weapon was it only if the shaft of a longer weapon broke? Or did they carry a jo along with their primary weapon(s)?"

Re: whether bushi who studied jojutsu took one to the battlefield, I think it's highly unlikely. Muso Gonnosuke, the founder of Shinto Muso-ryu (the oldest jojutsu ryu I know of), created his system in the early 17th century, well after the Tokugawa family had gained control of the country/established its shogunate, and imposed its Pax Tokugawa. While there were occasional flare-ups, such as the Shimabara Rebellion (1645?) and farmers revolts (ikki), that required organized use of force, the jo would not have played any part in these incidents. Those were times for killing and subjugating, not controlling violence or subduing criminals. My understanding is that jojutsu was used by low-ranking warriors of the Kuroda domain (in what is now Fukuoka Prefecture) as a police weapon and as a means of physical and mental training.

Re: the jo being used as a backup weapon, that's most likely a pretty safe assumption. The haft of these longer weapons is called an "e" in Japanese, and the general term for weapons such as yari, naginata, nagamaki and so on is "e-mono." Whether or not a haft remnant was a "bo" or a "jo" would, I suppose, depend on the guy, or perhaps the martial tradition, using it. As I mentioned in a previous post, in Toda-ha Buko-ryu it's called a bo and in Tendo-ryu it's a jo. Cum si, cum sa. There'd be a lot of difference in techniques, depending on the length, of course.

I rather doubt a bushi'd carry a jo along for a back-up weapon as it would be sort of like carrying a Bowie to a gunfight at the OK Corral. The main weapons during the Sengoku Jidai were matchlock muskets, spears, glaives, swords, and daggers. Bows, too, I suppose, given that they can fire much more rapidly.

Hope this helps.

Undmark, Ulf
2nd April 2001, 12:32
One thing I've thought about is the relation between carrying one or two swords and the use of a stick or a staff. Is it likely that individuals, like Gonnosuke for instance, developed such techniques because of their own interest in experimenting and training? Wouldn't a swordcarrying warrior throw the stick and draw his blade if confronted, rather than fighting with the sword/s in the belt? Wouldn't the jo be used only for dueling, having put the sword to the side? Otherwise, wouldn't the sword/s limit the freedom of movement?

Is it safe to assume that the low-ranking warriors of Kuroda han were not carrying daisho if using the jo as a police weapon? How well would the jo techniques of SMR work if wearing swords?

I don't really have a clue about this but I've sure thought about it...any ideas?

Regards
Ulf Undmark

Meik Skoss
2nd April 2001, 14:28
U. Undmark writes: "One thing I've thought about is the relation between carrying one or two swords and the use of a stick or a staff. Is it likely that individuals, like Gonnosuke, developed such techniques because of their own interest in experimenting and training? Wouldn't a sword-carrying warrior throw the stick and draw his blade if confronted, rather than fighting with the sword/s in the belt? Wouldn't the jo be used only for dueling, having put the sword to the side? Otherwise, wouldn't the sword/s limit the freedom of movement?

Is it safe to assume that the low-ranking warriors of Kuroda han were not carrying daisho if using the jo as a police weapon? How well would the jo techniques of SMR work if wearing swords?"

GOOOOOD questions! I think the last two questions are really important ones. As Ulf says, "...the sword/s limit the freedom of movement." From my experience using *both* bokuto and iaito while training with jo, Muso-ryu techniques are not too easy to do if wearing daisho. It was actually easier with bokuto (they don't slip out from one's sash, for one thing), I think it's likely the warriors charged with law enforcement duties either carried only a shoto, or perhaps a jutte (which was studied as part of the "dangyo" curriculum [lit., "men's stuff"] along with jojutsu, hojojutsu and kenjutsu), as part of their "duty rig." Matsui Kenji would probably be the best person to ask for information about this.

I doubt very much that a jo would be used for "dueling" a man with a sword (why bring a knife to a gunfight?), but it c/would be effective when needs must. He'd more than likely do what Ulf suggests: throw down the stick and pick up his sword. (I mean, duuuhhh!...) One thing to keep in mind is that the kata in Shinto Muso-ryu are set up to *enable* the jo man to win, but they don't, in any way, *ensure* he'll do so. At best, he's got a slight edge. At worst, he's yakimochi (E: toast).

Hope this helps.

Undmark, Ulf
2nd April 2001, 18:43
Mr. Skoss,

Thanx, it sure helped!

Regards
Ulf Undmark

Sochin
4th April 2001, 18:25
"Jo was a lower class weapon, one rather beneath the dignity of a "real swordsman".
Of course they're smiling when they say that, but..."
Kim Taylor

To shift from the feudal "class" issue to the modern pov, my contacts in various martial arts and wooden weapons groups usually bring out the following prejudices:

Jo work (Japanese style walking stick length) is not practical as it is too stylized.
It is based on defending against a sword and so is out of touch except for historical purposes...if I wanted to engage in an out dated historical martial art, I'd go to the main weapon, the sword.

As a member of the Butoku Kai I have learned 3 jo kata. I think they teach skills that are very useful to today's cane and walking stick crowd but I'd get nowhere teaching them as a separate ryu...I just add them into my technique repetoire and teach the skills as Cane skills based on the jo.

Diane Skoss
5th April 2001, 11:23
Hi Jim,

I reckon you meant ShimIzu Takaji Sensei? Shimazu is an entirely different name/person.

That's one of the interesting things about the Japanese language; although there really aren't that many sounds and they are fairly easy to learn, they are used with precision. Here in the U.S. there are a range of acceptable "A" sounds, "AH" sounds, "E" sounds, etc. If you say "tomahto" I still know what you mean. Not so in Japanese; mispronounce the vowel even slightly and you will confuse the dickens out of your listener.

Cheers!
Diane Skoss

P.S. It ain't necessarily the techniques of the stick that are valuable (though they are, since almost anything can be grabbed and used like a stick); it is the principles taught that are relevant to modern situations. It just takes a long time and a fair amount of committment to internalize them to the point where they will materialize when needed. As a quick and easy self-defense fix, the tanjo techniques are enough.

Dave Lowry
5th April 2001, 13:08
Assuming Ms. Skoss is finished with the language lesson here (jeez, you're the sort of stickler for pronunciation who gets all bent when someone professes a heartfelt desire for kon-yoku when they mean kon-yaku), back to my original inquiry:

Okay, so we're presuming that SMR was an art used primarily as a tool of law enforcement, intended to control of subjugate in civil actions. In this sense, it is consonant with Isshin, Ikkaku, Uchida ryu, right?
If so, what immediately comes to mind is this: the above ryu are, relatively speaking, not terribly sophisticated. Techniques are at a minimum, as are the number of kata in each ryu. This would seem consistent for the exigencies of law enforcement, the renowned KISS principle.
SMR, however, is remarkably complex and sophisticated, again, relatively speaking. Its curriculum is extensive by koryu standards. And so we wonder: did it begin as a "simple" art, with its depths and profundities added later? This would be in contradistinction to at least some other koryu where, while more "techniques" were added, they generally were done so to serve as more diverse vectors for understanding the elemental principles. It would also suggest an evolutionary process that seems at odds with the original needs of the ryu.
Swordsmanship sure as hell didn't get a lot better after 1600. Presumably, the technical needs of a jo-carrying police officer in, say, 1640 would have been greater than one a hundred years later. He'd have been more likely to be facing a swordsman with a lot of practical gori-teki stuff. So logically thinking, SMR should have gotten simpler over the years. Instead, it became more complex, more sophisticated. How come?

Undmark, Ulf
5th April 2001, 19:38
Originally posted by Dave Lowry
In this sense, it is consonant with Isshin, Ikkaku, Uchida ryu, right?
If so, what immediately comes to mind is this: the above ryu are, relatively speaking, not terribly sophisticated. Techniques are at a minimum, as are the number of kata in each ryu

I'm not sure, but I believe that the above mentioned ryuha *could* have been more sophisticated, including more kata etc had they been completely independent ryuha...not being the fuzoku budo of the SMR.

I'm not sure, for instance, wether any sogo budo, including 5 or more different weapons, would contain more than 24 kata for, let's say, the jutte?

Just a thought though.

Ulf Undmark

Cady Goldfield
6th April 2001, 15:35
I get the impression that jo was never intended to be taught as a stand-alone art. More that it was a subsystem within a koryu. Is this an incorrect assumption? Certain koryu included jo as part of the curriculum, and it existed within that koryu as a "complete" system of principles -- with the principles often overlapping with those of the other weapons and empty-hand method within the koryu. IOW, there is an interconnectedness and cogency among the different weapons and empty-hand elements, as though they were designed to meld from one to the other. There are tactical, strategic and logistical differences -- ma-ai being the greatest differing factor and cause for difference in tactics. Still, the systems were meant to co-exist. I envision a warrior being able to adjust from fighting with a spear, to fighting with a broken spear (bo) then a shorter broken spear (jo) and then, empty-handed without having to shift gears.

While jo is taught as an independent art in a few instances, I believe its practitioners might be missing the deeper, richer and lifelong study of the interrelatedness and integratedness of a koryu's ancestral components, of which jo was "part of a well-balanced, nutritious breakfast."

Regards,

Nsherrard
6th April 2001, 19:14
Dear Mr. Lowry,

I found your post to be very interesting. However, I tend to think of the jo curriculum a bit differently. It seems to me that the "added complexities" are more likely the original "combat effective" forms. I've noticed that as I progress in jo (very slowly, admittedy ;-)) the forms become increasingly simple and effective. From what I've seen, the oku (which I haven't practised myelf) are very short and to the point. At the same time, the understanding of principles and dynamics at that level are very deep and complex. It would make more sense to think of the curriculum as being invented backwards, that is to say, with the first sets being added as a means to gain a progressive understanding of the later, more effective techniques. This makes further sense when one considers that a samurai taking up the study of jo in its earlier stages would likely have had more comprehension of basic priciples of combat than later practitioners in more peaceful times. Thus, I think that the early jo kata are learning tools which allow the practitioner to eventually use the "true" techniques effectively.
The other weapons in the ryu all have a much shorter curriculum, but are not typically practised until one has reached a fairly high level of proficiency with the jo. This would make sense in the context of the expectation that the practitioner could learn the heart of a weapon without too many preliminaries if they already possessed the necessary skills of mai'ai, koshi, etc. Some might then ask, "well, why can't I, as an advanced student of such and such, skip right to the heart of jo?" I think that the answer might be that combat efficiency in the 17th century in Japan would probably have had very different implications than combat efficiency gained from studying a ryu in modern times.

Nathan Sherrard

Undmark, Ulf
6th April 2001, 20:17
I believe that the origin of the Shinto muso ryu was said to have been the five (5) techniques invented by Gonnosuke. Five techniques, or methods, are not an awful amount, really. I wouldn't know about the "KISS principle" regarding those techniques, or how close the okuden of today are to those original techniques, but sufficient to say is that the ryu *has* grown to include much more than this.

Could it be that the soldiers had better be kept in training...fostering physical health and mental discipline? Or perhaps it is an evidence of the great interest in the ryu shown by former masters? Anyhows, I guess the adding to the curriculum, such as ran-ai etc, was pretty much a sign of the times!

Regards
Ulf Undmark

wmuromoto
18th July 2001, 01:48
Hi, gang, I'm back from the realm of the living dead.

Just a note: The Takeuchi (Takenouchi) ryu also has a series of bo (kenbo) and jo (shinbo) kata. The shinbo appear to be relatively recent, say Edo period additions. The bo seem a bit older. Also, a related jo ryu is taught in the Kurashiki branch of the Takeuchi-ryu, called the Imaeda-ryu. According to Nakayama sensei, the head of that dojo, the Imaeda-ryu nearly died out years ago and he had to reconstruct a good deal of it from the makimono densho.

The Chikabujima-ryu bo is pretty cool, but it does have hints of its combative origins. The uchidachi swings a big-a bokken that reminded me of a nodachi.

I read somewhere that the Niten Ichi-ryu once had bojutsu and jujutsu forms, a long, long time ago. And Quintin Chambers once showed us some Eda Koppo-ryu techniques using very short sticks he learned from Hatsumi sensei. The lengths ranged from about six inches to about three feet in length. Pretty painful stuff. Again, they're mostly capturing and subduing techniques.

Wayne Muromoto

Mark Tankosich
18th July 2001, 04:05
Mr. Skoss,

I just read your first post on this subject and wondered if you might perhaps like more info on the ryu-ha you refered to. I recently translated an overview of the art for the current headmaster, Ikubo Sensei. (I was just about to offer to send you a copy of the translation, but, of course, you can read Japanese!)

The (Japanese) homepage can be found at
http://www.bujyutsu.com/index.html

Actually, as a relative beginner at the non-karate arts, I'm not so sure the translation is very good anyway, so...

Incidently, Taura Muso-ryu is sogo-bujutsu, not just a jo / jujutsu system. Also, Ikubo-Sensei (a very interesting and kind gentleman) is very open about the fact that he possesses no "proof" of the ryuha's history.

Hope this is of some use to you.

Respectfully,

Mark Tankosich

Jack B
19th July 2001, 14:53
I disagree with the premise that swordsmanship was "better" pre-1600. I submit that it was more practical, more to the point. The older, usually okuden, techniques are almost always simpler than later techniques. I would think there is not much use for nice subtleties on a battlefield. After Tokugawa, samurai had lots of time to play with bokken and develop intricate tactics. Complex forms developed, then simpler forms to teach the complex forms, and the okuden (original inspiration) were refined by longer budo careers.

The five hiden gyo-i (okugi) of SMR are named: Yamiuchi, Yumemakura, Murakumo, Inazuma, and Dobo. I believe at least one of these was said to be added later (does not appear on oldest densho). These are said to be the original principles received from Muso; they are taught only to menkyo and apparently that transmission is the kaiden. They are not written down anywhere and I doubt that anyone who knows would tell.

Jack Bieler
Denton TX

Meik Skoss
1st August 2001, 19:27
Russ, what in tarnation is a "fiery hurlant" -- an incendiary? Or??

I think that "ash, to hurl in the rioters' eyes" is interesting, really a case of metsubushi. It would work, too, much as present-day police have experimented with foam and high-intensity sound.

When I commented about sticks not being used in the context of armed conflict, I meant on the part of warriors. For them, a jo is a weapon to be used in a civil context, more for self-defense or for subduing a criminal. Thus, the doshin used jutte, torinawa, and a number of longer weapons (sodegarami, sasamata, and tsukibo, the "mitsu dogu") as well as ladders and, I think, benches/small carts to be able to hem in and capture bad guys.

Anyway, "fiery hurlants"... whassup wi' dat?!

Don Cunningham
1st August 2001, 21:08
One possible reason is that given to me here by the Japanese sensei in the CKF Kendo section. Jo was a lower class weapon, one rather beneath the dignity of a "real swordsman".
Adding to Mr. Taylor's comment, I think it was quite common for the jo to be used by police officers during the Edo Period. It's important to realize that the typical patrol officers during this time were either doshin, or very low-ranking samurai, and commoners who acted as either full-time or part-time assistants.

The doshin typically only carried one sword, and in the few photos I've seen, these appeared to be either wakazashi or extremely short katana. They also dressed in the tight pants and short cotton overcoat (haori) like commoners instead of a hakama like other samurai. Because of their association with death and executions, they were shunned by most other members of the samurai class and even banned from things like entering castles. The commoners who served as police assistants were not allowed to wear swords, of course, although they often carried the jutte, an iron truncheon that served as a restraining and disarming weapon as well as a badge of their office.

While I have no specific evidence that the jo was considered beneath the dignity of a regular samurai, it is clear that many of the other implements used by police assistants were often held in disdain by the elite members of society. For example, Arai Hakuseki, chief counselor for the sixth shogun, Tokugawa Ienobu, and author of the autobiographical Oritaku Shiba no Ki (Breaking and Burning Firewood), wrote about how his father, Masanari, berated him for carrying a torihimo, a restraining rope used by police assistants.

After a torihimo accidentally falls from his kimono sleeve, his father admonishes him by saying, "I donít have to tell you that you must learn all the warriorís skills. But there are skills that you must practice according to your station, and there are skills that you must not. This is not the kind of implement you should carry with you. You are not so young as not to realize something as simple as this."

Obviously, his father did not think it appropriate for his son to carry an implement that his subordinates might have used to arrest criminals. This may be the reason that the jo was not commonly accepted by proper samurai since it was often associated with the lower-ranking samurai or even commoners who served as police officers.

Don Cunningham
2nd August 2001, 05:47
The sasumata was a long pole with a "U" shaped end (made of iron, not horn) that was used to trap and control limbs or even the neck. The police also used a tsukobo, which had "T" shaped device to push and pin persons between it and other objects such as a wall. The sodegarami was a pole with lots of twisted shaped barbs to entangle the sleeves of offenders. (I recently heard this may have developed from a naval battle weapon used to entangle and rip the sails of other vessels. However, I don't know if this is true.)

As for the fiery flying monkeys, I believe these were used by the Wicked Witch of the West to capture Dorthy and her little dog in order to obtain some red shoes. :D Okay, I really have no idea what those might be referring to in this case.

yamamatsuryu
15th August 2001, 23:23
One thing to remember, is that the Japanese were EXTREMELY superstitious.
Mr. Bieler wrote: "I disagree with the premise that swordsmanship was "better" pre-1600. I submit that it was more practical, more to the point. ...I would think there is not much use for nice subtleties on a battlefield."
Remember, pre-Tokugawa had challenges that were issued and fought solely by a pair of combatants. This was actually commonplace then, and had it's own etiquette and set of rules (Like most everything else in Japan). It was so accustomed to, that when the Mongols invaded during the Kamakura Jidai, the Japanese were taken completely by surprise by their action (Honorable challenges were ignored), and possibly could have lost if it wasn't for the storms that drove the Korean ships away. With that, single challenged combat slowly went by the wayside, so by the time of the Sengoku Jidai, it was almost non-existent. There was a time when "nice subtleties" were used, but not nearly as often as they once were.

Neil Yamamoto
15th August 2001, 23:41
Russ wrote:

"Once in the dead of night toward the end of the 7th month, the consorts birth chamber suddenly became brilliantly lit. The shrieks of a man and woman could be heard coming out of nowhere. It was increscribably dreadful. Everyone from the maids-in-waiting down to the servants tumbled about in surprise and confusion, as frightened as though a nameless criminal from hell had appeared.

On some nights a ball of fire came rolling out. Shaped like a monkey, it circled the consort with a ring of flames, The maids who worked in the women's quarters screamed in fear and surprise when they saw it."
---
So, does this mean a monkey flew out of her ass? Geez, I thought that was an American saying.

Don Cunningham
16th August 2001, 00:15
This wasn't just any monkey, but a friggin' flaming monkey!

When translating historical references like this, it's important to understand cultural usage and meaning. For example, a few reports of duels or vendettas attributed to "saya-ate," bumping a sword saya against that of another's, has lead many to believe this was a common occurence and considered a killing offense.

However, the term "saya-ate" also referred to a dispute between two males over the affections, or more specifically the sexual favors, of a female. While the term may literally be translated as physical contact between two samurai's saya, it also referred to the more metaphorical image of a dispute regarding, um, a different sort of sword and where it could be placed.

Edo was a city dominated by males. Not only were the samurai retainers of the daimyo forced to reside their with their masters, but many of the commoners--the laborers, craftsmen, and merchants--flocked to Edo to support the needs of the samurai while leaving their families behind. It is estimated the male-to-female ratio was often more than 2-to-1. I suspect the limited supply more than likely lead to many jealous rivalries and disputes, certainly more likely than simply bumping scabbards.

Don't even ask me to explain the euphenism regarding playing a shakuhachi, the long bamboo flute often associated with the komoso or wandering ascetic monks. It certainly didn't mean a courtesan skilled at such was musically talented, though.

yamamatsuryu
16th August 2001, 00:21
Touchť Mr. Cunningham, but I didnít even want to get into that discussion. ;)

Walker
16th August 2001, 22:39
Don,
1000 Cuts by day.
1000 Thrusts by night! :eek:

shakuhachi? -Now, donít be gay! :nono:

Neil,
Keep your hands off the monkey. :nono:

joe yang
16th August 2001, 23:41
Back to jo. Didn't Musashi favor dueling with sticks toward the end of his career? This following a famous duel with an oar. It is suggested in the footnotes of A Book of Five Rings, that Musashi was sooo good at this time, he didn't need a live sword. One suspects however, he was a very clever strategist. A stick or two in the hand may have looked harmless and mundane to an armed and wary opponent. It was however drawn and ready. While an opponent could be a lightning fast draw, one further suspects Musashi was quick to capitalize on any moment of hesitation. He may have observed many samurai where after all ordinary good citizens who had to think twice before drawing, just as many of us might hesitate today before pulling a gun. What to worry about fighting a live blade when you had first strike capability coupled with Musashi's size and power?

kylanjh
24th August 2001, 11:39
Originally posted by Walker
Don,
1000 Cuts by day.
1000 Thrusts by night! :eek:

shakuhachi? -Now, donít be gay! :nono:

It's always been my impression that the samurai enjoyed boys as well as women, though perhaps someone more familiar with the specifics of Japanese cultural history could correct me. Greeks and Romans had the same issues - from their perspective, why would a real man want anything to do with women, who couldn't possibly understand war and politics?

There's something for all the modern, wanna-be samurai to emulate! ;)

Don Cunningham
24th August 2001, 14:07
I think many women can play the shakuhachi just fine. I've certainly known a few who were so "musically talented." I don't know where the homosexual aspects entered this thread, but I didn't mean to imply this was gender specific. :kiss:

As for Musashi and the use of wooden swords/sticks, most duels in his time were fought from a kamai with both contestants having their weapons already drawn. Iaido came into vogue much later.

I think the primary reason for using bokken was to protect each other from serious injury, although bokken can certainly be lethal. Therefore, I suspect the main reason was really to protect their valuable swords from being damaged. If you read some of the book, Musai's Story, a translation of a samurai's autobiography, you'll realize just how serious an investment the swords were to a samurai and why they may not have been too eager to get them chipped or broken.:look:

Don Cunningham
24th August 2001, 20:45
Yes, that's probably the correct spelling. He was also on occasion a dealer in swords. From his own words, one might suspect he was sort of an unsavory character and might have been involved in all sorts of underhanded deals. However, it does show how expensive swords were conisidered even back then and how much the samurai, especially the lower ranking ones, were concerned about their investments in them.

Jeff Hamacher
29th August 2001, 05:15
Originally posted by Don Cunningham
I think the primary reason for using bokken was to protect each other from serious injury, although bokken can certainly be lethal.
i was under the impression that duels in Musashi's day were fought with bokken because the law prohibited duelling with "real" weapons, i.e. honest-to-God, take-yer-head-clean-off swords. did the law have anything to do with it, or was it simply a question of "playing safe" and protecting one's precious investment?