In Japanese, the term "kensho" literally means "seeing nature" while "kan" means "house" or "place of". Kensho is the seeing of the true nature of things, of oneself, and hence is a transformative experience. At Kenshokan Jodo, we believe that the martial arts can help lead to an understanding of the self and assist in the betterment of the individual - physically, mentally, and spiritually. This insight into the essence of the self was stressed by many Zen priests of Japan, including the great Hakuin (1686-1769), a man of caustic wit who maintained that the "eye of kensho" was imperative to self-growth.
We train in Jodo using Kihon (Individual Movements) and Kata (Partner Movement). Jodo provides the opportunity to increase your awareness of movement, distance, power, and finesse to name a few. Although Jodo is an excellent stand-alone art, it is also a beneficial and complementary art if you train in other disciplines.
From the ZNKR JODO Manual: English Version (2006):
All Japan Kendo Federation's Jodo was established in 1968 and it had contributed to diffusion and development of Jodo for 35 years. Except for minor changes in 1977 and 1987, [it remains unchanged from the original 1968 curriculum].
Learning Jodo and its effects
Learning and studying Jodo is in effect training your mind and body. What one learns is not only dexterity of movement, but also development of the spirit.
The benefits derived from training are obvious, but the main ones thought to be of the greatest value are:
(1) Develop Courtesy, Truthfulness, Sincerity and Patience.
(2) Through regular practice, the body becomes stronger and more active.
(3) Through practicing the techniques, posture becomes improved.
(4) You gain confidence and have a better sense of judgment in everyday life.
(5) Overall, you will have better relationships with others.
The Jo symbolizes three virtues:
Wisdom, symbolized in the straight shape of the Jo;
Benevolence, shown in the Jo's round shape; and,
Courage, represented by the Jo's tough material.
According to the founder's interpretation, bushido is
(1) to cultivate the three virtues constantly;
(2) not to kill or injure others with the weapon; and,
(3) to sacrifice oneself in case of social crisis and to support society with all the might which one has acquired through Jo practice.
Muso Gonnosuke named his martial art "staff" (Jo) so that it might support and guide people. He intended to spread the martial art among samurai as well as those who wanted to cultivate the spirit of bushido. He also wanted the spirit of Jo to be the fundamentals of a peaceful nation governed by virtue.
(The Dignity of the Jo; Analysis and Commentary Kim Taylor © 2019)