What is Jodo?
Jodo is a stick-fighting art that dates back several hundred years. This is a class in Shinto Muso Ryu (SMR) jodo. Its original purpose was non-lethal control of a swordsman. Jodo developed as a law-enforcement practice during the Edo Period (1602-1868). Policemen in Japan today still practice it.
Jodo consists solely of two-person kata practice, in which the swordsman attacks but is subdued by the person wielding the stick. Jodo practice includes some light contact, but no grappling or free-sparring.
Our jodo workshop is conducted under the supervision of Dan Pearson, a menkyo (license-holder) certified by the Nihon Jodokai (Tokyo) under Shihan Kaminoda Tsunemori. Peter Boylan, Zen Ken Renmei Jodo 4th dan, also supervises the practice. The workshop leader is Deborah Klens-Bigman.
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Deborah Klens-Bigman has studied iaido for over 25 years. Her original teacher was Otani Yoshiteru, an Osaka native and descendant of the samurai class who moved to New York after World War II, with whom she studied Muso Shinden Ryu iaido until his death in 2004. She holds dan (black belt) rankings in three styles of iaido, and has studied other weapon arts, including jodo (stick), kyudo (bow) and naginata (glaive). She also spent several years studying modern fencing and rapier and dagger fight choreography. Deborah also studies Japanese classical dance at RESOBOX with Shihan Fujima Nishiki-No (Helen Moss), and writes a budo blog for RESOBOX.
She is the chief instructor of Iaikai dojo and has published numerous articles on dance and Japanese swordsmanship and their relationships to traditional aesthetics. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University. She is married to artist Vernon Bigman and lives in the Bronx, NY, with four cats who definitely own the place.