I reread this post today and was immediately struck by the fact that our message, our goals and our concerns have been remarkably consistent over the years. We still actively debate the role that a national or international organization might have with our own dojo. Time hasn't softened the passion of the discussion as merits are assessed in dojo group forum.
The Rembukan Dojo continues to try and offer traditional budo within the context of Western culture. It is fair to say that Westerners and Japanese learn and process information differently coming from very different cultural backgrounds.
We will continue to practice Jo and Iai with a focus on the old ways, paying attention to the myriad little details that separate what we do from other traditions. Towards that end and with an eye on quality control, we will continue to demand the best efforts of our instructors and students.
Author's NOTE: My Sempai Bruce Brown's guarantor Mr. Horii and I met in April 2015 at the Tokyo Budokan. Still active within the Jodo Division of the Kendo Renmei, Horii San and I enjoyed coming full circle after all of these years.
Ever wonder why some Jodo practitioners say Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo and others say Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo? Still others have returned to the name Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu. 神道 夢想流 杖術1
Documents clearly show that Shimizu Sensei made a conscious effort after World War II to change the name “Jojutsu” to “Jodo” in order to capture the essence of training for self-improvement. The nuanced goals might’ve been amended but the actual martial system was not adjusted in any meaningful way as some would argue that the techniques were then watered down.
The Rembukan Dojo’s short decade long life was at an end due to a family tragedy of the owner of the property and friend of Shimizu Sensei. And although Shimizu Sensei had visited and approved of the Zoshyukan’s rented space, he never trained there succumbing to illness and death a short time later.
Growing up in the Midwest I visited every dojo (all three (1-Judo, 1-Judo & Jujutsu, 1 Karate and Judo) in a city with over 1 million inhabitants and selected the karate dojo. They really didn't do judo. I studied "Kempo-Goju" karate, a made-up compilation though I didn't know it at the time.
In college and while teaching karate I met a judoka and policeman named Bruce Brown. He introduced me to Jodo, Tomiki Aikido, Iaido as well as Masaki Ryu. I began studying Jodo and Iai in earnest in 1974.
Donn’s official bio in part reads as follows: “…regular officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a research historian, author, and lecturer on Asian martial disciplines, in which he holds a large number of expert ranks and teaching licenses.” Donn also continued to try and create publications that had a broad public appeal for folks interested in budo from both an academic and practitioner’s vantage point. Donn resurrected Sir Richard Burton’s classification for the study of Hopology, the impact of martial arts on culture and truly dedicated his life to this pursuit. Today, his efforts still have a profound bearing on many of the folks that he intersected with.
Donn lived all over Asia and hobnobbed with some of the greatest martial artists of his day earning their respect and often gaining access to the intricacies of their own martial systems.
After being defeated while using a bo (long staff), Muso retired to a cave on Mt. Homan to meditate upon his defeat and how to better his art. Upon reducing the size of a bo to that of a jo and developing waza (techniques) that controlled seigetsu (solar plexus) it is said that another duel between Musashi and Muso occurred in the castle town of Himeji, where the jo broke the famous two sword block known as "Jujidome".
The cave used and kept today as a shrine for Muso was used by many wandering warriors practicing shyugyo (austerity rites). They would live in seclusion to train and meditation and forge their spirits.
Musashi was eventually hired and worked at Kumamoto castle as a kenjutsu (sword) instructor into his old age. For those of us that do Jodo, the Kuroda Han is not too far away geographically. It will be interesting to see if any verification of a meeting or a duel between Musashi and Muso Gonnosuke can be substantiated.
When Shimizu Sensei opted into the idea of incorporating Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo (SMRJ) into the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) (ZNKR then) he knew about the controversies this action would create.
Besides his desire to see Jodo grow worldwide after seeing and teaching such deserving students as Donn F. Draeger et al. he was truly concerned that such a small membership of practitioners within Japan might dwindle to obscurity. Many of his contemporaries, even close associates opposed his decision to “popularize” Jodo under the much larger Kendo umbrella. There were two main concerns voiced; first that many kendoka (kendo practitioners) performed waza (technique) at odds with Koryu (older) traditions, (ie. A higher stance floating the hips and having a raised rear ankle) and second that over time Jodo would lose its identity within the larger political framework.