Jo Staff/Kempo

At this time, we will only be training in Jo Staff and other Kempo techniques which maintain social distancing. No sparring, Grappling or person to person contact will be allowed until further notice.

  The Rhode Island Budo Academy is an official dojo of the Sei Kosho Shorei Kai International

The Jo staff is used for spearing, hitting, or deflecting a strike from an opponent, and so much more…

Sword arts are somewhat similar to Jo staff in that they both involve fencing techniques to a degree, but they differ in the overall nature and strategies that are used. Jo techniques can also be fast and sharp, using angular attacks and defensive moves. The teachings of Jo is done through Kata.

The Jo staff has a very unique history among many arts and cultures:

Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969), the founder of Aikido, adapted the Jo with the intent to teach the principles of Aikido. His use of the Jo is called Aikijo. His Philosophy for the Jo staff a weapon of choice when harming or killing your opponent is not the desired result.

Some feel the art of JO was founded by Muso Gonnasuke Katsuyo in the early Edo period (1603–1868) and defeated legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi in a duel.

Jōjutsu has also been adapted for use in the Japanese police force, who refer to the art as keijō-jutsu.

There is so much history is this simple but humbling weapon within so many arts. Kempo is no different in that we utilize the weapon based on our octagonal movements and principals of natural law while studying the weapon’s rich history in an attempt to preserve these arts. JO Staff can be very challenging and rewarding


Kempo/Jujutsu is a hybrid martial art that blends together the hard linear motions of Karate with the circular motions of Jujutsu. It also brings together the arts of Grappling, Kicking and Punching as well as Joint Locks and Throwing techniques into an effective system of Self Defense and more importantly the understanding of yourself! 

The self preserving art of Kosho Ryu Kempo/Jujutsu is a humbling ancient MMA style Japanese art that is comprised of Concepts and Principals. It’s not limited to a catalog of self defense techniques. It’s a study of the Human body and how it works. You not only learn the techniques but HOW and WHY they work. Kempo was originally and is still taught in our advanced sessions as a study of natural law. Because of this, the art is always evolving and growing into current trends and applications. You not only learn the techniques, but the concepts and strategies of how they work.

Kosho ryu Kempo does utilize the Kyu/Dan ranking system. Promotions are considered carefully and rarely given. We do not use belts and stripes as a means of additional income. As a result promotions are rarely given and only to dedicated practitioners with an understanding of the art, not physical abilities. If you are looking for a Black Belt in a short amount of time from a Kata list, look elsewhere.

We do not teach watered down martial arts. As a member here you will get proper conceptual and technical teachings from authentic instructors that also continue their training on a regular basis. Lessons are usually done in smaller groups to be sure you are getting quality instruction, just as these arts were passed down from student to teacher for generations. Please feel free to contact us about our qualifications and lineage/authenticity.

Historically, Kempo means Fist Law. The predecessors of Kempo are Chuan Fa, in China, and before that Vajra Mukti in India. Kempo’s philosophy is to study and understand our relationship with natural movement. Kempo is the study of natural movements which we all do.. Kempo does not just deal with the physical arts; it also deals with all the aspects and strategies in protecting your self both mentally and physically.

  Additional reasons students train in the arts aside from self defense is that we recognize the health benefits. We all need an outlet for daily stress in life. Training with us can provide that. Our programs not only make you more fit by burning calories and making you stronger, you will also release built up tension and decompress the stress you build up each day!

Have you joined a gym only to pay for a membership that you don’t use? Sounds like it’s boring and that it’s not doing it for you. Martial arts provides excitement and stimulates your mind in many ways. There is so much to learn and experience. It’s a lifetime study!

Sensei Driscoll leading Pinan Kata During Kempo Boot camp

NO Martial arts experience? We encourage you to come for a visit! Our beginner Kempo sessions are a great way to enter into these wonderful arts. No age is to old. Unlike competitive arts, Kempo grows older with you. Many of our members are both beginners to the arts as well as coming from other arts like Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kung-Fu, MMA, Krav Maga and others. They enjoy utilizing Kempo/Jujutsu in their practice both in our club and other dojos that they train at. Practitioners from our club respect all other arts and we enjoy both teaching and learning from others by sharing!

We strive to keep our self defense training as realistic as possible while maintaining strong safety standards. Safety and well being is our upmost Philosophy.

Break away from your routine boring workouts and contact us for an introductory lesson or two at no charge to see how Kempo/jujutsu can improve your life!

Kempo’s History

The story of Kosho Ryu must begin with a short history of the temple where Kosho was developed. In the year 778, Shozen Daishi was born. He was so bright that he was called the Child of God. When he was thirteen years old he decided to become a monk, so he shaved his head and began his studies of Buddhism at Yakushi temple at the foot of Mt. Ikura, in Kyushu, Japan. One day he climbed Mt. Ikura and was very impressed with the mysterious clouds over Mt. Kinkai. Eventually, he built a home there. When he was twenty-one years old he enshrined a statue of Shaka, a Buddhist deity in the house. A few years later he rebuilt the house and called it Shaka-In.
At that time Kanmu, the emperor of Japan, became very sick and called for the monk to heal him. He was successful, and the emperor gave him the official title Shozen Daishi, which is a title of high mastery generally reserved for Samurai, and almost never given to anyone of lower stature. In addition, the emperor contributed huge rice fields and a large territory to Shaka-In. Shozen Daishi died in 835, at the age of 57.

Peace Post at the Temple……

Around this time, the temple may have had close to 100 buildings in all. We know that in the year 850 Shaka-In caught fire and many of the then 75 monks’ houses burned. Later, in the 1100s, fire again ravaged part of the temple area in an attempt by marauders to destroy the temple.

Around the year 1235 a priest whom James Mitose called his first ancestor became enlightened to what we call Kempo. According to Mitose, this man was a martial arts master and a Buddhist priest studying at Shaka-In who found it difficult to be both. His religion taught him pacifism; his martial art taught him destruction. He needed something in between. He decided to meditate on this apparent contradiction under a big old pine tree on the temple grounds. A few years earlier, a fire in the Buddha house had forced the spirit of the Buddha out of the building and into the nearby pine tree. Many monks would go there to meditate so they could be close to their god. After meditating there for a long time he finally, “with the help of god”, came up with something amazing.

The monk came to an understanding of natural law which gave him a perfect method of defense and escape. He believed that true self-defense involved no body-contact. His methods postured him toward opponents in such a way as to make subsequent attacks continue to put the attacker further and further at a disadvantage. Using his illuminated strategies, the monk could make the attacker undo his own attack, and this could be done in a way that allowed for both to remain uninjured. The octagon would be used as a symbol for a method of movement in which jumping to particular angles based on timing and combative-distancing allowed strategies to be employed which confused and off-balanced the opponent. Reforming his opponents to become contributing members of society was his main goal. He and succeeding generations of his family members developed the art of Kosho Shorei Ryu as we know it today with all of this in mind. The monk chose this name for his art to reflect its spirit and its origins. Kosho Shorei Ryu means The Study of the Old Pine Tree School of Encouragement.
The famous Sho Chiku Bai, which is the Pine-Bamboo-Plum family crest, is centered over an octagon and is still in use today as the symbol of Kosho Shorei Ryu. The monk wore a version of this crest. Kosho Ryu bujutsu, the wartime arts as Mitose referred to them, as well as all other aspects of Kosho Ryu, are based on the revelation received by the monk under that old pine tree over 750 years ago.

Kosho Ryu bujutsu was a separate area of Kosho Ryu which was studied only by the Sohei. The sohei were warrior monks whose job it was to protect the temple and its territory as well as to fight in wars supported by the temple. They typically wore normal monks’ robes during peace time and carried a short staff known as a jo. During war time, they would wear armor under their robes, and ninja-like masks covering their faces. Their primary weapons during battle were a large halberd known as a naginata, as well as a typical Japanese long sword known as a tachi. The sohei of Kosho Ryu were skilled in escaping arts, which were explained earlier; controlling arts, which are similar to, but older than, jujitsu or aikido; as well as destructive arts, which are similar to, but older than, karate.

James Mitose said that at one time there were over 400 monks living and studying at the temple. These warrior-monks were a potential threat to the political control held by Konishi Yukinaga, the Daimyo of Kyushu at the time. It was for this reason that in the year 1588, Konishi sent 5000 samurai to destroy the temple. The 400 sohei at Shaka-In were defeated by the overwhelming mass of samurai, but still somehow managed to protect some of the most precious temple artifacts, documents, and the sacred old pine tree itself. Konishi confiscated all of the temple’s territory and burned down many of the monks’ houses, as well as the 49 branch temples in the area.
His head was later removed by perhaps one of the most famous warlords in Japanese history, Kato Kiyamasa. Kato was the daimyo of nearby Kumamoto Castle and a very convicted buddhist. Konishi was a christian and had earlier gone against the samurai code of bushido by refusing to commit seppuku, ritual suicide, after being disgraced by allowing himself to be captured. He and Kato had been commanders together during the Japanese invasion of Korea years before. Kato held disdain for Konishi ever since his refusal to commit seppuku when captured, which in Kato’s eyes, brought dishonor to Konishi, to himself, and to all samurai.

Steps to the Temple…..

Thirty-two years later, the son of Kato Kiyamasa and a great samurai in his own right named Kato Tadahiro rebuilt the temple. From that time on the martial arts of Kosho Shorei Ryu became what Mitose called secret. They were taught only to family members in order to maintain tradition.

Kosho Shorei Ryu martial arts were passed on in secrecy for 21 consecutive generations until James Masayoshi Mitose handed the art to the first non-Japanese in its history, an american named Bruce Juchnik. James Mitose hated the martial arts for what they did to people, but he knew that he could not let his family tradition die. These facts are attested to by many people who were present during the time Mr. Juchnik studied with Mitose, including George Santana (the man who introduced them), Eugene Sedenio, Rick Alemany, and students and associates of Juchnik Hanshi at the time, some of whom appear in two videotapes available through SKSKI called Controversy and The Truth behind the Controversy.

Hanshi Bruce Juchnik

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