Shinto Muso Ryu 神道夢想流

Shinto Muso Ryu is a ~400 year old Japanese classical martial tradition training the use of staff and sword in combat. The founder was a warrior named Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi of the Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto Ryu tradition.

Gonnosuke fought the famous swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, using a bo (long staff) in a match and was defeated. Gonnosuke then sequestered himself to Mt. Homan, on the island of Kyushu. After 37 days of meditation and austerity, he received a divine vision of “Maruki o motte, suigetsu o shire” — “With a round stick, know the suigetsu.”


This inspiration lead to his developing techniques using a jo (a shorter and smaller staff). With this new weapon, he developed several techniques to thrust like a spear, strike like a sword, and sweep like a naginata (halberd). He was then able to defeat Musashi in a second match using the jo.

Gonnosuke went on to teach his art to the samurai of the Kuroda domain, where it has continued into the present day. For much of its long history, Shinto Muso Ryu has been utilized by the feudal era police and in modern times it has even been taught to the Tokyo Riot Police. In addition to the extensive jojutsu curriculum, other disciplines are also taught, such as kenjutsu (sword techniques), tanjojutsu (short stick techniques), kusarigamajutsu (sickle and chain techniques), and juttejutsu (forked truncheon techniques).

The below embu, or demonstration, of Shinto Muso Ryu was provided for our local Japan Fair, showing some of the jojutsu kata (staff techniques).

Shintokan Dojo in Woodinville, Washington

Training is under the direction of Phil Relnick, Menkyo Kaiden. Phil Relnick began training in Shinto Muso Ryu under Shimizu Takaji Sensei in 1962. In 1994, he received Menkyo Kaiden (certification of complete transmission) from Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei. After four decades in Japan, he and his wife, Nobuko, returned to the US in 1998. They continue to teach in the Shintokan, a private dojo in Woodinville, near Seattle, Washington.

If you have any questions or are interested in observing training, contact us at You can also review our recommended reading list for more info.

Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu - Shintokan Dojo
Ikkaku Ryu Jutte - Shintokan Dojo
Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu at Shintokan Dojo
Ikkaku Ryu Juttejutsu at Shintokan Dojo
Shinto Muso Ryu kata training - Shintokan Dojo
Shinto Muso Ryu kata training - Kirikake
Shinto Muso Ryu kata training
Shinto Muso Ryu kata training - Tachi Otoshi
Shinto Muso Ryu kata training

We do not participate in Kendo Federation style jodo. Shinto Muso Ryu was taught as a koryu bujutsu to Phil Relnick by Shimizu Takaji Sensei and Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei and we continue that tradition.