In So Jutsu the longest weapon of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is used. The correct name of the spear, in Japanese, is Yari. Unlike the other arts like kenjutsu, bojutsu and naginatajutsu the name differs and the word “so” is not used to refer to the weapon.
In the earlier days of the feudal age, the spear was the main weapon among the lowest class of samurai (ashigari). However in the days of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603 – 1868) the yari gained popularity among the higher classes.
The spear is a weapon that plays a prominent role in Japanese mythology.
After the gods ordered deity Izanagi and his wife Izanami to create the world they deliberated, standing on a rainbow, and asked each other: “Would there be land down here?” With Ame no takaboko (a divine spear set with jewels) they thrusted downward and hit the ocean floor. When they withdrew the spear water that dripped down started to solidify and formed the first islands of the Japanese archipelago.
So jutsu in Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu consists of 6 kata (Omote no Yari) and use all movements that can be made with a spear. The most important movement with the spear are the ‘spirally-thrusts’ towards the enemy armed with a sword.
As with all other techniques of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu students are taught how maintain their distance towards the enemy.
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