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Researching Soudo, the missing shiai based budo art?

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  • Researching Soudo, the missing shiai based budo art?

    Hi all.

    Recently I've been reading into and learning more about Kendo's sibling arts, namely Naginatado, Jukendo, and Tankendo. I found it strange however, that I couldn't find an art devoted to shiai with a yari. I've heard of sojutsu but that doesn't seem to involve shiai. Then, out of the blue this evening I've stumbled across Soudo through Facebook. There was a page titles the All Japan Soudo Federation, however all their information was in Japanese so I couldn't read it. I figured if anyone could provide me with information on Soudo, it would be someone KW community. How widely is it practiced? What are the rules for their shiai? How old is the art?
    Really appreciate any information, thanks in advance.


  • #2
    I do not know much about sodo but I can look up and read some Japanese. Here is the Japanese Wikipedia page on the art:

    And here is my quick rough translation of the first two sections.

    Sodo is the modern budo derivative of sojutsu. Like kendo, bogu is worn, and competition is by striking the opponent with a wooden spear (mokuyari). There are various organizations with their own rules but this article describes those of the All Japan Sodo Federation.

    In April 2015 the All Japan Sodo Federation's own rules were standardize (seitei) from referencing/drawing-from sojutsu ryuha Hozoin-ryu, Kan-ryu, Saburi-ryu, Fuden-ryu, Hikita Kage-ryu and (among others) the spear curriculum of sogo bujutsu ryuha Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu, Kashima Shin-ryu, Maniwa Nen-ryu, and Araki-ryu Unyo Kogusoku.

    The rest of the article describes the mokuyari, shiai, and grading including sogo rankings. It is not stated unambiguously that the representatives from the above ryuha took part in the establishment of seitei sodo. Information is generally a bit thin.

    It's too late in the evening where I am for me to browse through the All Japan Sodo Federation's website to see if there is further information. Perhaps later if I have time.


    • #3
      I just had a quick look at the All Japan Sodo Federation website's history section. Most of it describes sojutsu from the Heian Period to the Meiji Period. For the modern establishment it says pretty much the same thing as the Wikipedia article except with the addition of Saigo-ha Daito-ryu as one of the systems referred to when forming seitei sodo.


      • #4
        Wow, thanks heaps, I really appreciate it. So does that mean that also, as a unified art, is only a couple of years old? That might explain the lack of available information.


        • #5
          With the information so thin, there's very little that appears definitive to me except that the federation was established two years ago (and not even a large federation it seems so perhaps in this case renmei would be better translated as association).

          The questions that stick out in my mind are:

          - Was seitei sodo or soudou (not sure why they went with soudo) established before or after the renmei was founded? Is it stable or are they still tinkering with it significantly?

          - What is the relationship with koryu exactly? How involved were the ryuha or not at all? It's very surprising to see so many ryuha listed for sodo when most are small groups that prefer to mind their own business. Kendo's evolution from ryuha into modern kendo through the teaching systems established at Busen and Keishicho is well documented, at least as far as ryuha and people involved and to some degree actual training approaches.

          - How central is bogu practice and shiai? Is it very central like in kendo or a bit more evenly split with kata like naginata? I didn't see any photos of bogu practice on their website although I didn't dig too hard.

          The only bogu spearsmanship practice I have seen is from Owari Kan-ryu (same as previously mentioned Kan-ryu). You can see it here:

          It looks more like a chance to have some alive training than necessarily to have shiai.