Jūkendō (銃剣道) means the “Way of the Bayonet” and is a modern budo that can be traced back to the traditional Japanese schools of sōjutsu (spearmanship). Jukendo was also influenced by French bayonet techniques as well.
Jukendo is in many respects similar to kendo in that practitioners:
- wear an indigo jacket and large, pleated trousers called hakama (the jacket appears to be keikogi in a traditional cut or a long-sleeved variety)
- wear bōgu during keiko and shiai
- study kata and engage in shiai (competitive matches)
- abide by Japanese etiquette, committing themselves to austere training in the pursuit of character-building
The bōgu looks similar to that which is used in kendo. However, each separate part has its own distinctive features that are required to practice safely.
- the men (helmet) has a wider tsukidare for throat protection
- the kote (glove) features the urabuton, or extra-padding around the thumb and wrist area
- the dō (torso protector) features an extra piece of leather designed to prevent the bayonet sliding up under the arm pit.
- the tare (hip protector) has a loop of leather used to attach kata (not to be confused with forms), a special piece of equipment to protect the shoulder and heart.
- the do futon, or padded rectangle of thick cotton, which is slung under the left armpit to cover the left side of the torso.
The weapon in jukendo is called a mokujū. It is wooden weapon which imitates the form of a rifle with a fixed bayonet. An “ippon”(valid point), is achieved by thrusting with a strong spirit and a powerful forward leap (with ki-ken-tai-itchi), followed by a sharp withdrawal of the bayonet and a period of vigilance called zanshin. The targets in jukendo are the chest, throat, left shoulder, and left forearm.
During the Meiji period, Japanese bayonet fighting techniques were consolidated into a system named jukenjutsu, and taught at the Toyama military academy in Tokyo. Morihei Ueshiba, founder of aikido, trained in jukenjutsu and incorporated some of it into his own art. Following World War II, the practice of jukenjutsu was banned by the Allies, but it later returned in the modern form of jukendo. The Japan Amateur Jukendo Federation was established in 1952. The All Japan Jukendo Federation was established in April 1956.
Modern jūkendō uses a mokujū, a wooden replica of a rifle with an attached and blunted bayonet at the end, in place of an actual rifle. The art is practised by both Japanese military personnel and civilians. Training incorporates kata (patterns), two-person drills, and competitive matches using mokujū and bōgu.The three main target areas are the heart, throat, and lower left side of the opponent.
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