The shakujo is also somewhat unique in that it is one of only three weapons practiced in Shorinji Kempo. Alongside the nyoi (如意, sceptre, baton) and dokko (独鈷, single-pronged vajra, palm-stick), likely chosen by Doshin So due to their deep Buddhist symbolism and connection to the Shaolin temple monks, their techniques have been all but lost due to years of de-emphasis from the core syllabus. We are fortunate in the UK that Mizuno Sensei made a special study of shakujo and nyoi techniques, in part directly from the famous shakujo master Ueda Sensei (more on him later), to ensure he was able to pass them on to a new generation of students. It is something of which I in turn have attempted to make a detailed study (although I still have a long way to go myself!).
In this article, I'd like to delve a bit into the rich history and meaning of the shakujo, as well as talk about its application within the Shorinji Kempo system. Because while it doesn't necessarily add any practical value, I think understanding where something comes from enriches our practice. And of course it's also important to retain our connection to the past whenever looking forward.
My (1st place!) shakujo embu from the BSKF 2017 national taikai.
Ben is instructor at East London Shorinji Kempo. He has been practicing for 20 years and has reached the rank of 4th dan.
Shorinji kempo stances