I was looking for an activity that could help me with flexibility, balance and cognitive skills. Bojutsu has given me that and more. It can be a very physical workout or a meditative time by doing it slowly. Tom is a skilled instructor and very enthusiastic in helping others learn at their own pace. I look forward to class every week. It's fun.

- Cheri Shaw

Mailing Address: RYO BOJUTSU
MN - 55419
Email: info@bojutsu.org

Bojutsu is a Japanese word made of two words: bo, meaning wood, and jutsu, meaning art or method. In bojutsu, we study the techniques -- the art -- of using the staff, one of the oldest and most versatile weapons in martial arts.
The staff was one of the first weapons wielded by humans, and remains today one of the most effective at close quarters. In medieval Europe, the quarterstaff was used by peasants too poor to afford swords and armor. In Japan, commoners used it when the government forbid anyone but members of the samurai class to wear swords.
Over the course of several centuries, masters of Asian martial arts developed advanced techniques for studying and using the staff. During the first half of the 20th Century, a seaman of the French Navy, Francois Vigoureux, spent several years in China and Japan, taking the opportunity while there to study martial arts, and the staff in particular.

On his return to France, Master Vigoureux opened his own dojo in Montpellier, and soon drew a number of enthusiastic students. By the time of his death in 1988, several students had reached degrees of mastery and several clubs studying his style had sprung up in southern France.

In 1993 one of the students, Catherine Larue, nidan, was transferred by her employer to the United States and began teaching the art of the staff in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She returned to France in 1996, but returned periodically to continue teaching her Minnesota students. Also, Christa Bertrand, sandan, visited the Minnesota club. Thanks to their teaching, three students became first-degree black belts. One of them, Thomas Cothran, is now head instructor for the club.

In France, Catherine Larue began another club as she continued her own study of bojutsu under the instruction of Christian Saguer, Ki-Gawa Renshi. Christian Sensei had been one of Master Vigoureux's students, as well as a student of jujutsu and other martial arts. He founded Teki Shin Ryu, a school where he now teaches bojutsu; aiki-yawara, his own empty-hand martial art; kenjutsu, a sword style; and yoin taiso, a flowing form that develops better breathing and coordination.