Sōjutsu 槍術 – Essence of Budō
Alone the kanji for spear 槍 is yari – to describe techniques of the spear the alternate pronunciation of sō is used, hence sōjutsu.
The kanji 槍 is made up of two parts – 木 wood or tree – and 倉 storehouse or magazine. So the spear here can be seen as the wooden weapon in military storage, the place where bushi to store their weapons at barracks.
Yari is alternately written as 鎗 – instead of wood the element for metal 金 appears – and 鑓 using the elements for metal 金 and to dispatch/kill 遣.
Essence of Budō p76 – here there is a line about the nine tracks for the methods of the spear. The English text appears to have one kanji pronunciation absent and should read “GoKoKyoHenSōSeiShinFuDō” as I see it. The Sō here is not the sō of yari. Sō 争 means to fight or contend, hence Hatsumi sensei saying sōjutsu means spear techniques as well as fighting techniques.
The first level of Kukishin ryū sōjutsu 九鬼神流槍術 is the Kaisetsu gata 快攝型 – enjoyably/pleasantly learnt/received forms. As kanji can be pronounced in various ways due to their Chinese or Japanese readings, so the techniques may be pronounced variously – this is one of the main causes of confusion for English readers when there is no reference to the original Japanese character form.
Below is a list of the 9 techniques of the Kaisetsu Gata with alternate pronunciations
• 扞法 Kanpō
• 四方技 Shihō Gi – Shihō Waza
• 飛鳥抛 Hichō Nage – Hichō Kaku
• 一突挨 Ittotsuai 一突挨法 Hitotsukiaihō
• 一擣三當 Icchu Santō – Ittō Santō
• 撥摧 Hassai
• 秘槍 Hisō
• 天地摧 Tenchi Kaku
• 撥捕扼 Happo Yaku