Sojutsu is a Japanese martial arts that focuses on spear fighting. This martial arts is also known as Yari Jutsu.
Sojutsu uses a weapon known as a Yari. This traditional martial arts weapon has a long wooden shaft with a straight metal blade attached to the top. There are 2 basic sets of Sojutsu technique these are mounted (on horseback) or on foot. On foot the Yari is used against opponents armed with other long reach weapons such as the Naginata and was especially good for fighting a mounted opponent. Sojutsu techniques include blocks, thrusts/stabs and slashing attacks.Traditionally basic Sojutsu techniques were taught to low ranking Samurai foot soldiers and conscripts who would then be armed with (cheap) bamboo poles that had been sharpened and fire hardened. Sojutsu is still part of the curriculum in some Japanese Bujutsu Ryu and also in some Ninjutsu schools. As the video clip below shows an important aspect traditionally (not just in Sojutsu but in most Samurai weapons techniques) was locating the openings and weak spots in Samurai armour in order to attack these relatively unprotected areas.
According to Musashi Miyamoto's Book of Five Rings, "The Naginata is inferior to the Yari. With the Yari you can take the initiative. The Naginata is defensive, in the hands of one of two warriors of equal ability the Yari gives a little extra strength. The Yari and Naginata both have their uses but neither is beneficial in confined spaces".
Yari & the Martial Arts of Sojutsu
Musashi Miyamoto's Book of Five Rings, Added - 04/27/15