Shōtōjutsu (小刀術) are methods for using a shōtō [short sword]. Shōtō were usually around 1 to 2 shaku [30cm to 60cm] and used as a side-arm. In feudal Japan only Samurai were allowed to carry daishō [long and short sword], but many merchants and artisans were allowed to carry a shōtō for self-defence. Shōtōjutsu has many applications including self-defence and also as a back-up weapon on the battlefield. The shōtō can also be duel-wielded with other weapons like swords, daggers and more exotic weapons.

The kamae of shōtōjutsu come in two different forms, hidden and open. Open shōtōjutsu kamae are the same as kenjutsu kamae. Hidden shōtōjutsu kamae are the same as tantōjutsu. Due to the length of the blade, it can be used in either way. This makes using the shōtō interesting when mixing covert and overt movements to distract or misdirect the opponent. Although the shōtō can be used like a daitō, its length makes it far less combat effective.

The shōtō can be used for piercing, 
cutting or bludgeoning using various parts of the weapon. The shōtō also has a tsuba [hand guard], which can be used to trap weapons or cause blunt damage. Shōtō waza focus on basic cuts, thrusting and striking with the pommel, tsuba or back of the blade. 

Shōtō jutsu use principles of evasion, angles and guarding. As the weapon is so short, it is not optimal for attacking openly, but is effective for attacks of opportunity. The shōtō is often used in conjunction with another weapon. Throwing the shōtō to misdirect the opponent or create an opening is also another way the weapon can be used.

The shōtō appears in many kata is an offensive weapon, especially for muto dori [unarmed against weapon], but it also appears as a weapon of opportunity. Many kata treat the shōtō as a sidearm, in fact another word to describe shōtō is wakizashi (脇差) [side-arm], which relegates it to support or last resort techniques. 

Shōtō is a similar length to many long knives, machete and other modern weapons, which makes shōtōjutsu an excellent way to train for modern self-defence applications.