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Thoughts and ideas related to training in
Several years ago, as the focus for weapons training, Hatsumi Sensei taught the Jo for an entire year but according to friends living there at the time he didn't the Jo Kata at all, instead choosing to focus on flow and variations off the Taijutsu movement.
In Sensei's recent book on stick fighting published about 2005(ish) he demonstrated all of the Kukishin Ryu Kata.
In main stream martial arts Aikido is the most common form of training with the Jo although all their Jo is based on spear techniques, I’ve seen 5 foot spears in antique shops in Tokyo, so it's not as strange as it might sound at first.
History of the Jo 4 foot staff
It is said that in the early 1600s, a samurai warrior named Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi came up with the idea after he was defeated in a duel by the famous Musashi, but not killed. His weapon of choice at the time was a Bo staff, but it was too long. So through deep mediation while in the mountains, he came up with the Jo staff which is about two feet shorter than the Bo and later in another 'friendly' duel gave the legendary Musashi his only defeat.
After he started using the Jo staff, it is said that Muso was never defeated in a duel again. To find out more simply search the net on Muso Gonnosuke, there’s lots of info around.
Some of the key points of Jo training
Uke :- Seigan No Kamae
Tori :- Gedan No Kamae
Tori :- Steps forward with the right foot to do left Ashi Barai releasing the right hand grip on the Jo
Uke:- Jumps up to avoid resuming Seigan No Kamae on landing
Tori :- Continues the motion to move the Jo behind the shoulders and then re-grips the Jo from the right side with the right hand (overarm style) then twists anti clockwise with the hips releasing the left hand grip to strike at Uke’s left Kasumi re-gripping with the left hand
Uke:- moves the back foot around and back anti clockwise to block using the side of the blade in Seigan no Kamae
Tori:- Slides the left hand up to the right hand and steps forward with the left foot, releasing the right hand grip to strike down onto Uke’s head re-gripping with the right hand
Uke :- Parries with the right side of the blade and then steps back with the right foot to move into Dai Jodan No Kamae and then attacks with a downward cut
Tori :- Leaps in to thrust forwards into Uke’s chest and leaps back out for distance.
If you've not read my explanation of the Bo Kata - Wrist Thrust you might want to read that next , particularly the part concerning how to train Kata
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Thornbury - 272 Dundas St