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alselec
04-12-2013, 03:34 PM
What length Jo staff is most popular for Aikido practice? Also, what to look for if looking at buying a metal sword? All around, to display, maybe practice some.. etc. Not a real high dollar one, something mid range.

Andrew S
04-12-2013, 04:37 PM
I would hazzard a guess that the most popular jo size is the standard for Shinto-Muso Ryu (and therefore Japan Kendo Federation) jodo - approx 127 cm long and a diameter of 24 mm. 27mm and 30 mm diameters are also made, but not as common.

Metal sword? I have never used them. My only advice is: if you absolutely *must* get a metal sword, buy an iaido mogito. But if you're not going to study iai or kenjutsu seriously, I feel the money would be better spent on bokuto and suburito of varying lengths and weights.
There are dozens of members who are much better informed on the subject, but that's my ¥2's worth.

Janet Rosen
04-12-2013, 07:15 PM
Your instructor is going to be your best guide on size of jo (some want the SMR standard, some want you to have it to your armpit so 50 - 55" can be the range); ditto bokken as some dojo have a standard shape (Iwama) others don't, w/ or w/o tsuba....if you are not training in iaido or similar art why spend the money on iaito?

alselec
04-12-2013, 09:21 PM
Thanks for your info, I would guess height would make a difference on which size Jo, I'm 6'. Ours Jo's look to be about 5', (not sure on thickness), should ask my sensei.
Getting a Bokken, for practice too.
Not sure about a metal sword, probably mostly display, so would like it to look Aikido-ish.. if I get one :-).

Janet Rosen
04-12-2013, 11:14 PM
There is no such thing as an Aikido sword. Aikido is not a sword art.

alselec
04-12-2013, 11:23 PM
Kinda figured that, That's why I said Aikido-ish, but it does have sword-like movements. I'm still learning.

Michael Varin
04-13-2013, 12:04 AM
Aikido is not a sword art.

Ooooh...

While I can see why you might say that, I fear that in making such an unequivocal statement you may be missing some very important things about the art.

Michael Varin
04-13-2013, 12:22 AM
Allan,

Don't get any crap dull aluminum iaido sword. Why would you?

Take a look a the Paul Chen Practical Plus. It's price has gone up a bit, but it is still a good value. It is by no means a fine sword, but I have never had any problems cutting with it and most average people who see it are very impressed.

I think a sword can only be considered beautiful if it can cut.

Janet Rosen
04-13-2013, 01:46 PM
Ooooh...

While I can see why you might say that, I fear that in making such an unequivocal statement you may be missing some very important things about the art.

Ooooh... do feel free to ignore subject of thread and hence my context.

alselec
04-13-2013, 09:30 PM
Ooooh... do feel free to ignore subject of thread and hence my context.

This is a humble art.. remember? But I do kinda agree with Michael, anyway, it doesn't matter, I've been on gun, motorcycle, drummers, etc, forums in the past.. we all have opinions, thats ok, that's how we learn.
Thanks for everyones input.
"Aikido, a great martial art".

JJF
04-14-2013, 07:30 AM
If you are about regular size then a standard jo from say Tozando would do fine for the first many hours of practice in relation to aikido. If you are a strong mang buy a heavy one. I prefer around 2,5-2,7 cm in diameter.

I have heard sayings like "it should be the same length as the distance between the ground and your nipple (for a man)" or "it should go from the ground to your armpit". The best thing would probably be to use different sizes.

In my opinion the surface of the jo is very important. I don't like those that have been lackered. But they must be sanded down very nicely and they must be from a type of wood that dosen't splinter.

Regarding a sword.. well see my point of views in a different tread about a live sword. Don't get that... really.. don't.

We have as a rule that people train with bokken for a few years before I incourage them to buy an iaito. It might not be sharp, but it's still a piece of metal that could be really dangerous if you don't know what you do. Especially to those around you.. Apart from that I find Tozando.com make excellent Iaito. I am very happy about the balance and quality of mine.

lbb
04-14-2013, 08:20 PM
Thanks for your info, I would guess height would make a difference on which size Jo, I'm 6'. Ours Jo's look to be about 5', (not sure on thickness), should ask my sensei.

5' = 60 inches, which is a very long jo indeed -- I don't think I've ever seen one that long. I have a SMR jo which is 48 1/2" long (about), from my SMR days; my aikido sensei loves to tease me about it. For aikido I use a 51" jo which is also a good bit thicker than my SMR jo. Bokken, I've got a white oak bokken I've had for a long time (again from SMR days) which is non-Iwama and typical of those used at the aikido dojo where I train. At another dojo, it could be totally different. The internet is really the last place I'd ask for advice on what type of weapons to get. Find out what to get from your sensei, who will probably also have a good idea of where to get it. If not, that's where the internet can help.

phitruong
04-15-2013, 07:51 AM
There is no such thing as an Aikido sword. Aikido is not a sword art.

nooooo say it isn't so! (isn't there a song with that?) you meant i can't go and swing my aikido sword and not getting laugh at by the real sword schools? sooo sad....so so sad :D

JJF
04-16-2013, 03:02 AM
There is no such thing as an Aikido sword. Aikido is not a sword art.

I humbly beg to differ. I know the current doshu has been known to express something along these lines, but for some of us practicing "the sword of aikido" makes perfect sense on our road towards what we perceive to be Aikido.

I guess it just underlines the vast array of interpretations of what Aikido is.

JJ

phitruong
04-16-2013, 09:06 AM
I humbly beg to differ. I know the current doshu has been known to express something along these lines, but for some of us practicing "the sword of aikido" makes perfect sense on our road towards what we perceive to be Aikido.

I guess it just underlines the vast array of interpretations of what Aikido is.

JJ

methink, Janet was referred to the fact that sword isn't a primary focus of the art as compare to Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū or Kashima Shinryū or Jigen-ryu and so on. aikido might express the principles using the sword or might borrow principles from the sword, but face it, if you go and demo it to the aforementioned ryuha, and tell them that this is real sword stuffs, you are going to get a pretty good laugh by those ryuha.

Janet Rosen
04-16-2013, 10:15 AM
Thank you, Phi. The specific focus of the OP was an "aikido sword" NOT the sword roots of the art. Is it not possible to reply simply and consisely without having it taken out of context? We generalky do not wear iaito or katana on the mat while doing aikido waza.

Cliff Judge
04-16-2013, 10:29 AM
methink, Janet was referred to the fact that sword isn't a primary focus of the art as compare to Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū or Kashima Shinryū or Jigen-ryu and so on. aikido might express the principles using the sword or might borrow principles from the sword, but face it, if you go and demo it to the aforementioned ryuha, and tell them that this is real sword stuffs, you are going to get a pretty good laugh by those ryuha.

Honestly....any of those groups will find that the others do things strangely, and there is likely to be - perhaps not laughter but at least bemusement - when they see a different set of principals on display than that which they have invested years into training. :)

There is a lot of swordwork in Aikido, some of it is very good, most of it is just as worthy of demonstration - in general - as any koryu sword art if the practitioners train hard.

The reason why Aikido swordwork is not real and why Aikido is not truly a "sword art" is that it was not developed by true professional swordsmen for the purpose of teaching people to win swordfights. This is not a bad thing. if you are concerned with training people to survive a real sword fight you are going to throw things like aiki out the window in a heartbeat if it is not efficient. You certainly wouldn't want to focus your art on something that most of your students aren't going to understand or put into practice for over a decade.

sakumeikan
04-16-2013, 11:51 AM
There is no such thing as an Aikido sword. Aikido is not a sword art.
Dear Janet,
If aikido is not a sword related art why then have so many aikidoka including deceased well known shihan,such as Saito, Yamaguchi, Nishio, Kanai Sensei and Tamura Sensei Sensei, along with other shihan such as Chiba Sensei, Shibata Sensei and many others studying/teaching sword/jo/tanto waza?O Sensei himself used the sword/jo. Please let our dear readers what is the basis for your statement .
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
04-16-2013, 12:02 PM
Dear Janet,
If aikido is not a sword related art why then have so many aikidoka including deceased well known shihan,such as Saito, Yamaguchi, Nishio, Kanai Sensei and Tamura Sensei Sensei, along with other shihan such as Chiba Sensei, Shibata Sensei and many others studying/teaching sword/jo/tanto waza?O Sensei himself used the sword/jo. Please let our dear readers what is the basis for your statement .
Cheers, Joe.
Dear All,
Note my little error in above blog.Obviously the deceased Shihan listed above are no longer training in sword work , neither are they teaching swordwork.Silly bllly me, Joe.

grondahl
04-16-2013, 12:18 PM
If Aikido is a sword art, how come there are shihan that doesnt train or teach the sword?

(I figure that the number of shihan in kendo or iaido that doesnt train or teach the sword is non existent).

JJF
04-16-2013, 05:20 PM
Allow me to clarify. I agree that Aikido is not a swordart but that is not necessarily the same as to say that it can not be an important part of our Aikido.

What I do not agree upon is the statement that something called 'an aikido sword' does not exist. Of course it dosen't in the literal sense of a specific type of sword for aikido. The typical curved Japanese style sword is what we deal with here.

I believe some people have quoted o-sensei for saying that Aikido is based on the movement of the sword. He also said many other things, but this specific quote makes sense to some Aikido-ka Including me. So we train in more traditional sword arts to complement our training, and our late master did so to the level of 7th dan in the national Iaido federation. He also incorporated the sword into our aikido pracitce as a learning tool. Of course we use bokken instead of iaito for safety reasons, but we occasionally do almost all techniques either with one person wielding a sword or a jo, or both persons doing a kata based on sword against sword or sword against jo.

It's not part of every aikido teachers curriculum. Neither is hip throws which I have been told was primarily researched by Nishio sensei and Kuroiwa sensei. Each sensei have their own interpretation of what constitutes Aikido. I happen to be inspired primarily by one who incorporated the sword a lot - and who used the term 'sword of aikido'. Hence my comment. I agree that not all sensei teach it. But that is not reason enough to discard the thought entirely in my opinion.

Another example: I have a hard time seeing the valuable purpose of the competition aspect in Tomiki Aikido since my path is different. But I would never claim that competition does not exist in Aikido simply because most sensei don't incorporate it into what they do. It does - and it serves a purpose for some.

So. I stick to my opinion that such a thing as an 'Aikido sword' does exist as well as playing a vital role in some approaches to Aikido.

JJ

Michael Varin
04-17-2013, 12:36 AM
Probably out of context again...

Sorry, couldn't help but have these two pictures pop into my head.

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/10/19/historic-photo-the-amazing-chameleon-photo-of-o-sensei-from-1922/

http://pinterest.com/pin/70720656620911659/

JJF
04-17-2013, 01:56 AM
Nice pictures Michael. I especially enjoyed the one on pinterest.

Wether the swords in the pictures support my arguments or not is difficult to say. One could claim swords where often used for ornamental purposes at that time. On the other hand it seems unlikely from the stories we haven been told that O-sensei would pose in photos wielding a sword unless he felt it had some sort of relevance to his Aikido.

Interesting indeed.

Great day to you all

JJ

Cliff Judge
04-17-2013, 08:51 AM
Nice pictures Michael. I especially enjoyed the one on pinterest.

Wether the swords in the pictures support my arguments or not is difficult to say. One could claim swords where often used for ornamental purposes at that time. On the other hand it seems unlikely from the stories we haven been told that O-sensei would pose in photos wielding a sword unless he felt it had some sort of relevance to his Aikido.

Interesting indeed.

Great day to you all

JJ

Do you see something in these pictures that you can identify as the defining characteristics of an "Aikido sword" though, as opposed to some other type of sword? :)

phitruong
04-17-2013, 09:33 AM
Do you see something in these pictures that you can identify as the defining characteristics of an "Aikido sword" though, as opposed to some other type of sword? :)

i was thinking what if in the pictures there were meat cleaver, would that mean we have aikido cleaver too? would love to learn aikido cleaver. i am more comfortable with the cleaver than the sword. i can giving life with the cleaver, but seem to have a hard time giving life with the sword. :D

Cliff Judge
04-17-2013, 09:48 AM
i was thinking what if in the pictures there were meat cleaver, would that mean we have aikido cleaver too? would love to learn aikido cleaver. i am more comfortable with the cleaver than the sword. i can giving life with the cleaver, but seem to have a hard time giving life with the sword. :D

MMMmmm....cubed meat. STOP PHI you are making me hungry!

Gerardo Torres
04-17-2013, 06:54 PM
Probably out of context again...
http://pinterest.com/pin/70720656620911659/
I hope O Sensei didn't cut his thumb that day :)

(He's doing a sort of thing often told not to do... in sword arts).

JJF
04-18-2013, 03:01 AM
Do you see something in these pictures that you can identify as the defining characteristics of an "Aikido sword" though, as opposed to some other type of sword? :)

Yes sure.. it's right there don't you see it? ;)

Carl Thompson
04-18-2013, 08:23 AM
Are there any pictures of Osensei actually training with (or at least holding) a real sword rather than a bokken? (Note: I mean more than just the ceremonial photos shown so far).

Carl

hughrbeyer
04-18-2013, 09:19 AM
There's video of O-Sensei practicing with a "real" (metal) sword on the Aikido Journal DVDs. As I recall, he's showing techniques where uke is trying to prevent nage from drawing the sword.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
04-18-2013, 02:22 PM
My instructor recommends that the jo be as long as the distance between the floor and one's solar plexus. It makes sense to me that one's weapon be adapted to their height.
As for the sword, how long have you been training? It's a very important question. You might want to use a bokken for a few months before trying a live blade.
Maybe two years ago, I started a thread, it was called "Need help to choose a katana", or something like that. I received a lot of extremely precious advice. Read it if you manage to find it.
Now, from my experience, I suggest that you try to draw a sword before buying it. Some are for displaying only. Still, I tried my chance and ordered one on amazon.com, the "Classic Crane Tsuba Handmade Samurai Katana Sword". It has some flaws, but I can draw it without any problem, and I can train with it. And it's cheap. I just avoid trying to actually cutting something with it, as I have been advised.
Ask Sensei if you are ready to train with a sharp blade.
I shall resurrect my old tread, as I have some updates to share with all those who contributed with their advice. If I can find the time to look for it.:)

Carl Thompson
04-18-2013, 03:54 PM
There's video of O-Sensei practicing with a "real" (metal) sword on the Aikido Journal DVDs. As I recall, he's showing techniques where uke is trying to prevent nage from drawing the sword.

Thanks Hugh. Are there any stills available online rather than DVD? Then we could all see and discuss them a bit more easily. Also, I'd really like to know if there are any photos of Osensei actually wielding a katana (not just posing with or drawing one).

Carl

john2054
04-18-2013, 06:34 PM
Thanks Hugh. Are there any stills available online rather than DVD? Then we could all see and discuss them a bit more easily. Also, I'd really like to know if there are any photos of Osensei actually wielding a katana (not just posing with or drawing one).

Carl

Does it really matter whether we see Ueshiba actually fighting with a live blade. Anyone who knows the least bit about Aiki-do, understands that the sword is in the spirit of the fighters, in their minds their bodies their actions so on and so forth. Don't idolize the inventor. Sure don't get me wrong, he was a great guy and all. Damn it he invented this martial art, and so hats off to him. But as has been noted on another thread, there may well now be Aikidoka who can wield this form more subtlely or even effectively than the master did, so does that make them better than him? No, it just makes them different. Equally if you want to see good weapon work, buy a gi and join an aikido dojo. Maybe one day when you are good enough, they will even get the bokkens out. As far as training with a sharp piece of metal goes, what is the thing with this? Goto the above mentioned school, give the sensei a back hander, buy a cutting sword from the internet and give it to him, and bob's your uncle you have your sword. O sensei taught us the way of peace. The fact that we can see him with his Kantana should be regarded as a bonus more than anything else imo!

Carl Thompson
04-19-2013, 07:02 AM
Does it really matter whether we see Ueshiba actually fighting with a live blade. Anyone who knows the least bit about Aiki-do, understands that the sword is in the spirit of the fighters, in their minds their bodies their actions so on and so forth. Don't idolize the inventor. Sure don't get me wrong, he was a great guy and all.
(snip)

Hello John. I'm not interested in whether it "matters" at this stage nor in idolizing anyone. I just want to see how he holds a sword compared to a bokken.

Regards

Carl

sakumeikan
04-19-2013, 09:13 AM
Hello John. I'm not interested in whether it "matters" at this stage nor in idolizing anyone. I just want to see how he holds a sword compared to a bokken.

Regards

Carl

Dear Carl,
I would suggest that O Sensei would hold the real sword /bokken in the same manner. Check out some Batto ho stuff on Youtube.[not O Sensei ]Possibly Biran Online may have some clips. Hope you are well, Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
04-19-2013, 09:17 AM
Yes sure.. it's right there don't you see it? ;)

Hi Jorgen,
Be a nice lad and tell our avid readers what YOU see. I must need a new pair of glasses or I have missed something somewhere.
Cheers, Joe.

grondahl
04-19-2013, 10:12 AM
Dear Carl,
I would suggest that O Sensei would hold the real sword /bokken in the same manner. Check out some Batto ho stuff on Youtube.[not O Sensei ]Possibly Biran Online may have some clips. Hope you are well, Cheers, Joe.

Is Muso Shinden ryu aikido? Does it share the same principles? Do you have riai between your batto-ho and your taijutsu-practice?

Cliff Judge
04-19-2013, 12:09 PM
Yep...many sword arts have unique nuances in how they hold the sword.

I do expect Osensei would hold a shinken or iaito in a very similar grip to how he has been photographed holding a bokken, though.

Carl Thompson
04-19-2013, 08:38 PM
Dear Carl,
I would suggest that O Sensei would hold the real sword /bokken in the same manner. Check out some Batto ho stuff on Youtube.[not O Sensei ]Possibly Biran Online may have some clips. Hope you are well, Cheers, Joe.

Thank you Joe Sensei

I had a look at Biran Online (http://birankai.org/biran/2010_2/seminars/FlynnEugeneAikikai.php). I also have a friend who does the Chiba weapons and every once in a while we get someone who does batto-ho etc here. I once visited a Nishio - lineage school where I was specifically told to hold the bokken without the "wringing out" to accommodate the tsuba.

In any case, it seems Osensei didn't teach aikido much with a live blade. I wonder if his opinion on how one has to be held might have influenced this (apart from the obvious reasons, like tanren uchi with a blade would be over-with really quickly).

Carl

Carsten Möllering
04-20-2013, 03:37 AM
In any case, it seems Osensei didn't teach aikido much with a live blade.
I was told that he did, until an lethal accident happened during a demonstration.
But I can't verify this.

There where/are teacher who use live blades in context of their aikidō.
Asai Katsuaki and Noro Masamichi are known for using shinken during practice.
Christian Tissier used a iaito for the batto jutsu as far as I know. There is a video of this somewhere out there .

Marie Noelle Fequiere
04-22-2013, 02:44 PM
I found that when I train with a live blade, I am more careful with my technique. This is why I think that after a few months of training, one needs to try a live blade. Also, when I tried to draw a sword for the first time, I found that drawing the bokken from my belt did not prepare me for that.
This is why even though I cannot afford a good sword and have to settle for something cheap, I think that handling a real sword is necessary for mastering the art.
Of course, if O Sensei had such a terrible experience, I would not blame him for hanging his real sword, I would probably do the same.

Cliff Judge
04-22-2013, 03:22 PM
I found that when I train with a live blade, I am more careful with my technique. This is why I think that after a few months of training, one needs to try a live blade. Also, when I tried to draw a sword for the first time, I found that drawing the bokken from my belt did not prepare me for that.
This is why even though I cannot afford a good sword and have to settle for something cheap, I think that handling a real sword is necessary for mastering the art.
Of course, if O Sensei had such a terrible experience, I would not blame him for hanging his real sword, I would probably do the same.

May I ask what it is that you do when you handle a live sword?

Robert Cowham
04-23-2013, 03:59 PM
I have studied Kashima no Tachi with Inaba sensei for quite some time. He encourages practicing with a live blade as you need to work carefully. It also challenges you and requires a strong tanden. Working with an iaito can teach you bad habits - a shinken keeps you honest.

In terms of actual instruction I had only a few hours direct teaching, before working with my own shinken and taking the time to "get comfortable" with it and with practice (primarily battojutsu). That said, I had lots of training on tanden and working in fairly intensive way with bokken previously - it really helps.

Note that Inaba sensei is big on safety. It's about judging when someone is ready to do it, but it doesn't take long to get them going subsequently. And they can learn a lot on their own (as long as they don't act stupidly!)

Robert Cowham
04-23-2013, 04:23 PM
p.s. treat shinken with care - you don't want to end up like this guy:

http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?53083-Why-the-best-piece-of-advice-is-quot-Get-an-Instructor-quot-WARNING-DISTURBING-PHOTOS-ON-P-2/

And if you are squeamish don't look at the attachments on page 2.

George S. Ledyard
05-20-2013, 02:04 PM
Ok... Here's my take:
The jo we use are proportional to your size, unlike the ones used in Jodo which have a standardized. Ours fit under the armpit when you have your arm stretched stright out to the side.

Bokken... well, there are a lot of choices. To my mind most cheap bokken have handles that are too short for a proper grip. I buy my bokken at Kingfisher where I can get an 11" handle rather than the nine inch that most cheapos have.

Unless you intend to have a real sword teacher, do not listen to the folks who are advising you to get a live blade... It's just like the statements in A Christmas Story... "You'll shoot your eye out kid". One miss on a draw and you can be minus a finger or two easily. Get proper instruction. I'd stay with a good practice blade. You usually have to get into the four hundred dollar range to have much choice about handle length and fittings. The really cheap ones are more dangerous than they are worth. Absolute minimum ioutlay would be $200 from Tozand or E-Bogu, some reputable place that doesn't sell crap. I had a student who didn;t listen on this and showed up with a $50 piec of garbage that I wouldn't even let him use in the dojo because it was to dangerous.

Unless you are in a dojo which does a lot of weapons work, I doubt you'll need a metal blade anyway. My students do have them. I wanted them to know at least the basics of how to use a sword. Several have live balades and we do some cutting once in a while just to see how our technique is. But this isn;t standard for most Aikido dojos.

That's my take on it.

ChrisMikk
05-21-2013, 09:09 AM
Probably out of context again...

Sorry, couldn't help but have these two pictures pop into my head.

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/10/19/historic-photo-the-amazing-chameleon-photo-of-o-sensei-from-1922/

http://pinterest.com/pin/70720656620911659/

These are completely irrelevant. Ueshiba lived in a time when family of samurai lineage would have had swords as family heirlooms. The fact he has a sword stand with metal swords means absolutely zilch about what he was teaching.

ChrisMikk
05-21-2013, 09:15 AM
What length Jo staff is most popular for Aikido practice? Also, what to look for if looking at buying a metal sword? All around, to display, maybe practice some.. etc. Not a real high dollar one, something mid range.

Unless you are laying out big money, you can't get a metal sword that won't be a waste of your money. The lowest quality ones that are worth having are still very expensive.

You are much better off spending money on a really good bokuto. Forget the metal sword and invest a very good quality bokuto that will stand up to training. If you have display issues, you can display the wooden bokuto and jo on a sword stand. That will impress most people as much as a metal sword.

Phil Van Treese
05-21-2013, 01:22 PM
Funny how we all talk about Bo, Jo and Sword but there is never a mention of the Tanto, and for sure the double tanto. While the B,J,and S are important, the Tanto is more practical for me so I am teaching my students double tanto, including defense against the B, J, and S. Interesting how they like it.

Conrad Gus
05-21-2013, 02:05 PM
Unless you are laying out big money, you can't get a metal sword that won't be a waste of your money. The lowest quality ones that are worth having are still very expensive.

You are much better off spending money on a really good bokuto. Forget the metal sword and invest a very good quality bokuto that will stand up to training. If you have display issues, you can display the wooden bokuto and jo on a sword stand. That will impress most people as much as a metal sword.

I'm not sure what would qualify as a "really good bokuto". I've only ever bought white oak ones which work great and stand up to lots of use. Spending a whole bunch of money on some rare wood version seems like a waste to me in terms of utility. If you want something nice to look at though, I'm sure there are a million great options.

I'd love to see pictures and hear descriptions of people's really good bokutos. Maybe I've been missing out?

Cliff Judge
05-21-2013, 03:05 PM
ISpending a whole bunch of money on some rare wood version seems like a waste to me in terms of utility.

What utility is wasted with an expensive rare wood bokken? it sounds like you are saying it is like, sooooo much more useful than it needs to be, and there are starving kids in Livonia, etc.

Gerardo Torres
05-21-2013, 03:09 PM
What length Jo staff is most popular for Aikido practice? Also, what to look for if looking at buying a metal sword? All around, to display, maybe practice some.. etc. Not a real high dollar one, something mid range.

Hi Allan,

I've seen a wide variety of weapon styles and builds used in aikido dojo. Not knowing what sort of practice you'll be engaging in, here's some general advise:

Bokken / bokuto

If your training is going to involve heavy/hard impact against other weapons, invest in a high-quality bokuto with proper grain structure. Shiro kashi (Japanese white oak) is a common choice (good value). American hickory is also highly recommended for hard impact training. If your training is going to involve power-building exercises and a lot of suburi, get a bokuto that feels comfortable in the hand, is well balanced, and is hefty (to give you a bit of challenge as opposed to too-light a training instrument). If your practice involves the use of tsuba, make sure the bokuto is designed to be fitted with one (usually a transition or nudge between tsuka and "blade"). If your training involves kumi-iai (paired iai), the common plastic saya available from vendors only fit certain types of bokuto.

Jo

I'd recommend against laminated construction. Also, it's best to buy a longer jo that you can always cut to your teacher's or style's specification. White oak, hickory are also good jo materials, although there's always the array of exotic woods to choose from (depending on your budget).

Iaito / Shinken

If you plan on training with a live blade, please get yourself some proper instruction first. If you're going to practice iai as some aikido schools do, get yourself a properly balanced katana -- some (most) of those cheap shinken people use and recommend are poorly balanced and/or don't have enough sori (curvature) for iai training. So, a good iaito (non-sharp alloy blade) might be a better investment. Keep in mind that depending on where you train, a live blade might not be allowed or practical (certain state facilities, or travel into certain countries, or training in crowded rooms), so a iaito would be better suited. Training with a live blade is fundamental to heighten the seriousness of training, but only when it's safe and practical to do so. If what you're interested in is chopping rolled mats and such, the cheap shinken would do the trick; in my personal view though, I think this practice has little bujutsu value.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
05-22-2013, 01:35 PM
May I ask what it is that you do when you handle a live sword?

I do kata, and I practice suburi, basic techniques. I found that the sharp blade forces me to be more careful about the position of the edge of the blade.