View Full Version : origins of the kumi-jo (again)

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Jeremy Cumbo
12-12-2005, 07:29 AM
so in an effort to diversify our dojo's pratice I recently began learning the kumi-jo from online sources to bring into the dojo and teach to fellow students. (you can view some quicktime movies of the kata at http://www.aikidokids.com/videogallery.htm) and, as a sort of research project for the dojo, I set out to discover where they originated.

I posted a thread on this a little while back and got some insightful answers which lead me to believe that the kumi-jo come from O' Sensei through Saito sensei. ok - easy enough.

So I thought I had it all figured out - had a good source to start learning the kata and where they came from - until my sensei shows me a book by Saito sensei from around 1978(?) depicting the kumi-jo -- but some of the kata were different :confused:

so at this point i'm just wondering if any of the old-timers around here can recount how the kumi-jo may have changed over the years (in retrospect it was foolish of me, i guess, to have expected the kata not to have changed). not worried about issues of "authenticity" or any such thing - just interested in learning about the evolution of the weapons forms. any knowledge is much appreciated - thanks in advance.

12-12-2005, 08:06 AM
AFAIK, there is no AUTHENTIC aiki weapon systems and curriculums. So many senseis, so many(actually not so many.. :) weapon systems. And they are not so compatible! :)

For changes, I think everything changes. and techniques too. :)


Mats Alritzson
12-12-2005, 09:32 AM
I was hoping someone with a little more experience would answer this question.

Yes, the kumi-jo as taught by Saito has changed, and there's also a lot of variations. That's all I know for certain. :D

12-12-2005, 09:35 AM
I'm sure you will recieve a number of answers to this, but...
The ones 1-10 at the link you provided are coming from O-sensei through Saito M. (like you said). The thing is. (According to Saito M.) O-sensei trained and showed (to the lucky bunch living in Iwama at the time) different defenses and aiki techniques with jo vs. jo and jo vs. sword for example. Most can be extracted from 31 kata (or 22 kata for the Ki-folks) and to some degree 13 kata.
In the beginning Saito formalized out of this the 6 kumijo (like the ones you see in the early books) and a couple of ken tai jo (jo defense agains sword). In reality O-sensei had not made great distinction between how you used the jo against jo and agains sword (they contained the same underlying principle of aiki , riai), and seem to have only a couple of basic forms and the rest shown as variations.
So later Saito extended the number of kumijo into 10 (the ones you see in the website) where he keept the first 6 almost the same (elongated some of them) and took some of the ken tai jo and transformed them into 7-10 kumijo.
The ken tai jo also still exists as separate forms.
As far as the kumijo goes; They all conforms and train principles (angles, maai, taisabaki etc) coherent with the taijutsu of aikido (as Saito and O-sensei did it). And they all contain forms that O-sensei taught and trained (at least in Iwama). They are in that sense not the invention of Saito himself.


Brion Toss
12-15-2005, 12:26 PM
Saito himself goes into some detail on the evolution of the forms in the "Aiki Jo" DVD (Aikijournal), including when and why he added some of them. I believe he also states that the 13 jo kata was the first one that Ueshiba showed him, but that he never showed him a kumi jo for that kata (unlike the 31). But, as implied above, Saito rigorously almost obsessively sought to preserve and present Aikido exactly as he learned it from O Sensei. In the absence of specific technique, this would leave the Really Important Stuff: principles; internal consistency; spirit.
Brion Toss