View Full Version : jo size

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02-26-2006, 06:37 AM
i was wondering if anyone could give me advice on the length of jo i need.

the one i have is a standard one but is taller than my armpit (is this the only way to measure against oneself?)

it is also quite heavy, i played with someone elses and it was much nicer, unfortunately he got it from someone else in the club as well so i dont know where its from.

should i trim the end off my jo? or should i buy a nicer lighter and shorter one?
if its the second option can anyone recommend whos best for light jo?

Amir Krause
02-26-2006, 07:39 AM
A question of style. In some style the size of the Jo is fixed, and is measured in CM (actually in Shaku and Sun), other styles prefer Jo size that is related to the practitioners.

Therefore, you should ask your teacher.


02-26-2006, 11:07 AM
What is the accepted length and weight within your style, organization, or school?

IMHO, that's the one to get.

02-26-2006, 02:59 PM
apparently if you stick the jo under yer arm and it touches your armpit, that is meant to be an ideal length to use. somethime i was told in japan. know idea if that is the norm.

02-26-2006, 09:35 PM
Depending on how stick-in-the-mud they are (bad pun intended), it's hard to imagine anyone's going to care overly much if you take off a couple of cm if that's going to make it more usable by you.

Otherwise you can always get yourself a couple of different lengths, one for dojo use and another for 'personal'.

02-27-2006, 05:25 AM
From here


The armpit measurement is common with what I was taught back in the UK, but when I queried that over here I was told absolutely not. The jo is a fixed length and measured in the traditional Japanese unit "Shaku". 1 shaku is 30.3cm and a jo should be 4.21 Shaku, which equates to 127.563cm. The diameter of the jo is also based on an old measure (the name of which I can`t remember), and should be 2.43cm

You can do the metric to imperial conversions

If I remember correctly, the measurements are Shaku, Sun and bu, with Shaku being 30.3cm, Sun being 3.03 cm and bu is 0.303cm. I was told in Japan that the Jo is most definately a fixed length. There's plenty of folks here in the west who dispute based on what they've been told, Make of it what you will.



02-27-2006, 08:28 AM
I don't think Jo's take the same pounding as bokkens (I must have broken at least 15 bokkens, but I've only seen a few jo's broken, and that is from being pounded with a particularly heavy jo).

Thus I would just go and get a cheap white oak one (10 or more) off the internet, or ideally from a local martial arts shop where you can feel the wood, see the grain and swing it around a bit. I would definately make sure your jo is the correct length (128cm as mentioned above). There is so much sliding through the hands and grabbing the other end of the jo that if you change to a different length you are likely to cause yourself an injury.

Keep with the one you have (a saw off the end and sand it) if you can do a 'hasso' motion realtively quickly (swinging it around with only one hand). I would say if you feel it is heavy this is unlikely. A heavy jo, like a heavy bokken, may be good for solo practise, but when it comes to paired practice there is just no way to keep up the same speed as your partner.

Hope this helps

02-27-2006, 08:54 AM
heyo, thanks for all the above advice everyone
its the under the armpit method that i was told too.

so where do i get a nice light one from? whats the best wood.
mines just standard white oak at the moment.

i have a shoulder problem so have to use a niten bokken if doing suburi and repetitive stuff.

i know thertes meant to be jo suburi later on so i would most definately need a lighter one for this.

02-27-2006, 10:46 AM
so where do i get a nice light one from? whats the best wood.
mines just standard white oak at the moment.

You want something lighter than a white oak jo?

General rule of thumb: the lighter the wood, the less robust it will be. If you're going to be doing kumijo or any other type of partner practice that will involve jo-jo contact, you're going to want something reasonably strong.

Personally, I'd go to a nearby lumberyard and talk to the staff. You might get a reasonable piece of wood lathed down to the right dimensions for you. Then some frequent oiling (I use a beeswax and oil product that was originally a leather wax) before use.

I took my own advice and have had the same jo for more than 15 years and it has withstood some fairly rough treatment, although you're probably not wanting an Indonesian hardwood.

Michael O'Brien
02-27-2006, 01:56 PM

Ours we also measure to the armpit for a proper "fit". I have 2 that I got from BuJin design that I love. When you order from them you can specify the length as well as the diameter sm/med/lg based on your grip size.

Mark Uttech
02-27-2006, 05:01 PM
I would always tell new students to go to the local hardware store and check into a "barn broom handle". They are generally made of hickory, 6 ft. in length (you can cut some off), and under ten dollars. Hope this helps.

03-01-2006, 09:54 AM
thanks for all the further advice.

ill have a sniff around and see whgat i come up with.
i think my current ones white oak.
im not a wood expert. it was from a job lot the dojo got in.
the teacher says its nicely balanced, but i beg to differ, its not balanced in the middle but about 2/3 down one end. the other one i tried was much much nicer.
want that one

03-02-2006, 10:34 AM
Make sure you get first pick of the batch next time sensei buys in some new weapons :D


03-05-2006, 06:06 AM
yeah no worries.
i was a bit late in buying mine.

maybe it is a good one, and im just crap.
anyhoos, if i get a better one, ill just donate the chunky one back to the club, theres always a shortage on spare jo.


Robert Broyles
03-05-2006, 01:54 PM
:) Its not the size of your jo but its how you wield it! :)

Lyle Bogin
03-05-2006, 03:57 PM
Ruth - HA! You're very smart :)

03-07-2006, 07:33 AM
:) Its not the size of your jo but its how you wield it! :)

scarily apparently-hehe