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Here are a few jo refinemnts I learned this week during our Monday and Wednesday class:
- the but end of the jo, depending on which end it up :-), should always be covered by your grip, especially when tsukiing.
- when raised for a block, bring both hands together, switch hands and slide the hand to the very end of the jo; when striking yokomen or shomen, that back hand provides all the power while the hand in front offers direction
- there are many jo handling exercises; try and practice them all until you don't drop the jo on the floor
- when swinging the jo, watch out for others next to you
- when sensei uses you as uke to show a technique to the class, don't let him knock the jo arbitrarily from your hands (it's embarassing)
After two lessons of jo training, my new, beautiful jo is dinged, scarred and dimpled. :-( In addition, I need to apply some linseed oil as it feels tacky due to sweat and humidity. I must admit, I like jo work more so than bokken - but don't tell anyone.
Here's something new I've never done before. At class today, we practiced the Jo/Bokken 18 step kata. It was interesting to use a jo against a bokken for a change.
Hopefully, on the web somewhere is a description of the 18 movements. I don't believe I can properly describe it here. Anyway, what was most interesting is the way strikes and counterstrikes are made based on the parry and deflection of the oponent's weapon.
During yesterday's practice, I worked with a big, heavy-set, muscular, twice-my-size and not very flexible guy. He was huge and built like a ton of bricks.
Anyway, as nage, I was practicing nikkyo and couldn't get his arm & wrist to do what I (thought) needed it to do. After several attempts, I was sure that nikkyo didn't work on big guys.
To my surprise (and strike to my ego), our sensei showed me the technique with the big guy and was able to perform it properly and smoothly. He made the guy look like jelly.
So - lesson learned: If you can't do it, then you're probably doing it wrong.
After sensei did his thing, I tried again and was finally able to do the same. I sincerely hope it was due to my learing the technique instead of the big uke just pretending and faking it for me. That would suck.