Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I wonder if it's not something of an issue of context. I get the impression that it's referring to long katas.
Although I'm not in the top echelons of Aikido training, I suspect that there's no Aikido katas that match the length of those in other arts.
By coincidence, I've been having a conversation offline with someone else about the jo katas. I was watching Koichi Tohei's perforemance on an old clip that Stan Pranin has up for view. I always tend to shrug off Tohei's "hopping" as some weird quirk (martially it can have problems since a knowledgeable opponent will take advantage of those moments because you have no power), but I noticed that Tohei does the hopping in his performance of jo kata. I happen to have about four good DVD's of prominent Chinese "short staff" (read "jo") practitioners, and Tohei's kata is so similar to one of the styles, including the "hopping" that I'm going to have to go back and look to see how closely they match. What I'm saying is that the jo kata may represent a "borrow" that may be a little outside of the basic idea of Aikido. In other words, and I state this as a possibility only (until I can do some more looking), if we were to discuss the training methods in Aikido, I personally wouldn't include the jo katas as a meaningful part of the discussion, for the moment.
What I *would* include as being far more important than most people seem to think, is the Aiki-taiso and Taisabaki. Those are the "katas" of Aikido and they are where I think most people miss the point. I also think that a huge point is similarly being missed in ken practice and suburi.