Re: Jo tsuki
Doug is right in that the best way to answer your question is to experiment for yourself. However, I wouldn't recommend a telephone pole as a target. Hitting a completely immobile, hard target is nothing like hitting a person. The complete lack of yielding will either cause you to injure yourself or pull the strike. I know, as I once broke a jo in two pieces and pulled a lat muscle hitting a tree.
What you want to use for a target depends on what you are looking to figure out. What you do with your back hand is one issue, what you do with your front is another.
Bracing your back arm against your body will allow you to deliver/absorb more force but reduce your reach. In my experience of poking things, going much beyond what Mr. Goto demonstrates in the photo isn't going to be any good unless you poke someone in a very soft and vulnerable target like the throat or an eye. If you are thinking of causing damage to their skull or torso, something like a light "heavy" bag used for boxing is good. I used one of those water bladder types. A jumbo pro heavy bag is too heavy, and practially as immobile as a telephone pole.
I have found that what you do with your front hand is even more important. Some styles hold the front hand relatively steady and slide the jo through it much like a pool cue and some grab with the front hand and thrust with that one too, like tossing dirt from a shovel, or like if you were cleaning out a large pipe with a huge bottle brush. The difference in terms of aim is immense. What I have used as a test of aim is a tennis ball hanging by a rope at various levels. To make it even harder, I have worked with the ball swinging around, making a moving target. With the shovel or pipe cleaning method, hitting a target that small was essentially impossible. My experiments led me to conclude that moving the front arm much at all completely ruins aim. If the force comes almost entirely from the movement of the back arm and the movement of the body mass, aiming is still possible.
In general, aside from a few issues that admit of self-experimentation, if you are really interested in a high level of technique detail with weapons, you'll need to go outside Aikido. Most Aikido styles I have seen have pretty crude weapons techniques. Some have sophistication, but it seems like it's hard to tell which parts are real weapons stuff and which parts were changed by the shihan in order to illustrate something about open-hand Aikido. The hardcore weapons stuff is in the koryu and other arts that are expressly about the weapon, like Jodo.
Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-12-2007 at 04:01 AM.