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Old 09-03-2013, 10:12 AM   #8
Scott Harrington
Location: Wilmington, De
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 86
Re: Origins and inspirations of kumijo

Been delayed in responding on this - not trying to revive a dead thread.

Having recently relocated from one coast to the other, I love to see the difference 2500 miles makes in Aikido. This is even more evident in the jo forms.

Coming from a style that very nearly abhorred the stick, some schools love it. And they are all usually different.

So, my two cents on kumijo (paired stick forms):

It's like fighting your wife. You really can't win, you can't hurt them, and is mildly useless. Why? There is no emphasis on attacking weak spots (like in Muso Shinden ryu and derivative jodo), just stick against stick. And like the sword in the modern world, is not used daily (a cane might be more useful.)

Lineage, Lineage, lineage. There is a recent Daito ryu dvd out regarding the jo that is greatly different than the Aikido versions. My personal belief is just as Ueshiba did not care to learn Ono-ha Itto ryu (how many times do I have to hit the wrist?!!?), the same may be for the jo of Takeda's composite art. Yes, the disarms and throws with the stick are certainly from DR curriculum (and other styles as well), but the forms -- I seriously doubt.

As to the forms being related to the bayonet -- eh! While the thrusting actions and slipping parry thrust show some similarities to then style of bayonet, a large set of moves in the jo forms are just not in the military bayonet curriculum. There is no hasso in the bayonet, no twirling or spinning, no spinning figure eights.

Early bayonet moves developed from western fencing, but in the late 1800's as the rifle shortened with cordite replacing gunpowder, became stronger with better wooden stock and better metal barrel, and slotted bayonet came into use, a much more brutal and aggressive style came into vogue. In Japan, kendo armor leads to jukendo and in the western world massed armies led to thrust and smash. The advancing butt stroke (even seen in Araki ryu spear work) did not even exist till this weapon reformation took place.

So, where did it come from? I have attached jpg's of various pics of style that predate Ueshiba's involvement in Daito ryu. One is surprisingly similar to the jo work now seen (in all its variations) in Aikido. So, O'sensei or his students copied other styles extant, modified it to have a teaching curriculum (something it seems O'sensei never developed) and is passed on and modified today.

All too often, some think that O'sensei invented EVERYTHING! There was plenty of indigenous jo work for him and his students to draw on.

Scott Harrington
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