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Old 08-09-2007, 09:12 AM   #1
Michael Cardwell
Dojo: Snake River Aikido
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Jo tsuki

Hello,

I have a quick question regarding jo tsuki's. When I first learned how to tsuki with a jo, I was always tought to to hold my back hand, usually that would be the right hand, tight against my chest as they thrust completed, almost like you want to hit yourself in the middle of the chest with your hand as you strike. The jo is paralla to your chest, with the back point of the jo safely not pointing at your body. I recently got went to a seminar where they did their jo tsuki's slightly different, so I was hoping someone much wiser then me here could give their take on this.

This dojo did tsuki pretty much the same way, except instead of bringing the back hand to rest on their chest, they brought it up to their shoulder. This seems to give you a couple more inches of reach, and also makes for a straighter jo thrust on higher targets, mine always are slightly tilted upward on higher thrusts. The only downside that I could see from this was that your lead arm tended to straighten at the elbow very easily. I should have ask the sensei at the time about it, but didn't want to be rude as I was just visiting.
My sensei was actually there as well, and I did ask him about it later, his only commit was that we did our tsuki's the way he was trained by his sensei to do. So just out of curiosity, is there something better or worse about either way? Is one more of a traditional way?

Michael
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:23 AM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Jo tsuki

Purely a matter of style. Some end tsuki with the jo at the level of the tanden, with the hands lined up the way they'd be if you had been doing it w/ a bokken. From what I remember of another style, it ends with a spiral, the butt of the jo pretty much at/by your armpit.
When in Rome....

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:49 AM   #3
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Jo tsuki

Hans Goto Sensei showing choku-tsuki as taught by Morihiro and Hitohiro Saito Sensei:


Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:13 AM   #4
Michael Cardwell
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Re: Jo tsuki

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
Hans Goto Sensei showing choku-tsuki as taught by Morihiro and Hitohiro Saito Sensei:

Thanks for the replys, and the picture. Looks just like how we do our jo tsuki's. I hadn't ever seen any variations on it until I went to that seminar.

Michael
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:17 AM   #5
Walker
 
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Re: Jo tsuki

Go tsuki a telephone pole.
Seriously.
That will give you some feedback on how much power you are delivering on target and how congruent your body is in handling force back along that vector. Another one is to tsuki and freeze at the end, then have a partner apply force back along the jo and see how you do with that. Try both of the styles you are curious about and see what you come up with.

I think that one of the most basic fundamentals (there is a whole lot going on in a jo tsuki) is aligning the bones of the forearm with the shaft of the jo. The photo of Goto sensei above shows this.

-Doug Walker
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:15 AM   #6
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Jo tsuki

In our style we practice several different variations on the Jo-Tsuki, each appropriate for a slightly different scenario. While writing this post I keep coming up with additional variations, some adapted for special situations, so I decided to forgo a number (having gone past 5 already).

Striking an head with a non-horizontal Jo can actually be advantageous in certain situations, yet less efficient in other situations.
The hand positions can be altered, as one advances. This again has both pros and cons depending on situation.
etc.

I guess if you were to check the entire koryu, you would have found out there are many move ways to correctly perform Chuki, then one could learn in a decade.

Amir
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Old 08-12-2007, 01:59 AM   #7
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Jo tsuki

Here is another picture of Jo Tsuki (I think!), this time as performed in Shinto Muso-Ryu Jojutsu. Note that the butt end is lower, around the level of the tanden


PS. Yes, I know there is a big scroll saying "Aikido" in the background, but the site said these were pictures of SMR Jo training

Last edited by CitoMaramba : 08-12-2007 at 02:08 AM. Reason: fixed image url

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:52 AM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:25 AM   #9
Amir Krause
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Re: Jo tsuki

I have one problem with self-experimentation, our conclusions are normally biased by your way of training. So, be careful of making concrete conclusions.

The things I practiced a lot are much easier for me then those I try for the first time. As we practice, we improve our coordination of specific actions, much more then our general coordination, so, doing things like you learnt, or along the same lines is always much easier then the other way around, regardless of the matter at test.

And this comes from someone who has learned both ways of applying a Jo chuki, with the front hand almost static (at the end of the trust) and with it participating in the push till the end. Each such method has its uses, depending on your initial state and purpose.

Amir
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Old 08-12-2007, 06:42 AM   #10
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Jo tsuki

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Purely a matter of style. Some end tsuki with the jo at the level of the tanden, with the hands lined up the way they'd be if you had been doing it w/ a bokken. From what I remember of another style, it ends with a spiral, the butt of the jo pretty much at/by your armpit.
When in Rome....
I learned it the first way you mention, but now I am at a school that does it the second way. They are both good, but I find that the second way gives you more of an extension, and is in keeping with the way you would use a spear. Again, it is just a matter of style and preference. It's all good!

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Old 08-12-2007, 08:15 AM   #11
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Jo tsuki

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
The things I practiced a lot are much easier for me then those I try for the first time. As we practice, we improve our coordination of specific actions, much more then our general coordination, so, doing things like you learnt, or along the same lines is always much easier then the other way around, regardless of the matter at test.
I'm sorry, but no. If I had attended some kind of drama classes for years where we pantomimed shooting dummy pistols with the butt out to the side, "gangsta-style" and pumping our arms back and forth like we were throwing the bullets out of the gun, it might feel more comfortable to hold it like that, but if I went out and actually shot some targets with a real pistol, it wouldn't take long to figure out that holding it correctly actually results in better aim.

What one practices in a martial arts class often does not amount to actually using a working skill. There are some things that simply work better than others and the difference is not that hard to figure out. Some vague formulation of relativistic philosophy is not a good reason to place so little stock in one's own experience. It's also a mighty passive-aggressive way of conducting an argument.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-12-2007 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:32 AM   #12
Keith Larman
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Re: Jo tsuki

Just fwiw we tend to end with the end of the jo just a hair lower (closer to the tanden/one-point/hara) than in the photo and in tight with the body. Although it does vary a bit from strike to strike however especially with the issue of target.

I've beaten a tree senseless myself. And I fully agree about alignment of the arm but that needs to be in context with the entire body alignment, weight settled down, etc. We commonly do the tests Walker talks about in our dojo to emphasize moving from the center and being fully supported throughout a tsuki. We'll have students do the tsuki then freeze. Next we test in both directions along the jo. Can we push in (are they fully in control and supported in the strike)? Can we pull them forward easily (meaning they might have overextended). So it is about power generation and maintaining it throughout the strike, not just at the end. We'll also sometimes have someone brace themselves at the end of the jo just before the tsuka (holding the end carefully so you don't get poked or slapped with the jo) and have them try to do the tsuki. If they try to do it just with their arms or they try to do "twirly" stuff they're basically stuck. This just isn't a test they can pass with muscle strength. If they can start the tsuki from their center the rest comes along just fine. One sensei of mine has a habit of saying that all the power comes from the center and the rest of the body is just directing it. Same with the tsuki for us.

And about needing to "get it out there" to really strike. Well, I'd have to say that much of the jo work in Aikido isn't about really learning to become sojutsu experts. It is about learning to generate power, movement, and all that other stuff we do in aikido. Most targets I've been taught on the tsuki are for "soft" targets -- throat, face, stomach, etc. Others are more strikes to harder things -- yokomen, legs, down on the wrists, etc.

Just fwiw.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 08-12-2007 at 10:35 AM.

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