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Old 08-07-2006, 08:45 AM   #1
seank
Location: Victoria
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Bokken and Jo questions

Hi Everyone,
I've been trying to research some information on bokken and jo technique and was wondering if anyone had some pointers.

Specifically I would like to know peoples opinions on the correct way of creating a high block with the jo and also the direction of a shomen cut using a bokken.

I have seen many different ways of blocking with the jo, but I find myself most often reverting to a block very similar to tonfa or sai. The high block is formed with the rearmost hand held high behind the head, with the jo running diagonally over the top of the head, held in the hand and running down the forearm of the forward hand (this is the part the resembles blocking with tonfa or sai). The jo is quite a ways forward and to diagonally across the body.

Alternatively I have seen and been told to block with the jo quite diagonally across the body, but with both the forward and rearmost arms at extension, creating a big gap between the head and the jo, and creating a wide gap between the tip of the jo and the line of the body.

My problem with the second block is that is very strong and requires a low stable stance (something akin to kibadachi), whereas my preferred block is much less rigid allowing you to turn and counter-attack very easily.

The second question I had is much simpler. I have been told repeatedly that shomen with the bokken is a cut and that the wrists stay straight throughout the technique. I have seen many experienced people flick their wrists at the apex and contact point of the cut (very similar to what is seen in Kendo) and wanted to know what people thought about the two methods.

Thanks for any advice!

Cheers.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:48 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

The high block you describe can also be done with the bokken without the forearm part. As for the second thing, people who have trained in kendo naturally have the kendo way.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:34 AM   #3
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Sean Kelleher wrote:
I have seen many experienced people flick their wrists at the apex and contact point of the cut (very similar to what is seen in Kendo) and wanted to know what people thought about the two methods.
This will not work if you are trying to actually cut something with a sword.

Also, from the standpoint of the unity of sword and empty hand, that type of flicking cut will not relate properly to empty hand technique whereas a proper cut with the sword, which utilizes extension and projection of energy into the tip does equate directly to how we use our hands in empty hand technique.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:41 AM   #4
seank
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Hi George,
Would you agree to pointing with the hand though when cutting with a bokken?

I try to project forward with the result that my hand forms a very similar shape to my forearm as you would find practicing oi tsuki (first knuckles of the index and middle finger pointing more forward of the other knuckles).

Its not flicking in the same way I described but it does extend more than trying to keep my wrists dead-straight... I have far more background in Karate (Kyokushin) than Aikido so I do find there is a lot of carryover...
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:49 AM   #5
Aikilove
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
This will not work if you are trying to actually cut something with a sword.

Also, from the standpoint of the unity of sword and empty hand, that type of flicking cut will not relate properly to empty hand technique whereas a proper cut with the sword, which utilizes extension and projection of energy into the tip does equate directly to how we use our hands in empty hand technique.
George, maybe I misunderstod you, but are you saying that you keep you wrist solid through-out the cut?
The cut (according to M. Saito sensei) should be (starting from the top position with hands in front of and over your head and with a lot of simplification in the text) relaxed little fingers (but with contact with the hilt) and wrist - start the decent, mainly by using the left hand - as the cut proceeds tighten the grip using mainly your little and ring fingers - as you finish it the speed should be at its maximum and you finish by "wringing out the towel" with your hands (japanese style i.e. both hands moving more on top of the bokken), which accelerates the bokken further in the end and at the same time alow you to control and stop the bokken.
At the duration of the cut I would certainly say that my wrists have been at different angles.
Incidently this cut recembles the cut in Katori Shinto ryu katas (the little experience I have of it) with bokken more than that of standard contemporary Iaido cuts. It (i.e. hand, body and feet movement of the sword cut) also tranfere perfectly to the taijutsu (which is the whole idea of the riai of aikido).

I know you know the details of Saito's weapons George, but I was little confused by your coment w.r.t the wrist not moving.

Best

/J

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 08-11-2006, 01:31 AM   #6
Jess McDonald
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

You want to check out: Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts: aikido and weapons training Vol. 2 by Tetsutaka Sugawara (with co-authors). This vol. has all 8 kumijo katas AND the five jo-ai katas that are kick @$$. This is the style I study/train and this work is a must have if you want proper technique that stresses footwork and reflects open-hand movements. Amazon got mine for only $15! Well worth it if you ask me!!
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:16 AM   #7
mjchip
Dojo: Aikido Jinsei Dojo
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Jakob Blomquist wrote:
George, maybe I misunderstod you, but are you saying that you keep you wrist solid through-out the cut?
The cut (according to M. Saito sensei) should be (starting from the top position with hands in front of and over your head and with a lot of simplification in the text) relaxed little fingers (but with contact with the hilt) and wrist - start the decent, mainly by using the left hand - as the cut proceeds tighten the grip using mainly your little and ring fingers - as you finish it the speed should be at its maximum and you finish by "wringing out the towel" with your hands (japanese style i.e. both hands moving more on top of the bokken), which accelerates the bokken further in the end and at the same time alow you to control and stop the bokken.
At the duration of the cut I would certainly say that my wrists have been at different angles.
Incidently this cut recembles the cut in Katori Shinto ryu katas (the little experience I have of it) with bokken more than that of standard contemporary Iaido cuts. It (i.e. hand, body and feet movement of the sword cut) also tranfere perfectly to the taijutsu (which is the whole idea of the riai of aikido).

I know you know the details of Saito's weapons George, but I was little confused by your coment w.r.t the wrist not moving.

Best

/J
Hi,

I'm not George, (not even on one of my best days) but what George was referring to I believe is that one shouldn't "flick" the wrists fore-and-aft to attempt to accelerate or whip the tip of the sword. He wasn't saying that you shouldn't maintain gokoku ["wring" the hands inward] as the sword comes to rest.

Best,

Mark
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:18 PM   #8
Akako110
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

I am having trouble in keeping the my Jo from hitting my head! In class sensei has us warm-up by sometimes twirling the jo around like one would twirl a baton, (Just no over the head deals) for another a explanation, (for those of you who know star wars) we kinda' twirl it around like Darth mal! and I keep hitting my self in the head! Any tips?

Domo,
Tara
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:33 AM   #9
Voitokas
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

You could twirl it slowly enough that you don't hit yourself in the head, and then speed up as you become more comfortable with it...

I am not an expert
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:01 AM   #10
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

All of this will vary depending on the style of jo or swordsmanship you are training. It is rare to find two Aikido instructors that have the same influences regarding their weapons training, even when they train at the same dojo. What does your sensei prefer?

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:07 PM   #11
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Tara Skarbek wrote: View Post
I am having trouble in keeping the my Jo from hitting my head! In class sensei has us warm-up by sometimes twirling the jo around like one would twirl a baton, (Just no over the head deals) for another a explanation, (for those of you who know star wars) we kinda' twirl it around like Darth mal! and I keep hitting my self in the head! Any tips?

Domo,
Tara
Keep the knuckles facing forward and the elbow unbent.

Hope this helps.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:29 AM   #12
Will Prusner
 
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Tara Skarbek wrote: View Post

I am having trouble in keeping the my Jo from hitting my head!
...I keep hitting my self in the head!
Vids or it didnt happen!

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

ART! - http://birdsbeaks.blogspot.com/
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:50 PM   #13
jome1
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Hi Tara

For me personally I would check my body structure so that the jo could not hit me.
For example a comfortable 70/30 natural posture. In this posture you will feel your centre dropping forward onto the forward rocked Tanden. Sit your weight on this point into the floor.
"Wakishimete" close the armpits, bringing the elbows to the hips.
From here rotate the hips to move the hands, guiding the jo with the hands. You won't need to use the shoulders at this point (Use of the shoulders will give less controlled movement of the jo's centre). Body Structure will control the jo.
The elbows will pretty much always point at the ground.
Throw out from the elbows by rotating the hips.
From here as you know probably know, repetition.
All the best.

With thanks John.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:17 PM   #14
jome1
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Hi Jacob
It could be, as in many cases, the flick at the apex or contact point is a natural correction of posture after the extension of the cut. A release, if you will, of the body weight returning to natural posture. The elbows being on the hips make this correction as they begin to move back into position at the centre. To my knowledge the wrists stay pretty well strait. If you focus more on the elbow/hip/posture position, it will tell you.

All the best, John.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:27 PM   #15
seank
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Its always good to see one of your old threads re-surface. Its been three years since my preliminary post and how things have changed. Many many classes, national schools and other training sessions later, and having recently graded shodan, it was interesting reading going back over the thread.

At least one major change I've found in my technique is carefully looking for the intention behind the posture, block or strike, not looking at the individual parts quite so analytically.

I suppose the other thing that has changed in that time has been the perspective of speed, power and being centred. I've continually found that as the jo is an entirely dynamic weapon, in so much as you can infinitely adjust the length, direction, speed and so on. It makes the need to critically assess each movement much less important.

In many ways I see the jo as being a true reflection of Aikido, so many possibilities and so much variety I believe it will take a lifetime to truly appreciate the subtleties.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:02 AM   #16
jome1
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Search fudo9 on Youtube you will see the jo being used in a very different, dynamic way, using only Aikido principles. It is a translation of Aikido techniques into jo cuts and throws. cheers!

john
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:41 AM   #17
Ken Alphonse
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Does anyone no the terminology for the first suburi with the bokken?
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #18
Flintstone
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Ken Alphonse wrote: View Post
Does anyone no the terminology for the first suburi with the bokken?
Ichi no suburi.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:04 AM   #19
edshockley
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

I apologize if this sounds anal but in the very first post the questions was asked regarding the proper form for a "high block." I have been taught that I should never think of the motion as a "block." Koboichi means that "attack and defense are one.' The same movement envisioned as a block or a parry or a counter etc will have a different quality and that nuance might actually reveal the answer to your question.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:06 AM   #20
lbb
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Re: Bokken and Jo questions

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I apologize if this sounds anal but in the very first post the questions was asked regarding the proper form for a "high block." I have been taught that I should never think of the motion as a "block." Koboichi means that "attack and defense are one.' The same movement envisioned as a block or a parry or a counter etc will have a different quality and that nuance might actually reveal the answer to your question.
Since he asked three and a half years ago, I'm guessing he's found the answer before now
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