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Old 02-16-2006, 10:01 AM   #1
Nick Pagnucco
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benefits of jo practice?

I got wondering about something while reading the Preferences thread, and didn't want to threadjack, so I started this thread.

I have read and heard many people commenting in a lot of good detail about how aikiken practice can be helpful to unarmed practice. Techniques often share similar movements, bokken training can potentially help build kokyu power, etc.

I have heard fewer comments about how the jo can specifically help with unarmed practice. Does practicing with a jo highlight different things that help out in unarmed practice, and if so, what? In what little weapons training I've had, I've noticed I use my hips in different ways with aikijo than I do with aikiken.

I was just curious what other people have experienced. Thanks.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:38 AM   #2
rottunpunk
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

itll help in real life if you have a broom or pool cue handy when being attacked.

from my practice (although i admit its limited compared to many folk on here), it helps with flexibility of wrists, tenuchi (for my iai) zan shin (small space to practice in) and maai etc.
I find it different to sword work as i am used to shinai distance or less, and as you may have already read learning new techniques such as the tsuki is fun
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:25 AM   #3
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Deborah Bell wrote:
itll help in real life if you have a broom or pool cue handy when being attacked.

from my practice (although i admit its limited compared to many folk on here), it helps with flexibility of wrists, tenuchi (for my iai) zan shin (small space to practice in) and maai etc.
I find it different to sword work as i am used to shinai distance or less, and as you may have already read learning new techniques such as the tsuki is fun
Oh, yes... having to learn again, and remind yourself about how that beginner's mind feels is a good thing. And you're definitely right about maai: a jo can get swung out there a good long ways.

Thanks for the reply
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Old 02-19-2006, 10:10 PM   #4
Lorien Lowe
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Doing a few hundred shomens with a bo or ken is a good way to find out if you're using your shoulders. If you do a lot of 'spinny' stuff with a stick, you also have to develop a pretty solid base and really learn to lead with your hips and have solid footwork.

-LK
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:45 PM   #5
ChrisHein
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Isn't learning to use a jo a benefit unto itself?

-Chris Hein
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:35 AM   #6
Dazzler
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote:
Isn't learning to use a jo a benefit unto itself?

-Chris Hein
That depends if you encounter situations where you would get an opportunity to use a jo. Do you carry one in real life? If not then it might be as useful as ice skates in the sahara.

Personally I feel the benefits of using a jo are that Aikido can be practiced (in exactly the same manner as without).

If there is a 'significant' difference between ones weapons work and ones Tai Jutsu (other than a piece of wood being involved) then at least one of them won't be Aikido (according to the definition I work from which may differ wildly from that which others work to).

Again...my personal feelings are that the jo emphasises the practice of irimi, it sharpens Tai sabaki and kamae awareness while also providing an opportunity to study maai from a different perspective to Tai Jutsu work.

With a bit more time I'm sure I could pull up a more comprehensive set of reasons as to why I'm a fan of Jo and Ken - but for me the ones above are already enough.

Cheers

D
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:18 AM   #7
ian
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

You know, I really believe in the benefits of bokken practise for beginning students (I've seen it very clearly). I always wondered about jo practise myself (in fact I may have written a thread on this about 1 yr ago.

Just recently I relented and started doing a bit more jo practice. I think the suburi are not much benefit (although a tsuki is very much like striking with the fist in aikido with the deep entering and power).

However, I think there are some benefits with partnered practice. Often a fast moving jo is flying towards your head and there is large amount of body movement, yet you have to be quite relaxed to achieve a reasonable speed and to avoid a jo thrust which can be inches from your face. Also, the range of movements of jo make it much more 'intuitive' i.e. again relaxing and allowing your subconcious to interpret the timing and action of the attacker.

I think it does have psychological benefits and response/intuition for real self-defence, but I don't think in terms of actual technique it helps much. I suppose in my mind I see bokken work as an essential exercise for beginners, and jo work as an added extra for more advanced students.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:21 AM   #8
ian
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

P.S. jo work did help me in real life once.

I was playing a bar game once where you and a competitor stand on a bottle and have to knock the other person off their bottle with a broom handle - I won the whole competition, and I put it down to balance and control whilst using a jo!

- so you never know!

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:24 AM   #9
ruthmc
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I find the defensive moves one makes with the jo in partner practice are extremely helpful for developing my hip movement in techniques such as kotegaeshi and rokkyo.

I taught a class on that once

In randori the jo can be used to highlight how to extend uke and take his balance.

It's also very useful for sweeping uke's legs out from under him So yes, it can even improve your breakfalls!

But then I'm biased - I have always been a huge fan of the jo ever since I first picked one up. Given the opportunity to do some solo training outside the dojo, it is my preferred option.

Ruth
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:36 AM   #10
Aiki Teacher
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I find the jo very useful. First of all, the jo helps to maintain proper foot work. Kato sensei's jo suburi, very much matches his hand arts.
Secondly, jo practice can help you with using your center. If you are trying to muscle a technique with the jo, that will make itself evident. By using the jo, you learn to use the center more to move people. Lastly, the jo teaches one to maintain connection with the uke.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:40 AM   #11
Qatana
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I continually practice Jo and hope one day to be the best Jo I can possibly be.
I also like to play with sticks.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:23 PM   #12
Mark Uttech
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I have recently challenged myself to do the 31 count kata beginning in migi hanmi. Confusion is wonderful, it only means you are encountering something new.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:50 AM   #13
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I once was told aiki-ken and aiki-jo represent the yin and yang (or vice versa?) elements of weapons art. Although the wooden tools are quite similar, the stands and moves are totally different. None is right, none is wrong. So it is complimentary education. Probably you could do it only with sword or only with staff, but maybe O Sensei thought, it is easier to keep them separated and only combine them in empty hands practice.

Pre-war O Sensei also used bo, spears of different length and long guns (bajonette training). Maybe it was due to restrictions by US occupying administration, maybe it was that he just thought, you only need two representatives of the extreme, instead of dozens of steps in between.

If you don't like one of them, maybe you are not in the balance of yin and yang


Dirk
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:54 PM   #14
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
I once was told aiki-ken and aiki-jo represent the yin and yang (or vice versa?) elements of weapons art. Although the wooden tools are quite similar, the stands and moves are totally different. None is right, none is wrong. So it is complimentary education. Probably you could do it only with sword or only with staff, but maybe O Sensei thought, it is easier to keep them separated and only combine them in empty hands practice.
I generally agree with what you are saying here, I think. I certainly agree that training in aiki-ken, aiki-jo, and taijutsu are all compatible. What I was curious about when I started this thread, though, was what other people thought the contents of aiki-jo training.

So far, if I've read people correctly, a list would look something like this:

Training in aiki-jo empasizes more than aiki-ken (or at least differently than aiki-ken)...
1) jeeping a beginner's mind by learning yet another thing
2) footwork
3) moving from one's center
3a) awareness of how to use one's hips while moving
4) Specific techniques relate strongly, not just basic principles
5) awareness & maai

Would you agree with that list, disagree with any of it, or have anything to add?

I keep asking this, because I'm at a dojo that does minimal weapons training, and I am always curious about how it works other places.

(And yes, when I have more money, seminars will be a good thing )
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:28 PM   #15
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:

So far, if I've read people correctly, a list would look something like this:

Training in aiki-jo empasizes more than aiki-ken (or at least differently than aiki-ken)...
1) jeeping a beginner's mind by learning yet another thing
yet another thing, but that is not specific to a jo
Quote:
2) footwork
IMHO jo footwork is much smoother than ken footwork and so it is different
Quote:
3) moving from one's center
3a) awareness of how to use one's hips while moving
I would say moving ones center and yes especially the hip moves are more specific
Quote:
4) Specific techniques relate strongly, not just basic principles
Yes, if sensei show different techniques, they sometimes take weapons to emphasise specific moves. Sometimes they use bokken, sometimes jo. Don't try to ask, which one for which technique. There might be some, but very often it is just for the moment, i.e. the major fault of the class.
Quote:
5) awareness & maai
That is easy. The jo is longer than bokken and both sides are used equally. Should be clear, isn't it?

Quote:
Would you agree with that list, disagree with any of it, or have anything to add?
Add? Maybe the uchi techniques: with ken you cut, with jo you hit. but that is also a part of move and awareness.

Regards

Dirk
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:46 PM   #16
roosvelt
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:

I have heard fewer comments about how the jo can specifically help with unarmed practice. Does practicing with a jo highlight different things that help out in unarmed practice, and if so, what? In what little weapons training I've had, I've noticed I use my hips in different ways with aikijo than I do with aikiken.

I was just curious what other people have experienced. Thanks.
I've found that spining jo helps connecting your hand to your centre. I don't think you do that with bokken.
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:09 AM   #17
pezalinski
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Connect a position or strike in Jo practice to an actual technique in Aikido, and you can begin to see the benefits.

Jo Hasso vs Aiki Kokyu Ho: Same hand position, same hip flex

Anyone have other examples?


A little danger is a knowledge thing...

"Helping the planet make an impact on people, since 1985"
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:37 AM   #18
Robert Rumpf
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I find working with jo to be much more relevant to my empty-handed training than working with a bokken. This is mainly because one's body is more jo-like than bokken-like - meaning that it is blunt, not sharp. In jo work as well, circular movement and small spirals are more necessary and more pronounced in order for your jo work to be effective - much as with empty hand technique. Certainly you need some of that with sword, but it is less obvious, and I would bet that you can get away without a lot of it if you are doing only bokken and not being carefully observed and critiqued.

As much as I may like to think about and work with the idea of "knife-hand" (te gatana), I don't really have anything approaching a knife as a hand (and probably not even a knife in my hand) since I haven't done any serious training in that regard. However, a tsuki with a jo fails to penetrate in exactly the same way a punch would - even to someplace like the throat. I can also use the jo as a lever, which I can't really do very well with a bokken. The jo is also graspable along all directions, just like my arms are, equally usable from both stances, just like my technique should be, and involves shifting often from one side of the weapon to another.

Swords have many more restrictions, at least in Aikiken practice.

A lot of times I see people say "cut through the other person as you would with a sword" and I think to myself "that works great if they are cut-able." That isn't necessarily the case. When you see the 100 pound woman try to cut through the arm of a 300 pound guy, no amount of sword work will allow her to cut through that arm - except for work farther up the technique chain on taking his balance beforehand - which is why the "make a sword cut" advice is in this case unhelpful.

I think that learning from sword-work makes a lot of sense when you envision your open-handed technique having a knife.. or maybe the person being comparable in size and less well trained. Or being untoughened to such things and prone to cooperation (your standard Aikidoka). It also makes sense if you imagine the person as already off-balance, and you are severing that last remnant of balance with your knife-hand.

However, if you think about things as jo-technique, with all the spirals and connection that is implied and needed for a blunt object to affect balance or to connect with an atemi, you can learn a lot about how to change your open-handed techniques.

My two cents,
Rob
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:11 AM   #19
Ed Shockley
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Another big plus of the jo is that in many systems one practices on both sides. Most don't change the grip on a bokken so that it doesn't parallel as easily to tai sabaki. Also, as with all weapons, uke instantly concentrates more intensely and takes ukemi far more seriously. The bokken and sword are, for me, sacred practice; the jo is a practical exploration. Finally, jo katas allow one to work alone easily and fruitfully.
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Old 04-26-2006, 03:45 PM   #20
Erick Mead
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Quote:
Peter Zalinski wrote:
Connect a position or strike in Jo practice to an actual technique in Aikido, and you can begin to see the benefits.

Jo Hasso vs Aiki Kokyu Ho: Same hand position, same hip flex

Anyone have other examples?
Ryotedori kokyunage.

Kihon:: (it helps to try this first as in kokyu-dosa (tanden ho)

Begin with the jo in wakigamae, as though you have just completed ushiro tsuki;

Uke takes both wrists

Nage curls the forward wrist/elbow/arm in kokyu toward his center

Nage turns hips to irimi, drawing uke into omote shikaku
(the end of the jo is now about shoulder height, jo nearly vertical)

Continue extending the forward hand up and over the top with the jo end addressed down into uke's center, (letting the jo slide through the rear hand but coming up, kind of like drawing a bow by pushing the bow up and out toward the target, rather than pulling the string)

As you are reaching the end of the jo with the rear hand
Nage's hips are turning to make the kokyu throw
Complete the extension of the jo with the throw into a finishing overhead jodan tsuki to uke on the ground .

Ki no nagare -- All of the above -- at once.

The feeling will really help your kokyunage throws, and by extension, tenchinage as well.

Coridally,
Erick Mead
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Old 05-04-2006, 02:53 AM   #21
Mats Alritzson
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

The hasso gaeshi movement is similar to the unbalancing in iriminage. In general I believe it strengthens your hips, make you more grounded, improves the fluidity of your movements, improves your focus, and make you more aware of the line of attack and the angles related to it.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:04 PM   #22
koz
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

While aikiken and aikijo might indeed be of benefit to taijutsu training, so too would be more taijutsu.

Sometimes you don't need to go out of your way to find what you're looking for.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.

Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching, Ch48
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:06 PM   #23
Suwariwazaman
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Smile Re: benefits of jo practice?

Anyone know where I could find good jo-waza dvd's for supplemental training!
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:56 AM   #24
mriehle
 
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

Not DVD's, but good stuff nonetheless:

http://www.coolrain.com/3.html

You might be able to find these on DVD somewhere else. I've dealt with Cool Rain and never had a bad experience with them.

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Old 05-08-2006, 07:04 AM   #25
Hanna B
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Re: benefits of jo practice?

I can not claim to have a big insight, but to improve judgement of maai I suppose it is good to train with more than one tool, of different lenghts.

I have heard the "other side" statement too, since bokken is usually done only on one side (although I know people who do both).
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