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Old 02-13-2002, 12:02 PM   #1
Silvio
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Jo was originally a spear or not?

Hello
I got a question. What in your opinion was originally jo?
It seems obvious: it is just a stick! But are you sure?
There are some people, who claim that jo was originally a short spear. It could be a true because of some reasons.
Yesterday I read an article by Meik Skoss http://koryu.com/library/mskoss7.html who told the story of Muso Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi. After losing a duel with M. Musashi Muso cut his long staff to a short (126 cm) stick, called jo and developed jojutsu.
Now I please somebody well informed to help me: jo was always a jo or was originally a spear?
Thank you
Wojtek
http://www.ki-aikido.waw.pl
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Old 02-13-2002, 12:14 PM   #2
thomson
 
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Tongue a spear or not a spear?

Silvio,
Interesting you bring this up, my sensei was just talking about this very subject the other night. According to sensei the story involving Musashi the sword master is correct. The Jo originally started as a longer staff.
The confusion may come in because many of the movements we do in aikido with the jo are based on the spear.
Hope that helps.

Mike

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Old 02-13-2002, 12:39 PM   #3
Brian Vickery
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Re: Jo was originally a spear or not?

Quote:
Originally posted by Silvio


Now I please somebody well informed to help me: jo was always a jo or was originally a spear?
...At the dojo where I study, the jo kata movements are based on the 'yari' (spear) ...at least that's what my sensei says!

regards,

Brian Vickery

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Old 02-13-2002, 12:39 PM   #4
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I'm also confused - the jo techniques at Shodokan Honbu are referred to as Yari Dori.

However since Aikido isn't SMR - I don't worry about it all that much.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-13-2002, 02:45 PM   #5
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As far as Shinto Muso Ryu jodo goes, I've heard the same story about Gonnosuke Muso and his "invention" of the jo -- going off to the mountains for 37 days (if I remember correctly) and coming down with his "new" weapon to defeat Musashi.

Other stories about the jo is that it's just a walking stick ("jo" has the same kanji character as "tsue" which means "cane" in Japanese) or that it's a form of "back-up" combat for spearmen who has their bladed tip of the spear broken off.

I don't think the founder had any real formal studies with the jo nor the spear... Stan Pranin in his interview on this site says about the founder:

Quote:
Well, take the yari for example. He received some juken (bayonet) training in the army, but so did I! I'm sure he did a lot more than I did, but in that context you're not doing a martial arts type of training. The yari was probably an extension of that bayonet training and whatever else he learned along the way. We know he did a lot of self-training during his Ayabe years at the Omoto. There are anecdotal evidence that he would use a yari in his practice, but there is no record of him having formal training.
-- Jun

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Old 02-13-2002, 04:29 PM   #6
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Question Origins

The legendary story of the defeat of Musashi by Gonnosuke I have heard. And actually this is the only story I've heard as the origin of the Jo.

But one thing that I have noticed that other than similarities the yari, I also see a lot of similarities with the naginata. I guess this only depends on the school that teaches the Jo.
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Old 02-13-2002, 08:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by akiy


I don't think the founder had any real formal studies with the jo nor the spear... Stan Pranin in his interview on this site says about the founder:

-- Jun
Aside from Stan's historical speculation,

Koichi Tohei Sensei teaches that the movements of the jo that we do are a combination of movements adopted from yari, naginata, and staff.

makes sense when going through the movements, and it would be sort of hard to believe that Osensei had not seen these three weapons used a number of times as well as done some training in at least one of them.

it's pretty clear we are not doing some form SMR jodo or or other koryu in these weapons.

Craig
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Old 02-13-2002, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by kironin


Aside from Stan's historical speculation,

Koichi Tohei Sensei teaches that the movements of the jo that we do are a combination of movements adopted from yari, naginata, and staff.

This is my opinion too. Moreover, regardless of the origin of the Jo, whether it started as a Yari or Naginata, the fact that it can be used on both ends, to do both striking and poking techniques, this all gives the Jo a flexibility and an advantage over both weapons. (Naginata was a women's weapon by the way).

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 02-14-2002, 01:20 AM   #9
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Perhaps it would be good to make a distinction between aikijo and SMR. I study Shindo Muso Ryu right now in Japan, and studied a fair amount of aikijo in Japan. SMR is amazingly aikido like, (or vice versa.) Facing an opponent with a sword you show a massive opening, then use nonlethal techniques to demonstrate dominance, and the swordsman leaves with bruises at best, or okay maybe a broken bone. The point being that the movements are very much using the Jo as an extension of non-weapon responses to a weapon as opposed to the tit for tat combat that could be concieved of with the thrusting and blocking movements in many aikijo kata or paired routines.
In SMR the dominance of the sword as a weapon, (razor sharp steel vs. dried oak a few centimeters thick) is clear. In that respect it shares the same respect for life, in that even though you are supposedly attacked by the swordsman, dominance of the spirit and technique are combined with benevolence. Very aiki idea.
Aikijo is clearly a combination of spear, bayonet and some SMR ideas. Both are valuable to the aikido student. aikijo teaches excellent irimi vs. a long attack, and it is good for showing the fundamentals of extension. SMR is incredibly difficult, but will reward you with the ability and mindset to commit your hips fully into the art in question. It is a lesson in commitment to your opponent as well, risk all to make up for the disadvantage of stick vs. steel.
anyway, enough of my rambling. If anybody has any specific questions, I would be happy to ask my teacher.
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Old 02-14-2002, 01:23 AM   #10
Tony Peters
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Quote:
Originally posted by kironin


Aside from Stan's historical speculation,

Koichi Tohei Sensei teaches that the movements of the jo that we do are a combination of movements adopted from yari, naginata, and staff.

makes sense when going through the movements, and it would be sort of hard to believe that Osensei had not seen these three weapons used a number of times as well as done some training in at least one of them.

it's pretty clear we are not doing some form SMR jodo or or other koryu in these weapons.

Craig
From everything that I've read Aikijo is is a creation of Osensei's most of which was taken from Yari and Jukendo though staff (I'm assuming you mean bo) and noogie noogie could also be ingredients from what I've seen of those two arts. This seems to be pretty consistant with what the Aikijo syllabus contains. Though most of it is a relation to the aikido taijutsu priciples and not a weapon art. It most definatly isn't anything like the Takeuchi ryu or SMR Jo that I have done

Peace
Tony
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Old 02-14-2002, 02:31 AM   #11
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
(Naginata was a women's weapon by the way).

Cheers,
Edward
That's more or less a myth. Yes, some women did use naginata, but it was never exclusively a weapon reserved for women. Many ryu have nagainata in their curriculum, practiced with and used by men. There's an article that covers this at http://koryu.com/library/wwj2.html

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-14-2002, 05:55 AM   #12
ian
 
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If you've seen some video ffotage of ueshiba doing 'jo' stuff, he sometimes uses a wooden spear instead. I'm not sure of the origin of Ueshibas jo work, but I've read many places that the jo is effectively a 'short staff' and was necessarily a fast, double ended weapon. (Spears are often longer anyway)

Ian
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Old 02-14-2002, 07:54 AM   #13
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Jo was originally a spear or not?

Quote:
Originally posted by Silvio
Hello
I got a question. What in your opinion was originally jo?


The jo -- short staff -- was and is found in many koryu systems as well as gendai.

The most famous, of course, is Shinto Muso Ryu (sometimes romanized Shindo Muso Ryu), the legacy of Gonnosuke.

Other ryuha, however, also have taught jo techniques. Some naginata systems incorporate jo (a noogie stick with no blade is a jo, more or less). And no, Edward, the naginata wasn't strictly a woman's weapon. For many, many years, it was the queen of the battlefield in Japan, and was relegated to home defense only later in history.

Today, it's true, Atarashii Naginata tends to be practiced mainly by women, but historically, the weapon was a mainstay of the warrior class.

Primary weapons were bow, spear and naginata, THEN sword.

Anyhow, back on topic, in aikido, as I understand, Ueshiba had little formal spear or naginata training, but was undoubtedly well familiar with those weapons. He did receive formal juken (bayonet) training whilst in the army and the juken taught to soldiersd at that time was apparently a synthesis of European bayonet and Japanese spear technique and movement.

The European influence on gendai and koryu budo is deeper than most folks realize.

The tanjo or hanbo, for instance. SMR's Uchida Ryu Tanjojutsu is probably very closely linked to European stick fighting and was, in fact, called 'sutekki' for a good while before someone decided to replace the name with something more Japanese-sounding.

The jo, or something very jo-like, has been around a long, long time. Cross pollination between spear, sword, naginata, bo, etc. systems can be found in use of the jo across the board.

In aikido, I've read that Ueshiba based much of his jo work on the juken, with slightly less coming from the spear itself.

Shinto Muso Ryu jo, byt the way, looks nothing at all like any aikijo I've ever seen. Nishio and, I believe Chiba (Julian, you there?), and Kimeda more recently, all studied SMR jo and have incorporated much of that system into their own aikijo.

The jo work we study in my dojo is different from any of the above. We have a set of about a dozen short jo kata (they can be practiced solo, but are intended to be paired) that start with consideration of having a blade on one ened and end with nothing but the haft remaining. I've been deconstructing some of that info and applying it to the naginata and find that it fits very neatly ...

Chuck

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Old 02-14-2002, 09:52 AM   #14
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Don't forget that the jo was originally a tree.

Stick techniques of different types have been around almost as long as man. What you call "jo" is determined by the place, time period, and system (if any) that you have in mind.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 02-15-2002, 08:24 AM   #15
Kami
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Smile UESHIBA'S JO

Hello, Silvio!

Very good thread! Two things have surfaced, based on the beast research available (Pranin, Skoss and a few others) :
a) Nobody knows where the jo came from. Some legends say it was a shortening of the Bo, atributed to Gonnosuke; and
b) Ueshiba's Jo as told by Chuck Gordon and Chris Li, among others, probably came from the period of his military service and his training in Jukendo(originally based, as already told, on SMJ and western bayonet fighting). There might be other influences but mostly it was jukendo.
AFAIK

Last edited by Kami : 03-07-2002 at 06:30 AM.

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Old 02-15-2002, 09:26 PM   #16
Peter Goldsbury
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I agree with Ubaldo's comment.

There was a thread somewhere on the meaning / origin of the Chinese character as in " (Budo). The character combines the radicals for advancing on foot and hoko (spear or halberd).

Of course, this is a notoriously difficult topic, for the presentday meaning of a character is quite different matter from its etymology. The earliest metal archeological remains in Japan appear to be double-sided swords and spear heads.

The Musashi story, of course, is famous, as is the character of Benkei, but both are relatively recent in Japanese history. Another curiosity: jukendo is a 'gendai budo' in Japan; jodo is not. Presumably both are descendants of more ancient 'jutsu'. Or is it more a matter of terminology

Best regards,

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Old 02-21-2002, 11:36 AM   #17
Sherman Byas
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An little snatch from a previous search.

"As for jo, it is less clear where it's techniques are derived from. It is known that O-Sensei studied the yari, or
spear of Hozoin Ryu, which bears some resemblance to Aiki-jo, and it is also known that the Kashima and
Katori Shinto Ryus, traditional Schools with a long history in Japan, contain a composite of such weapon arts
as bokken (sword), naginata (halberd), yari (spear) and jo (staff), though how much O-Sensei was influenced
by these is difficult to say. He also studied jukendo (bayonetted rifle) while in the army in the early 1900's,
and certain disarming techniques bear resemblance to some of the jo-dori (staff disarming). O-Sensei did
study, however, an obscure art known as Kuki Shin Ryu, the mystical art of the Yamabushi, or mountain
warriors. The Kumano mountain region near Osaka is famous for such mountain ascetics, and O-Sensei at
one stage of his life retreated there a number of times during the mid-1920's. The preferred weapon of the
Yamabushi is the jo, and according to Stevens, Kuki Shin had considerable influence on Aiki-jo. Kuki Shin
Ryu is also one of the nine traditions of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, and a photo of the 33rd Grandmaster of
Togakure Ryu, the late Toshitsugu Takamatsu Sensei, shows him holding a jo in a pose not unlike that of
Aiki-jo. A number of jo-dori within the Togakure Ryu also bear strong resemblance to Aikido jo-dori, though
again, more research is needed to verify this."

You can read the whole thing if you wish. http://www.aikidoaus.com.au/dojo/docs/weaphist.htm

Of course I welcome any comments.
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Old 02-21-2002, 11:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherman Byas It is known that O-Sensei studied the yari, or spear of Hozoin Ryu, which bears some resemblance to Aiki-jo,
Well I spent a whole morning training with the Hozoin Ryu boys in Nara and although there is no way you can say I saw it all several things come to mind.

Those yari are long - up to 12 feet.

The main stance as my suffering thighs learnt was very much like a horse stance.

A lot of thrusting and counter with the tip, especially with the cross blade.

With that cross-blade there was some nasty cutting action on the back-pull.

I really do not see the connection between Aiki-Jo and Hozoin Ryu but like I said my experience with both is limited.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-21-2002, 07:57 PM   #19
Thalib
 
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That's what I thought

Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR


Those yari are long - up to 12 feet.

The "yari" is too long to be familiarized with the "jo". The "bo" is closer to the "yari", a short one at least (half the size), but the techniques are still different.

Maybe a "jo" is a "jo", a "bo" is a "bo", and a "yari" is a "yari".
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Old 02-21-2002, 08:29 PM   #20
Tony Peters
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Question huh???

Quote:
Originally posted by Sherman Byas
O-Sensei did
study, however, an obscure art known as Kuki Shin Ryu, the mystical art of the Yamabushi, or mountain
warriors. The Kumano mountain region near Osaka is famous for such mountain ascetics, and O-Sensei at
one stage of his life retreated there a number of times during the mid-1920's. The preferred weapon of the
Yamabushi is the jo, and according to Stevens, Kuki Shin had considerable influence on Aiki-jo. Kuki Shin
Ryu is also one of the nine traditions of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, and a photo of the 33rd Grandmaster of
Togakure Ryu, the late Toshitsugu Takamatsu Sensei, shows him holding a jo in a pose not unlike that of
Aiki-jo. A number of jo-dori within the Togakure Ryu also bear strong resemblance to Aikido jo-dori, though
again, more research is needed to verify this."

You can read the whole thing if you wish. http://www.aikidoaus.com.au/dojo/docs/weaphist.htm

Of course I welcome any comments.
As a student of SMR Jodo I know for sure it (aikijo) didn't come from that. As an occasional student of Kukishin ryu I've never seen anything that would be remotely related to aikijo. Though many of the locks are familiar to aikido locks only in appearance. In reality the appication is nothing alike. Kukishin ryu is the meanest most painful art I have ever practiced and it can't be practiced for an extended length of time as it can be quite damaging phisically. While I'm paraphrasing here one of the tenants of Kukishin "first pain must be applied before it is safe to enter." This about sums up the differences in a nutshell.

Peace
Tony
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Old 03-06-2002, 01:34 PM   #21
erikmenzel
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Tongue

Still I think a lot of people miss the obvious truth.

Looking at some of the jo's people bring with them at seminars I can come to no other conclusion then that the jo used to be ....



a broom.

Last edited by erikmenzel : 03-23-2002 at 05:26 PM.

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Old 03-06-2002, 02:49 PM   #22
Liz Baron
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Jo...

Erik:

Have you read "Thief of Time" by Terry Pratchett?

Where the finest martial artist in the world is...a sweeper!

L


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Old 03-06-2002, 03:21 PM   #23
Johan Tibell
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If I'm not mistaken the bo came from a broken naginata, where the h*ll the jo came from I have no idead... My guess would be from a stick...

- Johan
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Old 03-17-2002, 02:17 PM   #24
Bruce Baker
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Short staff or spear?

You know, whenever I see replies that try to explain history, or why we have certain weapons, I wonder if staff fighting, spear fighting, and other weapons can be attributed to one single source?

Being able to adapt, integrate, and overcome the obsticles of is sometimes dependant upon the need for innovation because of the situation?

A tall walking stick from a Scottish man is a walking stick, but the same stick from a japanese man is a spear or a jo, or from a chinese man can be either?

I always remember what my first teacher said, "You should be able to fight with or without the weapon, it is merely an extension of yourself."

So, if we learn from lessons of all who have tried to teach us something of their years of practice, it merely becomes a moot point it it came from this or that? How effective is it now, and how does it help you now?

I am impressed by so many of you giving direct quotes and accurate history, but sooner or later practice will answer more questions than trying to pinpoint everything to the Japanese Empire, which is part the entire world, isn't it?

( I have a great respect for the Japanese people and those who have shared their martial arts, and culture, but there is a big world out there to learn from?)
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Old 03-17-2002, 07:22 PM   #25
Chuck.Gordon
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Quote:
Originally posted by Johan Tibell
If I'm not mistaken the bo came from a broken naginata, where the h*ll the jo came from I have no idead... My guess would be from a stick... ;
Sort of, not exactly. Almost every culture in the world has used a long stick for numerous purposes, among them whacking each other.

In some koryu, the bo being taught is related intrinsically to the naginata for the reaspons you state. Others use a bo because it's an ubiquitous, easily obtained, powerful weapon.

The jo is a short, skinnier bo. In some systems, the jo training is also considered 'what happense when you break your spear/naginata etc.

Where did it come from? The stick is probably the ur-weapon. Ookook grabbed a branch one day and whacked Ugluk. Jo-jutsu was born.

The Japanese just tended to codify and catalogue almost every weapons they could imagine. There are methodologies for using everything from fans to chopsticks to sticks to swords. Some ryuha even teach how to use serving platters to distract the enemy while you draw a weapon!

Shinto Muso Ryu jo is the most widely known and probably most deeply detailed system of jo, and it's a powerful, amazing art.

Aikijo, however, probably came from Ueshiba's (albeit somewhat limited) spear training and his bayonet training. It's a tool for learning how to move and learning maai ...

Chuck

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