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Old 06-19-2010, 05:42 PM   #1
Mikemac
 
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Can't find colored jos, so...........

I was looking around and noticed that there aren't any colored jos for purchase. Is it wrong to have a colored jo? I got this idea about coloring each end of the jo with a different color to learn switches and turns during training (I'm a visual learner). I started playing with some designs below.......





I'm also considering using a dremel or darker stain to put kanji symbols on one end or both.

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Old 06-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #2
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

It is an interesting idea. If it helps you learn the weapon kata, then, why not?

Yours in training.
Dean.

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Old 06-19-2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Those look pretty cool. I have a purple one (purple heart wood) that I got my sensei to make for me. I've seen a striped (long ways) one in the dojo as well that looks really neat.Don't know if they would help with training but they are certainly unique and nice looking.

I always though it would be cool to have mine engraved with my name or just the makers signature in kanji.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:06 AM   #4
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

I have made several sets of weapons. (Much easier than you think). Even a purchased weapon can be colored. I would clear it with alcohol, or mineral spirits - lightly sand it with a fine paper and the stain it. You can use bottled ink mixed with alcohol as a solution and rub it on. My favorites is using ammonia to turn the wood black. However nothing beats beautiful wood grain. Hickory and walnut are great.

I do like you multi-color designs. I have planned to make a kanji stencil and use wax to seal the wood. Then stain the rest, leaving the kanji clear wood grain. I will try it on junk wood first.

Train hard!
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:17 AM   #5
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Thanks Trey.....

I was wondering what to seal the stain with. Wax sounds the best. I thought it was tung oil. I should make one for my sensei and ask him if he can demonstrate a move with it just to see if there is a visual difference, although I know people are attached to their own weapon.

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Old 06-20-2010, 06:49 PM   #6
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Michael McNamara wrote: View Post
I was looking around and noticed that there aren't any colored jos for purchase. Is it wrong to have a colored jo? I got this idea about coloring each end of the jo with a different color to learn switches and turns during training (I'm a visual learner).
Tradition aside, the problem that I see with this is that the two ends of a jo are identical. The only distinctions between them are fleeting, situational, and relative to your body: thus, it's "my rear hand does this" or "slide the front hand out to the end" and like that. If you try to change this to "take the jo by the red end", sooner than later the ends will be reversed and the red end will be the wrong one to grab.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Tradition aside, the problem that I see with this is that the two ends of a jo are identical. The only distinctions between them are fleeting, situational, and relative to your body: thus, it's "my rear hand does this" or "slide the front hand out to the end" and like that. If you try to change this to "take the jo by the red end", sooner than later the ends will be reversed and the red end will be the wrong one to grab.
That seems to me to be a bit myopic. It's not strictly about color. It's only a means to assist in learning. After some time, the colors will mean less because the moved will be innate.

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Michael McNamara wrote: View Post
That seems to me to be a bit myopic. It's not strictly about color. It's only a means to assist in learning. After some time, the colors will mean less because the moved will be innate.
I agree, it's not about color -- but whatever means you use to designate the ends of a jo as "this end" and "that end" seems to have the same potential problem to me, for the reasons previously explained.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Good call Mary. If the goal is to "mark" the ends of the jo, then I would take an oak mop handle and use a sharpie marker on it. I might even take a hard object and slightly indent the marking so that it could be felt. The assumption has to be that all of this is to help in the learning of basic movements with the jo. The goal has to be that the jo becomes an extension of the aikidoka, and no such marks would be needed.

On the other hand - you might just like a cool weapon to swing in class, or show to friends. :-)

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Old 06-22-2010, 04:56 PM   #10
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Without an airbrush, I can't seem to get a nice blending effect on these jos. I chose instead to do a carving on my friend's jo.....It's a purple dragon jo.

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Thanks for the wax tip. It really finished it off nicely.

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Old 06-22-2010, 08:45 PM   #11
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

1. There's always a question, from a traditional martial arts side, at what point one is too "flamboyant" (O-gesa or kiza) in Japanese. Purpleheart, for example - never seen it in Japan, but it's become acceptable, even in very traditional dojo in the States, at least. Multi-colored weapons, unless it is natural (heartwood and sapwood, for example), would be a little much for me.
2. The other question, however, is more interesting. "Self-visual" learning is mostly contraindicated in learning weapons. Same thing goes for using mirrors. Think of it this way. Mirror neurons are the hottest subject in neurology these days - the discovery of a whole battery of myriads of neurons that only fire when observing someone else doing something. In other words, from infancy, we truly do learn from observation. A baby observes her father drinking with a cup and the mirror-neurons are firing inside her in response, templating, if you will, what it <will> feel like to drink. When she starts trying to drink, she is not observing herself, as much as she is doing two things: she is trying to make the rest of her nervous system conform to what she's already "done" in the mirror-neuron realm. She's trying to associate a sensation with success - she needs to feel success, not observe success.
3. Therefore, the visual learner should be focusing on his or her teacher's movements, as they are the ideal (and hopefully, it's a worthwhile ideal). He or she then associates a certain "felt-sense" when most closely moving as the teacher does - and this becomes recognizable in the dark, or in the heat of two-person forms - and theoretically in combat.
4. Students who "watch" themselves have always been, in my experience, the hardest to teach. One says, "lower your hips," and they look down. "Make a transition with your hands like this," and they look at their hands. They essentially, incessantly, teach themselves how to move more like themselves. Back to mirrors: I therefore do not want my students training looking in a mirror. Or if they do it, for brief periods of time, to check if their form conforms to the image in their mind's eye, of their teacher (actually, one thing I sometimes do is stand in front of a mirror or window beside my student, and do the movement with them, so they can seem themselves AND me. But this is a rare teaching device).
5. So as for me, if a student came in the dojo with one of the admittedly quite handsome two-toned jo, I'd tell them to put it away, one for my perhaps old-fashioned aesthetics, but more important, because the intent, voiced here ("self-visual learner") is antithetical to proper learning.
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Ellis Amdur
P.S. Course, you are not my student, so do what you - and your teacher wants

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:02 PM   #12
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
too "flamboyant" ... unless it is natural (heartwood and sapwood, for example), would be a little much for me.
I got a lovely bokken from Kingfisher with 'caramel' swirls from heart wood that everyone comments/compliments. I get fidgity since it draws too much attention even though it is natural. I'd prefer folks were scared seeing me wield it instead of going 'oooh, pretty stick you've got there mister.'

Still, I'm reluctant to keep it at home since it has a really nice feel to it. Sensei recently repeated that it is not the right shape to be Iwama style so I've got to do something about that.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Tradition aside, the problem that I see with this is that the two ends of a jo are identical. The only distinctions between them are fleeting, situational, and relative to your body: thus, it's "my rear hand does this" or "slide the front hand out to the end" and like that. If you try to change this to "take the jo by the red end", sooner than later the ends will be reversed and the red end will be the wrong one to grab.
One of my senseis says that, since O Sensei's staff techniques were base more on yarijutsu (spear fighting) than on any staff art, using color to designate one end of the jo as the "spearhead" might aid our understanding of some jo kata. I have never seen him (or anyone else, for that matter) attempt this, but I am inclined to believe him.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #14
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

I have my name in katakana burned into one end of my jo. It marks out one end of the jo from the other and it is some thing that I can feel. It looks something like this.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:47 PM   #15
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
One of my senseis says that, since O Sensei's staff techniques were base more on yarijutsu (spear fighting) than on any staff art, using color to designate one end of the jo as the "spearhead" might aid our understanding of some jo kata. I have never seen him (or anyone else, for that matter) attempt this, but I am inclined to believe him.
Can you name a jo kata where one end of the jo is the "spearhead"? That is, where the same end is used to thrust or strike with throughout the kata?

(It's also worth noting that even if this story is true, jojutsu existed long before aikido, and jojutsu does not distinguish between the ends of the weapon. If we're doing yarijutsu in disguise, then let's use an actual yari...if that's what we're doing, which I doubt)
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:34 AM   #16
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

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Old 07-21-2010, 03:52 AM   #17
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Can you name a jo kata where one end of the jo is the "spearhead"? That is, where the same end is used to thrust or strike with throughout the kata?
Somehow I fail to recognize the need to use only the pointed end of the yari. Why do you consider I cannot thrust with the blunt end?

Anyhow, 31 no Jo thrust mostly with one end, except for a couple of movements (directed to uke's face, so...). Roku no Jo thrusts with the sharp end only. 1, 2, 3, 5 no Kumijo always use the same side... I can continue. I won't.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
(It's also worth noting that even if this story is true, jojutsu existed long before aikido, and jojutsu does not distinguish between the ends of the weapon.
And the connection between Jojutsu and Aikido / Aikijo is?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
If we're doing yarijutsu in disguise, then let's use an actual yari...if that's what we're doing, which I doubt)
Do it. By all means. I already posted the picture of O Sensei doing it. It's well documented that O Sensei derived his Aikijo partly from the modern Jukenjutsu he studied while serving. And I reckon a Juken shares a couple of similarities with a Yari.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:09 AM   #18
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Just to clear up a point I know the jo in the picture I posted above says "katakana" I don't have a picture of my own jo so I used a stock one I have for my website as an example.
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #19
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Somehow I fail to recognize the need to use only the pointed end of the yari. Why do you consider I cannot thrust with the blunt end?
I don't. You're supporting my point rather than disagreeing with it, Alejandro. Either:

1)Your weapon has two distinct ends, such that only one end can be used for certain techniques -- in which case, it matters which end is which, or

2)it doesn't, for all practical purposes. If you use both ends of your yari for all techniques, then for all practical purposes, it falls into this category.

To return to the subject of this thread, the stated purpose for having a jo with different colored ends is to allow the student to visually distinguish between them. This would make sense if you were using a staff in order to learn, say, a naginata kata: you have a practice weapon that doesn't have a single "business end", and you are trying to train in a technique for a weapon that does, so you need to somehow mark which end of your practice weapon is the "blade" end. But aiki jo techniques and kata don't do this -- the practice weapon IS the real weapon, not an imperfect surrogate, and the techniques don't distinguish between the ends.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:55 AM   #20
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Can you name a jo kata where one end of the jo is the "spearhead"? That is, where the same end is used to thrust or strike with throughout the kata?
First of all, what my sensei said leads me to believe this happens more than we might think. Second, both ends of the spear are used in yarijutsu.

Quote:
(It's also worth noting that even if this story is true, jojutsu existed long before aikido, and jojutsu does not distinguish between the ends of the weapon.
But O Sensi was a student of yarijutsu, not jojutsu.

Quote:
If we're doing yarijutsu in disguise, then let's use an actual yari...if that's what we're doing, which I doubt)
Of course that's not what we're doing. Aikijo is no more yarijutsu in disguise than aikido is aikijujutsu in disguise. It's its own thing. But what we know of O Sensi suggests that yarijutsu runs strong in the lineage of aikijo.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:42 PM   #21
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

I don't see any value in committing any attention during practice to distinguishing the different ends of the jo from one another. There are so many more important things to pay attention to. But if you decide to color code anyway, please don't use anything that will rub off on your partner's weapon.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #22
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
Of course that's not what we're doing.
Then if yarijutsu in disguise is not what we're doing, there is no need to distinguish between the ends of the jo in aikijo by means such as coloring them distinctive colors. That was the point that I made several times both before and since this yarijutsu digression.
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:28 PM   #23
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Then if yarijutsu in disguise is not what we're doing, there is no need to distinguish between the ends of the jo in aikijo by means such as coloring them distinctive colors. That was the point that I made several times both before and since this yarijutsu digression.
I think you're drawing a false dichotomy here. You are assuming that aikijo must either be (a) just spearfighting with a stick in place of the spear or (b) a staff art which has nothing to do with spear and which therefore cannot be usefully informed by spear thinking. Why can't it be (c) a staff art heavily influenced by its founder's study of the spear, the understanding of which might therefore occasionally be aided by spear visualization?
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:12 PM   #24
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
(c) a staff art heavily influenced by its founder's study of the spear, the understanding of which might therefore occasionally be aided by spear visualization?
+1
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:31 PM   #25
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Re: Can't find colored jos, so...........

All this depends on what style you study. Within Seidokan Aikido Rod Kobayashi-sensei made a clear distinction between the ishizuki and kissaki of the jo. He even developed a third jogi where he explicitly designed the various movements with that idea in mind. I have been told that Tohei was adamant about the jo having a kissaki and ishizuki. Hence the two jogi have applications of strikes, thrusts, and "cuts" that would be consistent with one end having a hard, pointed metal ishizuki (the "back") while the "front" having a moderate, long, multi-edged and pointed steel blade. And if you've ever seen a real yari point you'd see what I'm talking about.

Let me also point out that some koryu arts were sogo bujutsu (comprehensive arts) and were not limited to just one or two types of training. Many had multiple aspects. And it was not unusual to have consistency in training among empty hand, sword, bojutsu, polearm, tanto, etc., etc., etc. Often you would learn something a certain way that seemed irrelevant ("but the jo doesn't have a tip or back side!") only to find that the idea was to transfer training from other aspects (yari work for instance). If you think of the vast number of skills that must be taught it makes vastly more sense to try to keep things consistent. It also reinforces core principles of the art across the weapons taught and is often indicative of a certain style.

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