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Old 06-08-2002, 05:20 AM   #1
isshinryu88
Join Date: May 2002
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Length of a Jo

How long should a jo be? I see them sold in lengths from 50 inches to 54 inches. I assume that if I were 6'5", I'd need the 54 inch one, and the 50 inch one if I were 5' tall. Aside from that, is there any specific guide? For example, in Karate, the sai should extend about an inch beyond the elbow (for poking purposes).
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Old 06-08-2002, 06:43 AM   #2
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
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When I bought mine, I was given two opposing opinions from different instructors: the most common opinion was to the level of my arm pit; the minority opinion was the standard length.

I have both. I like having a jo whose reach is similar to my opponent...I think larger partners often forget that I can hurt them, and remember better when faced with a big stick. (this was the reason for the minority opinion, I think, he knew my size made it difficult for me to get respect from most partners). I like the shorter one if I have to roll with it, or just warming up with it as it clears the ground more easily from my vertically challenged height---but I have learned to manage those with the longer jo as well. I will admit my bokken, while having a smaller hilt to fit my hand, is as long or longer than most others'.
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:42 AM   #3
Greg Jennings
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Among most aiki-jo there doesn't seem to be a standard size. The "armpit high" is what we use in our dojo.

Those aikido dojo that practice ZNKR Jodo Seiteigata or Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo probably use the standard length/diameter. It's like 7/8" diameter and 50.25" in length.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-08-2002, 12:48 PM   #4
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
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Speak softly, but....

There is the old saying of speak softly but carry a big stick, which can be more of hinderance than help in class.

If you are practicing by yourself, then either the shoulder high, or up to the arm pit rule applys as we are talking about using walking sticks to defend ourselves. Most jo's are based on the simple broom that is longer than the sword and shorter than a spear, but then again even spear length can vary from man to man, and country to country.

If the entire class has 54 or 60 inch jo, then it would be easier to learn techniques with that size jo.

They are fairly cheap, and although the ideal size for a taller person doesn't always give a perportional size for a smaller person training with a taller person, it will work itself out as practice makes techniques easier and easier by mere repetition. I find the many people are thrown off by the larger diameter or heavier jo, so I went back to carrying two for a while. One for classes and one for individual practice without a partner.

When in doubt, ask your instructor about the prefered length he/she would have you practice with in class.

I have a six foot/ three piece/break apart that is rather fun to unscrew into its pieces and adapt into routines we do in class, but it is not practical to swing in most smaller rooms, classes, or practice situations ... so I save it for at home/backyard practice.

Eventually, learning to use any straight piece of wood, whether broomhandle or walking stick will be second nature, but for class ... try to keep some uniformity as it expediates learning by the class by using simular jo's.

I prefer to use a 60 inch jo, which is shoulder high, makes a good walking stick. Since I have problem gauging the middle, I have added a string whipping (just like found in whipping the end of a rope) to the middle of mine, which makes it easy to find the balance point.

I would say that the ideal practice jo is shoulder height, but that is based on the purportional size of the jo to the each person so it can be comfortably wielded.
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Old 06-12-2002, 01:17 AM   #5
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
Location: Honolulu hawaii
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depends on the style

Jo length is one of two lengths either you go with the modern "armpit" measurement...or you use the traditional measurement of 4 Shaku, 2 Sun and 1 Bu which is just under 50"

Last edited by Tony Peters : 06-25-2002 at 08:29 PM.

Peace
Tony
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Old 06-12-2002, 06:32 AM   #6
REK
Join Date: Oct 2000
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Hey Dave!

Welcome to aikiweb! I hope you find this forum at least as helpful as Cyberdojo! I want to echo the armpit length suggestion. As the jo derived from a simple walking stick, there was not originally a standard length. The mobility of the weapon's movement is enhanced if it is proportional to the size of the person, IMHO. That is not to say that a larger (IE 54 inch)isn't useful. See if you can try out both types by borrowing at the dojo and then make your decision. Good jo tend to not be cheap.

Rob

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Old 06-12-2002, 09:16 PM   #7
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
Location: Honolulu hawaii
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UMMMM No

Rob not to jump you but you are not correct about your statement that the Jo is derived from a simple walking stick. The Jo has a very well documented origin. 1605 Muso Gonnosuke Katsukichi founded the Shindo Muso Ryu Jo system (pg60 Jo way of the stick, Pascal Krieger). Though Aikijo is not based on sword movements like SMR is the Jo has always been a weapon. That it is about the size of a european walking stick is anecdotal at best. The size of the Jo was originally very strickly regulated at what I posted above 4 shaku, 2 sun, 1 bu. The Jo of karate is of Chinese origin not Japanese (like most of Karate). Most Koryu that I have seen that use the jo use a Jo of very similar lengths to that of SMR Jo. Aikido for some reason uses a fatter jo. This is probably because the Aikijo system has it's much of it's origins in jukendo/bayonette fighting. Still the original Jo's of aikido seem to be sized in keeping with those of the Koryu. Which on a normal japanese person would not fit in an underarm.

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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Old 06-20-2002, 05:10 PM   #8
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Speak softly, but....

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
I prefer to use a 60 inch jo, which is shoulder high, makes a good walking stick. Since I have problem gauging the middle, I have added a string whipping (just like found in whipping the end of a rope) to the middle of mine, which makes it easy to find the balance point.
The "under the arm pit legth" is of course proportional and eliminates the guesswork about where the middle of the weapon is since a normal tsuki kamai will put your hands in just the right place when you are relaxed. You will find that the front fingure of the front hand will almost precisely be on the center point of the jo. This is not true when one uses either a longer or shorter weapon.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-20-2002, 06:19 PM   #9
REK
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Re: UMMMM No

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Peters
Rob not to jump you but you are not correct....
No sweat. It wasn't the first time, won't be the last. I stand corrected.

Rob

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Old 06-20-2002, 08:20 PM   #10
batemanb
 
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Re: depends on the style

The armpit measurement is common with what I was taught back in the UK, but when I queried that over here I was told absolutely not. The jo is a fixed length and measured in the traditional Japanese unit "Shaku". 1 shaku is 30.3cm and a jo should be 4.21 Shaku, which equates to 127.563cm. The diameter of the jo is also based on an old measure (the name of which I can`t remember), and should be 2.43cm

You can do the metric to imperial conversions



Last edited by batemanb : 06-20-2002 at 08:24 PM.

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