I write this post as a follow-up to a previous inquiry I made here a few months ago regarding Jodo-training. I thought it might be fitting to write a follow-up to that post just for the hell of it, and perhaps some of you are interested too.
At the time of that earlier post I was concerned that training Jodo alongside aikido might be "harmful" and hamper progress in one or possibly both martial arts.
The response from this forum was quite positive though and I decided to go ahead with Jodo studies. The choice was made easier as my aikido-dojo belongs to the same martial-arts organisation, Budo-kai, and had recently moved to a new location literary next door to the Jodo section. (it also means I pay only one membership-fee but can train all the martial-arts of our club including jodo)
My first lesson was interesting on many levels. It was also the first conflict between aikido and jodo I encountered: The first "combat" stance.
The first stance is basicly standing with your feet close together like at attention with your jo held firmly in your right hand. As you can imagine it was difficult to get used to and to retain balance after 7 months of getting your mind used to stand in aikido-stance(s).
It was also difficult to get back into that stance after you done a movement. My instincts told me to put my foot one step ahead of the other in aikido-stance rather than the jodo-stance of feet next to each other. Actually I still forget that sometimes during Jodo.
I think if you are distracted, or experiencing stress you may be more prone to do stances/moves that you already are "programmed" to do , in this case aikido moves/stances. I'm sure it would be vice-versa if a jodo-student with some experience were to take up aikido.
The problem with stance(s) would come back to haunt me at a later stage as well. For instance, one of the things bout aikido-stances is the way your shoulders are pointed. If I stand in aikido-stance with my right foot in front, my shoulders are pointed (roughly) North-East and South-west. In Jodo I was frequently reminded by my sensei to keep my shoulders pointed West-East during several moves/positions.
I suppose it sounds simple enough on paper to keep your position in this or that way, but when you stand on the dojo floor and are in the process of excecuting a full kata, then your mind starts to use old (aikido)instincts.
But this was and still is just a minor annoyance as it is a matter of training and experience.
Other than the possible/real conflicts between aikido-moves and jodo-moves, I found Jodo to be quite fun and very rewarding. Our training is from start to finish a lesson in jodo-katas. (minus warmup) We train these katas in segments by ourselves and of course with a partner. As of this moment, I find that I'm more concentrated when training jodo rather than aikido. In aikido you almost always practice with a partner which is more dependant on the partner in order to concentrate and focus. I am also of the opinion that training with weapons, jodo or aikido, is a very good way to train your mind in the art of relaxing and concentration, both of which I usually lack.
So if anyone here is interested in starting with jodo then I can strongly recommend it. I see jodo as a way to enchance your abilities both on and off the training mat, and that is something we aikidoka strive for with our training as well.
Thats bout it I think. In a few months, (I think), I will begin my Iaido training. I'll be sure to make a report on that too although I don't think Iaido will be that much of a hinderance for my aikido studies.