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Old 04-29-2005, 10:32 PM   #1
xuzen's Avatar
Dojo: None at the moment - on hiatus
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 965
Eek! Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Hello fellow practitioners,

Just yesterday in practice, I had some really close call (accident). We were doing ni nin jo dori shomen tsuki. Uke can choose to strike gedan (low level thrust), chudan (mid level thrust) or jodan (face level thrust).

When doing weapon from yokomen, shomen or gyaku yokomen I don't really have a problem because I can visualize the movement arc by looking at uke's body movement. Hence it is far much easier to blend and effect a response.

However, yesterday when doing jo shomen tsuki (coming towards my throat/face), the jo is coming straight at me and I find it extremely difficult to judge the maai because when you are looking directly at a rod, I can't ascertain the depth of the weapon. Without knowing the maai (distance), timing become difficult; I remembered my mind became all confused and my body movement became jerky. Hence I had couple of very close call, if not for uke's control, I would be in a clinic right now.

My question is, is this also an issue for you? Does other practitioner face the same problem handling jo thrust and if yes, what did you do to make it less daunting.

Yours sincerely,


SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:49 PM   #2
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,126
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?


Try this: when uke does a shomen tsuki, you assume chudan kamae, and look at where uke's hands are (here's the key!). You'll notice that the hands "travel" slower and a slightly longer distance relative to the trajectory of the business end. Looking at the hands also increases the depth perception.

So, a slight deflection left or right off your centerline in chudan kame is enough to deflect the thrust of the jo. Sometimes you'll see people do a migi or hidari hasso kamae to deflect the incoming thrust.

In real kumi-jo, you would slide your jo down the shaft of uke's jo and take the fingers of the lead hand out. In other words, aim for the lead hand when deflecting.

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Old 04-30-2005, 12:15 AM   #3
Dojo: Canterbury Aikido Club
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 38
New Zealand
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Why should it be scary?

It has no intent to harm you. Its just a hunk of wood.
Its the wielder of said hunk of wood thats the issue.
If you are concentrating on the jo, (ken, tanto,- baseball bat, iron bar, gun) certainly you will be scaried, I would be too. So don't.
Rather train enough so you start to feel the movement as a whole and the 'weapon' becomes less an issue. Ma-ai becomes you friend and will constantly be adjusting and tweaking as the situation develops. Then, its almost irrelevant that you are being attacked with or with out a weapon. Almost.

That said, like most people that have trained for any length of time may know, it can go horrible pear shaped.
In the midst of a jo awase, that little dot they call the end of a jo, that should be attacking my knee area, found a way of occupying the space I reserve for my mouth. With the fastest of movements, I whipped my head back but unfortunately,---------.
Oh well, it gave the brown belt something to talk about later.
Then there was the time with the ken-------. That was even scarier.

Point is, things happen. Train well and you will avoid most of these problems, but we do a physical art and some 'close calls' will occur. But following your training will keep you in good stead.

The easiest parallel in daily life is like when you drive a car, you don't look at the steering wheel to know to turn it when you want to change direction, nor to look at the pedals when we want to speed up or slow down, indeed, if we did, the whole driving experience would take on a far more scary flavour.
The same with a aikido movement. Just train so you don't have to look at the attacking item, its just - there.

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Old 05-01-2005, 01:00 AM   #4
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

When I was fencing we would point the tip of our sword at our opponents eyes for exactly this reason. The best way I found to deal with it was to watch for the body movement that controlled the weapon movement.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-02-2005, 07:31 AM   #5
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,902
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Training with/against weapons really make you hone your technique. Yes, pointing at the eyes prevents some detection perception. Look to the body and and hands as described. Train slowly and pick up speed to get over the psychological impact.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:43 PM   #6
xuzen's Avatar
Dojo: None at the moment - on hiatus
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 965
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Thanks to all who replied.

I guess it all boils down to practice makes perfect. I will try this out, and watch for body movement as a gauge for entering into a technique.

And on the plus side, I found that effecting kokyu techniques can be spectacular when uke is on the other side of jo and coming at you with committed thrust. Sometimes aikido is just so beautiful.


SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 05-04-2005, 01:55 AM   #7
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Xu Wenfung wrote:
Sometimes aikido is just so beautiful.
Only sometimes?

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 05-04-2005, 02:03 PM   #8
Dojo: Aikido Institute Davis
Location: davis
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 63
Re: Jo shomen tsuki... is it scary?

Morihei Ueshiba said once said something like "Why do you watch the slashing sword? His hands are the key"
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