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Home > Training > 31 Jo Kata With Awase
by Jonathan Diesch

As promised, a labour of love:

For this transcription, I have tried to avoid using Japanese terms for various techniques, partly because I can never remember them all, and mostly because it will limit the number of people who can follow what I'm saying. This is only a description of the kata as I know it, and may bear no relation whatsoever to anything your sensei has taught you.

Throughout this transcription YOU are 'doing' the kata side, HE is 'doing' the "anti-kata" (or the "awase"). Numbers 1-31 are you, numbers 1a-30a are him!

Step Description
1a starting L posture, he makes a straight thrust to your chest.
1 Starting L posture, you step off the line to your L and make a reverse thrust over his jo, to the chest.
2a stepping back, and slightly left, he rotates his jo to cause a deflection of yours, taking your balance to your rear L, and then makes a straight thrust to your face.
2 Stepping to your R, you raise your jo to protect your face, and block upwards, cocking your wrists as you do so, to keep contact, and stop his jo flying off into space. From here rotate your jo from under his to on top, and strike it down, taking his balance to his front R, and...
3 Thust to his L floating ribs.
3a keeping the end of his jo low, he steps back into R posture, and turns his hips towards you, blocking your strike with his jo vertical. From here he makes a spiral movement with his jo, that brings on-line with your face, and takes your jo, and your balance, to your rear L. Then he makes a straight thrust at your face.
4 You avoid this thrust by making a BIG step to your R, across the line, raising the jo to protect your face, NOT blocking him! As you bring the jo up, allow your back hand to slide into the middle of the stick, then let go with your front hand so that you can rotate the jo through 180 deg. catch the end again, step forward and...
5 make a straight cut (shomen).
5a stepping back, he absorbs your cut by making an identical cut to yours, in mirror-image.
6 So drop the end of the jo to your R, step forward, around the end of his jo, and cut again. You should now be in L hanmi.
6a he makes another identical cut, but is a little slow with it, this time you catch his jo, and send him off-balance to his rear L. He should now be in L hanmi.
7 You now pivot to face the opposite direction, and make a straight cut to an imaginary persons' head.
7a he recovers his balance, and attempts a straight thrust at your back.
8 You step forward, making shomen again.
8a he raises his jo to hit you on the head, stepping forward into R posture.
9 You are in L posture, L hand forward on the jo. You raise the end of your jo to your front L, and then make (kaiten-ashi) by pivoting on the balls of you feet through 180 deg. then stepping FORWARD with your L foot. As you do this swing the jo round, and down diagonally, to strike at his knees. Ensure that you turn your wrists over so that you PUSH the jo round not pull it. If you pull you cannot stop the jo easily. Do not allow the jo to go further than 90 deg past his knees.
9a with his jo still raised he steps back (quickly!) then steps in again to strike your head.
10 Step forward on your L foot, bringing the jo up horizontally under his elbows, to prevent him cutting you, IRL you go under his chin, or put the tip straight in his throat.
11 now drop the end of your jo, allowing him to finish his cut, stepping round to your L, and making shomen.
11a he avoids being hit by drawing back, and meeting your strike,
12 You are now in L posture, so is he. This is a neutral position. Release the jo with your L (back) hand, uncross your hands and grip the jo firmly, pointing towards him maintaining zanshin.
12a he does the same as 12.
13 Step forward, L posture, and thrust to his chest.
13a he steps to his R, and spirals under your jo, as in no 2a, then thrusts at your face.
14 Step across to your R, and avoid the jo as in no 4
15 Make shomen as no 5.
15a he steps back, and makes a mirror image shomen, as no 5a. He is now in R posture, with the R hand forward.
16 To avoid having the end of your jo smashed by his shomen, pull the jo back along your L side. Pull the jo with your back hand, through the front until the end of the jo is in your front hand, then push the jo through the back hand with your front. If you do this in reverse you will get your hand broken! Keep the jo in close to your body, with the front R hand at about chest height. You should be in R hanmi.
17 Now step forward with your L foot, around his jo, and punch it forwards to strike his R knee.
17a he steps back into L posture, and simultaneously turns his hand over, allowing the end of the jo to drop, he puts his left hand in front of the R, and slides the R hand to the back of the jo. This blocks the knee strike, and exposes you to...
18a he draws his jo back, and makes a straight thrust at your knee/thigh
18 you step forward and to the R, turn to face him, and rotate your jo through 180 deg. to strike his stick down with the back end, being carefull to keep the jo at an upward angle so that he is knocked down and away from you. This also exposes his leg, so...
19 Draw back slightly, and thrust at his ANKLE.
19a he steps back, drawing his L foot out of the way, and turning to face you, as he does this he lifts the back end of his jo, so that is vertical, and blocks your ankle thrust to the side. At this point he thinks he can hit you on the head, so raises his jo for shomen uchi.
20 You raise your jo to protect your head, but then realise that you can hit his R knee, so step forward and to your R, turning L to face him, and strike to the back of his knee, dropping onto one knee as you do so.
20a having raised his jo above his head for shomen, he sees you going instead for his knee, so steps back to withdraw the leg, and swings the jo back down to block your strike vertically.
21 You pull you jo back against your side, to avoid it being hit, as in no 16.
22a he raises the jo to make a straight strike to your head.
22 You are in R posture, sitting on your L leg, you stand up and step forward, bringing the back end of the jo forward, to thrust at his chest.
23a to avoid this thrust he pivots his lead foot, turning off the line, and facing you. the jo is still raised. He then slides the jo though his hands to thrust downwards at your chest, over the top of your jo.
23 You step to your R side, turning to face him, and rotate the jo vertically through 180 deg. to strike his jo downwards and away from you, exposing his side.
24 You make a straight thrust at his L side.
24a he pivots to his R, avoiding the thrust, then back to his original position, at the same time he drops the end of his jo under yours, and spirals it over the top, knocking you off balance to your front and L, this is similar to nos 2a and 13a, only upside down.
25 You draw your jo back to regain your posture, and make another straight thrust to his ribs.
25a he turns to his L again, this time rotating the jo through 180 deg. vertically to strike your stick down. He then makes a straight thrust to your face.
26 You make a BIG step back and slightly off the line to your R pulling the stick back to your R side, as in no 16
27 Now step forward, punching the jo forwards to strike his knee as in no 17. You are now in R posture.
27a he steps back, dropping the front end of his jo to block
28 Step forward, and to your L, moving past the end of his jo, and raise your jo ABOVE your head, so that you can thrust downwards at his chest/neck, with the lower end.
28a he lifts the front end of his jo to vertical, and steps back, avoiding the thrust. As he does so, he strikes the end of your jo sideways, and he finishes with the jo held vertically, to side of his head (hasso no kamae (?))
29 When your jo is stuck sideways, allow it to rotate HORIZONTALLY through 180 deg. then drop the jo down to a mid-level position, and...
30 thust at his chest (chudan tsuki).
30a he steps off the line to his R, and makes a straight strike to the end of your jo.
31 Absorb the force of his strike, letting the jo travel naturally around your body, step forward and to your L, turning to face him, and strike him powerfully across the back of his head, caving in his skull, and finally finishing the whole business! You should finish in L posture, with your right hand forward on the jo. He should be flat on the floor, bleeding, or alternativley in R posture, with his R hand forward on the jo.

This is not a perfect transcription, many of the techniques are really hard to explain in words, as you have probably seen(!) So don't take this as gospel! (Also don't leap down my throat for getting it all wrong!) I am intending to put a pamphlet together with a full set of photos to illustrate this kata at some point, perhaps then it might make some sense :)

I hope that this is of at least SOME use to someone, as it has taken me 3 hours to write, and I have blisters on my typing finger!

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