Today’s topic: Ni no Jo.

First let’s look at uchijo’s role.  Uchi starts in hidari tsuki no kamae and attacks with hidari jodan choku tsuki.  When the thrust is parried, uchi uses the jodan gaeshi technique to ward off the counter attack.  Rather than continue with jodan gaeshi uchi to the head, uchi strike with a gedan strike to uke’s left leg.  Finally, uchi attacks with migi choku tsuki.

Although uchi’s movements are not terribly complex, they do present some interesting ideas that are worth notice.  His “set,” or pattern of movements is a fairly typical routine that should be practiced as a solo routine.

Hidari Jodan Tsuki
Jodan Gaeshi Barai
Migi Gedan Uchi
Migi Choku Tsuki

This should be immediately recognized as a variation of the fifth jo suburi, Tsuki Jodan Gaeshi, with a thrust added to the end.  Using this set as an attack and countering it play a  large part in the 31 Kumijo.  In the first Kumijo, uke uses a variation of Tsuki Jodan Gaeshi to counter uchi’s attack.  In the second Kumijo, uke must now counter when being attacked with a variation of Tsuki Jodan Gaeshi.  The fouth and fifth jo suburi are perhaps the most important ideas to try to master early on in one’s study of Aiki Jo.

Interestingly, uke now uses a parry similar to the one uchi uses in the first Kumijo.  Uke starts in hidari jo no kamae.  When uchi attacks hidari jodan choku tsuki, uke parries with a barai movement.  I would best call this “choku jodan barai” since the jo is not turned at all as in kaeshi barai.  I have seen different ways to practice footwork for this parry.  One method is the slide backwards a little bit while parrying.  Another method is to move off of the line slightly to parry.  What I practice, and what I believe is the most reasonable, is the slide forward in the direction of the thrust, irimi.  This is the case that I will describe.  Uke uses an irimi movement and crosses the line of attack to dominate the space.  When done properly, the irimi footwork and the hips parry the thrust and create an opening.  Compare this to the first Kumijo, when uke uses irimi to get off of the line and counter thrust, and uchi slides slightly backward and crosses the line to parry.

Uchi: Hidari Jodan Tsuki
Uke: Hidari Choku Jodan Barai

Uke attacks with jodan choku tsuki.  Now it is easy to see why irimi is the best option besides sliding away or steppng off of the line.  Closing the distance and creating the opening with irimi makes this thrust extremely terrifying.  Be sure to practice this method very carefully, especially when practicing awase.  Uchi uses a flowing movement, jodan gaeshi, to defend.  Jodan Gaeshi is not just a way to turn the jo from a thrust to a strike, or a high level parry.  It is also a tai sabaki movement, where the hanmi changes from left to right or right to left, using the body motion to avoid the blow.  In this case, uchi slides across the line, changing from hidari to mige hanmi, dodging uke’s jodan choku tsuki.

Uke: Hidari Choku Tsukii
Uchi: Jodan Gaeshi Barai, moving to Migi Hanmi

Uchi renews his attack with a downward strike to uke’s left leg.  Uke’s parry is particular to this Kumijo.  First, the taisabaki.  From the hidari jodan choku tsuki position, uke pulls the rear right foot forward in such a way that uke’s new hanmi forms a 35-45 degree angle with uchi’s own hanmi.  So as uchi is trying to strike at uke’s leg from an ura position, uke maintains a posture that removes his leg off the direct line of attack, and also allows uke to stay in front of uke.  The thrusting end of the jo is allowed to fall down alongslde the leg.  The left hand grip opens up and the palm is facing upward, the fingers pointing down.  The right hand grip is rather firm and the arm makes a kokyu shape.  The right hand should be palm facing toward uchi, thumb downward, and about 12 inches away from uke’s own face.

Uchi: Migi Gedan Uchi
Uke: Hidari Gedan Uke Dome

Uchi wanted to get a nice strike to uke’s leg while moving to his rear.  When uke parries while turning to face uchi, uchi decides to attack to the front again with migi choku tsuki.  Uke simply uses irimi to enter to an ura position on uchi.  The end position has uchi thrusting in migi hanmi, and uke, ura, thrusting to uchi’s right side with hidari choku tsuki.

Uchi: Migi Choku Tsuki
Uke: Hidari Choku Tsuki

I have already covered the basic ideas for variations in the Kumijo in the previous article.  Here I will only detail the transition from Ni no Jo to San no Jo.  Once again, the tempo changes.  Instead of the final thrust, uchi must parry in uke’s thrust in such a way that allows him to continue with hidari gedan choku tsuki.  The most interesting method I have found is to incorporate a flowing practice of a set from the 31 no Jo.

Movements 16-18 from the 31 no Jo done after migi gedan uchi will both parry uke’s thrust and leave him in hidari tsuki no kamae.
16 – Draw the jo back to Gedan Gaeshi no Kamae
17 – Parry the thrust with Gedan Gaeshi Barai
18 – Let the jo turn with the Chudan Gaeshi

When done as one flowing movement, you immediately sweep the thrust aside and attack with hidari gedan choku tsuki.

Coming up next: San no Jo.


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