Hey there! This is the latest update to the Aiki Jo Notebook: it’s available for your Kindle reader from Amazon! That’s right. Part one has all of the basic techniques:

  • Suburi – 20 basic strikes
  • Roku no jo – 6 count jo kata
  • Sanjuichi no jo kata – 31 jo kata
  • Uke waza – Basic defenses
  • Awase – Blending exercises

Every good student takes notes! Just saying.


31 Jo and Kumijo practice Part One

As promised, I’m putting some of my practice notes online for all to enjoy, correct, and judge harshly. The most recent fruits of my labor are my notes on Saito Sensei’s 31 Jo practice, both solo and partnered. First, a few disclaimers:

Please don’t attempt to hold me in anyway whatsoever responsible for anything that happens to anyone while using these notes. They are intended for my own personal students, and for my own knowledge.

Please don’t hold them as gospel. I’m not an Iwama practitioner, but I prefer the Iwama method, particularly with the handling of the weapons. I HOPE that some of my Iwama friends will see this and offer corrections. For those of you that practice the jo, but not Iwama style, I feel that these notes will give you a wonderful base that will improve all of your Jo practice.

Please seek out direct instruction. My notes are based on study under instructors much more qualified than me, most notably Sensei Thomas Huffman, and Sensei Tim Haffner. If you live here in Jacksonville, and can’t find someone who knows the system to teach you, please do not hesitate to get a hold of me so that we can train. In lieu of that, if not in addition to that, I highly recommend purchasing the Aiki Jo DVD produced by Morihiro Saito Soke, available from Aikido Journal. I have not had the chance to purchase Ethan Weisgard’s book on the subject, but all the reviews he has received are glowing.

That being said, I would like to offer some advice concerning the practice. First of all, I am assuming the reader is thoroughly familiar with the 20 Jo Suburi. With a decent mastery of the suburi, any kata or kumi practice will not make any sense at all. I have notes on the suburi, but they are great guides to this already on the internet. Always practice with kiai. I won’t explain here why it’s integral, hopefully, you’ll take my word for it. Practice slowly and deliberately at first. Don’t rush it – you will miss details if you rush, and develop bad habits.

First, I would like to offer a list of the movements, in order, for the 31 Jo Kata. I have added terminology where there was none listed, and indicated which side is forward with the terms hidari and migi.

Starting from Hidari Jo no Kamae:

Hidari Kaeshi Tsuki
Jodan Dome Barai
Kaeshi Tsuki
Jodan Gaeshi
Migi Uchikomi
Hidari Uchikomi
Ushiro Migi Uchikomi
Hidari Uchikomi
Ushiro Barai
Age Uchi
Hidari Uchikomi
Hidari Tsuki no Kamae
Hidari Choku Tsuki
Jodan Gaeshi
Migi Uchikomi
Migi Gedan Gaeshi no Kamae
Hidari Gedan Gaeshi
Chudan Gaeshi
Hidari Gedan Tsuki
Jodan Gaeshi Migi Gedan Uchikomi
Migi Gedan Gaeshi no Kamae
Hidari Gyakute Tsuki
Chudan Gaeshi
Hidari Choku Tsuki
Hidari Choku Tsuki
Hidari Gedan Gaeshi no Kamae
Migi Gedan Gaeshi
Migi Gyakute Tsuki
Chudan Gaeshi
Migi Choku Tsuki
Hidari Uchikomi

If the terms seem inaccurate please feel free to offer your corrections. If they seem unfamiliar, I recommend comparing my nomenclature with a viewing of the 31 Jo Kata. A YouTube search should provide that easy enough. At first, practice the 31 as you practice the suburi. Then move on to practicing the kata with the feeling of awase, that is, imagining a partner that you are moving against. I hope this is helpful. Next up, 31 Kumijo, moves one through six, illustrated. Enjoy.

Jodori, henkawaza

This is a series of stills I pulled from some video clips of this week’s training. We are doing a jodori variation.
Uke: Patrick Brown
Nage: Autrelle Holland
Camera holder person: Heather Vega

1. This first photo is just the start. Uke attacks with a yokomen to the right side of my head.

2. Next is the initial awase. On this sort of attack, you can match the strike right at the outside of the wrist, but you have to catch it rather early. Also, you have to angle your own head out of the path that the jo takes, or you will smack yourself in the face with it.

3. The awase finished. I have completed my entry to his side, and there is an obvious atemi with the left hand to the face that is implied but not performed. For this waza, the left hand moves in a way similar to kaiten nage.

4. Here, I start unbalancing uke with pressing his neck down toward his off-balance position. A few things are worth mentioning here in this still. One, I could opt to finish with a choke by bringing the left hand across the front of uke’s neck and clasping my right hand which is behind the neck. From that grasp, I can also finish by throwing forward with a kubi nage technique. I’m using the left hand to monitor his right arm by pressing his elbow into his side and supress it’s movement so that I can safely continue.

5. My unbalanced partner. The only thing worth mentioning here is that he releases the jo with the right hand to catch his balance. The jo is already half disarmed! Stepping on that hand with shoes in a combative scenario is fine, and leads to different waza.

6. Here, what’s a little hard to see is that I stomp the jo to finish the disarm. This should work if the jo is held with one hand or two. In a combat scenario, continuing to hold the jo would find uke with his hand (s) pinned to with it to ground, with his hands being scraped on said ground, and open to obvious knees and fists. You can disarm a knife similarly, assuming you have shoes on. I don’t recommend doing this with a katana in mind, since in the speed of it all, you might stomp down on an edge up blade, which would suck.

7. Here, my responsible uke, gives a last ditch effort of attack, and lashes out with a rather wild roundhouse type swing. Instead of blocking, I zone away from it and finish by turning 180 degrees and finishing kokyunage.