AIKI JO TEXT ONLY AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

My work on the illustrated manual has been slow for several reasons. First is the opening of my school which has been as time consuming as one can imagine. The schedule of the school has made it difficult to coordinate with photographers and training partners to pose for the book. However all is not lost. I’m offering a text only PDF version of the manual for 15 USD. This is a modest fee considering the time that I have put into it and the detail and organization of the material. All monies received will directly support my school and production of the illustrated version. To the literally hundreds of people across the world that downloaded earlier drafts for free, I hope you’ll show your support for the final draft copy. Please email me for ordering information.

FINALLY.

Hitohiro Sensei book

I can’t wait.

REVISING THE AIKI JO NOTEBOOK AND MANUAL.

I’m currently working on a final text draft, which I expect to have finished by end of the year. I am happy to say that I have a satisfactory account of the Aiki Jo system that will be available to all next year.

INTROSPECTION.

I was recently asked a few questions regarding my thoughts and beliefs on Aikido. The result of which was that I felt the need to write out, at length, a personal account of what has been going on in my head this entire time. By that I mean, how I even got into Martial Arts, and what has been on my mind when I’m training, and when I’m not training. I want to share with you Part Four of my Introspection. Please read at your own discretion. These are my own highly personal thoughts, and I have no intention of defending them to anyone. Discussion on my thoughts, all day long.

Part Four: Maybe I’m not good enough for Aikido.

I have met some very convincing Aikidoka. By that I mean I found something so remarkable about them, that I wanted to somehow emulate that quality in myself. At such times, I feel like a wannabe. I have to look at other people doing things that I wish I was doing, and I have to look from the outside in. It’s entirely awkward, because I have so much, if not too much regard for my own autonomy. That’s a statement I make against the higher powers that be. I’m so sick of the fact that for some reason, a person that has “only done Martial Arts for 20 years” has little if nothing to say in matters, since the 50, 60, and 70 year olds have laid down the law. At times I find it dehumanizing. I have to withdraw my concern for anything that they do, and work on my own shit. Yet, I still have so much respect for the fact that they are there, authentically as such. I don’t envy them, and I would not trade places with them, I just find that the power and respect differential in the culture of Martial Arts hierarchy to be disturbing at times. Still, I think about Ueshiba, and what he must have went through in his life to provide what has been almost the singular activity in my life that I love completely. Aikido has hard standards that I find unbearable at times. Whether it’s just learning and training the waza, the techniques, or the reading, the studying, the protocol, the culture…all of it, at times, drives me insane. I refer to this as being in the state of having a “fried brain.” My little brain can’t take it at times. So many times, I have thrown my black belt, hakama, weapons, gi, what have you, under the bed, in a closet somewhere, and just left it alone. At least I would try to. It calls to me. It says, “Autrelle. Autrelle. Au-trelllllllle…hey. Psst. Psssssst. Pssssssst. PSSSSSSSSSSST!!!! Remember us, your gear? Come on, come over here, you little guy, you. There you go, pick up the Jo first. Oh yes, YESSSSSS. Remember that feeling? Now the Bokken. Oh yeah. Remember how you used to take us to the parks in the early mornings by the river? You would swing us around, and thrust, and yell in such a fantastic manner with each stroke! Just take us out for some air. No one has to know. It will be our secret. You don’t even have to wear the gi, today. Just take us out for some air…”

I swear to you, this really happens. My fucking weapons talk to me. So I give in, I oblige them. Just for that day. And the next. Then, dammit, a month has gone by, and over lunch, my weapons and I will be having a conversation:

Jo: Hey Autrelle, you know what we haven’t done in a looooong time?

Me: Don’t start…

Bokken: Oh! Jo, I was just going to say that…

Me: Both of you fucking knock it off, I’m not in the mood.

Jo: But Autrelllllllllllle!!!! Come on!!!! It’s so much fun!

Bokken: You know you want to. You KNOW you want to.

Me:: Fuck both of you. You both make me fucking sick, and I should turn you each into firewood.

Bokken: YOU WOULDN’T!

Jo: He joking, Bokken. He loves us. He’s just pissed because we’re reminding that he’s not doing what he really loves, and this is his way of lashing out. It’s not about us. Don’t be so sensitive.

Bokken: Well, what do you think? We could go see Dee and the guys there, go old school? Maybe Leo in Orange Park, catch up on, you know, the federation you’re a part of. Oh! Or James! He always sends you messages and invites to train. And we all know how badly you want to train with Perry…

Me: Seriously, fucking quit it. Just knock it off.

Jo: (Stares at me) You’re being a bitch right now.

Bokken: (Winks at me, bats lashes, pouts) Please Autrelle, please??? Just take some ukemi. You love that the most, you know that.

Me: (Sulking) Fine. If it will make you two happy, fine. Fine.

At this point, the weapons exchange a knowing glance at each other. They know that they have me. It’s sad really. I feel at times that I can barely live up the the ideas of inanimate pieces of wood. My Aiki-Psychosis has given them a voice that berates me for not training when I try to back off of it for a bit. They provide encouragement and support for what I want to do, even when I don’t feel like doing it, or I feel like no one cares at all. It’s wonderful. At times, it’s all I need.

TRIBE-K INSTRUCTORS SEMINAR.

This weekend’s seminar was hugely successful. I say that not because a bunch of money was made, or someone looked really cool doing something, but because so many different instructors and students from up and down the East Coast came together. I was more than honored to be a part of this event. One of my fellow Aikido instructors, a wonderful gentleman by the name of James Woodard, visited us as a guest and participated in the entire seminar. He is senior to me in rank, experience, and ability, so it was wonderful to get to roll around with him and receive knowledge from him as such.

Let’s get on with it. Guro Israel Cruz also served in the Special Forces with my Kali instructor, Guro Sean Hurst. He is currently employed by NYPD. He taught a simple yet highly effective entry against aggressive punching, followed by a fundamental controlling position. From there, we did several follow ups based on how the partner would try to recover from the control position. He then showed us what I felt was the most painful compliance hold I have felt in a long time. Essentially a variation of what we call Yonkyo in Aikido, it’s right up there with Nikyo and Sankyo, extremely painful!!!

Anthony Peters taught a section using a tee shirt to counter knife attacks. He showed three methods that allow you to quickly remove your shirt and use it for combat. Then he addressed the basic angles of attack from long range, followed by using the shirt in middle range to cinch the attacking hand and disarm the knife.

Sean then went on to address our roles as Martial Artists in society, whether we are military, LEO, or civilian. Essentially, since we are equipped with the necessary skills, we are expected to act on the behalf of those that need our help, whether it’s providing CPR, or just writing down a license plate number. He then demonstrated the efficacy of the tactical light with two systems, one from Surefire and one from Phantom Warrior. Phantom Warrior only sells to military, so you can imagine that this unit had several special features for those that serve. Sean and Israel went on to demonstrate a very thorough overview of knife defense, covering all of the basic principles from the slash, thrust, hostage scenario, and knife versus knife grappling.

Then I did my portion, which felt like so little considering the pedigree of the instructors that came before, and in front of James, who is a senior Martial Artist as well. I went over a few basic trapping drills from Wing Chun/JKD, and briefly explained the purpose of trapping. I used the trapping drills as a review and a prefix for Aikido/grappling suffixes. In other words, each trap was concluded with a takedown or joint lock. In keeping with my current trend to emphasize individual critical thinking along with learning as a group, I encourage everyone to see these as patterns for ideas, rather than rigid facts to be memorized. I asked everyone to consider why these things would even be relevant to them, and if not, to freely discard them. Of course, afterwards, I gave my little speech about the role of Martial Artists.

Then my brother Joey did an awesome presentation of Panantukan striking sectors, along with the basic ideas of ground fighting for self defense. These were drawn from Silat. A lot of the stuff that he does is frankly over my head, and it’s hard for me to detail it without know exactly how to express what he taught.

Overall, the whole experience has left me feeling light and elated. I really love Martial Arts. Words are not enough.

AIKI JO’S HIDDEN SECRET: ROKU NO JO.

Big things do come in small packages. While I have been working on the AJNM, I have also been sorting what exactly needs to happen to make Aiki Jo a proper fighting method. I have so far concluded that mastery of the various Kamae is the first part, and understanding how and why the Kamae changes, offensively and defensively. Certain options and variations naturally lend themselves to a particular posture, yet the postures are all fluid and interchangeable. That’s when it hit me that Roku No Jo is just that, a way to practice the various changes from each Kamae. Here’s what Roku No Jo is:

  1. Starting in Hidari Tsuki No Kamae, thrust with Choku Tsuki
  2. Raise the jo with the Jodan Gaeshi movement
  3. Step forward and strike with Migi Uchikomi
  4. Draw the jo back to Migi Gedan Gaeshi No Kamam
  5. Step forward and strike with Hidari Gedan Gaeshi Uchi
  6. Turn the jo with the Chudan Gaeshi movement, which puts you back in Hidari Tsuki No Kamae, and starts the practice again

This is the first stage. Later, you combine the counts of the movements, eventually making this a two count exercise. I find that if you use this as an exercise to practice Kamae, instead of strikes, you will find a key ingredient to using the jo flexibly in a combat situation. Here is what I’m talking about:

  1. Start with Hidari Tsuki No Kamae, which is the basic Jo Kamae
  2. Prepare to change with Jodan Gaeshi
  3. Make Migi Chudan No Kamae, the basic striking posture, same as when holding the Ken
  4. Draw the jo back to the rear to make Migi Gedan Gaeshi No Kamae
  5. Bring the forward and make Chudan Gaeshi No Kamae
  6. Turn the jo with Chudan Gaeshi and return to the first posture

And there it is. Right there in front of me. A drill that teaches you the all of the basic postures: Tsuki No Kamae, Uchi No Kamae, Ushiro No Kamae, Chudan Gaeshi No Kamae. It also teaches the basic jo changes: Jodan Gaeshi, Gedan Gaeshi, and Chudan Gaeshi. Note that there is a definitive high, middle, and low in the Kamae and the jo switches. Think about that.

200+ AND BARELY A PEEP.

I’ve been checking the stats from my Box.net account, and since uploading it on May 24th, the Jo Manual has been downloaded 187 times.  That doesn’t include those people that were kind enough to email me to request a copy.  All together, that’s over 200 copies out there!  Where’s my feedback!?  I’m getting to the next stage, which is revising the text and illustrating the movements.  As far as text revisions, the main point will be to revise the terminology again so that it is consistent, from Suburi to Kumijo, and then add a glossary.  As far as illustrations, I’m going to illustrate ALL of it.  Then I can get to work on the Aiki Ken and the Ken Jo no Riai books.  So, talk to me people.  Let me know what’s up.