The Jo is a 1.276 m (4.18 foot) long wooden staff and is one of the weapons that is taught as part of a comprehensive Aikido instruction. Historically the Jo would have a spear head attached to increase its length and the damage it inflicted on an opponent.
In Aikido instruction there are several ways that the Jo is taught. The Suburi are the elementary exercises used to help the student become familiar with the weapon. At higher levels of Aikido learning these exercises also help to reinforce empty hand (taijutsu) forms.
Jo Suburi are solo exercises with the Jo. There are 20 Jo Suburi. The following links contain information. I will update this section once I have a better feel for the moves and can put them in my own words.
For the Fifth Kyu test the student must be able to demonstrate the first five Jo Suburi. In the following examples I talk about “knuckle” position. This is just a way to help describe how you are supposed to grasp the Jo for the different moves. When I say “thumb knuckle pointed up” it means that the your fist is in an orientation with the thumb toward the ceiling and the pinky finger is below it towards the floor.
Some of the suburi involve starting in Tsuki Kemae. Sensei wishes us to use a horse stance for this move (both feet in same orientation) instead of a hamni. Eventually we will work the hamni into the Tsuki Kemae. The Jo should be held above the belt, the back arm should have an almost 90 degree angle to it.
|Tsuki Gedan Gaeshi||
|Tsuki Jodan Gaeshi Uchi|
San-ju ichi no jo kata
There are 31 (San-ju ichi) moves in this jo kata. (I am using a mix of terms I know and english until I can find the proper terms for each move.) The following is a very brief synopsis of what happens for each move.
Starting from left hamni with jo planted in front of left foot with left hand grasping the jo at just below the its upper third:
|Ni||Overhead block (Hands remain from position of last tsuki)|
|Shi||Overhead block (Hands go to middle of jo, both palms forward)|
|Go||Jo rotates clockwise overhead. Back hand releases and goes forward. Perform a shomen strike. Your back foot steps forward and becomes your front foot.|
|Roku||Walking shomen strike. (Jo swings around on the front foot side. Step forward with back foot. Perform shomen strike.)|
|Shichi||Reverse direction while bringing Jo up to prepare for shomen strike. Step forward with back foot and perform shomen strike.|
|Hachi||Walking shomen strike. (Jo swings around on the front foot side. Step forward with back foot. Perform shomen strike.)|
|Kyu||Rotate your forward hand so that the index knuckle is over top of the JO. Perform a full Tenkan with Jo going out to the side (sweeping around). The Jo should end pointing out to your right side (not behind or in front of you.)|
|Ju||Big step forward with left foot. Bring right foot behind. Jo overhead block. Hands stay where they were from the previous move.|
|Ju ichi||Shomen attack, step forward with front foot.|
|Ju ni||Step back with back foot. Back hand becomes front hand. Assume Tsuki Kemae.|
|Ju shi||Overhead block (Jodan)|
|Ju go||Switch hands shomen attack. Immediatly following the shomen go into the next movement.|
|Ju roku||Gedan (steping back)|
|Ju shichi||Gaeshi forward|
|Ju hachi||Step back. Release with the top hand, rotate the jo with the middle hand. The top hand becomes the back hand. Step back.|
|Ju kyu||Tsuki to the ground in front.|
|Ni ju||Bring Jo up and over the head, perform shomen attack while switching footing. The left knee should be on the ground, the right knee up. Right hand in front. Immediatly go into the Gedan.|
|Ni juni||Stand up. (Find term for left hand is front, right hand is back, jo is at head level thrust jo out at opponents head level.)|
|Ni jusan||Back (right) hand lets go. Go rotates down as you step back. End up in Tsuki Kemae.|
|Ni jugo||Tsuki, Immediatly into next…|
|Ni jushichi||Gaeshi, steping backward this time.|
|Ni juhachi||Stand up. (Find term for left hand is back, right hand is front, jo is at head level thrust jo out at opponents head level.)|
|Ni jukyu||Back (left) hand lets go. Go rotates down as you step back. End up in Tsuki Kemae.|
|San ju ichi||Shomen with legs changing orientation.|
Kumi Jo is a partnered exercise with the Jo. (From what I can tell it takes the 31 Kata and makes it into a partnered Kata.) More info later when I come to this aspect of my training.
Sensei vetted this video of the San-ju ichi no jo kata: