Aikido FAQ For Noobs - Ask questions here

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by aikiwolfie, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    Quick question. The jo is supposed to be a spear that's pointy on both sides, but I've never seen 1 in real and I can't seem to find a picture of it anywhere. Is a "real" jo made from wood? Probably. And how is it made sharp?
  2. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Blast

    Actually the jo is a weapon in it's own right, not a spear "pointy on both sides".There are photos of O Sensei training with a weapon that looks like a jo sharpened but I think it is a boar spear.

    The jo uses the same triangular kamae and many of the thrusting techniques from the spear. In fact the jo is a most versatile weapon since it can strike like a sword,thrust like a spear and sweep like a naginata.(halbred).In post 160 I am using the jo like a sword while shihan Kincaid is using the jo like a halbred.

    below O Sensei with the boar spear.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009

    KOKORO KAI Valued Member

  4. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    Sure, the jo is a weapon on it's own and it is versatile, but it's just that I'm told it's pointy.
    Nice picture by the way.
    One more small thing. Is that a boar spear? I just read on wikipedia (Yea, I know...) that a boar spear has "lugs" or "wings", and the spear O'sensei is wielding doens't. Or it's just the language, any regular spear is called a "boar spear".
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Boars are known to drag themselves along a sprear that is thrust into them hence the lugs.
    I hold a teacher's licence in aiki ken and aiki trust me the jo is not sharpened to a point.

    The photograph of O Sensei says it is a boar spear.....

    Any regular spear is called a yari and is often used from horseback or in formation.The spear was used much more than the sword on the battlefield.

    Boars were more often hunted with bow and arrow from horseback


    spear (yari)

    Attached Files:

  6. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Who told you that Blast?
  7. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    Okay, I'll trust you Koyo. I can't remember who told me this, but I know it was been told to me in my dojo. Though, there is a chance it's my own mistake. I'll ask it in my dojo when we pick up our jo's to train. What I do know is this:
    In my earliest aikidotraining we were corrected when the jo pointed to our body (with the basic thrust, the first thing you learn with the jo), the teacher hit the jo on our stomache and said you're dead.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  8. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    The jo should be thrust from a triangular posture so if the weapon is pushed back towards you it shall pass by your hip.

    That was probably the mistake your teacher was correcting.
  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    HI blast

    Found this photo of me performing a bind on the sword with a jo. You can clearly see the triangular posture used.

    The jo has been manipulated from a thrust to bring the rear of the jo into contact hence the reversed grip,

    Attached Files:

  10. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    Okay, so the jo is not sharp. So this makes me wonder. wouldn't the jo be a "better" weapon if it was?
    I remember training with the jo against the bokken. I don't know exactly what we were doing but I was wielding the jo and my partner the bokken. The movements we were doing ended by me thrusting the jo into her solar plexus a split second before she could cut me into 2. I thrusted first and, since I thought the jo was a spearlike weapon, she would have 'lost", but she said I did! I think that's strange, because this was the kata we were doing...

    Hopefully anyone understands :p.
    The more I think about it, the more certain I am that I'm told the jo is a spear which could be used on 2 sides (2 pointy things). Anyway, I'll ask tomorrow in class.

    P.S.: Koyo, I don't know what you mean by triangular posture. A teacher of mine said:
    -square: 2 shoulders to hips. Meaning: standing correctly.
    -triangle: from shoulders to hands. Meaning: I don't know, but it's used in lots of techniques. just do not bend your arms to much I guess.
    -circle: Movement, entry with the hips, quite obvious.
    he also said he did not 'completely' understand the teaching of the square, triangle and circle.
  11. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    You should have been attacking "along the line of the sword" See photo of jo against sword. My body movement has taken me off the line of attack while placing me in position to strike ALONG the line of attack.

    See koyo's book for an explanation of triangle circle and square.
  12. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    I probably should, but I can't remember what we were doing. It's probably a bad example. Good explanation in Koyo's book.
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Hey Blast,

    Just an idea came to mind, but maybe your partner is saying that the jo wielder "loses" in the form. So at the point in the form you have learned, it appears the jo could win, but maybe the sequence is that your partner deflects the jo and then strikes you down later. In other words, at the end of the form, the jo loses. Just a thought.

    A quick note about the triangles. Another way to look at it is that your two shoulders and the tip of the jo form a triangle. Your triangle must be sharp enough that your body is off the line of attack and the tip of the jo attacks along the line of the sword. There is another triangle would be your shoulders and hand, which is more talked about if no weapon was held.

    Even with your original premise of striking first, in real world, that could still be your death... only attacks affecting the central nervous systems and momentum have instantaneous effects. So even if you speared her first, she could have a few to several seconds to still strike you down before the effects from her wound would cause unconsciousness from trauma and loss of blood pressure to organs. I believe it is true that many or most duels in olden days eventually led to mutual slaying. (You must have intercepted, deflected, evaded, tricked or some how otherwise neutralized your partner's ability to cut you down while spearing her.)
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  14. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    The Jo so far as I know was never a spear. It was never sharp and has never needed to be. The Jo is a short staff weapon. Which still hurts a good deal if you take a good poke in the abdomen. I found this out the hard way.

    Similarly as a blunt object striking any vulnerable point in the body it will do damage. There is also a whole art based around the Jo called Jodo.
  15. Blast

    Blast Valued Member

    @ rebel: I don't know anymore, you could be right.

    So I asked. This was the answer:
    It derived from spears in earlier times, and that's why you can thrust with the jo. However the jo can also be wielded as a bokken because it is not a spear. So it is a versatile weapon and this is one of the (genius) things of O'sensei.

    So, koyo's right (of course he is), and all the others.
    And thrusting a jo does hurt!
  16. Citom

    Citom Witless Wonder

    This article by Dave Lowry is most informative about the origins and uses of the jo:
    Lowry talks about Muso Gonnosuke, the purported inventor of the jo, and style he founded, the Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu, as well as the supposed encounter with Miyamoto Musashi, which prompted the creation of the jo. He also talks about Morihei Ueshiba, and his contribution to the popularisation of the use of the jo, which is Aiki-jo.
    Note that Ueshiba Kaiso (Founder) did not study Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu, but based his Aiki-jo on the spear training that he did. He also based it on the juken-jutsu (bayonet art) training he received whilst he was in the army during the Russo-Japanese war.
    Some students of the Founder have gone on to study Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu, such as Shoji Nishio.
    I quote the relevant excerpt from Mr. Lowry's article below:
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  17. celticwolf

    celticwolf New Member

    I am 6 foot and 317 pounds. What would be a good weight to start aikido?
  18. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    The problem with aikido for one carrying some weight is the breakfalls, the constant falling and rising. I would go and watch the class you hope to join and speak with the instructor.

    Are you near Glasgow?

  19. celticwolf

    celticwolf New Member

    No. I am in Saint Clair Shores.
    I understand exactly what you are talking about. Thats why I asked.
  20. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    I had two students both around 15stone and tall. They became good at executing the techniques but found the breakfalls too demanding.

    Both took up western swordsmanship which includes grappling.

    Wish I could be of more help.

    maybe judo would be a better aption.

    regards koyo

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