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Category Archives: Jo
The term riai means, literally, a blending of [ movements of the mind]. By understanding Aikido through riai, one sees that the taijutsu techniques were developed from movements using the sword. Therefore training with the sword will develop taijutsu techniques.
The Founder said that a weapon should be used as an extension of your body [ – and of your ki-body, thus defining your ki-envel0pe]. However he stressed that one should not develop a dependence upon [actually having] a particular weapon. To build [this way of using your ki (kimochi)] one should practice the basic exercises of ken and jo suburi, tai no henko, and kokyu dosa consistently. A good understanding of these basic exercises will enable the practitioner to move smoothly and surely with or without weapons.
– – – Morihiro Saito Shihan (presumably), inside front flap of Traditional Aikido vol. 1
As for myself, I am more a man of the jo than a man of the sword. This is not by my own choosing: one day, while I was still in Japan, and Ueshiba Sensei’s uchideshi, he asked me to go fetch my bokken. I took up a kamae in front of him, my bokken horizontal. He struck with a great blow that shook my whole body – and I let go of the bokken. “This will never do,” was all he said. “Go get your jo,” he added. I said to myself: “he’s going to do the same thing again,” and this time, I ‘organised’ my body, and then I waited for the blow. He struck again, very hard, and I think that this time it was he who felt that “electric shock”. He didn’t say anything, but looked at me and left. From that day on he asked me to practise with the jo. I believed that he thought I would be good at the jo, and so I practised hard. There were almost no jo techniques. From time to time, Ueshiba Sensei would give a public demonstration, and I would record it, and afterwards learn to embody his movements. When he was working alone [with the jo], at least from what I understood, he was trying – using the jo and sounds – to actualize or manifest the life of the universe. Actualizing or manifesting life, and love, with those movements…
– – – – – – – – – – Moving with the jo – and without – – – – – – – – – –
If you are holding a jo, let the jo rise and fall under the influence and control of ki.
– – – translated (and possibly paraphrased in translation) by Itsuo Tsuda, recorded by André Nocquet Shihan in his Hombu training diary, 1955-57. Published in Maître Morihei Ueshiba: présence et message p.135