Category Archives: Jo

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo

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

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(2)

Move around from left to right, then from right to left. Your jo should describe spirals and circles that recall the movement of the stars.

This is how you must get in touch with the spontaneity of the creative act, which only becomes possible if you hold your jo without gripping it tightly, and literally playing in the rhythm of your opponent’s attacks – in perfect simultaneity.

– – – 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

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(3)

Your mind must never intervene in your movement, no thought should assail your spirit.

You will then be able to master “ten-chi“, which is to say: “heaven and earth” in your own “sphere”, which will become equal in power to the cosmos, as if unreal and without weight.

– – – 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.139

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(4)

If you hold your jo or katana lightly, and with an empty mind (mushin),  you will immediately be filled with an internal energy, and your waza will burst forth in such an impersonal manner that it will seem to you that you did nothing,  so rapid is this instantaneous movement.

But if your hand is stiff when you hold your jo or katana,  and if your spirit becomes fixed on your adversary, you are heading for certain defeat.

– – – 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.141

O’Sensei no kuden: Jo(5)

A sword or a staff is an extension of the body. So unless you can handle it as if it were alive, you have not studied true Aikido.

– – – reported by Nidai Doshu,  Aikido,  p. 168

…Back on the mat!!!…

…in the dojo(136)….three generations of jo-kata!!!…

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…three spears in line…

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…in the dojo(79) – – – jo work!!!…

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…kyo…

All physical activity in the dojo tends to rewire the circuits in one’s head –  but none more so than the investigation of “kyo” :   the trajectory through air that feels like the path of least resistance for a staff or sword, and in particular the places where gravity and momentum are perfectly balanced so that the weapon seems to float.

The term “kyo” is a buddhist term – it’s one of the Japanese words for  “emptiness” in “emptiness is form, form is emptiness”.  And the experience of it is  profoundly counter-cultural.  Our culture, more than any previous  culture, surrounds us with a plethora of objects and leads us to interact more
with objects than with other human beings. Thus, we are entrained to  pay attention to the moment of grasping the object…

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