Sticks out

As very few people (three) turned up I thought we would have a play with the sticks or jo to be more precise. Fortunately Tony popped his head in so we were able to unlock the weapons box and have one each.

Here we have Manny practicing a straight jo strike, tsuki. Most of the Tomiki kata that include jo use this strike to initiate the movement. One can imagine having a pointy bit or even a blade on the end of the jo and you are trying to impale your opponent on it.

Of course there are lots of ways of doing damage with a jo as well as poking people with it including swinging it.

The real benefit of using a jo for me is that it is an extension of your own body. In this respect it emphasizes aikido movement that is more subtle in open handed techniques. Also the longer reach of the jo means that you can upset uke’s balance more obviously. Here we were practising projecting uke as they try to grab the end of the jo. You can see how much more you can off balance uke without over reaching yourself.

We played around with a few techniques. One of my favourites being a mae otoshi on uke who is trying to tsuki you in the stomach. Here we are looking at the hand positioning. This is great as you can really get a lot of leverage on the arm to help lift and project uke. We also did a technique that you can use if uke tries to block the mae otoshi. I had real trouble getting this to work with John, he seemed to be unbendable at the waist, which shows good posture. This was very interesting for me and I am going to have to work on the positioning, angle of movement and my posture to see if I can sort that one out. Thanks for the lesson, John.

Finally a note of caution to myself. The day before class I had been shown some jo against jo techniques. This was great fun and I thought we could have a go at them in class. I don’t think it went very well, mostly because I didn’t have a good enough grasp of the movement to teach it effectively.

“Make sure you know what you are teaching.” Or at least don’t pretend to know and make sure people realise that this bit is experimental, I think they quite enjoy that.