Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Jo as uke

Part of taisabaki is learning how to move around while dealing with external masses connected to your center. Uke is an example of an external mass, as is a jo stave. For that matter, your arms are external masses. One way to practice aiki principles when you don't have a partner is to practice the jodo kihon and kata. You will find that the same demons that pop up to confuse and disrupt our taisabaki in aikido pop up in jodo.
As an example, suigetsu in jodo is roughly analogous to shomenate in aikido. For each of these techniques tori slips diagonally forward(tenkanashi) inside uke's attack then raises a separator - either the arms or the stick. You will find in both techniques that both the footwork and the arm movements are cleaner if you synch the rise and fall of the center with the rise and fall of the arms/stick. So the jo technique becomes an act of falling forward inside the attack with the stick at sagejo position then the jo rises to suigetsu during the recovery step. This matches the rise and fall of the center with that of the jo so that you are not lifting an external mass while trying to drop your center and move your feet (a recipe for disaster in aiki and judo too).
Examples of analogues like this between jodo and aiki appear frequently throughout jodo, so much so that jodo makes an excellent adjunct to teach aikido principle. The jo becomes an uke that you can carry with you.


  1. Are there any other things you can turn into an uke? i know there's some sort of exercise with a door, but i don't know specifics.

  2. Anything that has mass can be uke. It doesn't even have to be portable. I have even resorted to practicing aikido with a wall during sparse partner times. Of course, a wall doesn't give food reactions, but on the other hand - it doesn't jump. Seriously, aiki is about interacting with forces. We do that all the time. Look around you for physical things in the world that seem to act like something from aikido and play around with them.


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