Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gripe about Tomiki jo

In your martial arts practice, do you do kata in order to get better at doing those kata?  Or do you do kata in order to get better at some underlying principle (ju or aiki or ran or whatever)?  Are kata a vehicle or are they an end goal?
This is part of what has frustrated me for a long while about my jo practice - both in seiteijo and in the part of the Tomiki syllabus that utilizes the jo - like Sankata.
Take Tomiki's syllabus of jo material for example - several jo techniques in Koryu Daisan and several more in Koryu Dairoku.  These few techniques are probably okay to develop a basic self-defense competence in the context of the stick, but they are also supposed to be examples of something - and so far as I can tell, that something is the same thing that is being pointed at by the rest of the syllabus - takemusu aiki - free-flowing, spontaneous, creative, robust motion. 
We want to develop the ability to do real aiki while holding a jo (or anything else) but the few techniques that we do in San and Roku seem to be insufficient examples to practice in order to develop that state of aiki in the context of the jo.  I'm not sure that you can practice that set of forms enough to learn to do the things that Ueshiba and a few of his students were able to do with a jo.
And, if you can't use those kata to develop that sort of aiki-like skill, they seem like kind of a waste of time.
  • Am I completely missing the point?
  • If not, do we drop the jo material because it is a waste of time and practice something else?
  • Or do we supplement Tomiki's jo material with sufficient additional examples and practices that we have a complete system that will lead us toward the quality of skill that we're looking for? 
Patrick Parker
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