Saturday, July 27, 2013

An aiki recipe for jodo

Tomiki aikido has a pretty limited (but interesting in its own respects) set of jo material, so a lot of us in our aikido group study Seitei jo or SMR koryu jo.  SMR is its own thing, separate and awesome on its own, but for my part (and I suspect there are a bunch like me)  I like to do these jo arts because they are aiki-like and I want to see what the jo can teach me about aiki or how i can express aiki through the jo.

As such, I am not as interested in learning dozens of kata as i am in seeing where the aiki is hiding in the kata I do know. And it turns out that in the parts of Seitei and Omote that I have seen, there is a sort of heuristic or recipe that applies to most of the kata.

In the kata, jo usually...

  • evades off the line of attack
  • fixes the distance so he is outside of sword range but inside jo range
  • attacks/controls the centerline
  • gets a kuzushi
  • then, either destroys the sword-man or gets another controlling kuzushi when the sword-man tries to recover.
In some of the kata the order of these elements get rearranged, but they are mostly all in there (like Ragu - it's in there!)

...and, incidentally, that is also a basic recipe for doing aiki techniques - evade, control distance, control centerline, control balance, then execute.

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Patrick Parker

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