I could probably count the things I know for sure about jodo on 3 fingers or less. But in some ways, jo is falling into place for me - or perhaps I'm just starting to come to peace with the jo. I thought today I'd enumerate some of where I'm at in jo right now...
- Intersection-set jo - For me, aiki-jo and SMR jo and kenjutsu and etc... have got to be the same thing. I don't have the time left in my life, nor do I have the personality or patience to learn two or three distinct weapon systems and be able to keep them separate from each other. I am content to spend 80-90% of my practice time on the intersection set between aiki-jo and SMR and etc...
- Principles based jo - The weapon has got to be an extension of my body such that I can apply aikido strategies and heuristics and principles that I already know. Just like I can't deal with multiple weapon systems, I can't handle even one weapon system that teaches me to behave differently than I do in the context of taijutsu.
- Weaponizing the jo - Lately, I've been thinking that my kihon should be even simpler and more atomic than it is in the SMR kihon or the aiki-jo suburi. For instance, there are only about 3 ways you can hold the stick to use it as a weapon (honte, gyakute, sakate), and there are about 4 real common ways we hold a stick when we are not using it as a weapon (hanmi, tsune/sage, ichimonji, monomi) so lately I've been working on drilling how to get offline and manage ma-ai while weaponizing the jo from each of the 4 starting points to each of the 3 grips.
- Poke and whack - When you get down to it, once you get the stick in one of those 3 grips, there's only about 2 things that you can do with it - swing or thrust. So, for me these days, jodo has largely become a practice of figuring out how to 1) weaponize the stick, while 2) moving like I'm used to in aikido, and 3) swinging and thrusting effectively from whatever grip I have.
- Henka in jodori and jonage - We've also been practicing the jodori and jonage from each of the 3 grips, because you can't tell how you will be holding it when they grab it.
- Aiki-cane jutsu - and lately I've been thinking a lot about tanjojutsu...
I'm sure all that will bore the hardcore aiki-jo or SMR enthusiasts to death, but for me, "intersection-set aiki jo-jutsu" provides plenty of entertainment!
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