Koryu no kata – jo no tsukai

The logic of the kata

Mike Rother wrote an interesting book on kata: Toyota Kata.

Toyota Kata defines management as, “the systematic pursuit of desired conditions by utilizing human capabilities in a concerted way.” Rother proposes that it is not solutions themselves that provide sustained competitive advantage and long-term survival, but the degree to which an organization has mastered an effective routine for developing fitting solutions again and again, along unpredictable paths. This requires teaching the skills behind the solution.

Teaching the skills behind the use of the jo

When reading the biography of Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba, there are references to sword and other weapons schools. Some of those references are from the time when Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba were in Manchuria. Both were exposed to military martial arts especially sword, spear, bayonet and short sword. In Koryu no kata the yari or juken is replaced by the jo, but of course the length of the jo is not fixed like the jo of the Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu or Kendo Renmei Jodo.

Military Juken training

There are 8 jo no tsukai kata in Koryu no kata dai san and 4 kata in Koryu no kata dai roku. The 4 dai roku kata are an extension of dai san jo no tsukai kata.

All kata start with tori thrusting to the suigetsu (solar plexus) of the opponent (uke). Note the use of rolling feet.

Uke is avoiding and grasping the jo either with 2 hands or 1 hand.

All actions of tori after the grasping are following the same logic.

The study of kata is very complex and depends on harmonizing the action between tori and uke. By trying to describe all the actions in the kata, there is a danger someone will depend totally on the description and will deny the creativity of a human being. Remember the words of Gustave Mahler

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
― Gustav Mahler–

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr1

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr2

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr3

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr4

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr5

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr6

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr7

Koryu no kata dai san – Jo no tsukai nr8

Koryu no kata dai roku – Jo no tsukai nr1

Koryu no kata dai roku – Jo no tsukai nr2

Koryu no kata dai roku – Jo no tsukai nr3

Koryu no kata dai roku – Jo no tsukai nr4

Why practising with jo?

To understand the purpose of weaponwork in Aikido we must accept that development does not rely upon techniques or weapons, but on independence of it. If a sword is used, do not realize it as a sword. If using a Jo, do not depend on it, but feel the common harmony in body movement. 

By using a weapon there is a real threat towards the opponent or training partner. Unfortunately by doing too much shiai, the feeling of a threat not mentioned in the rulesbook will be ignored and some parts of the training can be spoiled by such an attitude. For this reason a balance has to be created between randori and kata, even if someone doesn’t see or ignores the purpose of kata training. Understanding the logic in the kata is necessary.

About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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