Aikido’s Versatile Weapon…
Morihiro Saito: “Highlights of the Aiki Jo”

“Morihiro Saito Sensei explains the origins of the
Aiki Jo forms and the rationale for their practice”

The exact origins of the Aiki Jo remain somewhat of a mystery. Some have found traces of Morihei Ueshiba’s jo movements in the “juken” or rifle with bayonet he practiced as a young soldier. Others point to the influence in the Aiki Jo of the “yari” or spear that he studied with intensity during the Ayabe period. It might also be noted that the Founder was exposed to many classical systems due to his wide network of associations in martial arts circles.

Morihiro Saito Sensei demonstrating a ken tai jo form with Pat Hendricks Sensei in Denver c. 1999

Morihiro Saito Sensei demonstrating a ken tai jo form with Pat Hendricks Sensei in Denver c. 1999

Whatever the sources of his jo may be, by the 1950s in Iwama Morihei had elaborated a rather extensive array of jo exercises and katas that enhanced his empty-handed forms, and his ability to adopt the perfect stance, distancing, thrusting and striking skills when executing aikido.

“The 31 jo kata has been preserved exactly as the Founder taught it. Since the content
of the kata was quite difficult, we would practice it in the form of 31 movements.”

“Little by little, without realizing it, the movements evolved into the 31 jo kata.”

“The Founder taught the 31 jo movements for beginners. In addition, he also left many other jo kata.”

“However, very few people understand these weapons. In this video, I’d like
to explain in detail the foot movements and other detailed aspects of the kata.”

“In order to learn the kata, we’ve broken it down into component parts. There
are some places where these movements differ when applied in the kumijo.”

“The two separate movements in the kata become one movement in the kumijo.”

“The kumijo movements are rapid. O-Sensei disliked the 1-2-3 approach to training. However,
this approach is the only one which will work when training with a large number of people.”

The above screenshots were taken from Morihiro Saito’s “Aiki Jo” instructional video shot in 1987. The complete video is included in the Study Course offered below.

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