The jo (four foot staff) is a weapon that I have enjoyed the study of for many years, but have always lamented that the published material available about it centres around either the Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu style, or the Aikijo practices in many Aikido schools.
While living in Japan and training at the hombu dojo between 1991 and 1993 I was fascinated to discover that the jo was one the third wepon originally emphasised by the founder, Kaiso Kori Hisataka (1907–88). Unfortunately the practice of the jo lay dormant in the mainline school and the descendent schools.
In the intervening years I made it my mission to research the jo, a process that ultimately led to the introduction of the kata Ufuchiku no jo to our organisation. Subsequently Kaicho Shunji Watanabe of the Shorinjiryu Kenyukai Watanabe-Ha school (with which we were affiliated for several years) also reintroduced the practice of another kata (alternatively called Shishiryu no Jo or Kudaka no Jo).
In my research I began to realise that the practice of the jo was important among the bushi of the Shuri Court, and can be found in several styles of Udundi (palace hand) and Ti extant today.
With this background I am pleased to see that others have also seen the importance of the jo for karate practitioners, as it is a versatile weapon that has real relevance today. Poles and rods in the 3—4 foot range are common and can be used as makeshift weapons of defence.
The first book that I am aware of to take an indepth look at the Jo from a non-Aikijo persective has been written by Dan Djurdjevic.
Essential Jo promises to be “the most comprehensive text on the subject to date”, and is said to be well-illustrated with over 900 photographs.
I have ordered a copy, and look forward to providing a review soon.
I am very sad to report that my good friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, passed away last week, on Thursday, February 7th. He was 68. Words cannot express my sense of loss and also my deep respect for and gratitude to Nakata Sensei.
By way of an introduction from my friend Mark Tankosich sensei I had the very great pleasure to have conducted an interview with Nakata sensei on episode 13 of The Applied Karate Show.
Nakata sensei was one of the early pioneers of authentic Okinawan shorinryu karate in America. He had had the opportunity to train with luminaries like Wadoryu founder Ohtsuka sensei and Walter Nishioka sensei. But his major influence was undoubtedly Okinawan shorinryu luminary Chibana Choshin sensei.
Every interview on The Applied Karate Show has been a fascinating learning experience, as well as an honour for me. The interview with Nakata sensei was special – he left an amazing impression of a man with quiet confidence, a lot of experience and a genuine enthusiasm for sharing his art.
I am very saddened to hear of Nakata sensei, and I wish his family, students and friends my condolences.
Karate is a cultural heritage of Okinawa. It is characterized by the importance of developing a proper spirit and valuing martial attitude.
Established in July 2011, the Okinawa Traditional Karate Networking Executive Committee, headed by Nashiro Masaichiro, intends to promote Okinawan traditional karate to the world, reaffirming and establishing the international status of “Okinawa, birthplace of karate”. So doing, we aim at contributing to the further industrial development of Okinawa through tourism activities and related business.
Aiming at promoting Okinawa Karate and kobudo worldwide, the website “Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau ?okkb.org? was released November 28, 2011. Information is available in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.
Already the site has quite extensive information on the various styles of karate (sorted into Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te and Uechi-rty) and kobudo schools in Okinawa. There is information on events and seminars, and access to interpreter services.
Sponsored by the Okinawa Prefecture Government, this website is aimed at assisting karate and kobudo practioners who may not have existing connections with Okinawa karate circles but wish to train in the birthplace of karate. The site will also provide regular news updates and daily information about Okinawa and its most valuable cultural asset, karate.