31 Jo Kata Aikijo Bukiwaza

31 Jo Kata is an Aikido kata created by O Sensei Ueshiba and was handed down to Morihiro Saito Sensei and practised by Iwama Aikidoka. This kata is used with a Jo (Staff) or Jo Staff. The 31 Jo Kata is MUST learn kata no matter what style of Aikido you practice. If you are an Aikidoka especially the ones that use the Jo Staff, Quarter Staff, or even a Bo, (I cannot stress this enough) – LEARN THIS KATA.

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31 Jo Kata

The 31 Jo kata is part of the Buki Waza (Warrior or Weapons Techniques).

The original Jo Kata was taught by Osensei to Saito Sensei. Saito Sensei broke them down into 31 movements that can be easily learned yet challenging to master.

It is the longest version of the Jo Suburi Aikijo (Staff Drills).

The 31 Jo kata starts with the resting and non-threatening jo stance.

The factors that I consider when I am training the San Ju Ichi No Jo are:

  1. Breathing: When raising the Jo, I breathe in. I comfortably inhale through my nose. When I hit or thrust I exhale with a Kiai (war cry).
  2. Kiai: The sound ‘Soo’ on Tsuki (thrust) and ‘Heii’ on the Uchi (cut/hit).
  3. Balance is important.
  4. The footwork is efficient. When walking forward, I use the ball of my foot NOT the heel. I also make sure I don’t sweep the mat, I pick up my feet and step. After training in the ‘Bamboo Forest’ in Iwama where there are rocks, uneven soil, or slippery surfaces, I learned very quickly not to drag or sweep my feet, because I slip or trip.
  5. My pace and timing can achieve ‘awase’ or the ‘blend’.
  6. Zanshin ‘Heightened Awareness’ is on.
  7. Fudoshin ‘Immovable or unperturbed Mind’ is on.

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31 Jo Kata Iwama Aikido Video

Morihiro Saito Sensei


Crom Salvatera Sensei

June 2016

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Iwama Aikido

The Jo Suburi came from Iwama Aikido, a traditional form of Aikido.

Iwama Aikido was the traditional Aikido created by Morihei Ueshiba Osensei when he retired in Iwama after WWII.

Osensei taught Saito Sensei in Iwama. Saito Sensei broke down the Aikido he learned from Osensei so he can teach it and student can learn it step by step.

Iwama Aikido is a style of Aikido that has Bukiwaza (Weapons Techniques) along with Taijutsu as its two pillars.

Knees and Joint Care

Just a heads up. Knee injury is one of the most common problems in martial arts especially in grappling arts like jujutsu, and weapons art like Aikido.

I remember in my early twenties and to mid-thirties I started going through this problem. It was customary and very ‘manly’ to do shiko, suwari-waza, and hanmi handachi without any knee pads. It was even considered ‘cheating’ to wear one. So like most Aikidoka and jujutsu practitioners, I didn’t wear any. I’ve noticed the older I got, the more my knees started clicking and playing up. In the 31 Jo Kata

I got so bad that I had to go to my doctor. My doctor ordered me to wear knee pads and take fish oil tablets.

The short story is it worked. I don’t have any more problems with my knees and it also improved my Aikido because I can do shiko, suwari-waza, and hanmi handachi without any knee issues. It’s like wearing boxing gloves when hitting a heavy bag. It just works. Move 20 to 21 in the 31 Jo kata involves genuflecting (kneeling on one leg). I highly recommend wearing knee pads rather than compromising your technique.

I feel strongly about this that I write about ‘Knee Care’ in all articles and posts that involves kneeling in our website.

Please wear knee pads. Here are the ones that I use, they have satin fabric so it’s comfortable to the back knee even when sweaty. Although I have news one, I still have the original ones I bought in Tokyo and Kasama back in 2009.

Go and GET them. Do yourself a favour. Wear them during Keiko. Don’t be a hero on this. Be smarter with your training. Just DO IT. Get them.

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Published by Crom Salvatera

Crom Salvatera is the Founder of Good Aikido. 'Crom Sensei' as he is known in the dojo has been practising Aikido for 30 years and has been teaching Aikido for 11 years.

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