Bukiwaza: The Warrior Arts and Techniques

Bukiwaza is the Warrior Arts and Weapon Techniques of Aikido. What makes a martial art a ‘Warrior Art’ is the presence and practice of weaponry. In this case the sword (Katana, Tachi, and Bokken) and Jo (Jo Staff or just Staff).

Bukiwaza: Aikijo (Aiki Jo Staff)

20 Jo Suburi

13 Jo Kata

13 Jo Awase

31 Jo Kata

31 Kumi Jo

Jo Nage

Bukiwaza: Aikiken (Aiki Sword)

7 Ken Suburi

5 Kumi Tachi

Other Bukiwaza and Bukidori

Ken Tai Jo – sword and Jo partner practice

Tachi Dori – sword Taking or sword disarm

Jo Dori – staff taking or staff disarm

Tanto Dori – knife or dagger taking or knife disarm

Possible Buki Waza History in Aikido

Focus on bukiwaza and riai (the relationship between weapons and taijutsu) is a hallmark of this style. Some of the bukiwaza practices were developed by O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. A big part of Aikijo was Saito Sensei’s breakdown of O Sensei’s teachings, his (Saito) own teachings.

Weapons practice includes suburi, awase (1-step paired exercises), solo or solitary, paired kata, and tanren-uchi (striking a log or tire) with the jo and wooden sword.

Though not formally part of the curriculum, Saito Sensei and Iwama Ryu practises Negishi-Ryu and shuriken (throwing stars).

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The sword forms of Iwama Style or Iwama Aikido are generally recognised as being descended from Kashima Shinto-Ryu sword techniques. In particular, the first two Kumitachi are nearly identical in the sequence of cuts to forms from Kashima Shinto-Ryu. There is also talk that the Yagyu style had influence via Masakatsu Nakai’s instruction of O Sensei Ueshiba.

It has been widely observed that the ken-tai-jo are remarkably similar to spear techniques of Kukishin-Ryu. Although speculative, O Sensei Ueshiba was close friends with the Kuki family. The Kuki family is renowned for their spear-like handling of the Jo the family’s art of Jojutsu. In Iwama Aikido there are a lot of Tsuki or thrust techniques. Having said this, there is no written evidence that Ueshiba O Sensei formally studied the jojutsu or spear art from this school.

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Buki Waza and Iwama Aikido

Only Iwama Aikido as a style of Aikido includes Buki Waza in their curriculum. The rest of the Aikido world don’t really practice this.

Takemusu Aikido or Iwama Style Aikido is part of the big Aikikai organisation. These schools also have Buki Waza in their curriculum.

Ideally, when one gets their black belt in Aikido they know the aikiken and aikijo suburi and Kumi techniques and kata. The keyword here is ‘know’, I didn’t say a shodan would master Buki Waza. I said ‘know’ the fundamentals of bukiwaza.

Saito Sensei at one point awarded Weapons Scrolls as Menkyo Kaiden (免許皆伝). There were a handful of Sensei(s) and Shihan(s) around the world who got these Menkyo Kaiden. From what I heard, there were less than 2o. I’m lucky that I studied Buki Waza under two of those masters.

Bukiwaza Videos

7 Ken Suburi

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5 Kumi Tachi

Bukiwaza: Ken Tai Jo (Sword and Staff)

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Bukiwaza: Buki Dori – Tachi Dori (Sword taking or Sword Disarm)

Video from Aikido Live YouTube Channel: Bukiwaza Jo Dori was demonstrated by Saito Sensei. Uke was Tittarelli Sensei.

Bukiwaza: Buki Dori – Jo Dori (Jodori) – Staff taking or Staff Disarm

Video from Aikido Live YouTube Channel: Bukiwaza Jo Dori was demonstrated by Morihiro Saito Sensei and Uke is Bjorn Sensei.

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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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