How to do the Aikido 20 Jo Suburi

First of all, let me say that the 20 Jo Suburi are the building blocks of Aikido Jo or Aiki Jo (Aikijo). The 20 Jo Suburi is part of Aikido’s Bukiwaza.

What is a Jo Staff?

Aikido Jo (Kanji: 合気杖 Hiragana: あいきじょう) is the name given specifically to the set of martial art techniques practised with a jō (a wooden staff about 143 cm or four feet long), according to the principles of Aikido.

The Jo Suburi is the base to Aikijo (Aikido Jo), which leads to 10 Kumi Jo, 13 Jo Kata, 13 Kumi Jo, 31 Jo Kata, 31 Kumi Jo and all the various Jo Aikido techniques. Know the 20 Jo Suburi first before you attempt to do the other Aikijo techniques.

Bukiwaza (Weapons techniques) are set kata drills that help you learn and master the movements and numerous Aikido forms.

Jo techniques were introduced into Aikido by Osensei Morihei Ueshiba and further developed by Morihiro Saito Sensei, one of Osensei’s most prominent students.

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Saito Morihiro Sensei demonstrates 20 Jo Suburi

Morihei Ueshiba Osensei taught the Aiki Jo to Morihiro Saito Sensei. Saito Sensei, in turn, developed the Jo Suburi so he can pass Osensei’s Aiki Jo to Aikido Students.


Bukiwaza and Taijutsu (Body techniques or unarmed techniques) are related to each other. Suburi literally means ‘drill’ or ‘swing’ in Japanese.

There is an old Aikido saying…

‘When doing taijutsu think like you are doing bukiwaza. When you are doing bukiwaza think how you can apply it to taijutsu’.

The 20 Jo Suburi teaches the Aikidoka (Aikido Practitioner) how to tsuki (thrust), cut, throw and much more.

The 20 Jo Suburi is Divided Into Five groups


Choku Tsuki (Direct Thrust ) by Morihei Ueshiba Iwama Aikido

Five Thrusting (tsuki) Movements

1. Direct thrust (choku-tsuki)
2. Counter-thrust (kaeshi-tsuki)
3. Rear thrust (ushiro-tsuki)
4. Thrust, low counter (tsuki gedan-gaeshi)
5. Thrust, high counter strike (tsuki jōdan-gaeshi-uchi)

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20 Jo Suburi Morihei Ueshiba Osensei
Drill 6) shōmen uchi komi

Five Striking (uchi) Movements

6. Front-of-the-head stepping strike (shōmen’uchikomi)
7. Repeating stepping strike (renzoku uchikomi)
8. Head strike, low counter (menuchi gedan-gaeshi)
9. Head strike, rear thrust (menuchi ushiro-tsuki)
10. Reverse side-of-the-head strike, rear thrust (gyaku-yokomen ushiro-tsuki)


Morihei Ueshiba 20 jo suburi katate gedan gaeshi

Three ‘One-handed’ (katate) Movements

11. One-handed low counter (katate gedan-gaeshi)
12. One-handed distant-interval strike (katate tōma-uchi)
13. One-handed “figure-eight” counter (katate hachi-no-ji gaeshi)


Morihei Ueshiba OSensei Hasso Gaeshi

Five ‘Figure-eight’ (hassō) Movements

14. “Figure-eight” counter, strike (hassō-gaeshi uchi)
15. “Figure-eight” counter, thrust (hassō-gaeshi tsuki)
16. “Figure-eight” counter, rear thrust (hassō-gaeshi ushiro-tsuki)
17. “Figure-eight” counter, rear strike (hassō-gaeshi ushiro-uchi)
18. “Figure-eight” counter, rear sweep (hassō-gaeshi ushiro-barai)


Aikido 20 Jo Suburi
Morihei Ueshiba Osensei
Migi Nagare Gaeshi Tsuki

Two Flowing (Nagare) Movements

19. Flowing counter strike (nagare-gaeshi-uchi)
20. Right flowing counter thrust (migi nagare-gaeshi-tsuki)

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Aikido videos on how correctly do the 20 Jo Suburi

Hitohira Saito Sensei Demonstrates the 20 Jo Suburi

Hitohira Saito Sensei is from Iwama Japan and the head of the Iwama Aikido Shin Shin Aiki Shurenkai organisation. Saito Sensei is an Iwama Aikido Master that has been training since he was a child from Osensei.

I’m proud to say that Saito Sensei is my Sensei.

Crom Salvatera Sensei

Crom Sensei is the founder of Good Aikido. In this video from 2016. Crom Sensei demonstrates the first five Jo Suburi.

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Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros Sensei

Aikido instruction: The exercises are executed by Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros Sensei, chief instructor of TAKN.

This is an instructional video made by Takemusu Aikido Kyokai Nederland. TAKN chief instructor, Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros (Roku-dan) was a permanent soto deshi in Iwama under Morihiro Saito Shihan from 1986 until 1993.

Bjorn Saw Sensei demonstrates 20 Jo Suburi

While in Japan Bjorn Sensei also practised Kashima Shinryu sword under Minoru Inaba Sensei in the Shiseikandojo at the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo (1987-1993). He received his Nidan (1993) from Saito Sensei in Iwama and subsequently opened his first Aikido school in Värmdö, Sweden.

To find out more about Saw Sensei please visit:

If you live in Sydney and are near Macquarie Park, Macquarie University, Ryde, North Ryde, or near Epping, Eastwood, Marsfield, Chatswood, Lindfield, or near Lane Cove, then Good Aikido Martial Art School Sydney is the best Aikido martial art studio and dojo for you.

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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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