31 Jo Kata

Aiki-Jo

Aiki-Jo

The san-juu-ichi-no-jo-kata (31-movement kata) is one of only two individual routines in the entire Aikido system (the other being the 13-movement kata). The 31-movement form was created by O-Sensei, and it demonstrates the ability of individual movements to flow from one to another in smooth transition, by adding certain movements not found in the suburi. At first, the routines are performed on the count, slowly while being relaxed, with concentration on footwork and form. When the routines become familiar, they are speeded up and performed in a more free and flowing manner. These exercises are designed to demonstrate the importance of being relaxed and able to flow, as well as the potential for unlimited combinations of movements.

JAPANESE DEFINITIONS

San-juu-ichi (san: three; juu: ten; ichi: one) is the number 31.
No (no: of) means “of”.
Jo (jo: staff) means “staff”.
Kata (kata: style, shape, pattern) means “standard form of a movement or posture”.

STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION

When executing the kata, you should make large, correct movements, counting with a loud kiai voice. You should wait 2 seconds (ni-byo) between each movement of the kata. You should imagine you are looking at yourself from above performing the kata over an imaginary cross. You should attempt to end the kata in exactly the same position that you started in.

Reference is made to striking at body parts. These are of an imaginary attacker and therefore should be made to those parts on this imaginary attacker of the same size as Tori.

Starting in shizen-tai, perform a standing bow and say the name of the kata outloud: “san-juu-ichi-no-jo-kata”. Then, step forward with the left foot bringing the jo into hidari-no-jo-kamae (hidari-hanmi, the jo is held with the left hand in a vertical position in front of the left foot; the tip of the jo is resting on the ground).

No. Movement
1 Kaeshi-tsuki, moving slightly off the line of attack to the left and turning the hips to the right, ensuring to keep the right elbow off the line of attack.
2 Jodan-gaeshi moving across the line of attack to the right. Both hands grab the jo in the same position as at the end of the first kaeshi-tsuki movement.
3 Choku-tsuki, moving across the line of attack to the left.
4 Jodan-gaeshi moving across the line of attack to the right. Both hands grab the jo in the middle.
5 Yokomen-uchi to the right, stepping forward with the right foot and sliding first the left hand and then the right hand down the length of the jo into a ken holding position during the strike.
6 Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to the left, stepping forward with the left foot.
7 Turning 180° to the right, yokomen-uchi to the right without moving the feet, turning the hips as in the zengo-giri exercise.
8 Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to the left, stepping forward with the left foot.
9 Ushiro-barrai looking behind and turning 180° to the right, pivoting on the left foot. At the end of the barai, the tip of the jo should be in line with the back foot and the hands rotated inward as they hold the jo in position.
10 Step forward and off the line to the left with your left foot, bringing the jo above your head into jodan-gaeshi as you step forward with the right foot to bring both feet together.
11 Step forward with the left foot and strike yokomen-uchi to the left.
12 Return to hidari-tsuki-no-kamae, stepping back slightly to the right to return to the line of attack.
13 Choku-tsuki, stepping forward with the left foot moving slightly off the line of attack to the left.
14 Jodan-gaeshi moving across the line of attack to the right. Both hands grab the jo in the middle.
15 Yokomen-uchi to the right, stepping forward with the right foot.
16 Ushiro-tsugi-ashi, sliding the jo backwards into gedan-gaeshi on the left side, staying in migi-hanmi.
17 Step forward with the left foot, keeping the jo in gedan-gaeshi position and, rotating the hips from left to right, strike at the level of an imaginary opponent’s knee.
18 Grab the jo with your right hand just below your left hand and turn your hips as if to parry a thrust from an opponent to the left, performing a circular motion to return to hidari-tsuki-no-kamae.
19 Choku-tsuki at the level of an imaginary opponent’s knee without moving your feet.
2 Stepping forward with the right foot, go down on your left knee and strike yokomen-uchi at the level of an imaginary opponent’s knee.
21 Staying down on your left knee, slide the jo backwards into gedan-gaeshi on your left side.
22 Standing up and stepping forward with the left foot, strike gyaku-tsuki from below at the level of an imaginary opponent’s chest, ensuring the jo does not make contact with the ground as you stand, staying slightly off the line of attack to the left.
23 Grab the jo with your right hand just below your left hand and bring the jo into a tsuki position, turning the hips as if to parry a thrust from an opponent on the left, performing a circular motion with the jo to return to hidari-tsuki-no-kamae.
24 Choku-tsuki at the level of an imaginary opponent’s chest.
25 Choku-tsuki at the level of an imaginary opponent’s chest.
26 Ushiro-tsugi-ashi, sliding the jo backwards into gedan-gaeshi on your right side, staying in hidari-hanmi.
27 Step backwards with the left foot, keeping the jo in gedan-gaeshi position and, rotating the hips from right to left, strike at the level of an imaginary opponent’s knee.
28 Strike gyaku-tsuki at the level of an imaginary opponent’s chest.
29 Grab with your left hand below your right hand and return to migi-tsuki-no-kamae.
30 Choku-tsuki at the level of an imaginary opponent’s chest.
31 Gyaku-yokomen-uchi to the left, stepping forward with your left foot, correcting your hanmi with the right foot, ending in hidari-hanmi. Your end position should be exactly the same position you started the kata in.

After completing the final movement of the kata, wait two seconds, then return to hidari-no-jo-kamae. Stepping back with the left foot, return to shizen-tai and perform a standing bow.

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About Takemusu Aikido South Africa

The Takemusu Aikido Association South Africa (TAASA), formally Iwama Ryu™ South Africa, is a free group of black-belted practitioners of Aikido based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our aim is to promote and spread the traditional teaching method of Morihiro Saito Sensei, direct student of the Founder of Aikido, to all communities in South Africa.