Jo and jukendo

Of interest to the jo students…

Jukendo, or bayonet technique, is a traditional Japanese martial art based almost entirely on what we would call choku tsuki, the straight thrust. Needless to say, their understanding of this movement is detailed and complex.

It was developed during the modernization of Japan’s army well over 100 years ago and is partly based on traditional spear technique.

As a former soldier, O-sensei was expert in Jukendo and incorporated many of the techniques and ideas into his jo technique, which more closely resembles spear or bayonet movement than conventional jodo. In some of his early videos, you can see him practicing with a mokujo and see them racked on the wall with the jo and bokken.

Jo students will notice differences in that that the hands never move on the mokujo, which resembles a rifle. As well, any contact with the tip of the mokujo is considered a finish, obviously because of the bayonet.

And notice some of the similarities in stance and footwork.

Thrusting is an extremely practical martial arts technique. It is fast and very hard for the opponent to see, when compared to overhead strikes. You can thrust with impact with almost any long object, such as an umbrella or even a rolled up newsaper, where overhead strikes would be ineffective.

Kawahara-sensei once told me that a Jukendo expert, a friend of Tanaka-sensei’s, showed up at Osaka Aikikai and picked up a jo to train with the students. He was so fast and solid that he could hit people at will and nobody could touch him.

This isn’t just historical; I think that some of the choku-tsuki strategy touched on in this video is quite interesting.