On Practice



Ken, Jo, Taijutsu, and Body Movements

Before practice, it is important to mention that ken, jo, and taijutsu techniques are not intended to be done with just the hands. Therefore, one should not use the hands too much but practice as the basis of technique body movements that will turn, throw, or upset the balance of an opponent.

Generally, it is said that the main aspect of Aikido is "empty handed" technique. Instead the idea is advanced here that the main aspect is body movement. "Empty handed" means literally not to be holding anything. However "empty handed" may perhaps also mean that even while holding a ken or jo one should not rely only upon the weapon. The person who can use a ken or jo as a part of his body will be able to do "empty handed" technique. For, in Aikido, it does not matter if the techniques are empty handed or if one is actually holding something.

It is hoped that the concept of Riai as presented in the first volume has been understood. That is, ken jo, and tiajutsu movements have been combined from three parts into a single body. If this book is read completely, it is felt that one will develop another relationship --- control of the opponent through body movement. For instance, when holding a jo and facing an opponent who strikes with a ken, one must be able to control him. Conversely, when one holds a ken and faces an opponent with a jo the same is true. If both are without weapons, the attacker still must be controlled. If one bears in mind the above concepts, inconsistencies will not arise. One will be able to control an opponent without fail regardless of whether a weapon is involved or not providing the idea of boy movement is grasped and understood. Emphasis on body movement unifes ken, jo, and taijutsu techniues into a single Aikido.

It must be pointed out one more that too much dependence upon jo or ken is not a good idea and is to be avoided.

Because jo movements are more varied than those of ken, the tendency is to think they are more difficult and different. Therefore, one must practice basic techniques [as outlined in Volume I] until the jo and ken are felt to be part of the body. A minimum of two years practice of the basic suburi is recommended. One should by all means practice the tanren uchi exercise. Those practices will develop a stability of the hips that is most necessary in taijutsu. Body movement must be accomplished from the hips.

© SAP 1 July 1997