Learning something, and something about myself. Thinking about how best to practice. Trying a movement, maybe reversing it to find a smoother path. Back and forth, back and forth. Sloooowly. When a detail needs an unfamiliar twist, doing just that for a while. Putting the weapon aside and just imagining it in my hands.
The short staff, or Jo, is a versatile, reliable weapon. There are many ways to hold it, many ways to move it.
The workshop gave me a feeling like Tai Chi practice. Concentration on form. How beauty comes from smoothness and clarity. Sensei once said to me that Tai Chi study could improve my Aikido. I think it did help me a lot to see into the Jo movements.
The last movement Sensei showed was a bit complicated. He advised us to practice it right away or we would lose it. He noted that the purpose of this exercise is to become familiar with handling our Jo. Then we will be better able to learn other movements, and to vary and improvise.
I have practiced a little each day and started to get the feel and awareness of the Jo's motion around me.
Here is a video of two different movements, each repeated in four directions...
The first movement is as I recall Sensei showed. The second has the same beginning but adds an upward back slash, and the finishing downward strike is with a back step. I enjoyed dreaming it up and trying it. Not sure it makes sense, but there could be a combat situation it would fit. Details make the difference. Just twirling the Jo does not mean striking. Looking, stepping, stable posture, fully extending. That means striking.
Martial arts need to be efficient and effective. I need to be more aware. And I need to bring the Jo up higher before I strike down. And really step into that first thrust. And strike like I mean it. And ... there's no end to it.