The Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata series was developed to provide a practice vehicle for fundamental Jo weapon handling skills development. The various Kata focus on basic handling, Uke, Atemi, weapon transition, and Nage skills and methods.
There are a total of five Kata in the Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata series. These Kata have the following characteristics.
- Jo Shodan – focuses on fundamental guarding, blocking, striking and transitioning skills.
- Jo Nidan – focuses almost entirely on essential Jo blocking skills
- Jo Sandan – focuses almost entirely on Jo striking skills.
- Jo Yondan – provides a training forum for the continuous movement against several potential adversaries. It is the longest of the Jo weapon forms.
- Jo Godan – provides insights into subtle movement and throwing skills using the Jo weapon.
Tensoku Ryu Jo Nidan and Tensoku Ryu Jo Sandan are what might be referred to as a matched set. The two Kata can be done simultaneously by two practitioners. The person doing the Nidan version is blocking strikes delivered by the person doing the Sandan version. Every strike in the Sandan version is defended by a block in the Nidan version.
You must not perform the matched set of Jo Nidan and Jo Sandan without an inspected and authorized contact weapon. Using a non-contact weapon for such contact purposes is a major violation of basic weapons safety principles and cannot be tolerated. If you are in doubt about whether your weapon is safe for use as a contact weapon ask your Sensei or Head Instructor to kindly inspect your weapon.
The remaining three Jo forms are standalone forms and do not have a matched companion Kata.
Students should be familiar with the Jo weapon itself, with weapons handling and etiquette in general, and with information related to angular and tangential velocity before attempting to perform these forms.
You should also keep in mind that a Jo is a two-ended weapon. It is very easy to employ both alternate ends of the weapon in rapid succession. Many of the Kata above rely upon this method of delivery. You will often encounter movements where the use of one end of the weapon is immediately followed by employing the opposite end of the weapon.
Similarly, you will often encounter situations in which the weapon is employed at the Jodan level and then immediately employed for a Gedan task. Strike high-low and left-right, in its many combinations, is commonly found in the Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata.
The Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata series was developed by Richard Munson as part of the initial introduction of weapons training for students. Weapons training begins fairly early in the curriculum within Tensoku Ryu and these Kata are an integral part of the robust weapons training program available in Tensoku Ryu.
The first three Jo Kata are introduced to students who have attained the rank of Yellow Belt (and are therefore working on obtaining their Orange Belt ranking). The final two Jo forms are taught to students after they have attained their Orange Belt (and are working on the Purple Belt curriculum).
By the time students have mastered the final Jo form, they will have become quite proficient at the use of this fast, versatile, and effective weapon. We hope you have fun working with the Jo. We think you will find it a most satisfying weapon with which to work and practice.