Tensoku Ryu Jo Shodan

This Kata introduces you to basic stances, hand positions, and hand transitions using the Jo weapon. The Kata uses a variety of different blocks and strikes to accomplish its purpose. Please keep in mind that the stances, hand positions and transitions are the primary focus of this Kata . Emphasis should not be placed on the individual blocks and strikes in favor of the other elements of the Kata.

Begin the Kata by assuming Heisoku Dachi with the Jo in the right hand. The Jo should be oriented generally vertically with the top of the Jo resting near the back of the upper arm (ideally between the arm and the back). The bottom of the Jo should be near the floor adjacent to and outside of the right calf. This should be a comfortable position and the Jo should not be forced into a rigidly vertical orientation. The right hand should be near the center of the weapon and oriented such that the thumb and index finger are toward the bottom with the index finger resting on top of the Jo (aligned toward local angle 1) and pointed down. Bow toward whomever may be in front of you and return to an upright position. This is the standard opening for all Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata and is referred to as the Jo Rei.

All Octagon angles in the following descriptions and depictions are global octagon angles.

Tensoku Ryu Jo Shodan Procedure

IchiStep back with the right leg to adopt a Teiji Dachi facing angle 1 while inverting the right hand and bringing the Jo vertically toward your center. Grasp the Jo with the left hand near the top and set the bottom of the Jo so it presses firmly into the ground in front of and in alignment with your left foot. The left thumb should be pointed up. The Jo should be perfectly vertical when viewed from any angle.
NiPush the top of the Jo toward angle 3 while leaving the bottom of the Jo firmly embedded into the floor. This forms a subtle block against an incoming Tsuki. Rotate your center toward angle 7 to deflect the incoming weapon away from your center. Now slide the right leg behind the left leg and toward angle 1 to form a Juji Dachi facing angle 1. This should be a very low stance. As this stance transition occurs, raise the bottom of the Jo and swing it back until you can grab it at the end with the right hand. The right hand should be at the very end of the weapon with the thumb toward the front (little finger at the end of the weapon). Slide the weapon forward using the right hand while maintaining a loose grip with the left hand and deliver a Chudan Tsuki toward angle 1. The left hand should tighten around the weapon during the last few inches of travel. Twisting both hands slightly during these last few inches intensifies the focus of the strike.
SanSlide the right leg back toward angle 6 and transition into a Kokutsu Dachi facing angle 1 while performing a Gedan Ushiro Tsuki back toward angle 2. In performing the strike the left hand should slide up to the end of the weapon while the right hand allows the weapon to slide freely through the hand until the right hand is approximately 1/3 of the way from the back of the weapon.
YonStep to angle 7 with the right leg to establish a Kiba Dachi facing angle 1. During the transition for this step raise the weapon so that the left hand is near your left ear and the right hand is in front. The weapon should be generally parallel with the floor. The thumbs of the two hands will face toward the rear as you strike with Migi Yokomen Uchi.
GoBend the back leg to establish a Soft Bow Stance and lower the left hand bringing the back of the weapon toward the floor. Release the grip of the left hand, position the hand so the fingers are pointed downward and press the palm of the left hand into the weapon sweeping the weapon slightly to your right. The weapon should remain vertical and the fingers of the hand should be fully behind the weapon (not exposed to an attack on the opposite side of the weapon).
RokuStep with the right leg to angle 4 as the left hand grips the weapon and delivers a Gedan Uke in the direction of angle 1. Both hands should be 1/3 of the way from their respective ends of the weapon.
NanaSlide the right hand to the right end of the weapon and then move the open left hand under the weapon to support it from below. The right hand rises above the head while the left hand is at about mid-torso level and angles down and to the left. Your stance changes into a Neko Ashi Dachi facing angle 5 by pulling the left leg inward. The left hand will be 1/3 of the way in from the end of the weapon and no finger should be exposed over the top of the weapon. The weapon is roughly aligned along the 5 – 6 axis
HachiStep forward with the left leg to angle 5 and establish a Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi facing angle 1. As this transition occurs the left hand closes around the weapon (thumb facing away). The right hand lowers as the rear of the weapon tucks under the right arm coming to rest against the rib cage. Concurrently the left arm swings upward and to the right until the weapon is parallel to the floor and pointed directly at angle 1. Both hands should be grasping the weapon at the 1/3 position
KuSwing the far end of the weapon up and to the left and continue this circular movement until the left hand is behind your head. Simultaneously step back with left leg to angle 8. This is only a transitional stance position. Now strike downward using a Shomen Uchi as the right leg retracts slightly to form a Seisan Dachi facing angle 1. The far end of the weapon should go no further down than the general transition point between Jodan and Chudan levels
JuSlide first the right and then the left hands forward so that they grasp the weapon at the middle and turn the weapon so it is shoulder height, parallel to the floor and your chest wall, and aligned along the 3 – 4 axis. Now rotate both wrists so the left side of the weapon descends while the right side rises. Once the weapon has reached a vertical orientation convert the rotation into a Migi Ura Yokomen Uchi toward angel one. Release the grip of your left hand and return the weapon to its original starting position at your right side. Jo Rei. Yame.

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