Tensoku Ryu Jo Nidan focuses exclusively on blocking and stance transitions. Despite appearances, there are no strikes in the Kata. The intent is to provide a vehicle from which students can study and learn fundamental blocking behaviors and embed them firmly in the subconscious.
A key consideration when blocking is protection of the hand, which can be impacted or suffer injuries when impacted by an opponent’s weapon. Hand position and weapon orientation when blocking are key elements in protecting the hand during contact between two weapons. You will explore various ways to ensure your hand is less likely to become injured when being struck by another Jo weapon. You will need these skills if you practice contact skills when performing the matched Jo set (the Nidan and Sandan versions of the Tensoku Ryu Jo Kata).
Pay attention to where your hands are positioned, especially if they are in an area of the weapon that is likely to be impacted or if an impacting weapon might slide along the shaft of your weapon and strike your hand. These problems can be remedied by a combination of hand positioning, weapon orientation, and weapon movement. When doing this form you should be ever vigilant about recognizing where your hands are vulnerable to deliberate or incidental contact from another weapon.
In the following depictions and descriptions all Octagon angles refer to Global Octagon angles.
Tensoku Ryu Jo Nidan Procedure
|Ichi||Step with the left leg to angle 3 to establish Heiko Dachi facing angle 1 as you concurrently move the weapon to a horizontal position in front of you and parallel to the floor. Continue raising the weapon as you grasp it with both hands, placing one hand near each end. Press the weapon upward, forward, and over your head while keeping it parallel to the floor to perform an Age Uke toward angle 1. Your arms should be nearly fully extended yet still maintain a slightly bent and curved shape. Your palms should face away from you.|
|Ni||Pull the left leg in to establish a Hidari Neko Ashi Dachi facing angle 5. Maintain the position of the right hand above your head and slant the left side of the Jo downward significantly in the direction of angle 5. Use the palm of the left hand to support this end of the Jo from below and perform an Age Uke in the direction of angel 5. Ensure no portion of the left hand is exposed above the top surface of the weapon. Note that the weapon is slanted down and to your left during the block at roughly a 45° angle.|
|San||Move the left leg toward angle 8 and form a high Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi facing angle 3. Concurrent with this action lower the right side of the weapon downward as you invert the grip of your left hand and grasp the weapon firmly with this hand. The right hand holds the weapon loosely in its grip. Using the left hand press the weapon back toward angle 4 while keeping the right hand stationary in the vicinity of your right hip. The back tip of the weapon should be positioned near the floor behind you to form a rear downward block (Ushiro Uke).|
|Yon||Step forward with your right leg to form Heisoku Dachi facing angle 3 as you concurrently swing your left hand over your head from the side of your right ear and re-grasp the weapon with your right hand so that both hands are near the end of the weapon and held against the back of your head. The weapons should now be behind you resting on the right side of your back to form a vertical rear block. The palm of the left hand should face away from you and to the rear. The weapon should trace a generally vertical path from just above your neck descending down over your right shoulder blade. Your legs will likely be bent significantly while in Heisoku Dachi.|
|Go||Release your grip with the right hand and use your left hand to plant the lower end of the weapon directly and firmly onto the floor in the direction of angle 8. The weapon should be straight vertically in both direction with one end of the weapon resting firmly on the floor. Now slide your right and then your left legs in the direction of angle 7 to form Heiko Dachi facing angle 3 while keeping the weapon in its current location and orientation. This forms a vertical ground block.|
|Roku||Move your left leg to angle 8 to establish a Migi Kokutsu Dachi facing angle 3 as you raise the weapon. Maintain your grip with the left hand and use the right hand to loosely grasp the weapon at mid-point. Place your right hand at your right hip then drive the lower end of the weapon back and in a general downward direction toward angle 7 to form a downward-directed Ushiro Uke. The left hand should be facing palm up while the right hand faces palm down.|
|Nana||Without changing your hand positions grasp the weapon tightly with both hands and step back with the left leg to angle 6 to form Migi Teiji Dachi facing angle 3. As you step sweep the weapon in a low arc through angle 3, stopping as the weapon nears angle 8. This is a sweeping downward block, or Gedan Barai. The left and right hands will be positioned generally within the top 1/3 of the weapon's length.|
|Hachi||Step back with the right leg to angle 6 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi facing angle 1. As you rotate toward the new stance move your right hand to the far end of the weapon and then invert the weapon. As you settle into the Sochin Dachi use the open left hand to press the weapon down and forward in the direction of angle 1. The right hand should be holding the weapon near your right hip. This forms a downward pressing block toward angle 1. No portion of your left hand should descend below the top surface of the weapon. Keep the arc of the weapon as it moves into blocking position at a minimum. Excess angular rotations result in delayed blocking times.|
|Ku||Rotate your center clockwise and pull your left leg inward to establish Hidari Neko Ashi Dachi facing angle 7. Rotate your left palm so it presses into the weapon from the side and then sweep the Jo through angle 7 using a Gedan Barai. As the weapon reaches angle seven sweep the lower end of weapon up and away from you somewhat. This is intended to push an opponent's weapon up and away from you. Do not move the weapon much beyond angle 7.|
|Ju||Abruptly pull the weapon back in to your center so it will establish a vertical orientation. Press the lower end of the weapon down until it is near or touching the floor. As this occurs raise your left knee to establish Migi Ippon Dachi facing angle 7. Press your left knee outward so it is oriented toward angle 1 and no longer toward angle 7. At the completion of this low level block rotate your center toward angle 1, lower your left leg to form Heisoku Dachi facing angle 1, and lower your weapon along your right side until it returns to its starting position. Jo Rei. Yame|