Tensoku Ryu Jo Sandan

The Tensoku Ryu Jo Sandan Kata deals with striking using the Jo weapon. You will explore many common striking methods as well as a series of effective and fast striking combinations. You will strike toward the head, feet, and many places in between. There are only ten strikes in the entire Kata, but they provide you with a great deal of insight into how striking can be easily accomplished with the Jo weapon.

The Matched Set

If you examine the strikes in this form you will notice that they are in exact sync with the blocks in Tensoku Ryu Jo Nidan Kata. These are in fact a practice pair. Two people should be able to do these Kata with one another; one person doing the Sandan version and the other doing the Nidan form. Every strike in the Sandan Kata should be convincingly blocked by the Nidan Kata.

When doing the Kata as a matched pair the Tori must be careful not to strike at Uke if Uke is not yet in position to block the strike. When first practicing this paired Kata it is a learning experience for both Tori and Uke. Take it slowly at first until everyone is accustomed to their role. Of course, in a conflict you are explicitly looking for the opportunity to strike at or otherwise overcome an opponent who is not in position. Look for these opportunities as you do the Kata – just don’t take advantage of them in a way that may injure your training partner.

Do not attempt to perform this Kata as part of a matched pair until you are extremely familiar with the form. You must know precisely what you are doing in the form before you start delivering strikes toward another practitioner. You will also want to ensure that your training partner is equally skilled and knowledgeable about performance of the Nidan version of these forms.

Learning Considerations

This Kata can be difficult to learn. Take your time and consider the following:

  • Most of the form is executed from relatively stationary positions. There is not a tremendous amount of movement, despite appearances.
  • Many of the striking sequences can occur quite rapidly because they are relatively simple right/left and high/low striking combinations, often performed or initiated simply by inverting the wrist.
  • The double shuffle sequence in the form is done to allow you to move in front of your turned training partner. This movement is quite large. Take your time and determine how large your steps need to be to accomplish this movement cleanly. The steps you take will vary with the size of your training partner. Learn to determine the required movement by noticing the relative positions of yourself and your training partner as you are in transition.
  • The last two movements in the form can happen extremely quickly. Ensure your Uke has properly placed his or her weapon prior to delivering each of these two strikes.
  • While the form focuses primarily on striking skills, consider the quality of your stance work and particularly where you might be vulnerable to a counter strike. Always consider the effectiveness of your guarding actions and the ability to quickly change a strike into a guard or block. Things happen extremely quickly when using a Jo. You need to be ready for anything.

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

Begin by adoption Heisoku Dachi and then perform Jo Rei.

Tensoku Ryu Jo Sandan Procedure

IchiRaise the Jo before you and grasp the lower end with your left hand as you step with the right leg toward angle 7. As you land establish a Migi Teiji Dachi and deliver a Migi Shomen Uchi to angle 1.
NiUsing the right leg step slightly toward angle 7 while maintaining your current stance. Retract the weapon slightly by rotating your wrist and deliver a Migi Chudan Mawashi Uchi toward angle 1.
SanRetain your current stance and release your left hand grip. Now invert your right wrist such that the right side of the weapon moves upward and then to your left. Grab the weapon again with your left hand and strike with Hidari Gedan Mawashi Uchi toward angle 1.
YonMove the left leg to angle 1 and establish a Hidari Juji Dachi facing angle 1 as you invert your grip by spinning the weapon 180° in front of you. Strike with a Migi Chudan Ura Mawashi Uchi toward angle 1 as you settle into the stance.
GoShift your weight onto your left leg and return the weapon to a front guard position. Now then step with the sequence R7L7R7L7 (shuffling twice toward angle 7) and then establish a Migi Teiji Dachi facing angle 3. As you establish the Teiji Dachi drive a Migi Gedan Mawashi Uchi toward angle 3.
RokuStep with the right leg toward angle 7 to establish Heiko Dachi facing angle 3. Shift your weight distribution such that approximately 60% of your weight is on your left leg as you release your left grip, invert your right wrist, grab the weapon again with your left hand and then deliver a Hidari Gedan Mawashi Uchi to angle 3.
NanaRaise the far end of the weapon upward until the weapon is generally oriented vertically in front of you. Grasp the top of the weapon with your right hand then plunge the bottom of the weapon down and forward slightly toward angle 3. Allow the weapon to slide through your left hand as it descends. You are striking with a Migi Gedan Tsuki toward angle 3. This strike might be targeting the opponent's feet (though that is not the only potential application).
HachiTighten your grip with the left hand and release the grip on the weapon with your right hand. Invert your left wrist to invert the weapon. Grasp the rising back end of the weapon with your right hand such that your right palm faces downward. Quickly step forward with the right leg to angle 3 then forward with the left leg to angle 8 to establish Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi facing angle 3. Concurrent with establishing this stance deliver a Hidari Chudan Tsuki toward angle 3.
KuStep with the right leg to angle 6 and establish a Hidari Han Zenkutsu Dachi facing angle 1 as you concurrently deliver a Hidari Gedan Mawashi Uchi to angle 1.
JuShift back to establish a Hidari Sochin Dachi facing angle 1 as you circle the striking end of the weapon slightly upward and then slightly in the direction of angle 5. Now quickly circle back down and inward to deliver a Hidari Gedan Mawashi Uchi to angle 1.

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