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1.  Introduction to Henka-Waza


There are hundreds of variations of kata called Henka-waza (or Henko-waza).  Just when you think you have learned it all... behold!  The SMR Curriculum is deep and layered. Henka-waza is gradually introduced by your instructor. 

 

Kata were never intended to be performed the same way all the time. If that were so, than we would be severely limiting the potential of the Jo.  That is where Henka-waza enter the curriculum.

 

The jo is a versatile weapon. Techniques can be executed from the left or right, forward of backwards.

 

When I first learned Ran-ai, I counted 35 techniques. As I continued to study, however, that increased to over 70.  My instructor once told me there are about 200 moves in Ran-ai.

 

I will use Tai Atari as an example.  In Tai Atari, most people consider it a "body check". Shidachi rotates the Jo vertical and pushes Uchidachi.  However, this is a limited perception of what is really going on.  Tai Atari is so much more than that.  When Shidachi rotates the Jo vertical, first, Uchidachi is dealt a blow to the solar plexus, and as he/she keels over from the impact, Shidachi deals a second punch to the nose, knocking Uchidachi back. As with ALL techniques TIMING and DISTANCE are crucial.

 

Another example is the first kata in Omote: Tachi Otoshi.  After Shidachi makes the first strike, which Uchidachi blocks, Shidachi proceeds to do Kuritsuke, right??  Did you know that as Shidachi draws back the jo and lifts it, that his intention is not just to do Kuritsuke?  Shidachi actually lifts the Jo to break Uchidachi`s forearm, then continues to do Kuritsuke.

 

Jodo is first and foremost a skill.  It is not a series of techniques programmed in a set routine.  Jodo was never intended to be performed in a superficial and stylistic manner. 

 

It is a danger and a regret when folks get so caught up in following "Shimizu-Ha", "Otofuji-Ha" or "Nishioka-Ha."  Learn from your teachers, respect them with all your heart and receive all that they have to give and are willing to share.  Soak it up, write it down, put it into practice and appreciate it, but...

 

NEVER FORGET TO THINK FOR YOURSELF.  

 

Jodo is EFFECTIVE and PRACTICAL.  There is a purpose for everything you do. Always question if what you are doing is effective. What is your purpose, what are your intentions and what are your opponent`s intentions? Don`t limit yourself or the Jo.

 

My instructor often says, "Nothing is bad if it works!"

 

 

2.  Introduction to Oyugumite


Oyugumite, a type of semi-free-style sparring, was developed in the 20th Century primarily by Kuroda Sensei.  There are 26 series of techniques that comprise Oyugumite. 

 

Kumite means free sparring. Since no protective gear is worn in Jodo, Oyugumite is the next level below Kumite.

 

Oyugumite adds the necessary DYNAMIC element to the practice of Jodo.  It allows an individual`s skills and knowledge to be put to the test. There is a structure to Oyugymite understood by both Shidachi and Uchidachi. However, within that structure almost anything goes.

 

More detailed information to come...

 

 

 

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