Aikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on redirecting the opponent’s energy. The use of a wooden staff called “jo,” is a vital part of this practice.

The jo is used to increase leverage, distance, and timing, making it an essential tool for practicing Aikido techniques.

The Significance of the Jo

The jo is typically made of hardwood and measures around four feet in length. It is often used to represent the sword or spear in Aikido training.

Employing the jo allows practitioners to maintain their distance from their opponents while still being able to attack effectively. The jo can also be used to block incoming attacks and redirect an attacker’s momentum.

Aikido Jo Techniques

The following are some of the most important techniques involved in using the jo in Aikido:

1. Choku-tsuki

Also known as the thrust technique, choku-tsuki involves lunging forward with the jo and striking your opponent with its tip. This technique can be used both offensively and defensively and requires good timing and distance.

2. Shomen-uchi

Shomen-uchi involves attacking your opponent’s head with a downward strike. The jo is used to block the attack and then return the strike.

3. Yokomen-uchi

Similar to shomen-uchi, this technique involves attacking your opponent’s head, but with a diagonal strike instead of a downward one. The jo is used to deflect this attack and then counter with a strike.

4. Tsuki

Tsuki is a forward thrusting technique that can be used to strike your opponent’s vital areas, such as the chest or abdomen. The jo is also used to block incoming thrusts and then counter with a thrust of its own.

5. Kote-gaeshi

Kote-gaeshi is a joint-locking technique that involves trapping your opponent’s wrist and using the jo to apply pressure to their elbow joint, causing them to fall to the ground. This technique is commonly used in self-defense situations.

6. Sankyo

Sankyo is another joint-locking technique that involves twisting your opponent’s wrist while applying pressure to their elbow joint with the jo. This technique can be used to immobilize an attacker or to force them to release a weapon.

Aikido Training with the Jo

In aikido training, the jo is usually incorporated into the paired practice known as kata. Kata involves prearranged movements between two opponents and serves as a way of passing down techniques from one generation to another.

In addition, many aikido schools incorporate jo suburi, a solo practice that involves performing repetitive movements with the jo.


The use of the wooden staff in Aikido practice is an integral part of the art. The jo allows practitioners to develop their timing, distance, and leverage skills while maintaining their safety during training.

By incorporating various techniques involving the jo into their practice, aikido students can improve their overall skill level and deepen their understanding of this unique martial art.

With the proper training and practice, using the jo can be an effective tool for self-defense and personal growth.

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