Solo Practice with Jo

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Solo Practice with Jo - TANDOKU DOSA

This page provides instruction on how to solo practice with the martial arts weapon known as the Jo. The Jo is a 4 foot wooden staff and is similar to the better known (and longer) Bo.

It is important to practice the basics until your movements flow easily. Jo training helps you learn to judge distances.

Timing is very important and is expected to be demonstrated during Tandoku Dosa (two or more students present) or Sotai Dosa during training or at gradings.

KIAI - Jo utilizes a Kiai (yell) but there is a specific Kiai for a strike or a thrust.

  • KIAI FOR THRUST - "HO-O" (pronounced like the English word "HOT" but without the "T" and extending and deepening the "O" sound, almost guttural)


  • Length: 128cm (4.2 foot, 50.39 inches)
  • Diameter: 2.4cm (0.945 inches)
  • Material: Red or white oak

When starting out you can use dowel (with the above dimensions, may need to cut it/have it cut down to the right length). This can be purchased inexpensively from most hardware stores.


  • Ippon-me - Tsune no Kamae - (starting position)
  • Nihon-me - Honte no Kamae - (forward right/left hand position)
  • Sanbon-me - Gyakute no Kamae - (reverse right/left hand position)
  • Yonbon-me - Hikiotoshi no Kamae - (strike or sweep down position)


  • Ippon me - Honte Uchi (migi/hidari) - Forward hand strike
  • Nihon me - Gyakute Uchi (migi/hidari) - Reverse hand strike
  • Sanbon me - Hikiotoshi Uchi (migi/hidari) - Sliding knock down
  • Yonbon me - Kaeshi Zuki (migi/hidari) - Thrust to solar plexus
  • Gohon me - Gyakute Tsuki - Overhead thrust to solar plexus
  • Roppon me - Maki Otoshi - Sweeping down
  • Nanahon me - Kuri Tsuke - Pinning & trapping
  • Happon me - Kuri Hanashi - Throwing away
  • Kyuhon me - Tai Atari - Body check
  • Juppon me - Tsuki Hazushi Uchi - Thrust block & stike
  • Ju ippon me - Dou Barai Uchi - Block to side of body & stike
  • Ju nihon me - Tai Hazushi Uchi (left/right) - Retreat & strike forwards


In some martial art styles you can get by without learning much Japanese (beyond counting, stances, strikes or blocks etc. and often the English translation is given as well). At a standard Jo grading all the commands are given solely in Japanese. If you learn all the Japanese names and terms on this page you shouldn't have any trouble at a standard grading.

If more than one student is grading in the basic Tandoku Dosa it is important they attempt to keep in time and kiai at the same time as much as possible.

Kiai's need to be strong, they demonstrate you are confident.

4th Kyu grading you need to perform Kihon Ippon me through to Yonbon me which incorporate the four basic Jo positions. First four techniques.


  • Hajime - Begin
  • Josaki - Point of the Jo
  • Hidari - Left
  • Kiai - Shout/sound emitted with certain techniques
  • Kihon - Basics
  • Ma hanmi - Completely side on posture
  • Maware migi - Turn round to face the opposite direction (turn via right hand side). Turn 180 degrees.
  • Migi - Right
  • Motoe - Command. When heard during Kihon return to Tsune no Kamae (normal starting position)
  • Shizentai - Natural standing posture
  • Sougo no Rei - Command: usually "Sougo no" short pause as students dip tip of Jo down until vertical with ground & Jo touching right arm/shoulder, then "Rei". Some instructors may give a very short pause or almost none.
  • Sogo no Rei - See Sougo no Rei.
  • YaYa Hanmi - Halfway right/left side on posture - body at 45 degrees, head facing forward
  • Yame - Stop technique
  • Yoi - Ready
  • Yoi Kamae - Ready position

Reference Sources

  1. Terminology JoDo Zen Nippon Kendo Renmai JODO; English Version Manual; Third Version 2003. All Japan Kendo Federation.
  2. Personal experience.

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