My jo needs to move appropriately so that I'm not left undefended, and so my partner feels a threat. My jo should spend as close to zero time as possible in a non-threatening position. The tip should be aimed to be dangerous, aimed at the eyes even. When striking, I need the jo to lead such that I don't walk into danger, but I lead my movement with my jo and it clears the path for me. As it transits through the air, my grip and the state of my arms, hips, feet, my whole body, should be in the best position possible at the time to drive the jo into my opponent or their sword.
A lot of it deals with force vectors, as my sensei likes to explain. I am a fan of force and vectors ever since grade 12 physics, so this helps me a lot.
There is a great economy of movement going on, miminising superfluous things, maximing the value of each movement and state.
Some pointers from tonight for me to work on
- grounding my rear foot
- sliding my hands to appropriate places on the jo to maintain power
- learn how the jo can be used to redirect movement, not always the most obvious way (e.g. not striking down, but pushing forward with your strike to roll your opponent over their of mass and lose their balance)
- be flexible in my choices; sometimes the appropriate thing to do is take a hand off your sword to catch a jo and then cut one-handed