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Aikido and Weapons Training

Weapons training is an integral part of Aikido training. Through training weapons the basic principals of Aikido are learned. The first step in learning weapons is to learn the basic strikes. Then progressing into Katas (practiced forms that are a series of strikes) and then finally partner practices. Two distinctly different styles of weapons are practiced at our school.


Aiki Weapons (Iwama Style)

O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido, was skillful with both sword and staff, frequently demonstrating the same movements to be effective even while empty-handed. Aiki-weapons are taught as shown by Saito Sensei. Characteristics of Aiki-weapons are the bigger movements used to teach hip rotation and body movement, moving off the line of attack, as well as ki extension.


Sugawara Sensei's Partner Practices

Tetsutaka Sugawara Sensei developed his partner practices to introduce movements found in the Katori style of weapons, which are very different than Aiki-weapons. The movements are much faster and much more direct when compared to Aiki-weapons. These katas teach the basic principals of Katori style weaponry. There are 8 kumi-jo (bokken v. jo) and 5 jo-ai (jo v. jo) practices. Video of these weapons katas can be viewed on the Weapons page on the Santa Rosa Aikido website

The first four katas in the kumi-jo are practiced as if wearing armor. The strikes are harder and target weak points in the armor that would be worn by a warrior swordsman. The second four (5-8) are practiced as if without armor and are softer, closer and even faster than the first four. There are five jo-ai katas, which are practiced with the same distance and speed of the 5-8 katas of the kumijo.

Learning these katas not only provides a foundation for Katori training, but is required before a student may be invited to train Katori. Learning Sugawara Sensei's kumi-jo and jo-ai also allows the instructor to gauge the character of an individual, which is the basis for admission into the advanced weapons style of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu.


Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu

Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is a 600-year-old sword style, considered to be the most distinguished of all Japanese martial traditions, and as such was designated an intangible cultural treasure by the Japanese government in April 1960.

Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu is trained with the utmost seriousness and is not to be taken lightly. There are expectations of those who train Katori far and above normal expectations.

Iai-Jutsu (sword drawing)
  Tachi-ai Batto-jutsu

Tachi-Jutsu (sword fighting)