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CompleteMartialArts.com - Jo: Art of the Japanese Short Staff (Weapons Series)


List Price: $14.00
Our Price: $14.00
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Manufacturer: Black Belt Communications
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 796
EAN: 9780897501163
ISBN: 0897501160
Label: Black Belt Communications
Manufacturer: Black Belt Communications
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 192
Publication Date: 1987-10-01
Publisher: Black Belt Communications
Studio: Black Belt Communications

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Editorial Reviews:

This book teaches the art of the jo, the simple short staff that defeated the great swordsman Musashi. Topics include history, fundamentals, combinations, the traditional 31-count form and applications against a swordsman. Lowry is a noted scholar and practitioner of Japanese weaponry. Fully illustrated.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: An Excellent Introduction to the Most Practical of Weapons
Comment: Written shortly after Dave Lowry's second book, "Bokken", "Jo" follows closely in style with detailed explanations and good explanatory sequence photographs. Of all the training tools one might add to one's repetoire, Jo has got to be the best for a variety of reason. The Jo is balanced and relatively easy to get a feel for. Another big plus from an experienced traveller (me)--the Jo can double as a walking stick, and it isn't difficult to bring with you for training just about anywhere you go.

I enjoy reading Lowry's books, he is knowledgeable and earnest, two traits I can appreciate in anyone, but especially seek in a teacher. In this work he explains the purpose, advises the studious reader not to assume too much, and offers sage advice along with instruction. Lowry compares and contrasts the ancient and modern Bugeisha (man or warrior ways) and offers us consideration on the motives of each:

"...the single distinction between the classical bugeisha and his counterpart may be measured in terms of spirit. For the bugeisha, training was not a matter of spending a few hours a week polishing his craft. He entered into it as a lifelong pursuit. He maintained a steadily receptive frame of mind, constabtly instilling within himself an atitude of alertness, incessantly assessing and evaluating situations and reacting accordingly. For him the physical confrontations of the dojo also imparted lessons in personal comportment that could be, and were, applied to daily life. The strategy of the classical martial arts was therefore mirrored in his manners and in the way he conducted himself in society". (page 18)

Lowry also offers a brief history of Jojutsu and its evolutin to Jodo before commencing an excellent series of instructional photo sequences. If you're reading this you probably have some martial arts experience and already understand--but just in case, I should point out that it is very difficult for an individual with absolutely NO prior weapons experience to pick up the nuances of weapons training from a book. If you live in a place or under conditions that make finding an instructor or training partner virtually impossible, I'd recommend getting a dvd or watching some clips to get an idea of HOW to move and beginning correspondence with a legitimate instructor who will have your best interests at heart. Sincere practice can be tough mentally and physically, especially in the beginning--so focus your attention, don't give up, and appreciate everything that is right with the world.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: This is a good manual, except . . .
Comment: This is a very well written manual of jo exercises. The descriptions are easy to understand; and in a couple of places the author also shows the wrong way to do the lesson, so that the reader doesn't do that. The quality of the photos is much better than some other manuals
This book focuses on the techniques, so all though the book tells a little bit of history, history is not the main issue. That might affect your decision to buy the book, either positively or negatively.

My only complaint is directed at this class of book, and not really this book alone. I would like to see some of these books published with a spiral binding, like a technical manual, so that it can lay flat on a table. If I could read the advice while I'm trying to practice the lesson (while I have a jo in my hands, and I'm standing in chudan kumae) I would be happier.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Quality
Comment: This is an excellent book by an excellent author. It is a pity though that Lowry's attention to quality did not extend to the printing of the book. The pictures look like photocopies and the paper is all too thin. The cover gets bent out of shape far too easily.
This book deserves better binding.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Good book for returning martial artist
Comment: I am extrememly glad that I brought this book not long after returning to the martial arts after many years away. It allowed me to improve my kata and stance work at a much faster rate than I had thought possible. Practicing in front of a large mirror at my local gym also helped.
One has to remember that you really do need a good Sensei to look at and correct imperfections in your technique but this book goes a long way to moving the process along.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: It's not the size of your staff, but how you use it!
Comment: I greatly enjoyed this staff-fighting tome. I'm no martial artiste, but like to read about different techniques and schools of fighting that developed in different cultures and ages. Dave Lowry has a clear mastery of this subject, and his respect for this Japanese art comes through in his scholarly historical presentation and masterful exposition of technique. Which makes it all the more surprising and dissapointing that Mr. Lowry continues to perpetuate the insulting "short staff" stereotype of the Japanese.


My favorite chapter was Tandoku Renshu - Solo Staff Exercises. I don't have a staff sparring partner, so I'm left to work my staff solo. The chapter that I am most dubious about is Uchi Kata - Striking Methods. I hardly think Japanese culture is the place to find experts in striking methods! The French, or perhaps the Teamsters, have much greater experience in proper striking technique.


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