Choosing A Jo

There is a rule, and exceptions to it when deciding the size of a jo (medium length staff used in Aikido), Jodo and other sword/staff practices. The rule (and this comes from ancient times) is that the jo is cylindrical in shape and has specific proportions of 50 1/4" x 15/16" . Traditional schools of Jodo and the jo used in the Shindo muso ryu go by this rule.

 

So, old school dojo (koryu), Jodo and Shindo Muso Ryu practitioners should select the 50 1/4" x 15/16" size. For most aikidoka (Aikido practitioners), a more customized approach is taken which is technically an exception to the rule but since the vast majority of jo usage occurs in Aikido, the customized approach is more largely represented and the jo is sized according to body proportions as described below.

 

Choosing a Jo

Choosing a Jo

A general rule for determining the best length of the Jo when used for Aikido is by measuring the distance from floor to armpit, standing barefoot. Notice that the measurement is made with the arm in a normal relaxed position.

As always in choosing a wooden weapon, the most important first step for a newcomer is to find out what is preferred in the their dojo. In choosing your jo, all situations are different but we would suggest that customizations in size be generally conservative. For example, a taller practitioner might order a jo up to 53 or 54" jo and a shorter person might simply stick to the original parameters of the shinto muso ryu rather than ordering a very short jo. Excessively long or custom made extra thick jo, unless expressly required by an instructor, will certainly not be welcomed in most weapons practice.

Jo Sizing Information

The Role of Diameter

The Role of Diameter

Small differences in diameter affect the feeling of thickness and overall weight of these shapes. A 1" diameter jo will feel noticeably fuller in the hand than one of 15/16" even though the increase in diameter is incremental.