We were all feeling a bit old and stiff today, so we worked on the jo. Very necessary too. It has been way too long before I spent a lot of time on the jo.
In the basic suburi, it is important to have good solid technique, developing power from the whole body. That requires good foot positioning and body posture, even little things like holding the jo firmly but not rigidly. We worked through all twenty of the suburi.
Aiki jo is probably not too close to jodo. One reason to practice jo suburi is to improve your body movements, so that your aikido works better. Another, of course, is to provide a foundation for kumi jo.
In the kumi jo, good technique is necessary, but also good timing and distance. In fact, those are probably the most important reason to do kumi jo, especially as the ma ai (fighting distance, with implications for timing) is different from empty handed ma ai.
We got through all five of our basic kumi jo, though we didn’t have long to spend on the fifth one. Aside from just knowing the movements, it is easy to get the timing wrong. A good way to think of a kumi jo is as a series of suki – how you expose one target after another for uke to strike at. Otherwise, there is a tendency to run the whole thing together and forget the timing, and then the movements become trivialized and simply don’t work
Of course, you can go through a kumi jo and just agree where each party should be striking. Trouble is, you don’t get much from it, and what you do learn won’t be useful. Kinda like life.