Juho in the time of Covid

Juho is the part of Shorinji Kempo which is all about grabbing people. Covid, as we all know, is about not grabbing people. So is it possible to teach juho at the moment? Should we even try?

I believe we should try. Shorinji Kempo is a complete system, and it feels incomplete without all of the bits. After all, they’re there for a reason.

But how?

I can’t touch you, so I can’t demonstrate the grab, or the release, or the throw. Sure, we can do single form practice – ryuo ken dai ichi springs to mind – but that kata only makes sense if you already know what is going on. What if I have a complete beginner who wants to learn?

If it’s at all possible, encourage your new starters to come with someone from their family or bubble. They can touch each other, and with a certain amount of description and experimentation, they should be able to achieve understanding.

Videos can also be useful, to give an overview of what it’s supposed to look like with a partner.

Of course, that’s not always (or even often) possible. For single people, and in places with no video equipment, some kind of teaching aid is required.

I built myself a hand.

Not chopped off a real person, I promise.

With my hand, I can demonstrate how what I do changes the angle at which they are able to hold on, making them bend their wrist or loosen the grip.

Of course, the hands are only half the story in kote nuki. Body movement and foot movement are also important.

When you can’t be within 2 metres of each other, the range on the foot movement is hard to imagine.

Enter the severed feet!

Ok, by “severed feet” I meant “slippers”. But still!

Each of these elements on their own makes little sense, but if you can do them all, and combine them in your head, it’s possible to reach enlightenment.

What about you? If you’re a Shorinji Kempo kenshi, judoka, aikido practitioner, or anyone else who uses grabbing and grappling in their martial art, I want to hear your tips and suggestions for how to continue learning and teaching in the current time.

Published by Nicola Higgins

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist, Girlguiding Brownie Leader, and works full time. She somehow also finds time to read, fuss her cats, and occasionally spends time with her husband.

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