Modern Hojo Undo

In praise of the Jumbi Undo

Jonathan Walter

In praise of the Jumbi Undo

Last year, after 24 years of Goju Ryu experience I discovered something I'd never seen before; the traditional Jumbi Undo for Goju Ryu. Jumbi Undo means "preparatory exercises, ie: warm-up. As it turns out, Goju Ryu founder Chojen Myagi Sensei formulated his own warm-up routine to best prepare the body for training. Obviously, when I discovered that this was even a thing I had to try it out. What I discovered is simply the best warm up I've ever had.

If, like me, this is completely new information to you the best place to start is this video:

Now that we're all up to speed I think you'll agree that as warm-ups go this one is a bit unusual. Until I tried the Jumbi Undo I never realized just how influenced I'd been by school gym class. The idea of warming up without doing push ups and sit ups never occurred to me. In fact, for some reason, I'd always connected strength training to warming up. For the life of me I don't know why. What you really want in a warm up is to work your joints through their full range of motion and smooth out the kinks. Basic calisthenics, as good as they are, don't do that. A push up is good Hojo Undo, but the swooping push ups of the Jumbi Undo are much better at getting everything loose and moving.

Jumbi Undo is certainly not unique to Goju Ryu, but as far as I know this specifically systematic approach starting at the toes and working up, is unique to Goju Ryu. And, of course, this is something that can be endlessly modified and changed. Jumbi Undo isn't kata. It isn't set in stone. I'm completely sold on it. I've never felt more warmed up and ready to train. I highly recommend you check it out. I think you'll agree. Or you'll just hate me. That might happen too.