Learn about the Bo Staff - Martial Arts Weapon

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Learn about the Bo (Staff) - Martial Arts Weapon

The Bo (staff) is an Okinawan (Japan) martial arts weapon. This staff is basically a long wooden weapon traditionally made of Oak and is roughly 6 feet in length. In contrast, a Jo staff is approximately 4 feet in length.

Many martial arts train with staffs (i.e. Bo and Jo) including Aikido, Bojutsu, Kung Fu, Ninjutsu and some Budo/ Bujutsu schools. Moreover, the Bo is used in many weapon katas and forms. The Bo is used to block, thrust, and strike an opponent and is effective against most other forms of martial arts weapons. A typical Bojutsu technique will be to block an opponents attack with the top part of the staff and then in a fluid motion to counter strike with the lower end. In the hands of a master, there will only be a split second between block and strike. This is one of the reasons why the Bo is one of the most difficult of martial arts weapons to defend against.

To practice sparring with a Bo, martial artists often use a foam Bo in addition to head gear, gloves and other protective gear. The foam Bo is used to reduce potential injuries to the sparring partner.

Bo Techniques

For information about other traditional martial arts weapons, please visit the main Martial Arts Weapons section.

Instructional Video for the Bo Staff


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