Reply To: Can a Jo staff be used instead of a Bo?

Front Page Forums Ultimate Bo Can a Jo staff be used instead of a Bo? Reply To: Can a Jo staff be used instead of a Bo?


Thanks for this question. In short, a Jo can be used instead of a Bo for training/practice. Let me dig a bit deeper here.

When you are in a room with limited space (low ceiling, furniture, etc.), and perhaps during the winter when it is too cold to practically train outside – I advise to train with a Jo indoors. In lieu of a Jo, an escrima stick is even possible, although if you have the proper space and reach, a Jo is much closer to the physics of a Bo.

What is the difference between a Jo and a Bo? How would your training be detrimental or possibly lack?
The Bo has traditionally been 6 feet long (rokushakubo) — roku: six, shaku: feet, bo: staff (roughly). Sometimes even a bit longer and it has been used as a basic transition piece to longer pole weapons in Europe (Quarterstaff) or to the naginata in Japan. When you train with a Jo of 4′ – 4.5′ length, you will not be able to simulate the correct balance, spatial awareness, thrusts, and certain blocks. However, the difference is related to the weight of the staff in your hand, the creation of habit in your bodily movement, and proximity awareness.

Overall, the training can be done in a very similar manner. There are just certain things that you would do with a Bo, that you would not do with a Jo. You would not do as many thrusting and long range attacks of course, you would also have less choice in your blocking; as the Jo simply covers less of your body.

To conclude, my thought is that training with the Jo most of the time rather than the Bo is a fine idea (if that is the only option). But, going outside, to a park, etc. every once in a while to get a feel for the difference in lengths will serve you quite well.

I assume someone could also tell me — why are you training with a 6 ft. bo — you should be using an 8 ft. quarterstaff! The length of the weapon changes in your body’s muscle memory and habitual control of the weapon. The more you practice with a specific length, quite simply, the faster you will master the proper abilities – with that specific length.

  • This reply was modified 9 years, 2 months ago by GMAU.