The Relevance of Bo Training in the 21st Century

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    I would happily like to open a discussion about the relevance of bo training in the 21st century. I am most curious to hear what my students think about bojutsu, how it affects their lives, their martial arts training, mindset, etc.

    I have really been experience a rekindling with the bo as of late, and this has mainly be inspired by deeper studies of the Japanese martial arts. I have been reading “Spring Wind: The Story of the Japanese Martial Arts.” I have not even finished with the book yet, but am thoroughly enjoying it. It starts with the samurai history, about the 15th century going forward. The books ends up explaining how the current Japanese arts came to be. There is not a great deal of detail over bojutsu, but I find it interesting how similar the techniques and movements are to that of early Samurai sword fighting, as they used longer and heavier swords. I have also been looking more into European long sword and poles. Through all of this, you may suspect that I now think our current bo practice should be focused around fighting and combat skills, as it would pay great homage to our ancestors’ training.

    I do not exactly agree. I do feel that viewing your bo strikes, blocks, and kata with more realistic combat vigor will improve your overall abilities. By visualizing combat, full power striking, graceful footwork, etc., you will most definitely perform better with more realized purpose than if you were simply to be swinging a big stick around to perhaps impress your fellow students in your local dojo.

    What I am getting at, is that practicing with the bo, like all martial arts in this day and age, should be rooted in self-mastery, self-discipline, no-mind, complete concentration, and the removal of the noise. Something that is unique to bo practice is how it unifies your body.

    Bo practice is almost always done with bo hands on the staff. This means that you are no longer a wavering body with several limbs that can each go their separate way, but rather a combined and unified unit. This is what can lead to absolutely devastating strikes to the neck, temple, and knees. The movement, blocks, strikes, flourishes, and kata unify your body through the staff. This truly has a unique feeling, one not found in karate practice.

    To keep this fairly short, I get a few key benefits from my own bo practice: 1. A unified body with strong physical benefits to the upper body especially while practicing. 2. A unique understanding of weaponry combat, stemming from swordsmanship, staff-on-staff combat, and other defensive potentialities. The weapon is not so important as are the principles of defense and a fluid state of being. 3. A diversion in maneuvering the large staff with seeming grace, fluidity – especially through kata. 4. Other benefits that I cannot really explain very well.

    I feel like I have so much more to write about and expand on this notion, but for the time being, I would prefer to hear everyone else’s opinion on the relevancy of bo training.


    The BO was one of the most important weapons in the ninja’s arsenal.The reason for the hollow part was another trick of the ninja trade. By flicking the bo with great speed, the ninja could launch a poison tipped dart or small knife out of the open end of the staff, often catching the opponent off guard.

    I like BO because is a perfect exemple of the harmony and ritm between the maind, body and arm.

    Sorry for my english jajaja.


    The Bo is definitely a dynamic weapon. There are many things that can be done in concert with traditional karate/taekwondo techniques. I’m not sure how relevant it would be when up against a firearm, but compared to the other traditional kobudo weapons, I think it has the most relevance today. In a self defense situation, it would be much easier to find a substitute if you needed one in a hurry, i.e.; broom/mop handle, curtain rod, dowel rod, pole, et cetera.

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