Subscribe to Black Belt at Home Blog!
Be the first to know about new blog articles. You won't be roundhouse kicked in the head with spam and pointless promotional emails. Thanks for being a reader!
So you want to master bo staff? Or, even just learn a few cool moves and basics – this is the Complete Beginner’s Guide to Bo Staff. You’ve found the right place to start.
Why are you training with the Bo? = what type of bo you need to use.
For Competition/Freestyle/Tricking Bo Staff
I recommend using a bo which is slightly shorter than you. So if you are 5′ 9”, get a 5′ 6” inches tall bo. Many bos are available in increments of 1/2 foot, or 6 inches. If not, it is possible to purchase a 6 ft. bo, and trim off a little from the top and the bottom. If the bo is taller than you, it can be difficult to do certain rotations, and downward strikes, as the bo will make contact with the ground, this will become very frustrating.
For Traditional Training and Combat
If you are primarily doing bojutsu, Ultimate Bo (traditional and combat), or combat bo – you are going to want a staff that is your height, or slightly taller. If you are 5′ 10”, get a 6′ bo. If you are 6′ 1”, go ahead and drop down one inch. It is better to be within a one to two inch range of the height of your bo if possible. Some staff arts, such as forms of Chinese staff, use much longer staffs, such as 7′ or 8′. The traditional Japanese bo, the rokushakubo, which literally translates to six-foot-staff, is a good fit for most.
If you did not realize it yet, a bo is really just a glorified, combat oriented, martial arts laden stick. You can use a broom stick, walking stick, pvc pipe and anything else with a similar shape as you’re starting out. Don’t be embarrassed. I used to practice nunchakus as a kid with a long sock, you work with what you have.
Now that you have your own bo, let’s learn how to use it like a pro!
Most bo beginners seem to overlook their stances. I get it, you think bo is all about the hands and upper body. But the stances actually create the foundation for everything your upper body is doing. A better long front stance means a more powerful thrust. A nicer cat stance means a more balanced, yet graceful uppercut. Here are the stances:
Time to move into some basic level strikes. Please make sure you have a clear, wide training area. I have heard horror stories of students putting holes in the wall, breaking fans, and even smacking their family in the face. Please clear a nice room, or practice outside! Also, if you really don’t have space, use a small stick, like an escrima stick to ‘ghost practice’ the movements until you get more room later on.
Now, let’s combine everything we have learned to this point and build up our confidence. By learning and practicing a combo like this one, you will be more ready to move into an actual Bo training program, and learn full katas/forms.
Wow, I can’t believe you have already made it this far! Woohoo, you are not even a complete beginner anymore. So, where should I go from here, to take my skills to the next level?