Kobudo Bo Weapon
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The Bo is the Japanese equivalent of the wooden staff. This martial arts weapon is normally 6 foot in length and made from a variety of hard woods, the strongest being the Okinawan Iron Wood. The Bo is one of the more popular weapons to learn and quite practical as a broom stick or other similar objects can be used in its place. Depending on the position of the hands the Bo can be used at either short or long range. Training with the Bo is known as Bojutsu.
A bo is a long stick usually made out of wood or bamboo. A full-size bo is also sometimes called rokushakubo. Other types of bo range from heavy to light, from rigid to highly flexible, and from simply a piece of wood picked up off the side of the road to ornately decorated works of art. Originally simply a long stick that was originally used to carry buckets of water and food-it was known as ten bin. The bo is round smooth and solid. A standard bo is a tabering stick of wood 1 1/4 in. the middle and 3/4 in.at each end. The tapering gives the bo both flexibility and strength as well as making the center easy to find.
Kobudo places great emphasis on the use of the bo, an implement said to be derived from the tenbib, which was a wooden staff that was slung across the shoulders in order to transport buckets of water on each end.
A Bo or kon, a long staff, usually made of tapered hard wood or bamboo, but sometimes it is made of metal or plated with metal for extra strength; also, a full-size bÅ is sometimes called a rokushakubÅ (å…å°ºæ£’: ã‚ãã—ã‚ƒãã¼ã†).
This name derives from the Japanese words roku (å…: ã‚ã), meaning “six”; shaku (å°º: ã—ã‚ƒã); a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters, or just under 1 foot; and bo. Thus, rokushakubo refers to a staff about 6-shaku (1.818 m, about 6 ft.) long.
The bo is typically one and a quarter inches thick in the middle, gradually tapering at both ends to three quarters of an inch. This thickness allows the user to make a tight fist around it in order to block and counter an attack. The most common shape, maru-bo, is a round staff, while kaku-bo (four-sided staff), rokkaku-bo (six-sided staff), hakkaku-bo (eight-sided staff) also exist. Other types of bÅ range from heavy to light, from rigid to highly flexible, and from simply a piece of wood picked up off the side of the road to ornately decorated works of art.
The Japanese martial art of wielding the bo is bÅjutsu. The basis of bo technique is te, or hand, techniques derived from kung fu and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via trade and Chinese monks. Thrusting, swinging, and striking techniques often resemble empty-hand movements, following the philosophy that the bÅ is merely an “extension of oneâ€™s limbs”. As in Okinawa-te, attacks are often avoided by agile footwork and returning strikes made at the enemyâ€™s weak points.
The bÅ is typically gripped in thirds, and when held horizontally in front, the right palm is facing away from the body and the left hand is facing the body, enabling the bÅ to rotate. The power is generated by the back hand pulling the bÅ, while the front hand is used for guidance. When striking, the wrist is twisted, as if turning the hand over when punching. BÅ technique includes a wide variety of blocks, strikes, sweeps, and entrapments. The bÅ may even be used to sweep sand into an opponentâ€™s eyes.
The earliest form of the bÅ, a staff, has been used throughout Asia since the beginning of recorded history. Used for self defense by monks or commoners, the staff was an integral part of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu, one of the martial artsâ€™ oldest surviving styles. The staff evolved into the bÅ with the foundation of kobudo, a martial art using weapons, which emerged in Okinawa in the early 1600s.
Prior to the 1400s, Okinawa, a small island located south of Japan, was divided into three kingdoms: Chuzan, Hokuzan, and Nanzan. After much political turmoil, the Okinawa was united under the Sho Dynasty in 1429. In 1477, Emperor Sho Shin of the second Sho dynasty came into power. Determined to enforce his philosophical and ethical ideas, while banning feudalism, the emperor instituted a ban on weapons. It became a crime to carry or own weapons such as swords, in an attempt to prevent further turmoil and prevent uprising.
In 1609, the temporary peace established by Sho Shin was violently overthrown when the powerful Satsuma Clan invaded Okinawa. Composed of Japanese samurai, the Satsuma Clan took over the island, making Okinawan independence a thing of the past. The Satsuma placed a new weapons ban on the people of Okinawa, leaving them defenseless against the cruel steel of the samuraiâ€™s swords. In an effort attempt to protect themselves from the devastating forces of the Satsuma, the people of Okinawa looked to simple farming implements, which the samurai would not be able to confiscate, as new methods of defense. This use of weapons developed into kobudo, or “ancient martial art,” as we know it today.
Although the bÅ is now used as a weapon, its use is believed by some to have evolved from non-combative uses. The bo-staff is thought to have been used to balance buckets or baskets. Typically, one would carry baskets of harvested crops or buckets of water or milk or fish, one at each end of the bo, that is balanced across the middle of the back at the shoulder blades. In poorer agrarian economies, the bo remains a traditional farm work implement. In styles such as Yamanni-ryÅ« or Kenshin-ryÅ«, many of the strikes are the same as those used for yari (“spear”) or naginata (“glaive”). There are stick fighting techniques native to just about every country on every continent.You might also like: