Of the three primary training tools we practice with the bo (6ft staff) has an important place from the perspective of a beginner. From a self protection point of view there are many things to be found that could replicate a stick, so it is a set of skills that easily transfers over to the here and now, and not that self defense isn’t important, but for the beginner there are more important things to learn- like how to move their body as a unified and coordinated whole.
The bo does a wonderful job in teaching this since if you are not moving your legs and arms in time with the body and stick you are going to get whacked with it as it hits your elbows and knees which tend to get in the way.
While padded and safe staff alternatives are encouraged, one only has to hit themselves a few times with some solid wood to quickly learn you should be moving your legs in time with the stick as you move it about.
It’s with this perspective that early training with the stick is important and the value of it crossing over to unarmed (taijutsu) practice can’t be over looked.