As a new student to the dojo bojutsu (Japanese 6 foot stick) is an important training tool, and one that we start with right away as we assess other areas of movement with the new student.
Many martial arts view the use of historical weapons as black belt material- advanced material.
Why do we start with the bo (6 foots stick) and also sword right away?
Our taijutsu (body methods) are a way of moving the body, and this movement does not make a distinction between unarmed and armed movement, as it is all the same movement of the unique way of moving the body with taijutsu.
We also use the six foot stick as a training tool to understand distance.
Distance, timing, rhythm, and balance- these are training fundamentals that are not reliant on size, speed, or strength, and are in effect with regard to all people- they are how human being move.
Understanding them is paramount in effectively using taijutsu- but how does one *see* them and what relation do they have to bojutsu?
The movements of taijutsu are very small and subtle, and in starting to understand them the movements are very BIG. Distance being one of these principals, we begin by starting BIG- understanding that the stick operates at a long distance of 6-8 feet.
The bo is used as a tool to see and understand distance, angles, and timing since it is so long- as the new student sees these principals in play, feels them, and uses them, it provides a springboard to the other distances of sword, and muto dori.
We use bojutsu to *see* movement.
The stick is also an important training tool that compliments our kihon movement of the san shin no kata.
The aim of our movement, and an important point for new students is to move the body as a unified whole- the upper and lower body move at the same time, together as one.
Bojutsu furigata- spining the stick is a great way to see, understand, and help master this concept. In spinning the stick if you are not moving the upper half of the body with the lower half, you hit your knees or legs with the stick- one learns quickly.
In this way the stick is also a training tool to see an example of unified upper/lower movement.
Approaching bojutsu in this manner it *can’t* wait till black belt level- we need to get a stick in the hands of a new student right away!