Bojutsu in the Japanese martial arts is the use of the six foot staff in training. As part of one of our traditional training tools, its natural to ask what value the bo staff would have in modern day to day training.
As martial artists would we be better taking that time and studying modern self defense movements?
That would depend on how you approach the bo in training.
In terms of developing natural movement the bo is a great training tool, and one that we want to start with right away.
One of the important training principals in our movement is moving both the upper and lower parts of our body at the same time- we see this in our san shin no kata drill and practice.
Both my upper and lower half- arms + legs are moving at the same time.
In order to use the bo correctly this type of unified movement is KEY.
Part of bojutsu involves bo furigata- spinning the bo around. When you are going this, as the bo is moving if your body is not in timing with both lower/upper movement you will hit your knees or legs with the stick as it spins about.
In this way just training with the bo gives insights into this type of movement as a way to both see and correct it.
The bo also shows us distance and angles from the perspective of six feet. This is a “big” distance so it is easier to see vs. closer distances often found in our unarmed taijutsu movement.
If you can see the angles and distance you can understand it better and sooner in all aspects of your training.
In this way, using the bo as an example of isolating certain movements actually helps your unarmed movement.
Building on this we also have the understanding and lessons of “bojutsu”:
Kamae: Postures with the stick.
Kihon: Fundamentals- bo furigata, ukemi, ashi barai, mawashi te, etc.
Uchi Gata: Striking with the stick.
Kata: Traditional training forms and strategies.