Does the difference of a foot really matter?
Training with the 6 foot stick (bo) vs. the 5 foot stick (jo)?
One of the principals that we explore with the bo is the understanding of distance, staying at 6 feet and using the length of the stick against our training partner.
Six feet combined with another two or three feet due to footwork allows us a tremendous amount of reach.
Dropping down to five feet still gives us reach with footwork, but we do lose a foot.
What is gained is a different type of manipulation, the ability to pass the jo from side to side and around the body that one can’t optimally do with the bo.
The jo gives us distance and a different type of fluidity.
Keep in mind that does not mean the bo is slow and clumsy by any means- a student skilled in bojutsu has the ability to be very fast, fluid, and dynamic with the stick, way beyond what one would expect.