Weapons are commonly used as an extension of the arms. Techniques and principles being practiced unarmed are almost the same in handling weapons. Before being introduced to weapons, a student in any discipline must take time to develop essential and adequate basic techniques. Basic techniques will always be the foundation of any discipline and therefore should be developed first. But that doesn’t mean that one should just be physically strong, a proper perspective and a certain level of maturity should also be developed before being shown weapons.
The Bō is a straight, cylindrical and long wooden staff. Length reaches 6 feet, with or without tapered ends. From the description itself you could easily draw out a conclusion that this weapon is as primitive as it gets. Yes, just like a stick or a tree branch. Early man used wood, of any size and shape, as a tool for survival. It can be used to acquire food and to defend oneself. It has both defensive and offensive application, and it can even help them on basic tasks such as walking. We can technically say that this weapon is Human’s oldest friend.
There are many theories on how Bō originated. However, there is one that is most widely accepted. During the Japanese-Chinese ruling classes, the Bō is a tool predominantly used by farmers from Okinawa, Japan. The Japanese government implemented laws that barred the people of Okinawa from possessing any lethal weapon, and another thing that caused a massive outrage, is forcing them to pay massive amount of taxes. Being Oppressed and empty-handed the peasants started developing weapons from what they had available, the farming tools. The Bō, without any lethal intent, can be used to carry stuffs such as pails of water, with pails on both ends; they can be slung on the shoulders, making it a very practical weapon of choice.
Bō comes in different length, weight, type of wood, and some are even tapered. A tapered Bō is considered the most effective. This tapered construction ensures balance as it keeps the fulcrum at the center, facilitates effortless maneuvering, increases the Bō’s tensile strength, and allows the user to make a tight fist around it to increase the grip. It also creates a powerful, and rather scary, whipping sound when it is being swung.
Is it just a long wooden stick?
Anyone who thinks that the Bō can only perform minimal offense and a stiff defense probably never saw a master use one. A student who practiced Bō for a long time could easily thrust, sweep, and throw multiple attacks on you. That’s if you could even go near them, as Bō can effortlessly create distance from the defender towards the attacker.
Now before we go to the main dish, let’s do some stretching first to make sure our body is all warmed-up and ready to do some Bō action:
Without further adieu, we go down to the 10 Useful Bō Techniques That Can Be Easily Applied:
1. The Punch
This is a really basic technique but definitely shows how the length of a Bō can strike an opponent from a long range. It may look simple but it requires a proper hip and shoulder twist to generate more power and speed.
2. The Cross Strike
You’ve already seen the basic attack, now this time; we get to see how the Bō’s powerful whipping action can be used for striking and blocking.
3. The Hand Crush
Caution: If your lover always surprises you with a back hug, then this technique is not for you.
But in case someone wants to contain you from behind, this technique will surely teach them a lesson that would definitely leave a mark. By hardly pressing your Bō to an attacker’s hand, it can generate enough crushing power that will surely make them release you. Follow-up attacks can be executed if necessary.
4. The Pressing Block
Probably the one of the most generic defense in any discipline but with the use of Bō, not only that you increase your range, you also increase the chances of neutralizing your opponent for good. How do we use a defensive technique into offense by following the same course of action? Well, sliding your Bō backwards and giving a powerful overhead reverse blow to the head could easily catch your opponent off-guard.
5. The Sweep
Not only that it can potentially take down your opponent, but it’s also a good way of saying “Enough is enough.”
6. The Full Moon
Provides a good way to shield vital spots both face and chest with a single sing. The idea is any attacks from above should stop, roll and slide off towards your opponents, giving you enough time to plan your next move.
7. The Hook
You didn’t see that coming did you?
From the name itself, you would assume that an attack using “The Hook” would hit someone from the sides. By using the Bō, you can land a powerful blow by bending your arms, as if you’re throwing a hook in boxing, as you twist the Bō in an upward motion.
8. The Takedown
So you’re with your Bō, but the guy happens to have a weapon of his own? This video shows how to neutralize them by evasion, locking up, and dismantling of your opponent’s weapon. Precision is greatly required in executing this technique because one mistake could turn the tables all the way around.
9. The Spin
Also known as the Stationary Spin or Figure-8, this technique will surely make anyone think really hard before even getting near you. By executing the Stationary Spin, you can easily confuse and overwhelm and attacker as you combine both offense and defense.
10. The Finishing Combination
You’ve learned the basics; we can now test ourselves in executing combinations. The length of the Bō allows the wielder to unleash powerful blows while remaining at a safer distance, making it a good weapon against swords or knife.
Aside from being another discipline for strengthening the mind and technique, weapons, should be taught to almost everyone. In a practical self-defense situation, a person can just pick up anything, such as a golf club, an umbrella, or even a cane, as an instinctive response if faced against an armed/unarmed opponent. These tools create more options for counter attacking by extending one’s reach.