Bo Staff

Besides rocks, one of the most basic of all weapons throughout mankind's history has been the long wooden stick, largely because they were readily available or could be easily made.

Martial artists adapted the Bo staff into their various styles and systems. Some styles teach traditional weapons kata with the Bo staff while others train with weapons such as the staff through practical techniques.

In Korean and many other cultures, staffs were used for walking sticks or for carrying heavy objects across the shoulders but could also be used for self defense. Unlike many martial art weapons such as swords, knives and nunchucks, a Bo staff is a long range weapon with extended reach. This allows both attack and defense from a distance, offering advantage over the opponent with a short range weapon. The range of the Bo staff is also useful in keeping multiple opponents out of reach. Even so, the Bo staff is not easily concealed (unlike short range weapons) and can be cumbersome to carry around.

The bo staff comes in different variations. There are heavy bo staffs which resemble thick poles which are considered more traditional and there are lighter versions which are tapered at both ends. A lighter Bo is excellent for practicing kata, but a heavier bo is recommended for practicing blocking and striking techniques with a partner.

Most bo techniques involve both hands holding the weapon, though there are some one handed techniques.

Strikes and blocks use either end of the bo as well as the sides and middle. For the majority of techniques the user holds the staff near the middle with both ends protruding out equally

A traditional Bo kata form, is outlined here.