Bo staff or ''a can of worms''

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by Late for dinner, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    Recently someone wrote about their love of the Bo staff and people went a bit ballistic...

    But thinking about it, the term Bo staff has a paticular meaning that may not be obvious to all. Bo staffs are ~6 feet long and stiff (white oak or...)

    Jo staffs are shorter ~4 feet long but similar material.
    My chinese waxwood staff is about 6 foot long but it's whippy and has a spring to it.
    My 6 1/2 point pole is closer to 8 foot long and it's stiffness is somewhere between the two others.
    I would venture a guess that a quarter staff would be different again.

    So since this is 'weapons' let's talk about different staffs, their qualities and uses!!

  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I always think of a quarterstaff as being heavier than, say, Chinese waxwood. Oak? Something sturdy, with more emphasis on clubbing than whipping and flicking.

    The only long staff with which I've actually worked (and horribly, I might add) is the Filipino version. Rattan, just like regular "eskrima sticks" (properly called olisi, baston, yantok, etc.). There are various terms for the long staff. In my first school, they called them "kawayan" (though I think I remember someone telling me that, technically, that referred to a spear). I've also heard "sibat." Those would describe a full-length staff, 6' or so. There's another term for a shorter one. What you might call "hanbo" in Japanese. But I can't remember it at the moment.

    Anyway, rattan is much more flexible than oak, for instance. But it's less flexible than those waxwood things you see in wushu and the like. All of that, I suppose, varies with the width of the stick. The one I have is pretty dense (like its owner).
  3. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Is 6' a standard size? (hmmm...standard in FMA?!? :rolleyes:)

    I've never done staff work as such. I've done PTK spear, which is head height with a spear head approx. the same length as your hand. I believe the techniques are pretty much the same.

    I'm kinda wondering if the staff is similar, especially as a lot of FMA styles don't have strict stick lengths.
  4. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I'm an Ash man myself. Must be my Viking ancestry...

    It has slightly more give than Oak, and I prefer the way it takes impact.

    I'm happy with anything between 3'-5', but not so keen on anything longer, unless it's a spear (I'm 6').

    Never used a noticeably flexible staff, it could just be unfamiliarity, but I really don't like the look of them.
  5. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    I may be mistaken but I believe the bo is supposed to as long as you are tall. I had an oak escrima break during use I got a nasty sliver from it. Rattan as I am told would have split rather than break and is safer for use. For the user of the weapon anyway.
  6. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Highly Skilled Peeper Supporter

    I had a pretty nice bo staff :)D) when I was doing Isshinryu. I have no idea the qualities of different woods, but this thing was solid. You definitely weren't going to do the X-treme MA kata stuff with the crazy twirls and flips with it, too heavy. The one I had prior to that broke, it was a pretty cheap piece of wood.

    The only thing I really remember about training with a bo is I when I sparred bo vs. bo with a buddy of mine doing Isshinryu too. It wasn't a pleasant experience, especially since we tended to "try things out" a little too aggressively. Our fingers were not pleased, not pleased at all.
  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, it's amazing the difference that extra density makes, as when compared to fists, or even knees.

  8. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I don't know honestly. It's standard for a bo, i think. And I'm 6'1" so that's standard FOR ME. I've seen shorter.
  9. Grass hopper

    Grass hopper Valued Member

    I've trained with my bó as long as I've trained karate, I've had light ones but I prefer my white oak 1" thick staff by a long shot. Get hit with that and something's gonna break!
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  10. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Rained down large portions of whoop-ass? ;)

    @ ap & Lily:

    I can only find videos of (supposedly) FMA long staff by these guys:

    [ame=""]2x6ft Staffs Vs 1 Staff , Eskrima-Kali-Arnis ,FMA ,Kickfit Martial Arts Academy,Nottingham,UK - YouTube[/ame]

    Which looks... silly.

    I'm guessing that's not representative of FMA staff work?
  11. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I am sure it varies from instructor to instructor but IIRC George Silver measured the appropriate length for the quarterstaff at the length of you standing with your arm stretched above your head, for me at a relatively short 5'6", that puts the length right at a 7' staff.

    In Pekiti-Tirsia Kali the normal length of sibat is to shoulder height, so on me that is about 5 feet. I have practiced with much longer versions as a power development exercises.

    From one of my few lessons in Kobudo, the staff ran about 6' but I don't know if that was just a convenient length or because there is some preferred measurement.
  12. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    *cough, cough* Well...erm....As I said, I've done some spear work and, I remembered after I posted, one or two sessions with the staff. I only used one though....and held it with both hands.

    I don't know what the guy is doing. Obviously, just feeding her attacks, but why he is using two staffs is beyond me.

    You rarely see long staffs in FMA, not that they're not there though.
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I did find this video, which is much better.

    One short staff and one short spear:

    [ame=""]Kabaroan - Bangkaw and Sibat - YouTube[/ame]
  14. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    There is stuff there (on YT). Mostly drills though. Very little application work out there.

    [ame=""]FMA Long Staff[/ame]

    I guess this would be similar to a jo.

    [ame=""]FMA - Short Staff (?)[/ame]

    [ame=""]FMA - Staff[/ame]

    For some PTK spear work.

    [ame=""]PTK - Spear[/ame]
  15. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    When I did some Kobudo , we used a rattan bo for partner work because it was safer if you mucked up and got hit , though we did find you could get them to bend causing a "whipping" effect.
    We used a bog standard oak bo for solo/kata work.
  16. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I agree, I think that looks... silly. A glimpse of PTK sibat:

    [ame=""]Tuhon Rommel Tortal and Tuhon Leslie Buck with Malayu Sibat - YouTube[/ame]

    sibat at 5:42
    [ame=""]Pekiti Tirsia Kali FULL VIDEO - YouTube[/ame]
  17. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    That actually reminded me, when I was first learning PTK we first learned the staff work through practing a modified version of the Abcedario, but we practiced it with mid-hold, rather than end-hold as shown on the other videos I posted.

    Oh, and I just remembered that the Dog Brothers training vid is based around some of GT Gaje's staff work:
    [ame=""]Staff Trailer - YouTube[/ame]
  18. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Bangkaw. That was one of the terms I was trying to remember.
  19. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    IN Hung gar there are a lot of different sticks. The length of the stick (the length of any weapon for that mater) is dependant on how it is used and who is using it. The weapon should be measured against your own body. For example in the school to which I belong we have an eyebrow hight stick and an eight foot stick. The eight foot stick is actually measured from the floor to the fingertips with the arm raised above the head plus 3 inches. As a result my eight foot stick is close to ten foot long.

    The form below is what I would call the southern monkey stick or the eyebrow hight stick. If the stick where much longer it would be difficult to do the upward groin hits without accidentally jamming the stick into the floor.

    As the school to which I belong does not have any footage on the internet I have attached a link from a respected Hung Gar school, the Wing Lam Kung Fu School.

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  20. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    In the past it has been difficult to spar with sticks due to the risk of accidentally killing your opponent. Recently however, good quality sparing sticks have begun to appear on the market. These are made from a plastic pipe closed at the end and coated in rubber. The real breakthrough is the quality of the rubber surface, its not too sticky, and its not too slippery. This means that it is possible to use the stick slides and grip changes that you would use on a wooden stick.

    Although I would still recommend wearing a helmet, face guard and box (it really stings if you get caught on the ear by a stick moving at speed, and you would not want a poke in the eye or groin ), the stick itself is light and flexible enough to effectively remove the risk of major injury.

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014

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