A collapsible Bo staff is one of the most marvelous martial arts equipment and is quite popular among the entire martial arts community nowadays. Bo staff has an Okinawan origin and is basically a long weapon made out of think wood mostly oak.
The overall length of this weapon is somewhere around six feet and is a widely practiced weapon of Ninjutsu, Kung Fu, Bujutsu, and Aikido schools. It is a fighting weapon and without learning the right tricks it is just an ordinary stick.
There are many techniques of using collapsible Bo staff; some of these are thrusting techniques, some are blocking techniques and some are striking techniques.
It may look like just a wooden stick but if you properly learn the art of using it, it can be used as an effective fighting weapon.
Most commonly, the attack of the opponent is blocked using the upper part of the Bo staff and the strike is made using the lower part. I must say that it is not easy to learn to fight with a Bo staff as you have to continuously switch between the blocking and striking techniques with both ends of the staff.
The Bo staff is getting a little too outdated now and its alternative, the collapsible Bo staff is more popular now. It is also known as a telescoping staff as both of its ends are extractable and retractable with just a little flick.
This little flick from the hand grabbing the staff brings about a centripetal force, hence facilitating the staff into extending its both ends out of it.
It is a very impressive martial arts weapon and makes use of magnets to keep the mechanism of the staff working properly. The magnets are fitted inside the collapsible Bo staff so that the staff keeps intact and in a stable position.
There are two variations of this staff. One is in which both ends of the staff can be extended, whereas in the second variation only one end of the Bo staff can be extended and the second half is fixed.
Training with a Collapsible Bo Staff
Getting yourself to be properly equipped with a Bo staff requires a great deal of hard work but it sure is fun as well. It is one of the most commonly used martial arts weapons worldwide. Here are some tips to help you get started with Bo staff training.
1- Choosing the Bo Staff
The first and foremost thing to consider is buying a Bo staff if you don’t have one.
Even if you have one, you must reconsider if it is a good option for training or not. Let me explain to you why. The more comfortable you will be with your weapon, the most quickly you will learn and the more progress you will have. There are different types of techniques that you have to master.
For that, you must choose a Bo staff which is durable enough. Then you have to choose between the traditional Bo staff and the collapsible Bo staff. The traditional one is heavier, durable and brings with it the originality of the whole art. But a collapsible Bo staff is compact and easy to carry. It will be light in weight as well and for beginners, it is a very good choice.
If you are learning this art to take part in any sort of competition or something, then it is better for you to learn the freestyle training of Bo staff.
In this case, you can choose a graphite Bo staff. It is light in weight and will help in your freestyle training. After you have mastered the basic moves with a graphite Bo staff or a collapsible Bo staff, then you can move on to practicing with a heavier Bo staff made up of oak wood.
Starting training directly with oak wood can prove to be very cumbersome for a beginner, therefore, it is recommended to train first on the lighter Bo staff and then move on to the heavier ones.
2- Where to Buy?
This is an important question and you will surely have it when you want to buy a collapsible Bo staff. So, where can you buy a Bo staff? Here are some ways by which you can make your purchase.
i- Buy Online
Digitization and online shopping has become so common that people rarely go in person for shopping. In fact, if we have to make the purchase by visiting the shop, we still search for things on the internet, read reviews, check specifications and prices and look for some best sellers of that product.
Search for a Bo Staff on the web and go through the majority of the top online dealers of this product. You can likewise check eBay and Amazon to locate a decent collapsible Bo staff at a decent cost if you are a beginner. Keep in mind that a Bo staff is a big thing, so there is a chance that you may have to pay an additional delivery expense because of its size.
ii- Get it Specially Designed
Now here is another way for you to get a Bo staff especially if you need to make your own staff as you desire. It would be an extra benefit if you know somebody who has the know-how of carpentry. This way you can get yourself a custom Bo staff. You can use wood i.e. oak, rattan, and bamboo which are considered to be best for constructing a Bo.
Ensure that the wood you use for construction of your product is smooth and properly sanded down so chips do not come in the way. You might also have to cover it all around with an external protectant.
iii- Martial Arts Academy
Individuals will, in general, overlook an extraordinary choice such as a Martial Arts Academy. These academies have a huge collection of various martial arts products and they can even recommend you the best possible option for you according to your expertise. Essentially every foundation, school or club who teaches combative techniques to people sells items from an organization that sells wholesale products.
This is why they stock real bo staff of various designs in their warehouses.
All you have to do is search for nearby martial arts schools or schools who give Karate classes and ask them if they have a collapsible Bo staff and what are their rates? Or if they do not have them in stock, then you can request them to get it for you from their provider of martial arts products and some are generous enough to do that for you.
iv- A Supply Store of Martial Arts Products
These are quite rare to find but if you live in a major city, then there are chances that you may find one. You can search for them on google maps and look for such places.
You can also search for your neighborhood organizations.
There is also a chance that you have a martial arts supply store right at the corner of your street. Well, that will surely be your jackpot and you can go in person and look at the amazing variety of traditional Bo staff and collapsible Bo staff as well. It will even save your delivery cost.
3- Determine Your Goal
You must set a goal before you start your training. Without setting a goal, you will never get properly serious about your training and will stay lazy. Not setting a goal may work for some people but those people are quite a few. The majority of us need some kind of motivation and what can be better than setting a goal. Make sure to clearly identify your goals.
For example, why do you want to train yourself in this art of training with a Bo staff?
Is it just for fun?
Is it because you want to teach someone else this art?
Is it because you want to take part in a martial arts competition?
Or is it because you just want to be best at it? Whatever it is, just clearly identify it and then strive to make it happen. This will be your best motivation in learning the art of Bo.
4- How to Hold Your Bo Staff
Whether you are using an ordinary Bo staff or a collapsible Bo staff, there are certain ways via which you can hold them. You must learn how to hold a Bo staff before you learn to perform any techniques and basic moves of Bo.
The most basic way to hold a Bo staff is through Normal hold. This type of hold is the most common among all and usually, you will see martial artists holding their staff with this hold. In this hold, you have to hold your Bo staff in thirds i.e. you have to place one palm in a position that it faces upwards and one palm in a position that it faces downwards.
5- Learning Bo Techniques
Make sure to always start with the most basic techniques and moves. Do not jump on the complex ones right from the start; it will just confuse you and will waste your time. There is nothing wrong with going slow and learning by taking baby steps. Mastering the basic moves will lay the foundation of the complex ones and then you will have to do less work in mastering them as well.
People start by watching tutorials on Youtube or they buy DVDs and watch them to master these techniques.
But there is one thing wrong about this type of materials and that is that they usually teach combinations and forms rather than individual techniques. This can really mess up your training as I explained earlier. Therefore, make sure to practice individual techniques with your collapsible Bo staff first. You must learn in order by taking small steps as the foundation needs to be laid before you build anything on it.
6- Own Your Bo Staff
Owning your Bo staff means, thinking of it as a part of your body i.e. an extension of your hand. The faster you get comfortable with your Bo, the faster you will learn the art of Bo. By thinking that your staff is an extension of your body will help you get comfortable with it. This way you will be able to spin it around more conveniently and you will immediately feel the difference. You will feel as if you are just spinning your arm and not your Bo staff.
Getting comfortable with your staff is quite necessary as you have to make your body flow with it and this will only be possible when you will be comfortable around your Bo staff.
This is also the reason that it is recommended to use light Bo staff at first i.e. graphite Bo staff and collapsible Bo staff so that you get comfortable with them easily. Of course, heavier ones take more time to get comfortable with.