Monday, June 2, 2008

How to Do Basic Bo Staff Strikes

Though the majority of karate, literally meaning "empty fist", is a martial art that does not use weapons, it would be foolish for a combat system devised to overthrow an oppressive occupying army to completely disregard them. It was originally devised by the Okinawan people to fight back against a conquering army from the northern islands of Japan several hundred years ago. One common weapon readily available was the Bo Staff. These staffs are simple lengths of polished wood roughly the height of the combatant and can be deadly in the hands of a practiced user. Current day martial artists will use them for single person demonstrations, showing their prowess with the Bo through sweeping strikes and spinning parries. Though arduous and very complex, the individual movements that make up the Karate Bo Kata are fairly simple and can be performed within a day or two and mastered with a little more dedicated practice. This guide will explain how to perform basic Bo Staff strikes

Things You’ll Need:
Bo Staff
Practice Room

Basic Bo Strikes
Step 1:
Begin by holding the Bo in the starting attack position. The Bo should be held diagonally across the body so that one end is over the right shoulder. Your hands should be near the center of the Bo and about a foot apart with your left hand gripping the Bo from below and your left hand gripping the Bo from above.

Step 2:
Imagine a target at roughly head height before you. All these strikes are meant to attack an opponent's head.

Step 3:
Sharply drive the right end of the Bo forward while pulling back with the left end so that it lodges up under your left armpit. The Bo should be roughly horizontal to the ground and the right end should have snapped into the side of your imaginary opponent's head.

Step 4:
Bring the left end of the Bo around spinning the Bo on a horizontal axis (careful not to hit your head). This circular motion of your arms should bring your left hand across your body to bury itself under your right armpit. Above your left arm your right should be fully extended and angled across your body so as to bring the right end of the Bo snapping into the opposite side of your imaginary opponent's head.

Step 5:
Pull the left end of the Bo under and forward with the right end of the Bo over the top of your right shoulder. This strike will snap the left end of the Bo up from below and drive upward into your imaginary opponent's chin. These comprise the three basic strikes used in fighting with a Bo Staff. However you can repeat the same three strikes over and over again.

Step 6:
From the ending position of the third strike pull the left end of the Bo back to slap under your left armpit and the right end of the Bo should snap into the imaginary opponent's head. This is the first of the three strikes and following these instructions you can practice these attacks continuously.

Tips & Warnings
If you're serious about learning how to use a Bo, you might want to consider purchasing one of your own. They are readily available online and can be tailored in length and thickness to your individual specifications. For practice smaller Bos made from softer wood may be preferable, while for demonstrations chrome Bos are very flashy. If you do no wish to invest in a Bo Staff you can just as easily use a length of bamboo or a wooden dowel. Ideally you would want one perfectly balanced and at least five feet long. Try attacking slowly at first and as you become comfortable with the movements slowly increase the pace as you can attack endlessly. Make it a game to see how quickly you can perform these strikes before messing up.
Make sure you have plenty of room to practice in so don't accidentally put a hole through a wall or ceiling with your Bo. All these instructions are for a right handed individual; if you are left handed make sure to reverse them.

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