The first seminar that I ever attend in my martial arts career was a bo staff seminar. During those few hours of training I learned a lot. Since then I have picked up a few more weapons. The fundamentals that I learned from bo staff training have helped me understand the principles of other martial arts weapons. You might be wondering why you should learn how to use a bo staff. What makes it the weapon of choice? When used properly the staff becomes an extension of your arms. You are basically wielding a 6 foot long stick to keep your opponent at bay. Using the bo staff you can strike, block, and sweep before they have a chance to get in close (but only if you know how to use the weapon). The other reason that the bo staff is a great weapon is because you can pick up anything that resembles it and be good to go (I.e. stick on the road, long pipe, etc). Some martial arts weapons like the nunchaku are illegal to carry in many states. If you pick a stick up its just a stick not a bo staff.
When picking a bo staff to train with you have a few options to look at. First you will pick the size you need. Adults will use either a 5 or 6 foot staff (depending mostly on how tall you are). Once you have determined your size then you have the option of choosing a light bo staff for competition or a heavier one that you can practice striking/ sparring with an opponent. You will notice that there are quite a few choices. The natural hardwood bo staff is like the one I started training with. It is somewhat heavy, very sturdy, and really works your arms out. These staffs are great to train with and are functional for simulated sparring. Other bo staffs available are the tapered ones. These weapons are lighter and tapered at the ends. They are also good for training and use in martial arts competitions, however you won’t want to be hitting anything extremely hard with them. The lightness of the staff allows the martial artist to spin the stick easier and do some more flashy techniques. The final bo staffs you will see are the competition/ demonstration ones. The G-Force Competition bo staff is a custom cut, ultra light weight wood, covered in chrome to give you a little something extra when performing your form. They are available with different accent colors and can be purchased from Best Buy Martial Arts Supplies. This item is not intended for combat or striking as it will damage the bo staff.
Whether you intend to enter competitions or just want to learn a new weapon, the bo staff is definitely the one you should choose. The bo staff is functional and when used by a skilled martial artist it is a deadly weapon that will halt any enemy in their tracks. The bo staff is an excellent training tool that will help to condition your entire body. One drill we did at the bo staff seminar was to grip the staff a couple inches from the end, bring it to chest level, and practice thrusting it (parallel to the floor) without letting the other end sag down. Did I mention that it was a natural hardwood bo staff we were using? Talk about a killer forearm workout. If you are into weapons training then make sure to add the bo staff to your arsenal. You won’t regret that decision.