|| The Bo or Kon, being the way of the
wood, is the most commonly used weapon in the Ryukyu Kobujutsu
system with 22 kata, more than half of the total kata in the
Kobujutsu syllabus. This in itself is a clear indication of
how highly this weapon was regarded in Okinawa and in Ryukyu
All the kata were authenticated by Sensei Taira before he died,
ensuring that the teachings passed on are the true ways of those
who walked before us and left us their legacy. Such names as Sakugawa
and Chinen in the syllabus underpin the quality and depth, establishing
the Bo as a weapon of great interest and serious study.
There are 4 kinds of Bo taught and used in the syllabus:
Shaku is an old style of imperial measure and traditionally
used for Bo lengths. Bo was classically made of Red Oak (Aka
Kashi) or White Oak (Shiro Kashi) and the Okinawan style was
to taper both ends to give the ability to used Nagashi and Barai.
- San Shaku or Jo Bo (approx 3 feet)
- Roku Shaku (approx 6 feet)
- Kyu Shaku (approx 9 feet)
- Eiku or Suna Kake no Kon or Tsubani no Kai
There are some schools that use no taper and this is traditional
in classical Japanese Bo Jutsu. However the general Okinawan approach
is with a taper. Some believe this to have originated from the Chinese
influence but this is also considered a user development and therefore
||It is important to recognise that classical
6 feet Bo are of good solid weight unlike many of the light
styles we see all over the world, especially in weapons competitions.
The weight however is dependent on the wood used and is a critical
factor for students, too heavy and the techniques become cumbersome,
too light and there is not enough power. The weapon is classified
as a synthetic one and attracts the greatest distance training
between opponents. It magnifies the areas of development needed
with empty hand and encourages Tai Sabaki/Yoko Sabaki at all
The practitioner is taught to hold the weapon initially divisible
by thirds and then openly encouraged to develop a more flexible
holding style allowing full use of the weapons potential distance.
Each Bo type adds a new dimension in usage and footwork. The Jo
Bo is close range with higher stances and quick hands. This is imperative
to get the best benefit from this close quarter weapon. The Roku
Shaku Bo bridges all distances, both short and long and is the main
stay of study with the most depth in kata. Kyu Shaku Bo being 9
feet in length works entirely on the benefit of distance. It does
require much skill and weight balance understanding and an appreciation
of how important the balance between hands and feet are.
|| The most fascinating for many visually
is the Eiku or Suna Kake no Kon. Suna Kake means to splash sand
and this tokui flicking techniques make this weapon unique.
It also deploys a lot of thrusts to the neck as the opponent
lifts his head to protect his eyes from the sand. There is one
kata, which is taught at a very senior level and is the jewel
in the crown of Bo training.
Bo predominately uses the strategy of Go no Sen but senior students
are taught to deploy all three initiatives as well as the understanding
of Sagaru, Hairu and Sabaku. To defend only by moving sideways
is insufficient and much study of holding the line and drawing
back is needed.
Yakusoku kumite is practised much along with the Enbu kumite and
"futari" and "san nin kumite". Studying kata
in depth quickly makes students realise that they must study for
more than one attacker to understand the bunkai properly. This study
also highlights the key principals of Bujutsu.
|The practice of Bo must be with intensity
and serious study.The ability to perfom 22 kata provides only
a measure of understanding and ability with the weapon. All
kumite should be practised repeatedly and the level of intensity
continually raised. The need to challenge your spirit and resolve
must be explored.
||"Sensei Motokatsu Inoue once
told me that he loved the Bo the most and it is a feeling I
share. His dream of hearing the sound of wood all over the world
endorses his passion for this fascinating weapon and it is a
feeling all should share and understand."
Sensei Julian Mead
|Bo Kata Requires
Click on the play buttons to a demonstration of Shuji No Kon Sho.
|Shuji No Kon Sho
||Sesoko No Kon
|Shuji No Kon Dai
||Kongo No Kon
|Koshiki No Shuji
||Yonekawa No Kon
|Sakugawa No Kon Sho
|Sakugawa No Kon Dai
|Sakugawa No Kon Chu
|Soeshi No Kon Sho
|Soeshi No Kon Dai
|Shirotaru No Kon Sho
|Shirotaru No Kon Dai
||Kyu Shaku Bo
|Sueyoshi No Kon
||San Shaku Bo
The Bo or Kon, being the way of the wood, is the most commonly
used weapon in the Ryukyu Kobujutsu system with 22 kata. All
the kata were authenticated by Sensei Taira before he died.
Studying kata in depth quickly makes students realise that
they must study for more than one attacker to understand the
bunkai properly. This study also highlights the key principals