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A traditional rokushakubo is 1.82m (6 shaku) and wielded with both hands, due to its weight and size. Bo(weapon).png
A traditional rokushakubō is 1.82m (6 shaku) and wielded with both hands, due to its weight and size.

A (棒: ぼう), joong bong (Korean), bang (Chinese), [1] [2] or kun (Okinawan) is a piece of wood of varying lengths staff weapon used in Okinawa. are typically around 1.8 m (71 in) and used in Okinawan martial arts, while being adopted into Japanese arts such particular bōjutsu. Other staff-related weapons are the , which is 1.2 m (47 in) long, and the hanbō (half , known as tahn bong in Korea), which is 90 cm (35 in) long. [3] [4] [5]

Stick-fighting sport

Stick-fighting, stickfighting, or stick fighting is a variety of martial arts which use simple long slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden "sticks" for fighting; such as a staff, cane, walking stick, baton or similar. Some techniques can also be used with a sturdy umbrella or even a sword in its scabbard.

Okinawan martial arts Okinawan martial arts

Okinawan martial arts refers to the martial arts, such as karate, tegumi and Okinawan kobudō, which originated among the indigenous people of Okinawa Island. Due to its central location, Okinawa was influenced by various cultures with a long history of trade and cultural exchange, including Japan, China and Southeast Asia, that greatly influenced the development of martial arts on Okinawa.


Bōjutsu (棒術), translated from Japanese as "staff technique", is the martial art of using a staff weapon called bō which simply means "staff". Staves have been in use for thousands of years in East Asian martial arts like Silambam. Some techniques involve slashing, swinging, and stabbing with the staff. Others involve using the staff as a vaulting pole or as a prop for hand-to-hand strikes.



The is usually made with hard wood or a flexible wood, such as red or white oak, although bamboo and pine wood have been used, more common still is rattan wood for its flexibility. The may be tapered in that it can be thicker in the center (chukon-bu) than at the ends (kontei) [6] and is usually round or circular (maru-bo). Some bō are very light, with metallic sides, stripes and a grip which are used for XMA and competitions/demonstrations. Older bō were round (maru-bo), square (kaku-bo), hexagonal [7] (rokkaku-bo) or octagonal (hakkaku-bo). The average size of a bō is 6 shaku (around 6 ft (1.8 m)) but they can be as long as 9 ft (2.7 m) (kyu-shaku-bō). [2]

Bamboo subfamily of plants

The bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. The word "bamboo" comes from the Kannada term bambu (ಬಂಬು), which was introduced to English through Indonesian and Malay.

Rattan material (vegetable source)

Rattan is the name for roughly 600 species of old world climbing palms belonging to subfamily Calamoideae. Rattan is also known as manila, or malacca, named after the ports of shipment Manila and Malacca City, and as manau. The climbing habit is associated with the characteristics of its flexible woody stem, derived typically from a secondary growth, makes rattan a liana rather than a true wood.

The shaku or Japanese foot is a Japanese unit of length derived from the Chinese chi, originally based upon the distance measured by a human hand from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the forefinger. Traditionally, the length varied by location or use, but it is now standardized as 10/33 meters.

A 6 ft (1.8 m) is sometimes called a rokushakubō (六尺棒: ろくしゃくぼう). This name derives from the Japanese words roku (六: ろく), meaning "six"; shaku (尺: しゃく); and . The shaku is a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters (0.994 ft). Thus, rokushakubō refers to a staff about 6-shaku (1.82 m; 5.96 feet) long. The is typically 3 cm (1.25 inch) thick, sometimes gradually tapering from the middle (chukon-bu) to 2 cm (0.75 inch)at the end (kontei). This thickness allows the user to make a tight fist around it in order to block and counter an attack. [2]

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

In some cases for training purposes or for a different style, rattan was used. [8] Some were inlaid or banded with strips of iron or other metals for extra strength. [7] range from heavy to light, from rigid to highly flexible, and from simple pieces of wood picked up from the side of the road to ornately decorated works of art.

Wood Fibrous material from trees or other plants

Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embedded in a matrix of lignin that resists compression. Wood is sometimes defined as only the secondary xylem in the stems of trees, or it is defined more broadly to include the same type of tissue elsewhere such as in the roots of trees or shrubs. In a living tree it performs a support function, enabling woody plants to grow large or to stand up by themselves. It also conveys water and nutrients between the leaves, other growing tissues, and the roots. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, or wood chips or fiber.

Martial arts

Japanese wooden staff "bo" weapon made in the shape of a walking stick, 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) tall and 15 cm (5.9 in) circumference. Japanese bo.JPG
Japanese wooden staff "bo" weapon made in the shape of a walking stick, 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) tall and 15 cm (5.9 in) circumference.
(6 ft) tall and 1 in (25 mm) in diameter in the form of a staff. 2 bo.JPG
(6 ft) tall and 1 in (25 mm) in diameter in the form of a staff.

The Japanese martial art of wielding the is bōjutsu . The basis of technique is te, or hand, techniques derived from quanfa and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via trade and Chinese monks. Thrusting, swinging, and striking techniques often resemble empty-hand movements, following the philosophy that the is merely an "extension of one’s limbs". Consequently, bōjutsu is often incorporated into other styles of empty hand fighting, such as karate. The "bō" is also used as a spear and long sword in some of its motions, such as upward swing and slashing motion across the body as well as extensions by gripping one end and thus increasing its length as thus making it similar to a spear.

Karate Martial art

Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts under the influence of Kung Fu, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints and vital-point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).

The is typically gripped in thirds, and when held horizontally in front, the right palm is facing away from the body and the left hand is facing the body, enabling the staff to rotate. The power is generated by the back hand pulling the staff, while the front hand is used for guidance. technique includes a wide variety of blocks, strikes, sweeps, and entrapments.


The earliest form of the , a staff, has been used throughout Asia since the beginning of recorded history. These were hard to make and were often unreliable. These were also extremely heavy. The konsaibo was a very distant variant of the kanabo. They were made from wood studded with iron. These were still too cumbersome for actual combat, so they were later replaced by unmodified hardwood staffs. Used for self-defense by monks or commoners, the staff was an integral part of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, one of the martial arts’ oldest surviving styles. The staff evolved into the with the foundation of kobudo, a martial art using weapons, which emerged in Okinawa in the early 17th century.

Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū Japanese martial art

Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū (天真正伝香取神道流) is one of the oldest extant Japanese martial arts, and an exemplar of bujutsu. The Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū was founded by Iizasa Ienao, born 1387 in Iizasa village, who was living near Katori Shrine at the time. The ryū itself gives 1447 as the year it was founded, but some scholars claim circa 1480 is more historically accurate.

Prior to the 15th century, Okinawa, a small island located south of Japan, was divided into three kingdoms: Chuzan, Hokuzan, and Nanzan. After much political turmoil, Okinawa was united under the Sho Dynasty in 1429. In 1477, Emperor Sho Shin came into power. Determined to enforce his philosophical and ethical ideas, while banning feudalism, the emperor instituted a ban on weapons. It became a crime to carry or own weapons such as swords, in an attempt to prevent further turmoil and prevent uprising.

In 1609, the temporary peace established by Sho Shin was violently overthrown when the powerful Shimazu clan of Satsuma invaded and conquered Okinawa. The Shimazu lords placed a new weapons ban, leaving the Okinawans defenseless against samurai weaponry. In an attempt to protect themselves, the people of Okinawa looked to simple farming implements, which the samurai would not be able to confiscate, as new methods of defense. This use of weapons developed into kobudo, or "ancient martial way" as known today.

Although the is now used as a weapon, its use is believed by some to have evolved from the long stick (tenbin) which was used to balance buckets or baskets. Typically, one would carry baskets of harvested crops or buckets of water or fish etc., one at each end of the tenbin, that is balanced across the middle of the back at the shoulder blades. In poorer agrarian economies, the tenbin remains a traditional farm work implement. [2] [9] In styles such as Yamanni-ryū or Kenshin-ryū , many of the strikes are the same as those used for yari ("spear") [10] or naginata ("glaive"). [11]

See also

Related Research Articles


The hanbō is a staff used in martial arts. Traditionally, the hanbō was approximately three shaku or about 90 centimetres (35 in) long, half the length of the usual staff, the rokushakubō. Diameter was 2.4 to 3 centimetres. However, depending on the school the length and diameter varied.

Uechi-ryū Style of karate

Uechi-Ryū is a traditional style of Okinawan karate. Uechi-Ryū means "Style of Uechi" or "School of Uechi". Originally called Pangai-noon, which translates to English as "half-hard, half-soft", the style was renamed Uechi-Ryū after the founder of the style, Kanbun Uechi, an Okinawan who went to Fuzhou in Fujian Province, China to study martial arts and Chinese medicine when he was 19 years old.

Isshin-Ryū is a style of Okinawan karate founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku in 1956. Isshin-Ryū karate is largely a synthesis of Shorin-ryū karate, Gojū-ryū karate, and kobudō. The name means, literally, "one heart way". In 1989 there were 336 branches of Isshin-ryū throughout the world, most of which were concentrated in the United States.

Shōrin-ryū Style of karate

Shōrin-ryū (少林流) is one of the major modern Okinawan martial arts and is one of the oldest styles of karate. It was named by Choshin Chibana in 1933, but the system itself is much older. The characters 少林, meaning "small" and "forest" respectively and pronounced "shōrin" in Japanese, are also used in the Chinese and Japanese words for "Ryū" means "school". Shōrin-ryū combines elements of the traditional Okinawan fighting styles of Shuri-te.

Tatsuo Shimabukuro was a Japanese martial artist. He is the founder of Isshin-ryū style of karate.)

Ryū-te Martial arts

Ryu-te is an Okinawan martial art founded by Seiyu Oyata. The word Ryū-te is a shortened form of Ryūkyūte. Ryukyu is the original name of Okinawa prior to it becoming part of Japan. Before 1995, Oyata referred to his style as Ryukyu Kempo (琉球拳法), but eventually renamed it "Ryu-te" as Ryukyu Kempo was a reference to all styles originating in Okinawa rather than to any one particular style. Ryu-te emphasizes effective self-defense while deliberately minimizing the harm to the opponent. Its practitioners consider Ryu-te neither a sport nor a form of exercise, but rather a method of training the body and mind for the betterment of mankind.

Okinawan Kobudō (沖縄古武道), literally "old martial way of Okinawa", is the weapon systems of Okinawan martial arts.

Fumio Demura Japanese karateka

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<i>Eku</i> cold weapon

An eku is an ancient weapon of Okinawan kobudō that originated from an oar, approximately 160 cm in length. According to myth, the oar was traditionally adapted for use as a weapon of self-defense by fishermen against foes armed with more conventional weapons. When the Japanese had conquered Okinawa, their old officers taught commoners weapons use as a first line of defense against a possible Chinese invasion. Since quality weapons were expensive, the civilians had to use what equipment they had; the Ryukyu oar came to be used in place of the naginata.

Matsumura Sōkon Okinawan karateka

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Yamanni ryu

Yamanni-ryū (山根流) is a form of Okinawan kobudō whose main weapon is the bo, a non-tapered, cylindrical staff. The smaller buki, such as sai, tunfa, nunchaku, and kama (weapon) are studied as secondary weapons.

Shūgorō Nakazato Okinawan karateka

Shūgorō Nakazato was an Okinawan martial artist. Described as a "one punch artist" by some of his American students, Nakazato developed his karate sparring into "a fine fighting art". He gave many demonstrations in Japan as well as abroad and had "many well-known students in the USA", Nakazato was designated as an "intangible cultural asset holder" by Okinawa Prefecture in 2000. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 5th Class with Gold and Silver Rays on November 4, 2007.

Ryūei-ryū Style of karate

Ryuei-ryu is an Okinawan style of karate. It was originally a family style of the Nakaima family of Naha and is now one of the internationally recognized Okinawan Karate styles. It is practiced in the United States, Argentina, Venezuela, Europe, and Okinawa.

Tadashi Yamashita is a Japanese American martial artist and actor. For several years, he was billed in American films as Bronson Lee to capitalize on the Bruceploitation phenomenon in martial arts films.

Morio Higaonna Karateka

Morio Higaonna is a prominent Okinawan karate practitioner who is the founder and former Chief Instructor of the International Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF). He is a holder of the highest rank in Goju-ryu karate, 10th dan. Higaonna has written several books on Goju-ryu karate, including Traditional Karate-do: Okinawa Goju Ryu (1985) and The history of Karate: Okinawan Goju Ryu (2001). Martial arts scholar Donn Draeger (1922–1982) reportedly once described him as "the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight."

Seikichi Odo, whose name means "world walker" in Japanese, was born in Okinawa. He combined kobudō and karate techniques to found the Ryūkyū Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu Federation.

Masami Chinen was an Okinawan martial arts master who formed Yamani ryu. He taught Bōjutsu privately at his home in the village of Tobaru, in Shuri, Okinawa.

Okinawa Seidokan is a style of Okinawa classical karate (Tode) and Kobudo founded in 1984 by Shian Toma. It is a synthesis of the Shorin Ryu katas, Motobu Ryu two-person open hand grappling and weapons techniques, and kobudo katas mostly of the Ryukyu Kobudo lineages.


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