top of page
  • Writer's pictureDjamila

Action Karate: Bo Staff

Updated: Nov 2

Bo Staff Kata

Check out this short Bo Staff kata clip. So energetic. So forceful!

The bo staff kata we do, “12 count staff,” is my favorite of all the katas. It’s also challenging because it requires the cooperation of another person. You can know the kata perfectly, but if your partner doesn’t (or does the movements differently), you can mess up the most essential parts of the kata: thrust and circle or circle and thrust?

“Bo” in Japanese means “stick” or “staff”, resulting in my favorite translational annoyance of duplicanisms (Sahara desert = desert desert; chai tea = tea tea; naan bread = bread bread; Avon river, Mississippi river = river river). There is also the Jō staff, which is much shorter.

Bōjutsu, “staff technique,” uses the bo as an “extension of one’s limbs.” (Dojo Mart) It has a history that spans over 400 years, dating back to an era in Okinawa, Japan, when rural farmworkers were forbidden from carrying katana (swords) like samurai. Innovatively, they made use of the farm tools available to them for a weapon that did not look like a weapon. Bo is effective for block, thrust, and strike, and a quick wielder with careful footwork can repel even a sharp weapon like a sword; the staff’s shape and size make it nearly impossible to be cut through with a katana, though many have tried (Let’s ask Seki Sensei).

If you really want to nerd out, a fascinating exercise is to see the many different other katas with the bo that are out there: List of Bo (Staff) Katas - Black Belt Wiki.


Elisa Tramps Troncoso, Chai Tea, Naan Bread, and Why We Use Double Names (Duolingo)

Let’s ask Seki Sensei, Proving Why the Jō (Japanese Staff) is So Strong (YouTube)

Bo Staff vs Jo Staff [their surprising history!] – Dojo Mart

Quartay DeNaya, Bo Staff Extreme (YouTube)

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page