Mississippi Isshinryu Karate
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Okinawan Weapons




The Bo is one of the oldest martial weapons, and to many the most versatile. The Bo is the main stay of RyuKyu Kobudo having more kata than any other weapon. The Bo or Roku Shaku Bo as it is more precisely known (a shaku is a unit of measurement almost a foot long), is the predominant kind of Bo used and attracts the most interest by practitioners.

Its length is 6ft, or as is sometimes customary, cut to the height of the user. The wood used is usually Red Oak or White Oak and the Bo is tapered from the tip ends to facilitate better focus of power when impacting a target with a thrust. The weight 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 itself is an derivation of the water-bucket staff, or tenbin, used since ancient times on Okinawa. 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. Real Bo-jutsu is fluid with a continuous flowing technique. It is not accurate to perform Bo kata the same way as Karate kata. Striking with the Bo should be more reminiscent of cutting with a sword, rather than the often static techniques of Karate basics.


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