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Hide Behind Your Bo

I attended two bo and sai seminars conducted by Sensei Toshihiro Oshiro (see OshiroDojo.com). He is a senior of Yamanne-Ryu (or Yamani-Ryu) Bojutsu and studied under Chokei and Chogi Kishaba, among others. I consider him to be an excellent instuctor and I have never seen anyone manage a large group of diverse students as well as he does. The seminars here in Hawaii were sponsored by Sensei Kiyohisa Hirano.

One thing that Oshiro Sensei stressed is "to hide behind your bo." He said this often and I often think about it.

The years have gone by and I now teach Yamani-Ryu Bojutsu under Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato, who also studied under the Kishaba brothers. In my class, I often repeat, "hide behind your bo."

I a very basic way, this makes sense. If someone is going to attack you, you should keep one tip of your bo pointed toward him. You should literally hide behind your bo.

If you were diving in the ocean and a big shark swam by, I am sure that you would point your spear toward it.

The same applies to the use of the empty hand. I often tell my students to hide behind their blocking or forward hand. This hand is always pointed toward the attacker and presents a barrier. It can either block or impede (slow down) the attacker. You have to occupy the space between you.

It is essential to protect your seichusen (center line) and to attack the opponent's seichusen. This is the strategy of Karate -- how to protect your seichusen but get the attacker to expose his, so that you can attack it. Hiding behind your bo (or hand), you almost walk on a tightrope, protecting your seichusen and angling to the most advantageous position to attack his.

Hiding behind you bo also involves lining up your joints. When you hide behind the bo, your joints naturally line up presenting an opportunity for the use of explosive, whiplike body dynamics.

The next time you strike or block, think about hiding behind it.


Charles C. Goodin