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Awase Bo

Another thought about bo. Pairing off sequences with the bo are sometimes described as awase bo. A couple of weeks ago I visited a dojo and was shown the various bo stored there. One was dented from use, and the sensei explained that it was used for awase bo.

I always carry two bo to class -- one for kata and one for contact. The reason for this is pretty obvious. I don't want my kata/swinging bo to get damaged. In Yamani-Ryu, we slide our hands over the bo. Dents and nicks can make this dangerous and slow.

My contact bo (the one for banging) is made from hickory. I find this type of wood to be more durable. My kata bo tends to be from red or white oak.

I attended a bo seminar many years ago. It was taught by Sensei Toshihiro Oshiro, an excellent instructor of Karate and Kobudo. I had brought a nice new bo to the seminar. At one point, he decided to use me as his partner for a demonstration of poking with the bo. He had me hold the tip of my bo and let it hang down vertically. He then proceeded to demonstrate poking my bo over and over and put dents all over it. This would have been fine except it was my kata bo! Of course, I was very happy to learn from this experience and the bo itself was very trivial. The opportunity to learn it what counted.

But this is a good reason to bringing two or more bo to class -- one for kata and one for contact, or awase.

And it is always important to carefully examine your bo before each use. If it is cracked, perhaps it is a good time to cut it into yawara bo.


Charles C. Goodin