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Bo On the Line

In our dojo, we practice the Yamani-Ryu form of bojutsu as taught by Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato. We practice three kata: Shuji Nu Kun, Sakugawa Nu Kun, and Shirataru Nu Kun.

In some kata, you will find repetitive patterns. In Shuji Nu Kun, for example, there are three strikes/pokes in a row, and in the beginning of Sakugawa Nu Kun there are three sets of striking with the front and back of the bo (sorry I did not describe this very well).

The point I am trying to make is this: when you move forward in a repetitive sequence, the bo travels along a straight line -- your body moves off the line to accommodate the bo. You move around the bo, not the other way around.

To me, this is one of the "secrets" of real speed with the bo. If you try to move the bo off the line, you will lose speed and power. The bo generates a great deal of momentum. Moving the bo off the line requires that you slow it down. There is also lost time due to the movement of the bo, even if only an inch or two. But when you allow the bo to keep the line and move yourself instead, the bo can move very quickly without deviation.

So actually, you are "throwing" the bo in more or less straight lines while moving your body around it.

Many styles of bojutsu do just the opposite. You will find many students trying to "muscle" the bo -- to move it around their body.

I would say that the bo moves you.


Charles C. Goodin