5 foot staff....

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Supra Vijai, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Hi,

    Just a query, in Ninjutsu we train with the following staff weapons:

    Tanbo (2 foot), Hanbo (3 foot), Jo (4 foot), Bo (6 foot).

    Is there a 5 foot staff used in any system? What is the name for one of these? Also any ideas on why Ninjutsu wouldn't cover a 5 foot staff?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    You mean a "jo"?
     
  3. Phenix_Rider

    Phenix_Rider Orange Belt

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    What's the point of training so many different lengths? And why would you add another in the middle?

    At most, I can see three, and you could probably pare it down to two lengths (Short and Long). Short stick- up to 20" ish (Escrima- and two of them), Medium- ~48" (Jo), and Long- 60" plus (Bo or Pole or Spear). If you go to anything in between, you're just using aspects of the boundaries. It's only at the extremes that you get any meaningful difference in technique.

    Really, a 4-5-6 foot staff can all be treated the same depending on the size of the user :)
     
  4. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Ken, as I said in my first post, we use Jo to refer to a 4 foot staff, there are some that are longer within the spares our Sensei brings in when we do the weapon but I wasn't sure if a 5 foot staff has it's own name/applications or if it was just part of the acceptable length variation in what is broadly classified as a Jo?
     
  5. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Some one else may be better qualified to explain exactly why there are so many lengths but I'm happy to give it a try based on my own basic understanding.

    Each staff has it's capabilites and it's limitations which will impact on angling, distancing and even timing to a degree. Something that has been mentioned several times in this forum is that a martial art is it's philosophies, not it's actual techniques and each of those weapons would have a different philosophy behind them, and different philosophies for the same weapons with different schools.

    I do see your point that from the viewpoint of swinging a stick and hitting someone, you can use all the lengths in the same way but you wouldn't learn the same range of lessons (imo).

    As for size of person, doesn't the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes make it even more appropriate to learn different lengths so that you are versatile and adaptible rather than getting too used to a particular weapon? I mean realistically we as a society are almost guaranteed in this day and age to not get into any duels against an opponent wielding swords etc but it is a part of the art as it was relevant when the art was developed/at it's peak. Also something my Sensei says when asked why we train all these different weapons etc is that it's not to use in a street, it's a way to expand your personality both in the dojo and out of it. When we train Hanbo or Jo there is only a foot difference in length but the techniques are vastly different and even more so with Bo.

    That could just be Ninjutsu's approach of course and I'm not trying to tell you that you're wrong or don't know what you are talking about, just hoping to clarify different approaches :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  6. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Crap...misread you original post!!

    Ignore me......:ultracool
     
  7. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    No problem! ;)

    Still would love to know if a 5 foot staff has it's own unique name/system where it features!
     
  8. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Btw Phenix_Rider, forgot to mention in my reply before, some pole arms are 9+ feet in length. With no racial disrespect meant, when you consider that the average Japanese warrior was around 4 - 5 feet tall back in those days, there would be a vast difference when it came to the size of the weapon. That was the basis of my questioning your comment that 4-5-6 feet weapons could all be used/treated the same depending on the person's size :)
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi,

    The lengths of various staff weapons are not necessarily fixed in stone, for example the Jo, at certain times in history, would be personalised to be the height of the users armpit, which could easily be 5 foot if the wielder is 6 feet or taller. As well as that, the Portuguese art of Jogo do Pau uses a staff of between 4 and 6 feet, obviously including the five foot length, and the same applied to European Quarterstaff.

    With regards to our weaponry choices, my instructor actually wanted to use a 5 foot staff for Jo, however I disagreed. His reasons were that, being Westerners, 5 foot was a better "fit". Mine included the height of the ceiling in the room we were having, as well as the relative lengths rather than the specific lengths of each weapon.

    In short, each length has it's own characteristics and properties that separates it from the others. A Tanbo (short staff, two feet) it typically a single hand weapon, used for striking with some grappling as well. Hanbo (half staff, three feet) begins to involve two handed strikes and grappling methods, and is a close-quarters, in-fighting weapon. Jo (stick, four feet, although some schools do use a five foot version) is just beyond the in-fighting range of Hanbo, being focused more on two handed strikes for power. Bo (staff, six foot) is a ranged, two-handed weapon.

    It's important to notice the proportions that increase, rather than get fixated on the lengths themselves. If we take the Bo as the basis, it's a six foot long weapon. The Jo, at four foot, is two-thirds of that length, being a big enough change to justifiably alter technical approaches. The Hanbo is then three-quarters of a Jo, or half of a Bo, again a big enough difference to make a difference. If a five foot Jo is used, it is simply too close to a Bo when compared to a Hanbo to realitically give a different "feel" and approach.

    To take it the other way, a Hanbo is three feet. To go to a Jo, you add a third of it's length. And to go to a Bo from there, you add half the length again. If you use a five foot Jo, you add two feet to the Hanbo, nearly it's entire length. And to then go to a Bo, you only add a foot to the length, which is just 1/5th of the entire length, not much of a change. If you were wanting to use a five foot Jo, you should also be using a Hanbo of just under 4 foot, and a Bo of 7 and a half feet. So provided that's what you're using, 5 foot will make sense. Otherwise, if you train with all of the above weapons, the typical lengths are best.
     
  10. Josh Oakley

    Josh Oakley Senior Master

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    We used a 5 foot staff when I took Kung Fu San Soo in Olympia, WA, under Weston Vermillion. When I trained under Paul Schroeder in El Paso, Texas, they used a 6 foot staff.

    I'll be honest though, I have no idea why some choose 5 foot, and some choose 6 foot.
     
  11. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    In our style, a bo is within two inches of your height. I am 5-10 so I use a 6 foot bo. A shorter person would use a shorter bo, I presume. A 'jo' is a much smaller bo. Nothing specific about how long it is supposed to be precisely.123
     

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