Advice on Bo Height?

Discussion in 'The Competitive Edge' started by Stac3y, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Stac3y

    Stac3y Master Black Belt

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    I'm going to be learning bo soon, and I'm wondering what length to buy. I'm about 5'8"; so should I go with 66" or 6'? I'll be learning forms, probably with minimal use of release techniques, as I'm a klutz.

    Any advice?
     
  2. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    A bo that's about the same height as you are, would be ideal. However, anyone should be able to comfortably work with one that is within +/- 2 inches of your height.

    Thus, a 5 1/2' bo would be OK. At this point, you're going to be busy learning fundamentals and mechanics, so getting a bo that is perfect for your hands isn't too much of a priority at this time. Once you gain some more experience, you may want to think about getting a nicer bo that's your height (5' 8", maybe 5' 9").
     
  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm sure a lot depends on your style. For my style, Isshinryu, my sensei told me to get a bo that was within 6 inches of my height. I'm 5-10, so a 6 foot bo is fine for me.
     
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's the advice I was always given too!
     
  5. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Aye, your own height with maybe an inch or two added on is what I have always been told is ideal for Bo.
     
  6. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

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    When I was a kid I trained with a hardwood mopstick my dad got me at the hardware store. It was about my height and it worked great. So yeah, something about your height works, any taller and you run a higher risk of hitting yourself with it.

    I have not used a bo in years though! I've learned over the years especially living in NY to never carry a weapon because no matter what you are wrong if somethign goes down so I quit workign on that aspect.
     
  7. ArmorOfGod

    ArmorOfGod Senior Master

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    I always teach that it should be a few inches above your eyebrow.
    If it is taller than you are, it will hit the floor during a front spin.

    AoG
     
  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    A lot depends on your style and the form you'll be using it with. I know some forms and stick systems that are intended for a stick that is long enough to reach from the ground up to the end of your extended fingers with your arms straight up (for me, that's something like 7 1/2 or 8 feet), and others that are for sticks that are about as long as you are tall (a bit under 6 feet, for me). And a few for sticks about shoulder height. These all count as "long" sticks; shoulder height is the transition between "long" and "middle" sticks. (I even know some for "very long" -- 10 feet or more! And I've heard of forms for "super long" where two or three people somehow use the same stick. Not a clue how that works...)

    The best advice is to ask your instructor; they should offer you the proper guidance on length, diameter, and material.
     
  9. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    I was taught it should ideally be about eyebrow height.
     
  10. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    It depend on the style and what type of forms you will be learning.

    Most bo are Rokushaku or 6 ft. I believe that the USA-NKF requires you to be within 2" of your height. I am 6'3" and I use a 6' bo. Some of the Chinese styles have staff lengths up to 8'.

    Ask your instructor what he/she recommends.
     
  11. JadeDragon3

    JadeDragon3 Black Belt

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    I have always heard that the bo should be from the floor to the tip of your middle finger when you reach your arm straight up above your head.
     
  12. Brandon Fisher

    Brandon Fisher Master Black Belt

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    I was told by a sensei in Okinawa that it should be taller than you but no more than the length of your palm above your head.
     
  13. Arnold Lee

    Arnold Lee White Belt

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    As a historical study the most common versions in Chinese styles are the double ended and single ended staffs.

    A double end staff is measured from the ground to your eyebrow. A single end staff is measured from the ground to your extended middle finger when the arm is extended overhead.

    Double ended and single ended staffs are used differently. The "Staff Set" that American Kenpo has uses the double ended version.

    Not to say that these are the only sizes...just the most common that I've seen. For instance some wing chun practitioners have whats called a dragon pole which can be over 8 feet long.
     
  14. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    Really, you're instructor should be the one to tell you this. Different styles have different prefernces. Different instructors have different prefernces.
     
  15. Tensei85

    Tensei85 Master Black Belt

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    I agree with everyone else's opinions on this topic. However what I would say is test out a few Bo's (Gun) and see how they feel, which one you can relate to based on physical coordination. Its important to pick out a Bo that feels good to you, as some techniques may be harder to perform if your Bo is not the right feel.

    In the CMA that I practice we would pick out a Gun that is right about the base of our palm height when hand is vertical to the body.

    Now in Shotokan that I used to practice we would generally pick out Bo's that were 6' even but they would order these in mass quantity so it would be cheaper so they were all 6'. Not based on preference of the practitioner.

    Good luck! On a side note the Bo forms are awesome! You'll definitely enjoy them.
     
  16. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    I like the shorter staff but my master made me get the 6' one. I am 6'2" but I can really spin that 5 footer.
     
  17. Brandon Fisher

    Brandon Fisher Master Black Belt

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    At 6'2" I would agree in fact suggest a 6.5ft.
     
  18. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, Common sense...a little shorter BO...will be easier to handle and spin...

    A little longer is OK too....and everyone knows oversize is always harder to handle...

    Also thickness can play a part too...taper ones spin faster/looks faster anyway...

    We use a bamboo type and comes in many thickness....find one that feels good to you...

    On the streets...longer ones gives better reach...

    Aloha, (ever use a coconut tree?)
     
  19. ArmorOfGod

    ArmorOfGod Senior Master

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    If the bo is longer than you are tall, it will hit the floor during spins or strikes. It should come up to about your eyebrow or an inch or so higher than that.

    AoG
     
  20. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    Not true. Maybe in the begining but after some time you learn how to adjust for the leangth. Shorter staffs are a lot more forgiving with bad technique though.
     

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