I Need Help With A Bo Staff

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by Dylan Walker, Apr 7, 2020.

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  1. Dylan Walker

    Dylan Walker White Belt

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    Hi everyone! I am 17 and want to learn to fight with a bo staff. Unfortunately, I learned all that I could from youtube and it is not that interactive. I was wondering if there would be willing to Facetime and teach me a few things or if anyone knows someone that could help. I can't enroll at karate at this time, so this is my best bet.
     
  2. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It's going to be very tough to learn how to fight without a partner that you can actually spar with.
     
  3. Dylan Walker

    Dylan Walker White Belt

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    I will keep that in mind. Maybe I can convince one of my family to do it. Until then, I have been focusing on learning strikes and blocks.
     
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hi Dylan, I appreciate your enthusiasm but the best advice I can give you is to wait until you are able to find a competent teacher. This is a hands-on process and the best way to do it is with a teacher in a face-to-face situation. There is a serious chance of injury in what you are contemplating, and a high likelihood of developing poor habits. A teacher simply cannot make the corrections that you will need, via video.

    A question for you: do you have any martial training so far? Most teachers who are worth their salt are unlikely to teach weaponry to someone with no martial training already. They would probably insist that you train at least the fundamentals of their martial system for a while first, before you are taught weaponry.

    My i also ask, in what area do you live?
     
  5. Dylan Walker

    Dylan Walker White Belt

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    I live in vancouver washington and I have a litte martial art practice but not much. I am still pretty much a beginner
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Alright, thanks for the background info.

    There are some threads going on right now discussing video learning while this whole Covid-19 problem is with us and we cannot physically get together. I think in these discussions people are really aiming at keeping their students together to keep practicing. These are people who have at least some experience and it’s known how well they can otherwise follow along with the workouts.

    I think it is an entirely different issue when you’ve got a beginner who is trying to learn something new, and especially when it is something more challenging and possibly dangerous to yourself, like a weapon. Video instruction is simply not a good medium for trying to learn that.

    This is probably not the advice you were hoping to get, so I understand if this is frustrating. But this is honest advice, I’m not going to encourage you to do something that I honestly believe is not a good idea. Some folks will disagree with me, but this is the advice I always give to people who are thinking of learning via video instruction, whether that is live streaming or watching recorded videos. Some things, including martial arts, need to be done in a physically interactive environment. It just does not work well otherwise.

    I suggest you work in your fitness and be patient until your situation changes and you can find a good teacher to work with. If you ever end up in my region, the Sacramento, California Area, get in touch and maybe we can work together. My system has some pretty interesting staff material, along with some other interesting stuff. It is a solid system. You might like it.
     
  7. Dylan Walker

    Dylan Walker White Belt

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    Ok! Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it!
     
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  8. dunc

    dunc Blue Belt

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    In my experience learning martial arts requires a combination of hands on instruction, self study/discovery and practical experience

    Some aspects of martial arts training are more suited to distance learning / self study than others. And I feel that weapons training (especially longer ones) falls into this category

    There is no use sparring with a weapon if you haven’t got the knack of how to handle it, drilled the core positions, developed the strength to use it etc etc

    So I’m currently recommending my students to practice their staff techniques. I’m putting out some basic patterns and instructionals on the 3ft, 4ft and 6ft staff and feel that if people work on these then they’ll develop a good foundation to work from once classes begin again

    Dylan - Whilst I’m not offering to provide virtual classes I hope this perspective helps somewhat
     
  9. yak sao

    yak sao Senior Master

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    You mentioned you have previous experience.
    What specifically is your experience?

    Stances, basic punches, basic kicking?
    Was it a particular style you had practiced?

    Perhaps someone here could pick up with that via video, although I agree, not the ideal way of learning.

    Spend some time developing/ redeveloping your empty hand skills with the idea of working towards the staff in the future.

    Someone here may even be in your area or know someone in your area that you could get with when society is back to normal.
     
  10. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    I have a really hard time imagining you could learn staff from facetime. Theres a lot of things they can tell you ,or show you. However there are a some little details a novice would easily overlook, and he/she might forget to point out some of those details. Though to be fair it's really easy to overwhelm new students with that kind of information. Wish you good luck!
     
  11. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I would be willing to give it a try depending on what type of staff that you have. If you have a straight non-tapered bow staff then I can teach you a few things and some concepts. Learning how to fight requires to have a partner. The staff techniques that you would learn are from Chinese martial arts and not Japanese martial arts. And the training process will be slow. So if you have the patience of that then I can teach you. The concepts, the technique, and how it's used. Beyond that, it's up to you to do the hard work. At least this way you half almost half way to what you need to know.

    You would get only 2 techniques at a time to train. And you'll get the other 2 when you are able to get the first 2 down. Remember you are asking to be trained in function and this is the path that you would have to take with me.
     
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  12. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Even for those who have in person staff training still won't be able to use a staff for actual fighting. Very few people train it beyond concepts, form, and performance. Learning how to actually use the staff requires 2 skilled partners who can control the staff enough to make practice safe enough. He's a long way from any of that. For now some basics, conditioning, strength building, and techniques is what's needed and face time should good enough to get some of those things in.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s important to also define what you want to be able to use the staff for. Fighting with a staff doesn’t always mean fighting against a staff. My students learn to control a stick as an improvised weapon, ranging from 20” to 6’. They practice various situations, none of which necessarily includes fighting against a skilled staff-user. That’s a while other level of skill, just to get to safe practice, as @JowGaWolf said.

    If you just want to have fun with a staff (my original purpose was this), then don’t worry about learning to fight with it - just find a style that interests you and learn what you can (and have the interest to put effort into) from video.
     
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  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    My opinion, a good staff is a fight-ender. If you learn good, solid fundamentals, then you don’t need anything fancy and it can dominate a lot of of other weapons. Chinese martial arts often use white waxwood for a staff, which is good and has certain qualities that can be built into the method itself. I am of the belief that different cultures used the materials that were available to them where they lived, so being that I live in North America, I’ve been using hickory. It is a bone-cruncher and I fully believe you can literally beat a human into the pavement with one. It is absolutely lethal.

    It’s also difficult to spar with while maintaining what the weapon is all about. If you use those bone-smashing techniques and methods, you can’t really spar with it. You would smash the other guy’s weapon out of his hands and then you smash him into a meat-bag with bits of bone splinters mixed in. If you use more elaborate technique and light staffs, you are not really practicing the real capabilities of the weapon. Good staff method should end the conflict decisively and quickly. This stuff comes from a historical era when people needed to defend their actual lives and needed to act immediately.

    I think people expect to be able to apply sparring to every aspect of training, including weapons. It often just is not realistic to do so without a high risk of injury or undermining the weapon itself. So practice the fundamentals and the form and drills with a partner if available (not the same as free sparring), and application ought to become rather obvious.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
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  15. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Brown Belt

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    Sparring with a bo is possible with standard TKD body pads and lacrosse gloves and mask. Kendo equipment could work too. As with most weapons, as in empty hand sparring, 100% power is not recommended, but with pads, 50% power will do the trick, since the beauty of weapons is that is amplifies your own power.
     
  16. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Brown Belt

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    NO.

    You have no foundation, no sense of the art, learning "a few things" is not the way to approach it, questionable motives (at 17, probably just want to be cool - I understand), and watching will not teach the subtleties. Facetime could be helpful IF you had a few months of proper in-person training.

    I think, for your purposes, just go out in your back yard, swing a big stick around, imagine you are the Monkey King, and have fun.
     
  17. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I think focusing on just learning first is probably more important than trying to focus on fighting first. Most people I've talked to think that functional staff training is boring. And to be honest it is., but the purpose isn't to be fun. It's to be functional, so it's a different mindset and purpose when training.
     
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  18. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I barely punch people at 50% power. I don't think I could hit someone at 50% power with a staff, even if they had protective padding on. If I was going to even try to hit a person with a staff then I would need some sort of practice staff that's good for practice and horrible for actual fighting.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. I guess my point was that if you're not trying to create functional skill (just learning for enjoyment) then any bad habits that might develop may be inconsequential.
     
  20. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Brown Belt

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    I guess I'm coming from a different direction - wielding a bo as a martial art weapon (kobudo) and not as a toy.123
     
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