Kung Fu and bo-staff

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axioma

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Hi all,

This is my first post so i would like to say hi to everyone. :asian:

I currently practice shotokan karate, and I have to say martial arts are definately my cup of tea. As much as I love my karate, I'm looking for something to complement the short, hard movements that shotokan uses. Some more fluid motions perhaps. I would also like to train in the use of the bo (that is what that wooden staff is called right ?). Do I assume correctly that Kung Fu has more fluid motions than karate ? And does Kung Fu practice the use of the bo, or are there even styles of chinese martial arts that concentrate on the use of the bo ?

A lot of question marks here, but mainly I'm wondering 2 things:
- Does Kung Fu have more fluid movements than karate (and would it be appropriate to complement my shotokan karate with a kung fu style ?)
- If so, is there a Kung Fu style which uses the bo extensively, or if available, which concentrates on the use of the bo ?

thanks in advance
axioma.
 

7starmantis

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Welcome to the boards!!

Yes kung fu has much more fluid movements than karate styles or most styles for that matter. Kung fu is known for its fluidity. It helps you move from one technique to the next quickly as well.

Yes, there are many "styles" of kung fu that use the staff. There aren't any that focus on the staff or focus on any one weapon for that matter. I don't know alot about the weapons of other systems but in mantis we use alot of staff, I think wah lum mantis uses alot more than we do. I think most CMA you get involved with will use the staff quite a bit. Its going to be very different from the way a karate style uses the staff however. Very different.

7sm
 

Tony

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We use the staff in my Style of Kung fu too! And also some of us have started using Nunchukus or as my intsructor calls them Rice Flail because they did actually originate in China. They're kind of similar to the 3 Sectional staff/ There are lots of wonderful and mysterious weapons in Kung Fu and watching them being used in forms is a real delight to see!
I'm currently using the staff and I find it a lot of fun to perform, lots of spinning, and all moves are deliberate moves.
I think Karate and Kung fu share a lot of aspects but differ in execution of techniques and philosophy! I find that Kung Fu is a very fluid and flowing Martial Art, as well as being very Graceful and entertaining to watch! But thats not to say it isn't practical aswell because there are some very devastating techniques.
 
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axioma

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thank you for your quick reply ! I have another question: after reading a little more I found out about kenpo, after a brief glance at this martial art, it looks a little like a mixture of karate, but uses the five animal forms of kung fu, and some other elements as well.

I'm only interested in one weapon: the bo. So if I'm looking for something to complement my shotokan karate, and implement training in the bo, what martial art (or sub-style) would you, personally, recommend ?
 

7starmantis

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I'll probably make some angry here, but I wouldn't equate kenpo to kung fu by any means. There are alot of arts that have been influenced by CMA (Chinese Martial Arts) or kung fu, but are not like kung fu at all.

Thats a hard question to answer, it depends on what your looking to get out of learning the staff (or bo). Suplimenting your karate with kung fu may not be the best thing if your looking to improve your karate staff forms as kung fu and karate are going to be very different in technique and principle. As far as true application or "self defense" with the staff, I find kung fu very very effective. I can't speak for japanese arts as I have never trained in them. Maybe learning some wushu type staff handeling will help increase your skill as well.

7sm
 
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RHD

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Bo staff...

Welcome to the board. Bo is simply the Japanese word for staff. Saying " Bo staff" is like saying "staff staff". Most Chinese systems have one or more staff forms and hopefully complimentary staff fighting drills and exercises.

In CMA, there are three types of staff work: single ended (or long pole), double ended (or eyebrow height), and a combination that's somewhere in between these other two.

Ask around among the kung fu people that you may know. I think eyebrow height/double ended staff work is what you're looking for. However, I think you will find the footwork, power generation, and various other princples to be astoundingly different from your Shotokan. It may be wiser to seek out the bo forms from some of the Okinawan systems such as IsshinRyu as your Shotokan is based heavily on them.

Good luck.
Mike
 
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axioma

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Hehe, staff staff. woops :D

You were quite right about the bo: I'm mostly interested in some 6 ft bo (which doesn't taper too much at the end).

Well, I have to say that isshin ryu seems very interesting. I found that the main weapons being studied are the bo ;), the sai and the tonfa (or tuifa ?). That sounds fine, and it looks like it would bring some interesting variation to the shotokan I already study. Thanks for the tip.

All I have to do now is search for a dojo where they teach Isshin-Ryu over here. They don't where I take my shotokan classes. Anybody from Belgium on the boards who could help me with that ?

thanks a lot for all your advice.
axioma
 

Matt Stone

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Tony said:
We use the staff in my Style of Kung fu too! And also some of us have started using Nunchukus or as my intsructor calls them Rice Flail because they did actually originate in China.

A couple of things...

1) Nunchaku (note the spelling) was never a "rice flail." It is simply too small a tool to be used in that manner. Real grain flails have very long handles and shorter flailing ends. Please see http://nunchaku.tripod.com/about_e.htm for additional information.

2) Why does your instructor call it a rice flail because it originated in China? That doesn't seem to have any relation at all... The popular (though incorrect) history of the nunchaku holds it as an Okinawan rice flail, but using the rationale that "(he) calls them Rice Flail because they did actually originate in China" doesn't make any sense at all... That's like saying I call pajamas clothing because they originated in X country.

3) The "two section stick," like the "three section staff, " is a traditional Chinese weapons to begin with... Where did your teacher get his training? Or did he learn nunchaku from a karate teacher and then simply incorporate that usage into his kung fu curriculum?

4) While Korean martial arts often include the nunchaku in their training, it was never actually used in Korea, ever. Not even as a rice flail. I will look around for the link to the article I read years ago, but there was some cultural anthropological investigation into that claim by a martial artist who was curious, and his inquiries resulted in no evidence to support the nunchaku's use in Korea at any point in history.

Just FYI.

Enjoy.
 

Matt Stone

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axioma said:
I'm only interested in one weapon: the bo. So if I'm looking for something to complement my shotokan karate, and implement training in the bo, what martial art (or sub-style) would you, personally, recommend ?

Why are you looking to "compliment" your Shotokan training? What is it, besides the lack of staff work, that you feel it is missing?

I doubt you are going to find a teacher that is going to provide instruction in staff alone... Typically (from my experience), weapons use is restricted to higher levels in most karate schools. The thinking being that you have plenty of work to do on making your stance, timing, distance, etc., correct without worrying about tossing a weapon into the mix.

Perhaps you should simply reconsider your Shotokan training and start training at a school whose curriculum includes staff? Just a thought.

Enjoy.
 

7starmantis

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Matt Stone said:
The "two section stick," like the "three section staff, " is a traditional Chinese weapons to begin with....
This two section staff is called the disogee. Its about a 5 foot staff with a small maybe 1 foot section chained to the end. It is a traditional Chinese weapon. I have to say I have never heard of a CMA using nunchaku either but thats cool.

7sm
 

Matt Stone

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7starmantis said:
This two section staff is called the disogee. Its about a 5 foot staff with a small maybe 1 foot section chained to the end. It is a traditional Chinese weapon. I have to say I have never heard of a CMA using nunchaku either but thats cool.

Somebody opted to nail me anonymously in the reputation points (like I care) because my post "sounded too harsh." Whatever... :shrug:

I wasn't trying to be "harsh," I was providing information and my opinion, trying to phrase things as clinically as possible to avoid sounding condescending ("oooh, isn't that so nice that you are learning that special little weapon!") or arrogant ("your teacher isn't qualified to teach anything, much less nunchaku! My nunchaku kung fu is better than your nunchaku kung fu!"). If I didn't cater to the delicate sensitivities of some, I apologize profusely (though not sincerely). It was just info...

7* - I remember years back reading through a pamphlet-like book documenting all sorts of bizarre Asian weapons... There were some incredibly pointy and dangerous looking Indonesian weapons, and selections of things that were attributed to cultures I thought (at the time) I knew something about. In the section on Chinese weapons, there was a nunchaku-esque weapon. I don't recall the name, nor does the name listed in the link I provided upthread sound familiar. But I remember it being listed as a Chinese weapon primarily... A similar, but slightly different one was shown in the Okinawan section as well...

Just info, again, for those who like to comment anonymously... Not trying to be cocky, just informative.

Enjoy.
 

7starmantis

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Matt Stone said:
7* - I remember years back reading through a pamphlet-like book documenting all sorts of bizarre Asian weapons... There were some incredibly pointy and dangerous looking Indonesian weapons, and selections of things that were attributed to cultures I thought (at the time) I knew something about. In the section on Chinese weapons, there was a nunchaku-esque weapon. I don't recall the name, nor does the name listed in the link I provided upthread sound familiar. But I remember it being listed as a Chinese weapon primarily... A similar, but slightly different one was shown in the Okinawan section as well...
I have seen a two sectinoal staff that could look like nunchaku however the chain in the middle is quite a bit longer than normal nunchaku. Also the staff parts were longer as well. It is used quite differently as well.

that is interesting though, I'll have to do some research now to see if I can find what your talking about. Looking at how nunchaku are used though it seems a CMA version would be handled quite differently.

7sm
 
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axioma

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Matt Stone said:
Why are you looking to "compliment" your Shotokan training? What is it, besides the lack of staff work, that you feel it is missing?

I doubt you are going to find a teacher that is going to provide instruction in staff alone... Typically (from my experience), weapons use is restricted to higher levels in most karate schools. The thinking being that you have plenty of work to do on making your stance, timing, distance, etc., correct without worrying about tossing a weapon into the mix.

Perhaps you should simply reconsider your Shotokan training and start training at a school whose curriculum includes staff? Just a thought.

Enjoy.

Your remarks are very true indeed. I have a lot of work to do on stance, timing, distance, etc. The staff is just something that intrigues me. :)

I don't really feel that something is missing in shotokan. I love the okinawan/japanese systems, and I feel great with my shotokan. Why fix something that isn't broken ? It never hurts though to add some extra elements to your training, and right now I've got my mind set on Isshin Ryu for that. (which includes training in the staff).

So the main reason why I asked for something like kung fu in the beginning of this thread is due to lack of knowledge about the martial arts. It now seems i won't have to leave my familiar systems (karate styles) for that extra element in my training.

So maybe I should rephrase myself a bit. My interests outside of shotokan are interests of cross-training, mainly to re-inforce shotokan, and interest in that wicked staff, which is the one thing i miss a bit in shotokan :D

cheers,
:asian:
axioma
 

Matt Stone

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It was said upthread that Shotokan had short, choppy movements...

Only because you are doing them that way. Try smoothing things out, making the techniques more fluid. In time they will become that way anyway, though at first it may appear rather staccato in application.

In the end, All are One.
 
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axioma

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You are so right about that. Thanks for the great advice.

"And now I'm going out and train some more."

a very good day to you
:asian:
axioma
 
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Josephk

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i do shotokan and goju ryu karate, and have recently started to train with the bo, it is usually practiced at later levels but we're just doing a little of the basics, but from what i've done, there is quite difference in the use of the bo between cma and karate, the movements we've done, are very direct and not very flashy, and from what i've seen from the chinese use of the bo, it is much more flashy and more fluid, concentrating less on power and more on frequency of attacks i think. so it depends how you want to use the bo. i could be completly wrong however because i haven't had much cma experience yet
 
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axioma

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Do you practice the bo in shotokan or in goju-ryu karate ?
 

7starmantis

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Josephk said:
i could be completly wrong however because i haven't had much cma experience yet
I'm not trying to bust on you, but you are wrong about the CMA usage of the staff. There is alot of concentration on power, just different principles of how to generate power. I will say there is alot of flashy-ness in the wushu usage of the staff, but most CMA really get deep into the staff and have some really good training on the staff.

7sm
 
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Josephk

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7starmantis said:
I'm not trying to bust on you, but you are wrong about the CMA usage of the staff. There is alot of concentration on power, just different principles of how to generate power. I will say there is alot of flashy-ness in the wushu usage of the staff, but most CMA really get deep into the staff and have some really good training on the staff.

7sm
yeah. like i said, i haven't had much cma experience, so maybe it's wushu that i've seen, i didn't mean it to sound like i was putting down cma or anything.
 
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Josephk

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axioma said:
Do you practice the bo in shotokan or in goju-ryu karate ?
i don't think the weapons training is actually part of either so to say, it just kind of goes hand in hand with most traditional systems of karate. we just do everything all at once with the same sensei and students, i don't go to separate classes for each system.
 
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