How to Practice Kobudo Bo Kihon with 10 Basic Bo Strikes

I shot a few more videos over the weekend practicing qigong zhan zhuang and kobudo kihon out in the fresh air. Here’s the first of the videos, practicing the set of 10 Basic Bo Strikes which is a set of kobudo kihon or basics. Kobudo is the use of traditional Okinawan Weapons including the rokushaku bo (6′ staff). These 10 basic bo strikes are composed of five sets of pairs of strikes. Most of the pairs start with a simple strike followed by a slightly more difficult strike. Each strike is practiced eight times alternating right and left sides.

[Note: The photos below are freeze frames from the live action practice video so they are not as perfect as if they were specifically posed photos for each move.]

10 Bo Kihon Uchi (Bo Basic Strikes)

The bo strikes are done in sets of eight, alternating sides and grips. For the first four in a set use a regular hand switch for each grip, and for the last four in a set use a slide switch. All the sets begin with stepping right forward into a zenkutsu-dachi unless otherwise indicated.

Down Strikes

1) Down Strike

1 Down Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Normal down strike to top of head (or collar bone or bridge of nose). Start with wrist curled near shoulder and unwind snapping wrist on contact so the palm is pushing the bo down.


2) Same Side Down Strike

2 Same Side Down Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Under arm same side down strike to top of head (or hands).


Side Strikes

3) Side Strike

3 Side Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Normal side strike to side of the head (temple).


4) Nagamine Strike

4 Nagamine Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Reverse cut (helicopter/Nagamine) side strike to the ribs. Block up. Bring palm up front hand across to opposite shoulder. Push front hand across bringing other hand around under arm as bo cuts a horizontal arc. Turn front hand to end with palm pushing bo into final contact point.


Up Strikes

5) Up Strike

5 Up Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Normal upward groin strike stepping forward into angled shiko-dachi. Curl front hand and arm upward while pushing rear hand downward.


6) Same Side Up Strike

6 Same Side Up Strike - Kobudo Bo Basics

Same side upward strike to the chin (or hands). Strong side fuso block, then bring your top hand down to your shoulder on the same side as you push front hand upward with palm up.


Bo Front Thrusts

7) Thrust

7 Thrust - Kobudo Bo Basics

Thrust to the solar plexus, trap bo under armpit. Slide switch: Keep bo horizontal, push it forward and pass in front of body.


8) Pool Cue Thrust

8 Pool Cue Thrust - Kobudo Bo Basics

“Pool cue” slide thrust to the solar plexus, trap bo under armpit. Same slide switch as 7.


Bo Back Thrusts

9) Bo Back Foot Poke

9 Bo Back Foot Poke

Step left forward into a neko-ashi-dachi and low poke to the foot pushing the bo with the top/front hand and letting it slide through the bottom/back hand. Like spearing a fish. Keep eyes looking forward and aim with your peripheral vision. Slide switch: Keep bo vertical. Slide bottom hand to top and top over bottom.


10) Bo Back Head Thrust

10 Bo Back Head Thrust

Step left forward into a zenkutsu-dachi and thrust to head or throat with bo back. Slide switch: Keep bo horizontal over head. Slide front hand to back and back over front.


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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

Shoshin Nagamine's book The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do Matsubayashi Ryu

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