How to Practice Kobudo Bo Kihon with 14 Basic Bo Blocks

I shot a few more videos over the weekend practicing kobudo kihon out in the fresh air with MJ. Here’s the first of the videos, practicing the set of 14 Basic Bo Blocks which is a set of kobudo kihon or basics. Kobudo is the use of traditional Okinawan Weapons including the rokushaku bo (6′ staff). These 14 basic bo blocks are composed of different sets of pairs of blocks. Most of the pairs focus on high and low or strong and weak sides. Most blocks are 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.]

14 Bo Kihon Uke (Bo Basic Blocks)

The bo blocks 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. The first two sets only have four repetitions because there are no hand switches. All sets begin stepping back left into a right zenkutsu-dachi, unless otherwise indicated.

Natural Grip Horizontal Up/Down Blocks with Side Steps

Natural grip uses both palms down. These first two sets are only done for four repetitions each because there are no hand switches.

1) Up Block

Step out right to Shiko-dachi. Up block. Alternate sides, same natural grip, only 4 times. Block above the head using the middle of the bo with hands spaced wide apart.


2) Down Block

Step out right to Shiko-dachi. Down block. Alternate sides, same natural grip, only 4 times. Be sure to block low enough to protect the groin from an up strike. Block below the groin using the middle of the bo with hands spaced wide apart.


Normal Grip Horizontal Up/Down Blocks

All the remaining sets are done with a normal grip starting with the right hand palm up and the left hand palm down. Do eight repetitions for each set with the first four using a normal hand switch and the last four using a slide hand switch.

3) Up Block

Up block. Bo horizontal, blocking with center above head. Block above the head using the middle of the bo with hands spaced wide apart.


4) Down Block

Down block. Bo horizontal, blocking with center. Be sure to block low enough to protect the groin from an up strike. Block below the groin using the middle of the bo with hands spaced wide apart.


Bo Front High/Low Blocks

5) Bo Front High Block

Bo front high block. Front leg/palm up. Aim toward temple area.


6) Bo Front Low Block

Bo front low block. Front leg/palm up. Aim toward knee area.


Bo Back High/Low Blocks

7) Bo Back High Block

Step back right into L Zenkutsu-dachi. Bo back high block. Palm down end. Aim toward temple area.


8) Bo Back Low Block

Step back right into L Zenkutsu-dachi. Bo back low block. Palm down end. Aim toward knee area. For the slide switches, keep bo vertical. Slide bottom hand up. Slide top hand over other and down.


Fuso Blocks

All the Fuso blocks have the thumbs down.

9) Fuso Block

Fuso block high. Angled over head. Hands similar to Pinan Shodan positions.


10) Fuso Strong Side Block

Fuso strong side block. Thumbs down. Bo vertical about 45° off the front leg/knee.


11) Fuso Weak Side Block

Fuso weak side block. Thumbs down. Bo vertical toward the back leg side about 45° off the center of your body. Be sure to keep your high elbow from extending past the bo.


Anti-Fuso Blocks

All the Anti-fuso blocks have the thumbs up.


12) Anti-fuso Strong Side Block

Anti-fuso strong side block. Thumbs up. Bo vertical about 45° off the front leg/knee. Be sure to keep your high elbow from extending past the bo.


13) Anti-fuso Weak Side Block

Anti-fuso weak side block. Thumbs up. Bo vertical toward the back leg side about 45° off the center of your body.


Soto Uke

Step back left into right neko-ashi-dachi and soto uke. Front of Bo makes half circle from bottom up as you curl the front wrist up/inward.


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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

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

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