Fuso Kumi Bo – Basic Two-person Bo Drill

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The above video shows a practice session of the basic kobudo bo drill, Fuso Kumi Bo. I shot the first portion of this video last fall with my son in our backyard. It is easiest and safest to practice kobudo, especially with the Rokushaki Bo (6′ staff), outside where there is plenty of room. Outside you don’t have to worry about hitting walls, ceilings, or items in your home. Just be sure to practice safely, far away from anyone who may wander into your practice area.

In the first part of the video shows I am practicing the defending side of the drill with MJ. In the second part of the video I am demonstrating the attacking side of the drill with a student, Julie, who had recently learned the drill and was promoting.

Fuso Kumi Bo is a two person agreement drill featuring a series of moves from the basic bo form – Kata Fuso. It is useful to practice the moves from the kata in the two person drill in order to work on kamae (fighting posture) maai (distance), sen no sen (timing) and zanshin (awareness). It is also useful to periodically video your practice sessions in order to review your performance and continue to improve. As such, this video is intended as a work in progress snapshot in time rather than as a perfect example. There are a few minor glitches in the video that will be pointed out in the step-by-step breakdown with corrections in my next post.


Fuso Kumi Bo – Freestyle Version

MJ’s Kobudo Joshu Shoban (Jr. Black Belt) Promotion, 2015

The above video is a special bonus. It shows a performance of Fuso Kumi Bo in a free ranging freestyle approach, rather than the normal linear back and forth from the formal drill. This video was filmed in 2015 at the dojo where we train and teach, The Academy of Traditional Karate. MJ was 15 at the time and being promoted to Joshu Shoban (Jr. Black Belt) in kobudo. He performed Fuso Kumi Bo with his very talented fellow kobudo student Tommy Lee.


Fuso Kumi Bo 2012

The below video shows a demonstration of the basic kobudo bo drill, Fuso Kumi Bo that we performed in 2012. This video was shot when our dojo, The Academy of Traditional Karate, gave a karate and kobudo presentation at our local farmer’s market in Wilmington, MA. In this video I’m demonstrating the attacking side of the drill while MJ demonstrates the defending side.

MJ was only 12 years old at the time and a Yonkyu in kobudo. He had just learned the defending side of the drill and was still perfecting the attacking side. So when we demonstrated the drill he performed the defending side twice rather than us switching attacking/defending sides.


Fuso Kumi Bo Drill Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown

This two person drill goes back and forth with each person attacking at different points. We generally call the person who does the first attack, the attacker, and the person doing the first defense, the defender. So in this practice video I am the defender on the left and MJ is the attacker on the right. After the first attack, the defender goes on offense and drives the attacker backward through the first half of the drill. Then the attacker goes on offense driving the defender back to the original position with a few remaining bursts of offense from the defender along the way.

[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.] 

Opening Sequence

1A) Yoi. Musubi-dachi. Bo held vertically on Right-side behind R-hand/arm.
1B) Rei (bow).
1C) Open. Reach L-hand over grasping Bo with palm up under R-elbow while unwinding the Bo into a Fuso right, vertical at R-side with thumbs down, as you L-step out left.
1D) Yoi. Defender: L-step in to Musubi-dachi. Bo vertical on right, thumbs down. Left arm across the chest. Attacker: Bo kamai. Right foot / right hand bo front forward.

First Strike

2) Attacker: R-step forward in shizentai-dachi. R-thrust to solar plexus.
Defender: L-step back into R-zenkutsu-dachi. Fuso block (thumbs down) weak side (left).

Defender Goes on Offense Driving Attacker Backward

After the attacker makes the first strike the defender goes on offense and begins to drive the attack backward through the first half of the drill.

3) Defender: R-down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
4) Defender: R-thrust to abdomen with bo front.
Attacker: Low block with bo middle.
Be sure to block low enough so that the bo thrust isn’t deflected into the groin area.
5) Defender: L-step forward into shiko-dachi. L-low sweep strike with bo back to knee.
Attacker: R-step back into shiko-dachi. L-low block with bo back.
Be sure to block forward enough to protect the knee.
6) Defender: R-step forward, as you pass midpoint L-foot stab at attacker’s L foot.
Attacker: Pull left foot back to L neko ashi-dachi to avoid foot stab while raising bo. (See inset.)
7) Defender: Continue R step forward into R zenkutsu-dachi. R down strike with bo front.
Attacker: Continue stepping back L to R zenkutsu-dachi. High block with bo middle. (See inset.)
8) Defender: L-step forward into shiko-dachi. L-low sweep strike with bo back to knee.
Attacker: R-step back into shiko-dachi. L-low block with bo back. (See inset.)

Attacker Goes on Offense Driving Defender Backward

Now the attacker goes back on offense and drives the defender back to the starting position.

9) Attacker: R-step forward into R-zenkutsu-dachi. Nagamine side strike from left to right.
Defender: L-step back into R-zenkutsu-dachi. Fuso block to the strong side (right).

Defender Strikes Back with 5-Strike Combination

Defender temporarily strikes back with a 5-strike combination flurry. Down (bo front), Up (bo back, bo front on same side), Down (bo front), Side (back/left), Side (front/right).

10A) Defender: R-down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
10B) Defender L up strike with bo back, bo front on same side. Attacker: Down block with bo middle.
10C) Defender: R down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
10D) Defender: L side strike with bo back.
Attacker: L side block with bo back.
10E) Defender: R side strike with bo front.
Attacker: R side block with bo front.

Attacker Goes on Offense Again

The attacker goes on offense again and drives the defender back another step.

11) Attacker: L-step forward into L-zenkutsu-dachi. Hand switch. Nagamine strike from right to left.
Defender: R-step back into L-zenkutsu-dachi. Hand switch. Fuso block strong (left).

Defender Strikes Back with 5-Strike Combination

Defender temporarily strikes back with a 5-strike combination flurry. Down (bo front), Up (bo back, bo front on same side), Down (bo front), Side (back/right), Side (front/left).

12A) Defender: L-down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
[NOTE: There is no hand switch here. Attacker’s L hand should be palm up through all of these 5 strike blocks.]
12B) Defender R up strike with bo back, bo front on same side. Attacker: Down block with bo middle.
[NOTE: Attacker’s L hand should be palm up.]
12C) Defender: L down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
[NOTE: Attacker’s L hand should be palm up.]
12B) Defender R side strike with bo back.
Attacker: R side block with bo back.
[NOTE: Attacker’s L hand should be palm up.]
12E) Defender: L side strike with bo front.
Attacker: L side block with bo front.
[NOTE: Attacker’s L hand should be palm up.]

Attacker Goes Back on Offense Again

The attacker takes the offense gain driving the defender back.

13) Attacker: R step forward into R-zenkutsu-dachi. Slide switch. R side strike with bo front.
Defender: L-step back into R-zenkutsu-dachi. Hand switch. Fuso block weak side (left).
14A) Defender: R down strike with bo front.
Attacker: High block with bo middle.
14B) Defender: Hook attacker’s bo under the left side and rotate up to the right. Attacker: R side of bo is pulled up and to L as defender hooks & pulls it out of the way.
14C) Defender: Thrust to ribs. KIAI
[NOTE: Strike off to the side, past the attacker so you don’t really hit your uke’s ribs.]

Closing Sequence

15A) Rotate bo back to yoi behind R arm while stepping back right to musubi-dachi.
15B) Yoi.
15C) Rei. (Bow)

Fuso Kumi Bo PDF Reference Sheet

The following PDF reference sheet is a single condensed page to use as reference while learning and practicing the drill. It is useful to help you remember what all the moves are until they are committed to muscle memory or for review to remember them after returning to the drill if it hasn’t been practiced in a while. I had created this reference sheet when I was first learning the drill myself. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Download Fuso Kumi Bo Drill PDF Reference Sheet

Fuso-Kumi-Bo-05-11-21


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