View Full Version : The Rokushaku-bo (six-foot staff)

Jody Holeton
3rd December 2000, 22:15
Dear all,

What styles use this style of weapon?
Is this a form of kei-bo or kei-jo?

R Erman
4th December 2000, 03:12
I believe the majority of classical systems use this size of Bo for their staff forms. Roku Shaku is simply a measurement: Roku=6, Shaku is almost the equivalent of a foot. Thus, the generalization that Bo are six feet in length.

Hope this helps,

4th December 2000, 04:26
Any classical style that does Yari or Naginata probably has Bojutsu. What were you supposed to do if the blade broke off in the middle of the battle?

Charles Choi
13th August 2002, 03:48
What type of wood do you use for roku-shakubo (chobo)?

I am interested in hearing both from a practical point of view, and traditions of using particular types of wood -if any exist- in your school. :)

14th August 2002, 13:56
Hi Charles.
White Oak is my preferred type of wood. It is very strong/dense and due to this is a good-solid weight to use during training..Whether on my own or with a partner. It also means less chance of breakage so less worries about striking hard with it.
I have heard that the Kukishin Ryu Bo should be made of a certain type of Japanese Oak (I think white Oak also..) but cannot recall the names so I would not be sure enough to tell you.
A traditional wood used in Bokken and Bo is called 'Sunuke' but this is becoming rare to obtain and thus costs far more than an ordinary Oak weapon..I believe it grows mainly in Kyushu today but a search would tell you more than I can...

Ric Flinn
16th August 2002, 21:09
Keep in mind that Japanese white oak is substantially different than that on other continents; the Japanese white oak tree itself is an evergreen. Here in the states, white oak is a lot different, and not nearly as well-suited to wooden weapons. Japanese white oak is much more dense and heavy.

You might want to check Kim Taylor's woodworking pages, they discuss qualities of wood from a martial artist's perspective.

Nathan Scott
12th February 2006, 11:38
Rokushakubo (approx. 6 foot staff) seems to be more of an Okinawan standard than a Japanese standard. Bojutsu is pretty rare in Japanese koryu, and when I have seen it, the bo are of various lengths. For example, Tendo-ryu uses a staff that is generally about 5 feet in length, or, the length from the top of the user's shoulder to the ground (representing a broken naginata haft).


12th February 2006, 13:32
I can't agree that use of bo stick wasn't Japanese standard. Long stick is weapon used in almost every culture; you may find it in Japan, Okinawa, China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Korea, all over Europe, Africa…

In traditional Japanese martial arts bo is used in:
Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu
Asayama Ichiden Ryu
Yagyu Shingan Ryu
Kashima Shinryu
Hontai Yoshin Ryu
Takenouchi Ryu
Araki Ryu
Toda-ha Buko Ryu
Yoshin Ryu
Tatsumi Ryu

Some schools use jo instead of bo:
Tendo Ryu
Shojitsu Kenri Kataichi Ryu
Shinto Muso Ryu
Suio Ryu

Tendo Ryu use shorter stick than roku shaku bo, but it is jo not bo.

Nathan Scott
14th February 2006, 03:22
Mr. Bordoli,

Maybe I didn't compose my thoughts clearly in my last post, but what I was trying to say was simply that bo and various length sticks were used in Japanese arts, but that they were not the main weapons, and were of varying lengths. From what I've seen so far, the length of the sticks don't seem to follow a single standard (ie: 6 shaku) as they do in the Okinawan arts. Also, I think I noted somewhere that I've only come across two Japanese ryu-ha that specialize in the use of the "bo", which are Chikubushima-ryu and Muhen-ryu (IIRC). The rest use sticks and/or staffs as supplemental training to a larger curriculum.

And as far Tendo-ryu goes, I've seen the staff listed as a "bo", being approximately 5 feet in length (goshaku), or as I said, as high as the top of the users shoulder. Terms like bo, jo, etc. are generic terms that historically did not follow strict length rules, but call it what you like.


Ellis Amdur
14th February 2006, 15:32
Rokushaku-bo was a vernacular term, however, throughout Japan - at the same time, a tape measure wasn't used to measure the staves, at least in rural areas. A bo was usually anything from about eyebrow height to one or two hands over the head.
I think you will find bojutsu in some very large percentage of sogo bujutsu - and it was particularly common within ryu that had a jujutsu component. BTW - Muhen-ryu was bo/naginata. They "double-up" the kata, using pretty much the same for each weapon. If I recall correctly, the bo came first, allegedly due to the founder's spear breaking in a battle and him then fighting his way out with the shaft. The ryu has been paired-up for generations with Shosho-ryu.