Recommended reading: “Sticks and Stones Will Break Your Bones: A Look at Jo and Bo” by Meik Skoss

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

One of the nicer things about both the staff or stick, to my way of thinking, is that they are pretty innocuous; i.e., they are not immediately, or invariably, lethal. Most weapons used in the classical Japanese martial arts are meant to kill or to cause serious injury. One can, however, use the bo or jo to subdue an opponent without causing permanent damage, although they are still capable of dealing with more “deadly” weapons, and overcoming them if need be. Lastly, they can, in extreme cases, be used to lethal effect, so there’s a great degree of flexibility in response, a better solution both morally and legally.

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  1. …and practicing jo or bo katas is great exercise. Probably improves your tai-jutsu, too.

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