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Getting to Grips with the Bo

Sempai John Neil Park reports on the latest SKR course

The SKR is a traditional karate club and it’s not often that its students get the chance to train with weapons.

Sensei Ring runs several courses a year to help improve this situation.  And on 12 February around 20 karate-ka Sempai (brown belts and above) joined him and Sensei Donna, at the Mountfitchet Romeera Dojo, Stansted, to practice a very special Kata “Kanazawa No Bo Dai”, which has at its heart the use of the Japanese long staff or “Bo”.

The kata was developed by Karate legend Hirokazu Kanazawa Sensei several decades ago, but only recently has it been taught and practised publicly in Europe.  Today the SKR annual championships include a competition section dedicated to the Kata.

Sensei Michael said:  “Our students are used to using their hands, feet, elbows and knees as weapons – as you would expect in any Karate club – but using the “Bo” gives them the chance to improve their skills and co-ordination.

“It helps that Kanazawa No Bo Dai follows many of the forms in traditional Shotokan Kata.  However, it requires additional effort and dedication to master this particular Kata.”

The course was broken down into mini-sessions, allowing students to practice the application of blocks, thrusts and strikes with partners, before going onto performing the Kata in its entirety.

The Japanese “Bo” is a heavy wooden staff and can be dangerous to the user in untrained hands, but no injuries were reported at the end of the course – not even a bruised thumb!

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