How to Choose the Right Bo Staff DVD or Online Course
Maybe you are a mega -fan of Morgan, the bo staff wielding character from The Walking Dead, and want to master the bo. Or, as a traditional martial artist, you have always wanted to delve into weapons, and learn something ancient, yet still relevant, so you choose the staff. Some people use staff training for physical therapy, and to heal their body from injury. There are action stars from Hollywood who had their humble beginnings as kids learning martial arts (and the bo staff).
The bo is the world’s most accessible martial arts weapon. If you have a broom, rake, pole, pipe, dowel, bamboo shoot, large branch, walking stiff, or sapling nearby, you can use it as a “bo.” If you are serious about learning the staff, and not just dabbling in it, then you need to purchase a quality training program, or take lessons. Most bo enthusiasts start in the same place: Youtube. They learn some random spins, positions, and maybe even take a free class on youtube.
Once their interest has been piqued, they look for something more organized, in-depth, credible, and well-designed for actual advancement and progress. Below, I will give you some pointers, on how to choose the right bo staff training program.
1. Decide On What Style of Staff Training You Want to Master
- Do you want to learn how to fight with your staff (staff vs. staff)?
- Do you want to know how to use your walking stick defensively while hiking, in the event an animal or person attacks?
- Do you want to learn traditional Japanese katas?
- Do you want to learn modern, freestyle tournament forms?
- Do you want to learn extreme bo tricking?
- Do you want to rehabilitate your lower back or upper body with staff movements?
- Do you want to get a great workout in, while learning how to fight with a staff?
- Are you most drawn to Korean, Japanese, or Chinese influences?
These are important considerations. Although there is really not a plethora of quality bo training programs available, you do need to consider your goals before you buy a DVD or join a course.
The Ultimate Bo DVD set or online home study course, by Michael Hodge, integrates many of these benefits into one system. It is rooted in Japanese bōjutsu, with traditional techniques, kata(s), along with a realistic combat and sparring section. Ultimate Bo is also one of the only officially recognized bo martial arts style, in which you can each real rank. If you want to dip your feet, you can start with the Beginner Bo Staff Training DVD set.
The Staff Fundamental Training – Tai Chi and Shaolin Techniques, by Dr. Yang, teaches a flowing, Chinese based view of the staff.
Youtube Eastern martial arts expert, Jake Mace, has produced a DVD, “Bo Staff DVD The Original Martial Arts Weapon“, which teaches many spins, and is rooted in an Chinese martial arts base, along with eclectic interpretations.
Do you want to learn extreme bo staff tricks and tear up the tournament circuit? Consider Bo Staff – Weapons Training, by world champion Chloe Bruce.
2. Consider the Quality of the Instruction and Simplicity of the Course
A DVD, online course, book, or local classes are only as good as the instructor that is teaching. Educational programs are most effective when they take into account the student’s desired end result with the course, the student’s learning style, time limit, and life situation.
When considering the right bo staff program for you, make sure any view as many free previews, sample lessons, or classes as possible. These will be wonderful tests, to see if you are able to learn well from this particular instructor. Some instructors reach and educate their audience well orally, some kinesthetically, and some visually. One instructor might be difficult to understand (maybe they speak too quickly, too softly, or with an accent), another might be difficult to follow (perhaps they move too fast), or they might just not resonate with you.
It is always best to choose a course that is well-rounded. Just learning a technique is not enough, if you want to master the technique, you need to use intelligent repetition. In my course, Ultimate Bo, I first show each technique from all angles at full speed (so that you know what your finished staff movement should look like), I then do a high-level breakdown of the entire movement (stance, hand placement, body alignment, striking target), a step-by-step (now that you have learned the move, practice it with me on screen), and at the end, a home practice drill. The drill gives you an opportunity to practice the movement in a fun and different way.
In the Ultimate Bo course (in all of my bo DVDs), I also include a follow along class, which is just like attending a real bo class in person. You simply press play and follow along with me on the screen. We start out with a warm up, stretching, do drills, conditioning, have fun, and finish with a cool down.
3. What Format Works for You? (DVD, Streaming Video, Download, Book)
Finally, take into account which media format you prefer to learn from. Some students really like having a physical DVD, so that you can watch offline, on your laptop while on the road, or even a portable DVD player out in the forest!
Some students prefer a streaming or downloadable version, so that they can watch their video lessons anywhere. Other students like an online learning platform (like the Global Martial Arts University), that has a fully integrated lesson index, journal, instructor support, and other tools that add to your training experience.
And, some students like to learn from paper. Good ‘ol fashion books are a wonderful tool. But, written texts and two-dimensional photos can easily be misinterpreted, so coupling an educational text with a video instructional program is always best.
In conclusion, I hope that you feel more prepared to choose the right bo staff program for you. I don’t want to be biased here, but I think you should at least consider my Ultimate Bo DVDs or streaming video courses. I created the first Ultimate Bo course back in 2007. Since then, I have had a few thousand students from around the world training, and earning real rank with me. My newest Ultimate Bo course, was just released in late 2016. I completely re-filmed everything, added new combat materials, classes, drills, workouts, and more. It is a great starting point for you wonderful staff training journey.