Martial Arts Staffs – The Bo Staff

bo staff, chinese bo staff, staff spinning, bojutso, staff spinning guide

Martial Arts Staffs – Bo Staff Spinning

In the world of staff spinning, we focus on our LED and Fire props, but staffs have a long history that dates back over 1000 years! The Bo Staff is an Asian martial Arts weapon originating in Chinese culture. These staffs are not to be dismissed because of their martial arts background. They make excellent practice staffs, and some are so light that beautiful spinning moves can be performed. Bo staffs come in heavier material such as Oak if that’s more your style!


Bo Staff 

The Bo Staff is traditionally a 6 foot long wooden staff with a 1” diameter. Bo Staffs can be made of Oak, Pine, and Rattan, with newer materials like foam, aluminum, and collapsible metals. Another key feature of Bo Staffs are the straight, tapered, and toothpick styles. A straight staff has a steady diameter throughout (usually 1”-1.5”), the tapered staff has the widest point in the middle, and gets slightly thinner on the ends. The toothpick staff is super thin, coming nearly to a point at its ends. Pro Tip* Avoid toothpick staffs in pine wood, the thin body becomes fragile, and often breaks upon impact.

Types of Bo Staffs

Oak is the historical wood used in the Bo Staff. Oak is strong, absorbs impact, and tends to be a bit on the heavier side. This is a great choice for solid hardwood staff that can absorb moderate impact without splitting.

Pine is considered a soft wood, making it lighter but also less water resistant than oak. Pine cannot take a hard hit and is often recommended for children who need a lighter staff.

Rattan is our favorite type of Bo Staff! It is light, extremely strong and flexible. Stronger than bamboo, Rattan can hold up to years of use without splitting. It is light enough to spin and toss with east, and it’s flexible! Rattan can flex without breaking with an almost rubber band type bounce back to its shape. Rattan is also water resistant like pine, so no worries there!

Aluminum staff could be a good choice if you plan on transitioning to fire staff and prefer to get used to a similar material. Aluminum is lighter than steel and does not bend or break too easily. Expect little marks and scratches from use, but know they come out easily with a little steel wool and polish.

A Bo Staff made of foam is primarily used for martial arts competitions. The foam padding takes hundred of hard hits on another staff, while also absorbing any shock on the wrist.

Collapsible Bo Staffs seem like a great idea so you can travel and fold them up in a car. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend collapsible bo staffs for one major flaw. The weight distribution on these staffs is all off. With threads and locking components throughout, the weight is not evenly distributed. This will mess with your flow, and ultimately hinder your growth as a staff spinner/bojutso martial artist!


Bo Staff Length Guide

We recommend getting a Bo Staff the same height as you or plus/minus a couple inches from your height. Bo staffs are commonly sold in half foot increments. Meaning you have a 5’, 5 ½’, 6’, 6 ½’, and 7’ foot. So, as an example, if you are 6’2’’ go for a 6’ staff. If you are 5’5’’ go for a 5’6’’ staff.

We hope to have inspired you to go out and start your Bo Staff journey, remember to have fun and use your new staff powers wisely!!

Inspired to begin or further your flow arts journey? Check out our shop!

1 thoughts on “Martial Arts Staffs – The Bo Staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *