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Shihan Wayne Bo Course - May 2015

The Bo Course was to have been instructed by Shihan Wayne Swietoslawski, a multi-martial arts professional with high qualifications in karate, kung-fu and various weapons. Unfortunately, he became ill over the weekend and was rushed to hospital where it was discovered he had a detached lung. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to the future when we hope he can come to visit CFTS and instruct once again.

At very short notice, Renshi Kidby again stepped up to the mark and gave us a great afternoons bo experience. I'm sure all students benefitted from the course and we thank Renshi for his tuition.

The Bo (6 foot Oak Staff) and Jo (4 – 5 foot Oak staff) are considered to the earliest of the traditional Okinawan weapons and are thought to have derived from farming implements and walking sticks.

In the hands of a skilled person the reach and speed of the Bo made it a formidable weapon; even feared by the samurai.

Last Sunday, a group of staff wielding karateka turned up at the Bunyan Centre in Bedford all eager to improve their skills with the Bo or Jo under the guidance of Shihan Wayne Swietoslawski. On arrival, we were told by Renshi Kidby the unfortunate news that Shihan Wayne had been rushed into hospital and would not be able to take us for training that afternoon. All of us at CFTS send our best wishes to Shihan Wayne for a speedy recovery.

To ensure that those who had turned up for the course did not miss out, Renshi Kidby stepped into the breach and with only 40 minutes notice came up with a lesson plan for the afternoon. That was no easy task and I’m sure all that attended appreciate his efforts.

After a quick warm-up without the Bo, we started with basic chudan level horizontal striking whilst moving forwards and backwards, concentrating on changing the grip of the front hand to ensure we were all handling the Bo correctly.

Next we moved onto learning Taikyoku Bo, an introductory level Bo kata devised by Renshi based on the performance pattern or embusen of Taikyoku Shodan. This introduced the students to gedan level strikes/blocks and chudan level thrusting strikes combined with an understanding of what moves required changing grip in order to execute correctly. After practising the full kata to count there was a chance for everyone to try it at full speed/no count.

Assisted by Sensei McMahon and Sensei Waterhouse, Renshi then demonstrated some bunkai related to the first four moves of the kata. This involved blocking a strike to knee from one attacker followed by a thrusting strike counter-attack and then turning to block a strike to the knee from a second attacker again followed by a thrusting strike counter-attack. The class then got into threes to have a go themselves with groups of Dan grades spread throughout the hall so every group had someone to follow if they got stuck.

Using the principles of Gohon Kumite, Renshi then took us through jodan strikes and blocks followed by chudan strikes and blocks. We then moved onto a jodan, chudan, gedan combination based on Sanbon Kumite.

During these exercises, demonstrated by Renshi and Sensei Whitworth, the importance of having the hand palm down for downward strikes and palm up to receive them was emphasised by Renshi knocking the Bo from Sensei Whitworth’s hands.

We then moved onto learning how to block to the side with the Bo and then how to switch to blocking on the other side by spinning the Bo over our heads (in a controlled two handed manner). There were definitely a few dropped staffs in that exercise!

After a short break we moved onto Ufugusuku, a ‘level 2’ Bo kata thought to be named after a person or town. As the kata is essentially four repetitions of the same sequence with the whole kata being performed in a cross-like embusen, Renshi concentrated initially on the first sequence to allow the students to get a feeling for the new moves and the flowing style of the kata.

After we were comfortable with the first moves, Renshi demonstrated some bunkai, again with the help of Sensei Whitworth, showing us how we could use the Bo to apply wrist locks and how sweeping motions could be used to move the opponent’s Bo out of the way giving space for us to strike.

The class then learnt the whole kata sequence and practiced to count and then at medium speed/no count.

As a final challenge to the Dan grades and 1st Kyus, Renshi informed us the record for performing Ufugusuku was 11 seconds and this was our chance to beat it.

I don’t believe the record fell that day but I know that there were a lot of lightning performances!

All in all it was a good afternoon’s training, thanks again to Renshi Kidby, and I’m sure that everyone learnt something new and improved their existing skills.

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