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I was at a seminar this weekend and saw a bit of Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu. The teacher used a special type of bo that I had not seen before and am having trouble finding information about. It had 9 metal bands on it: 1 in the center and 4 at each end. The end bands were space approx. 4-6" apart with the last bands being metal caps on the end of the staff.

I would attach a picture, but I can't find one! Any information about this type of staff (name, picture, etc.) would be greatly appreciated!

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something vaguely similar to this image? –  Mark C. Wallace Apr 8 at 12:45
    
@MarkC.Wallace Kind of, but more rings obviously, and the rings stood out from the wood by maybe 1/4-1/2". –  Aaron Apr 8 at 13:13
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2 Answers 2

According to the wikipedia:

Some were inlaid or banded with strips of iron or other metals for extra strength.[11]

And the link they give for reference #11 is from Jo: Art of the Japanese Short Staff, Dave Lowry, Black Belt Communications, 1987 p.22.

They link to an Amazon preview which says:

Occasionally too, the length of the bo was inlaid or banded with strips of iron or other metal. This increased the strength of the bo considerably. Most techniques for countering the bo by well-trained swordsman involved his using the katana to slash at the wooden bo at an angle that would hack through it, cutting the bo down and significantly reducing its effectiveness. With the protecting bands or strips of metal, the weapon was much more difficult to chop or cut and the bojutsu exponent was at a better advantage in the encounter.

So there's your answer.

As for getting your hands on a bo staff like this, they're pretty rare. I wasn't even aware they existed until you mentioned it. And I was unable to find a picture of one online.

The 9 bands you mentioned make sense for Kukishin Ryu. It is called the "9 Demon Gods" school. The number 9 has some mystical significance in many Japanese martial arts.

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I saw that too, but it seems like the banding mentioned is more like tetsubo or kanaibo where the strips are parallel to the length of the bo. –  Aaron Apr 8 at 13:14
    
I think they meant that the bands were around the circumference of the staff, not parallel with the length of the staff. Bands do that. They wrap around the circumference, not the length. Where they talked about the length of the bo, they meant that the bands were repeated down the length of the staff. Not that each "band" was actually a stripe that went all the way down one length and back up the other side. That wouldn't hold the staff very well, and it would be a lot heavier than banding. But who's to say without a picture? –  Steve Weigand Apr 8 at 19:53
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Honestly, this more or less comes down to an iron-shod staff. In most cultures with staff weapons, someone has had the bright idea to add metal to the ends to increase the inertia with which one strikes, and to reduce the damage to the wood on impact. There are a few specialized ones such as the arribo, an octagonal cane weapon made wholly out of metal, or the tetsubo which is essentially an iron club, but in this case, I'd just call it an iron-shod staff.

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