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I'm practicing Yuan-style Tai-Chi, and I'm having difficulty keeping the bo staff from moving off centre as I twirl it - I consistently find my hold slightly to one end or another after a series of twirls.

What exercises can I try to help me twirl the bo staff, without moving it off centre?

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Can you please explain in which art you're training? The furigata of Kukishin-ryu, for instance, makes use of the whole length of the staff, and the arms keep your pointing toward the center. I believe other arts have different methods. –  stslavik Feb 6 '12 at 18:08
    
Is staff twirling a part of that art? –  blueberryfields Feb 6 '12 at 20:50
    
"staff twirling", by which I believe you mean menacing (using the quick back and forth movements of the staff to build momentum and create distance) is called furigata in Kukishin-ryu Bojutsu. I'm asking from which art you're learning to use a staff so as better to direct the answer. –  stslavik Feb 6 '12 at 21:20
    
Cool! I'm learning as part of a yuan style tai-chi class –  blueberryfields Feb 6 '12 at 21:54
    
Interesting. I'm not familiar with a Yuan-style Taijiquan. Perhaps someone who is will be able to help you. I'm going to edit your question to include that little bit of information to better help your answerers. –  stslavik Feb 6 '12 at 22:07

4 Answers 4

Sounds to me like you might do something wrong when switching grip on the staff that makes your hands wonder of towards one end.

Another useful tip is to keep your elbows in with your body (tie your belt around your arms and waist) to force yourself to use your body rather than your arms to spin the bo. This also restricts movement of the hands/arms and might help you stay in the center.

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It sounds like you're rolling the staff over the wrong part of your hand. It's difficult to explain, so my best advice would be to ask someone in your school who does not have this problem to show you in slow motion how the staff rolls over their hand. When it rolls wrong (the way most people do it at first) you'll get a little more off center with each revolution and quickly lose control.

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Hold the staff in thirds - with one hand facing up and one facing down. Flip the staff over 180 degrees so that your hands are reversed. The hands should slide evenly along the staff. Repeat this exercise at least 20 times as part of your warm up.

This will teach you to feel the centre point of the staff and get your hands used to feeling exactly where the centre is.

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When I was training staff, my instructor started with having us measure the length of the staff and putting a piece of electrical tape exactly in the center. That made it easy to tell if you were drifting during the technique and helped trained where you place your hands while twirling it.

You can also try a piece of string or something else along those lines if you want something you can take off before going to class, but that means you'll have to constantly remeasure and retie it unless you mark the staff in some other way.

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Hey, a better way to find the centre is to hold the staff in between your index fingers and thumbs, with the palms of both hands facing each other. Slide both hands together slowly - they will meet in the centre point by weight. This is especially useful if your staff is uneven or has a weight on one end like a spear head. –  William Mioch Feb 7 '12 at 3:56

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