The Eku Bo (aka Eiku Bo, Ekku Bo, Kai Bo) is a very interesting weapon. It is a traditional implement of Okinawan Kobudo, but not many systems have passed down its proper use and technique.
I’d like to share with you a video I created describing Eku Bo combat theory and application. In the video I talk about handling the weapon, how it differs in usage from other weapons, controlling it properly, and more. I also demonstrate at the end a bit of randori (freestyle kumite) to show how the blocking and attacking movements can be utilized.
Throughout the video you’ll hear the lovely pitter patter of Danzan Ryu Jujutsu in the background. This is a live working dojo alright!
The Eku is a devastating weapon and can generate astounding amounts of power!
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I hope you enjoyed the video, and please help me decide if I should continue integrating these into my normal writing routine. Vote in the poll below as to whether or not this was interesting and helpful, and please include any thoughts and questions in the comments section.
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Whenever I am teaching bunkai and self defense I advise students to “create a disturbance” before applying a joint lock.
A disturbance could be a strike to the body or face that causes the attacker to focus on the pain instead of you. It could mean a subtle pulling off-balance that puts the opponent in a position of weakness. It could also be as simple as a movement of your body and hands that causes the attacker to critically expose his/her body.
By utilizing disturbance you can circumvent the strength, focus, and potential counterattacks of a live attacker. Often in the vacuum of a dojo we can apply punishing joint locks that make our partners whimper. Unfortunately we are working with a level of compliance that ignores the power of adrenaline charged muscles (which can ignore pain and significantly resist your efforts) and the volatility of swinging fists, feet, and forehead of an opponent that wants to take you out.
There is a great video of Taiji (tai chi) exponent Yang Hefa demonstrating what can happen to an attacker who is trying to apply various locks and maneuvers without doing anything else to create an initial disturbance. Yang is free to think and react naturally, and the results for the attacker are unimpressive and sobering.
As you were watching you probably had the instinct to say “just elbow him! punch him in the face! Perform KoshiNage! etc”. But that’s not really the point of the video as I’m sure Yang Hefa could have performed plenty of nasty techniques himself. What Yang is really showing is the ability to weave, bob, and slink his way out of some of the most commonly used grappling techniques.
Yang’s tricks are really not that hard to understand -
- first, he is staying very relaxed. Many joint lock techniques are exacerbated by tension in the defender rather than sheer skill of the attacker.
- Second, he keeps himself perfectly balanced and his weight underside, which makes off-balancing techniques for his opponent very difficult.
- Third, Yang knows how to move with the force of his opponent, accept it, and redirect it when the attacker over-commits.
Is this video just a demonstration? Of course, but there are a lot of valuable takeaways. Next time you find yourself in a grappling or tegumi situation, take note of the amount of tension in your body. Figure out how your weight is distributed and if it is vulnerable to over-exposure.
If you feel yourself being put into a lock or bar, instead of resisting it with muscular strength experiment with rolling your body and moving with the motion. Find some willing and good humored training partners and see if you can frustrate them.
Finally take note of the possibility of failure when grappling and the need to move quickly to other techniques and methods. I personally recommend creating a disturbance in the opponent to distract his mind so that he can’t resist, or worse yet, show off skill like Yang’s.
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