View Full Version : Bo Staff vs. Katana?

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12/30/2003 12:50pm,
Kinda like the maglite vs. the 2 1/2" blade thread.

In a hypothetical world where both you and your opponent were very skilled with both weapons, which would you choose. The weapon not picked would go to your opponent.

I've asked a few people I know this question, and I liked hearing their opinions.

I'm kinda new to the forum, so if this has been brought up before, my apologies.

12/30/2003 1:57pm,

Bo has greater reach all things being equal reach wins.

12/30/2003 7:47pm,
I'll take an ironwood rokubo.

12/30/2003 8:54pm,
We I have only done about 4-5 years training with weapons, so i dont know if my answer will be that great. I have been trainined in both weapons and kata involving both weapons versing each other. Really , both weapons have advantages and disadvantages, so really its up to how good and comfortable the practioner is with this weapon.

Personally i like Katana better, but i find its harder to master. Secondly bo has got great reach, but its fucked for close range combat. Plus sword, does have a blade , a rather big sarp blade, i would be rather fucking scared of someone waving that around at me than at 6 foot stick. Meh, personal opinion, its up to you. Have a nice day!!!!


12/30/2003 10:11pm,
everyone knows that miyamoto musashi was defeated by a master of the jo, not the bo!!!

12/30/2003 10:58pm,
The sword.

Unless youre going to shatter bones with that staff, I feel a determined attacker is going to get close enough to prevent you from attacking (defending?) again... fights over.

It would be a kind of snake/mongoose match though...

12/30/2003 11:02pm,
let me phrase this in language bullshidokas will understand:

sword is to staff as grappler is to stand up fighter.

kuroyama, you are the snake to my mongoose. or the mongoose to my snake. i don't know, i don't know animals...

12/30/2003 11:24pm,
Wouldn't the sword just cut through the wood bo? Making it sort of useless?

12/31/2003 10:09am,
Hehehe Udo uses imaginary Anime sharpness swords! Watch out!

Which means no in a fight no one is gonna let you hack at their rigidly held Bo so you can cut it off.

12/31/2003 10:22am,
On the idea of say, Katana -vs- Rokushakubo....

Well, I personally would choose the sword over the staff...even though they both could easily win.
I choose sword because it's usage easily stems over the swinging cuts most people associate with swordplay. A Katana can be used to get inside the swing of a Bo, and just be laid across the limb or body of a staff-wielder...so that when he moves, he essentially cuts himself. A staff on the other hand, doesn't have this ability. A sword can be used to essentially make the recipient of the swords attack cut and injure or kill himself.

The Rokushakubo has the range that a sword cannot manage...a Bo at full extension can create a give or take 9 foot circle around the wielder, and it can change range pretty easily. Bo isn't JUST for long-range fighting, it can be adapted to fit grappling and short-range striking zone's easily as well.

The sword (depending on whether it's Katana/Jin-Tachi/Shinobigatana,etc) can create a rough 5 to 7 foot circle around the wielder, and change ranges extremely quickly. Plus as it is a cutting weapon as opposed to an impact weapon, as well as an extremely sharp one, it has to hardly even contact the staff wielder for it to cause damage.

Personally, I like both weapons, but I would choose the sword over the Bo.


12/31/2003 10:37am,
nice post, ryan

12/31/2003 11:26am,

I liked the post but there are some points to bring up. For instance, you said that a staff can have a range up to, give or take 9'. I agree, with you, considering the average staff is about 6'. However, this range would not hold a lot of striking power nor would the wielder have a lot of control over it. Swing a bat as hard as you can and try to switch directions through mid swing. It is extremely difficult. Your opponent, if well trained, can take that opprotunity to move in and place a world of hurt on you. The most effective striking range for the staff, from my experience and opinoin, is between 2'-4' of the available length (which would place the opponent about 4'-6' in front of you, if you take in consideration the average arm length being about 3' fully extended). For short range attacks, you are best to lunge at the opponent strking with the tip.

The average lenght of a katana will range from about 38" - 42" (the average being about 40"). This will give the wielder roughly 6'-7' circle (based on average size of extended arm of 36" + average blade 40") Keep in mind that the roughly 11" of that katana is handle and Tsubi, which gives you a blade length of (again using average size of 40" katana) 29". Though shorter and quicker circle, the katana blade is meant to slice not hack, which means that the user needs to be in a very close range for effective use. So this now becomes more of an argument of short range weapons vs long range weapons.

If the staff fighter is able to keep the swordsman out of range, he will eventually beat him to death, though it will take a bit. However, if the swordsman gets into short range it will not take much to stop the staff fighter. I would prefer the sword to the staff.


If the sword was made traditionally and of good material it may be able to cut through a staff if the staff is in non mobile state and anchored so it would not move on impact. :) A swordsman will try to avoid blocking with the blade at all costs as it tends dot damage the blade. If you watch Iado stylists practice their 2 man forms, you will not they they block with the side of the blade. So if confronted with an object such s the staff, the swordsman will most likely try to reflect the strikes with the side of the balde. To use the blade itself he will either damage the blade or cut into the staff and risk wedging his weapon into the staff. Not a good move.

12/31/2003 11:36am,
Uh hasn't history already answered this question? Polearms defeat swords over and over. People tend to have some sort of romantic attachment to swords that make them not want to believe this but it is true. Also the original question said opponents with teh same skill level. I would go with range everytime. Also no one has mentioned disarms which are practiced a lot with the staff. I tend to think a staff expert would disarm a swordsman way before a swordsman managed to disarm the wielder of the staff. So now it becomes staff versus empty hand again we all know how that goes.

12/31/2003 11:44am,
Side note. I am moving this thread to the General Discussion area as it not history related.

12/31/2003 11:49am,
Originally posted by WhiteShark
Uh hasn't history already answered this question? Polearms defeat swords over and over.

Not according to my Dynasty Warrior game. :) Actually you are correct in that assestment but keep in mind that the polearms were spears, harbingers, etc.. ie...they were bladed weapons not blunted like the staff. Even if you want to talk about disarming the opponents a good swordsman will also be able to use direct cut and disarms as well.

12/31/2003 11:51am,
Give me the Bo anyday. Were I better at it's use, I would challenge any takers to get within stabbing/slicing range with a katana without getting their block knocked off.