I wanted to tell a little story of what I feel and what I think of when I make staffs today. When I was a young brown belt testing for black belt, during my black belt test, in which I was the only testing student that year, the Sensai sprung bo kobudo applications for a kata which I had purposely not been trained in these applications. I had to pick moves in the kata, and show what the moves were doing with a partner. I was of course exhausted out of my mind by this point. And the board wanted to see how I would do, doing something new. And my Sensai pointed to one of the black belts who was to be my partner, and said, “Bring out the beast.” Which was a bo staff that the dojo kept, that must have been an inch and 3/8 or something. It was huge and thick and long and heavy like a club, and it was meant to bring out intimidation in me. But it did not. It was not the most intimidating bo staff in the dojo.
What I had in my hands was the bo my father had made for me. He had hand turned it for me. I remember the wood coming from the rainforest. I remember him turning it. It was made of purpleheart, and it was some of the most special purpleheart I have ever seen, even to this day. It dented barely, and never splintered. Its smoothness remained even though it had been used in full contact impact thousands upon thousands of times. It was heavy, and tapered and dark color. I had the best bo staff in the dojo. My father had made others for me before. But this was the final one, and it was special, and it was mine. I had pride in this weapon. I trusted it completely.
By the way, that is the staff I am holding in the picture for this post. :)
So when the Sensai said to take out “The Beast” which was supposed to cause a reaction in me, it caused no reaction in me. I remember the moment to this day that when they took out that, overly large, oafish bo, I knew my weapon was 10 times better. I knew that no matter how hard they swung it at me, I wasn’t scared at all of the shock. I actually smiled inwardly to myself at that moment when they got it out. To be honest, it actually seemed lame what they were trying to do. Because my staff was in a different league. And I did well at that part of the test.
I remember this often, and I told this story, because this is what I hold in my heart when I make and sell karate weapons today. That feeling. I want that same feeling for you. I want that same feeling in myself when I oil it, and look at what I’m putting in the boxes. I say to myself, this is a good weapon. I nod at it. It's the feeling I am checking. That the same feeling is there from my bo from way back then. I take pride when I feel the weight of them. That is what I want people to feel when they hold their own. I know that feeling well. And I want to transmit it to others. And I wouldn't want to sell anything less.
I still have that bo staff today. I still use it regularly when I train. I still feel pride when I look at it. It is as smooth as glass, and it is just as special to me now as it was then. It holds a special place in my heart and I love it. I hope you love yours too.