What size should I get?
This is a general guide to the characteristics of each size.
1,1/4 width untapered. These feel like quarterstaffs. Similar to what Little John in Robin Hood would have wielded in size and weight. Excellent for someone who wants a heavy staff for hiking or for muscle building.
1,1/4 tapered. These are the staffs that I recommend for most karate practitioners. Because they are the strongest, yet also because of the taper retain their maneuverability. Tapering removes mass from close to the center and gradually gets thinner at the tips. These staffs are great for contact, but also can be used for kata and all other applications. They are the workhorses of the karate world.
1,1/8 Untapered. These feel like light quarterstaffs. Not nearly as heavy as the full 1,1/4 they might be ideal for someone who wants a lighter staff for hiking, or wants more speed during technique but also still wants to build strength.
1,1/8 Tapered. I consider these the most versatile of the martial arts staff size. Because they are good at all things. They have more refined feel. They are strong enough for contact, but also maneuverable enough to do kata or tournaments.
1" untapered. These are used in many traditional settings. I never recommend 1" for contact, as if I were to do contact I would want to feel more confident. But these staffs are used where you want a lighter weight traditional staff. They are good staff for solo practice where you want more speed. 1" full length bo staffs are not intended for contact.
1" tapered. These are geared toward speed. Best for tournaments or demonstrations. I do not recommend these for contact at all.