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Bō VS Quarterstaff: Which Is A Better Weapon?

Bō VS Quarterstaff: Which Is A Better Weapon?

Humans have been using things present on earth for various purposes and also crafted things in nature to make their lives much more convenient.

Humans have been crafting several indigenous objects and with help of various materials, they created various weapons. Humans used these weapons for defending, hunting, and attacking, and have used them for various other purposes.

Stones tipped spears are assumed to be the earliest form of weapon that humans invented as stones were extensive present around them.

Through their observation and experimentation, humans made effective weapons such as bows and arrows, shields, flaming arrows, etc.

By the time, the weapons were modified or new weapons were invented in order to gain more efficient results.

Quarterstaff and are also two indigenous weapons. Although both of the weapons are pretty similar in terms of their structure and appearance, they share a couple of differences between them, so let’s have a look at them.

The quarterstaff or a short staff is a traditional European pole weapon between 6 to 8 feet long, it is bound in iron that the ends. Whereas the is a staff weapon used in Okinawa martial arts, it’s highly flexible and is much faster than a quarterstaff.

These are just a few distinctions between quarterstaff and , to know more about its facts and differences stick with me till the end as I will cover all.

What is a Quarterstaff?

A short staff or better known as quarterstaff is a traditional European weapon, prominent in England during the Early Modern Period from 1500 to 1800s.

Other quarterstaff versions can be seen in Portugal or Galicia called Jogo to do pau. The word quarterstaff is generally used to refer to a shaft of hardwood that is 6 to 9 feet or you can say 1.8 to 2.7m long, sometimes with a metal tip or spikes at both ends.


The name quarterstaff was first attested in mid 16 Century. The name quarter may allude to the method of manufacturing because the staff is constructed of quartersawn hardwood.

According to one explanation, endorsed by fencing manuals, etc., it is most likely in relation to weapon operation. 

One handheld it in the center and the other between the middle and the end. The latter hand changed from one-quarter of the staff to the other throughout the attack, providing the weapon a quick circular motion that placed the ends on the enemy at unexpected spots.

Use & Production Process

Used for attack and defense, the quarterstaff is probably the cudgel with which many legendary heroes were described as being armed.

It was made by cutting hardwood trees into quarters trimming, cutting, and filing them down into round staff. The quarterstaff is usually made of oak, its ends are often covered with iron, and are held in both the hands.


The right-hand grasping one-quarter of the distance from the lower end.

During the 16th century, the quarterstaff was favored as a weapon by the London Masters of Defence. Richard Peeke in 1625 and Zachary Wylde, in 1711 referred to the quarterstaff as an official National English weapon.

The modified version of quarterstaff fencing was revived as a sport in some London fencing schools as well as at Aldershot Military Training School during the late 19th century.

Is a Quarterstaff more effective as a weapon than a sword?

A person in a dark outfit with a sword
Swords can potentially kill the opponent and are not only used for an attack and defense.

A quarterstaff is undoubtedly cheaper, a civilian weapon that makes it easy to carry and has a better range than most swords. However, it lacks armor which lowers its chances kill the opponent on the battlefield except for conditions like “if the head is targeted through the quarterstaff.

A quarterstaff is one of the few weapons with which it’s easy to injure the opponent than to kill that person. In simple words, the quarterstaff is an effective weapon that can be used effectively for defense.

When comparing, both quarterstaff and sword it’s pretty much obvious that the sword is way more effective than the quarterstaff as it’s armed and can be used to attack, defend and even kill the opponent.

Whereas, the quarterstaff is more flexible but it limits its user to kill the opponent.

What is the purpose of a staff?

A or Bo staff is a staff weapon used in Okinawa martial arts, which is typically around 1.8 m or in other words 71 in long. It is also adopted in Japanese arts such as Bōjutsu.

The Bo is often constructed of strong wood, such as red or white oak, but rattan has also been used.

Material & Use

A staff is usually made with unfinished hardwood or flexible wood, such as red or white oak, although bamboo and pine have been used rattan is still most common for its flexibility.

The modern staff are usually thicker in the center than at the ends and is round or circular.

Below are the types of Martial Arts which include the use of and Jo.

  • Aikido
  • Ninjutsu 
  • Kung Fu
  • Bojutsu
logs of wood stacked on top of each other.
Bō is usually made with unfinished hardwood.

Dimension and Size

Some staff are very light with grips, metallic sides, and a grip used for demonstrations or competitions

staffs have an average length of 6 shaku (Japanese unit of length) which is equivalent to six inches.

staff is typically  3cm or 1.25 inch thick, sometimes tampering from the middle to 2 cm at the end. This type of thickness provides the user with a tight grip across the Bō in order to block and counter-attacks.

Use in Martial Arts

Japanese martial arts wielding Bo staff is called Bojutsu.

The basis of the bo technique mostly included hand techniques derived from quanfa and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via Chinese Monks and trade.

In Martial Arts, the is typically held horizontally in front, the right palm is facing away from the body while the left hand is facing the body enabling the staff to rotate.


Staff is the earliest form of , which has been used throughout Asia since recorded history. These staves were challenging to make and we’re extremely heavy.

They were used as a self-defense weapon by monks and commoners. The staff was an integral part of the ‘Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū’ which is one of the oldest styles of Martial Arts.

Although the Bō has been used as a weapon, it is believed by some to have evolved from the long stick which was used to balance buckets or baskets.

A person at the end of a stair with a staff
You can disguise a Bo staff as a walking stick and use it at times of need

Can you use a staff for self-defense?

Yes, staff can be used for self-defense if one knows how to use a staff it can be a great defensive weapon.

Even in places where weapons are not allowed inside, you can disguise a staff as a walking stick. Although it takes a long time to master bo staff but once learned makes it easy to defend yourself using it.

It just needs a little bit of practice and consistency needed, anyone can do it.

A video on how you can use Bo staff for self-defense

vs. Quarterstaff: What is the difference?

Although both and quarterstaff, seem very similar and are made of the same material. Despite the similarities between Bo and Quarterstaff, both have a few differences between them.

The table below represents the differences that distinguish quarterstaff and from each other.

Quarterstaff staff
Length6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7m)6 shaku or six inches (0.5 feet)
Weight1.35 lb1lb
Diameter1.2 inches1 inch (25mm)
Key distinctions between a quarterstaff and Bō staff

Quarterstaff vs. staff: Which one is a better weapon?

Quarterstaff and staff, both are pretty effective to use if the user is trained to use them.

Although is much more flexible and faster to use, its hit isn’t as impactful as the hit of a quarterstaff. Most quarterstaffs have iron at their end, which makes its hit way more impactful than Bo.


Quarterstaff and Bō staff are weapons belonging to two different regions. Both are effective weapons that can be disguised by a commoner and can be used to attack or defend when needed.

Although both the weapons are pretty similar, they are not the same due to a couple of differences that distinguish them.

Quarterstaff and Bo staff can convert into a dangerous when are in the hands of experts who have mastered its use through consistent practice.

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