Japanese Club Weapon


Japan has been known for centuries for its unique martial arts and weaponry. One of the most popular weapons used in the martial arts world is the Japanese club, known as the jo, bo, and tanbo. These weapons are known for their effectiveness in both offense and defense techniques. Japanese clubs are widely used not only in martial arts but also in self-defense, law enforcement, and military applications.

In this article, we seek to discuss the commonly used types of Japanese clubs and compare them in terms of size, weight, material, and techniques of use. We also provide answers to the frequently asked questions about these weapons.

Types of Japanese Clubs:

A. Jo:

The jo is a staff-shaped Japanese club that is approximately four feet in length. It is made of hardwood, bamboo, or rattan material. Generally, the jo is used for Aikido, Jodo, and other martial arts practices. Its circular, agile, and precise movements make it an effective weapon for defending against or even attacking an opponent.

B. Bo:

The Bo is a long staff-shaped Japanese club that measures approximately six feet in length. The Bo is typically made of hardwood, bamboo, or rattan. The Bo is used in various martial arts such as Kendo, Okinawan Kobudo, and Jodo. It can be used as a striking weapon, a block, or for joint locks and throws.

C. Tanbo:

The tanbo, also known as the short stick, is a short weapon, measuring about 18 inches in length. The tanbo is usually made of hardwood, bamboo, or rattan material. It is often used in Judo, Aikido, and Jodo. The tanbo is an effective weapon for close-quarters combat and is used to deliver fast and precise strikes.

Comparison of Japanese Clubs:

1. Size:

The size of Japanese clubs varies depending on the type. The Bo is the longest, measuring approximately six feet in length, while the jo is four feet long, and the tanbo is only 18 inches long.

2. Weight:

The weight of the clubs also varies depending on the type and material used. The Bo is the heaviest, weighing approximately four pounds, while the jo is lighter, weighing around one and a half pounds. The tanbo is the lightest, weighing only a few ounces.

3. Material:

The material used to make the clubs varies from hardwood, bamboo, and rattan. Hardwood is more durable and long-lasting, but heavier than bamboo and rattan. Bamboo is light and flexible, but less durable than hardwood. Rattan is flexible and lightweight, but less sturdy than hardwood or bamboo.

4. Techniques:

All three types of Japanese clubs are used for blocking, striking, and joint locking. The Bo, being the longest and heaviest, is ideal for long-range striking and blocking techniques. The jo is used for managing the distance between opponents and for precise strikes. The tanbo is ideal for close-quarter combat and quick strikes.


1. Are Japanese clubs legal to carry in public?

It depends on the country you are in, as some countries have strict laws against carrying weapons in public. Therefore, it is advisable to check with your local authorities for guidance.

2. Do I need to undergo training to use Japanese clubs?

Yes, it is essential to undergo proper training to use Japanese clubs effectively. Improper use can result in injury to yourself or others.

3. Can women use Japanese clubs?

Yes, women can use Japanese clubs. Many women practice martial arts, and Japanese clubs are an essential part of their training.

4. Which Japanese club is ideal for beginners?

The jo is ideal for beginners as it is shorter and easier to handle than the Bo. It is also widely used in various martial arts and is a suitable starting point.


Japanese clubs are unique weapons popular in martial arts, self-defense, law enforcement, and military applications. There are three types of clubs widely used; the Bo, Jo, and the tanbo. Each club has its unique features in terms of size, weight, material and techniques of use.

When choosing a Japanese club, it is important to consider your size, strength, and intended use. It is also essential to undergo proper training to use these weapons effectively. Finally, it is advisable to check with your local authorities to ensure their legality in your jurisdiction.