Friday, March 6, 2009

Welcoming B.O.B. to the Dojo

I am happy to announce a new addition to the dojo. B.O.B. has come to us to take our physical abuse without complaint and give us the chance to practice our striking.

I've always loved working with B.O.B. (or "Body Opponent Bag"). I acquired him during a recent Century Martial Arts sale. Training with B.O.B. is a great way to practice striking on target, improving distance, and more. B.O.B. can also be used to practice various neck restraints and submissions, as well as ground and pound.

There are 2 versions of B.O.B., one with just a torso and one that is longer and has the top half of the legs. I got the latter so it can be used to practice leg kicks and groin strikes.

There are some complaints that he knocks over too easily, but I find that when he's filled with sand and struck at the proper distance he stays up just fine. Remember, when you stand too close to your target when striking, your strikes become more like a push and have less impact on the body. If you want to work with a bag with the purpose of building your striking muscles, a traditional heavy bag is better, but for technical development and targeting improvement, the B.O.B. is an excellent tool.

Here's one guy doing a striking workout with B.O.B.:

Here's another that shows a wide variety of ways to work with B.O.B.:

I hope my students don't get to used to having him around though. My intention is to move him to my basement in the long term when I get around to buying a house. But for now, he can play with my students. And who knows? By then I might be able to get a second one. :)


Anonymous said...

This certainly is a very useful striking-tool: way better than a standard punching-bag in my opinion. It’s much better for precision-striking (you can actually target the jaw, the solar-plexus, the neck…) and you can actually practice the uppercut on it. Also a great way to practice chokes and necklocks as you mentioned, the only thing that is missing would be adjustable arms (useful for practicing blocks and strikes to the arm). If one day I’ll actually own a house I’d like to dedicate one room to be my own personal dojo (most likely the biggest one, lol). Mats would of course be mandatory, also a few fitness-appliances along with a weight-bench… a wing-chun dummy would also be needed (very useful for trapping or hubud). This B.O.B would certainly come in handy too although it’s probably quite pricy. Exactly how much did you pay for it? (kinda of impertinent question perhaps)



Lori O'Connell said...

We think very much alike! I'm am hoping to buy a house this year and the thing I look forward to most is setting up a basement dojo, complete with mats, BOB, and a plan to decorate the walls with my massive collection of weapons that I've amassed over the years travelling abroad.

It is quite pricey though, running about $550 retail in Canada. But it is so much more useful than a standard heavy bag.

Anonymous said...

Well, great minds do think alike don’t they? If you’re planning on buying that house this year then it’s not really long-term anymore, is it? Good luck with that.

You mentioned an arms-collection: what sort of weapons do you have? And perhaps more importantly: what kind of weapons can you use? Personally I train knife-work quite frequently (especially unarmed vs knife but also knife vs knife) and have a basic understand of the stick (basic angles/hits, blocks…), I’ve also worked with a hanbo a few times.

My collection (if you could call it that) consists of nothing more than a wooden practice-knife, a plastic one, a pair of escrima-sticks and a real tanto (to this day still unsharpened since it’s illegal to sell sharpened weapons here). The reasons I’d like to practice escrima (more systematically) and Japanese koryu/weapon-arts (kenjutsu, tantojutsu, bojutsu…) and my growing interest in weapons in general are both pragmatic and aesthetic/spiritual.

Truly a weapon is nothing more than an extension of the hand and training with weapons does wonders for your coordination, control, timing, footwork…

Even if you only train in an unarmed-art it’s a good idea to include at least some weapons-training, at least at the higher levels. Both in regard to improvement of unarmed vs weapons-techniques and for general combative attitude/skills. The old masters always trained both armed and unarmed (alot of techniques in ju-jutsu are derived from sword-slashes, shiho-nage would be an example) and it is said kenjutsu and ju-jutsu are two sides of the same coin).

In my opinion you cannot become a complete martial-artist without at least some basic knowledge of weapons (especially in the tradition you train in). 550 bucks is not cheap but not terribly expensive too, I won’t be buying one right this instance (I simply do not have the room at the moment) but it’s certainly worth remembering for later.

I read in your bio you spent 3 years in Japan, that’s cool. One of my dreams is one day going to Japan to train (preferably at the honbu-dojo, both in genbukan-ninpo and kokusai-jujutsu), with which sensei did you study there?

Since I don’t know that much about the country: what’s it like to live in Japan? I’ve always greatly admired the country and its customs/traditions/culture: ju-jutsu is a Japanese martial-art after all, the Bushido is a great inspiration in my training and I’m also quite into Zen-Buddhism.

I’ve read a little Japanese literature (a few books by Mishima so far) and I watch Japanese movies quite regularly (Kurosawa is easily the equal of our great western directors like Kubrick or Hitchcock). Anime is also one of my interests. Now this probably doesn’t mean very much since I don’t even speak the language and never actually went there so there’s probably alot of romanticism involved but then again it’s only a hobby.

I have heard working in Japan is quite difficult though (especially as a westerner and a woman), is this true? Sort of reminds me of ‘Fear and trembling’, a book by Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb about her one year-internship in a grand zaibatsu… not exactly a succes-story and a rather humiliating experience. But of course that’s just one opinion/story. I’m curious to hear yours.



Lori O'Connell said...

I have so many weapons I don't know if I would remember them all, but I'll try.

Weapons I own: a katana, a wakazashi, several foam and wooden bokken, a taichi straight sword, a Chinese weapon fan, a persuader kubaton, a couple of canes and an unbreakable umbrella, several foam and wooden escrima sticks, a couple of bo staffs, several homemade yawara (small sticks), a scepter baton (I'm sure there's more but I can't think of them all right now.)

Weapons/arts I've trained in (not all in equal amounts): persuader (kubaton), stick fighting, cane, yawara, bo, taichi sword, Iaido

I quite enjoy training with weapons and in defense against weapons. There is a lot to be learned from it.

When I was in Japan, I studied Aikido under a pair of instructors at a local community centre in Iwaki (the city I was living in). It wasn't the greatest experience though since I wasn't very well received, possible because I was a foreigner and a woman, etc. I ended up starting up my own Jiu-jitsu class instead. That being said, I quite enjoyed my time in Japan. Working there wasn't hard since I was working there under a teaching program that was through the Japanese education system (the JET program). You can read a lot about my experiences there in my book, Weapons of Opportunity. There were good times and bad, but overall it was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

B.O.B is one lucky guy ;-) Cool videos on the use of B.O.B for other activities besides striking.