Mastering the staff - or Khakkhara ( Sanskrit), Bo (Okinawan) or Shakujo (Japanese) - is a fulfilling martial art journey by itself. The Bo is the first weapon that the Shaolin novice monk learns to master and the weapon handed to him by the Abbott if he leaves the monastery as a full- pledged monk. It is a good companion, a very artistic tool and a formidable self- defense weapon. The martial arts tradition goes all the way back to India and - even more remote- to the Indo- Aryan people - a warrior society- that inhabited the land that we now know as Ukraine, migrated to south of Europe, to Anatolia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and India.
Shaolin warrior monks are Buddhists, and Buddha, who later in his life founded the philosophy of Buddhism was himself a Kshatriya, a noble warrior, and being the eldest son of local chieftain, was trained to be a warrior by the age of six. Aside from academic subjects like politics, economics, Vedic religious texts, literature and logic, his military training was rigorous: by the age of 16, Buddha had to demonstrate his mastery of the chariot, warhorse and elephant and his martial arts skills like empty hand combat and weapons like bow, sword, spear (staff), club, battle axe, thrown iron discus and trident, lasso and other abilities like fencing, wrestling, swimming, horsemanship and archery from a moving chariot. His training then even surpassed the modern MMA and basic military training! With all this incredible foundation, he later chose the internal aspect of martial arts and he worked and transformed himself to a spiritual warrior monk that we know today.