James Cumming’s Boh
by Stephen Billias
James Cumming, a longtime Shintaido practitioner from England now living in Brattleboro, Vermont, has given me his boh (six-foot staff) and has asked me to find a new home for it. This item is a treasure. It’s made of Japanese oak, which is difficult or impossible to get any more. The boh is probably forty years old and in magnificent condition, still straight and giving off no splinters. It is one of a batch that Aoki-sensei brought from Japan for the Second Shintaido International.
It comes in a beautiful cloth cover, decorated with colorful images of cranes. The fabric is from Japan and made in England.
Also, the boh is imbued with James Cumming’s wonderful Shintaido spirit. I have gotten to known James and his wife Vangie in the years since Bela and I moved East. You might check out their website, Paths to the End. This picture of James on a falconry outing comes from that site. I’d like to make whatever we do with the boh a tribute to James’s longtime dedication to Shintaido and a thank you to him for the donation.
I’m looking for creative ideas for what to do with this wonderful piece of wood. For example, we could have an auction to raise money for Shintaido. If I was an auctioneer, I might set the initial value of this boh at ~$150, but it’s priceless. Or someone could nominate a particularly deserving candidate who needs a boh. What else could we do with it? Please post your ideas as comments to this blog entry. I’ll read them, and I hope other people will also, and we’ll decide what to do with this beautiful boh.