Bob, I’ve been looking for an example of a tanbo kata. Do you know where I could find any?
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Thanks for the question. The tanbo (also called tambo, hanbo, and hambo) is one of the most practical weapons for a martial artist to practice. It is essentially a straight club ranging between one to three feet depending upon the size of the practitioner wielding it. The great practicality of the hambo lies in its ubiquity. Almost anywhere in the world a person could look around and find something that approximates the shape of a hambo. From fallen branches to rulers to rolled up magazines, knowing how to use a hambo is an extremely useful self defense ability. When looking for resources on the hambo, you should search under all of its possible names. Most of what you find will fall into two categories: fighting sets and prearranged kata. The resources that are fighting sets will present a sort of two person form showing examples of attack and counterattack. Those that show prearranged kata will demonstrate a solo form showing defenses against an imagined attacker. From a Kiyojute Ryu Kempo perspective, all weapons practice is executed freestyle based on certain universal principles. While an exhaustive list of these principles is beyond the range of this question (the principles encompass footwork, grips for the weapon, methods of blocking, etc.), for representative purposes let us consider the principles used for striking: Hakkaku uchi and san tsuki. Hakkaku uchi means eight angles of striking. This means that the hambo can be used to deliver a circular strike that passes through any of eight distinct angles. San tsuki means three levels of thrusting. This means that a driving strike can be delivered with the weapon to the upper, middle, or lower levels of an assailant. As all forms in Kiyojute Ryu are freestyle, the student would take these principles of striking in concert with all the other principles to extemporaneously create a form showing realistic responses to common attacks. Such training leads to a high level of combat efficacy, and the nature of the flexible responses ensures that the student is using techniques that are well suited to his or her personal physiology and psychology. Above all, as each movement is grounded in the principles of sound weapons practice, the student is learning effective use of the weapon for general self defense. For further information on hambo from a Kiyojute Ryu Kempo perspective, please see the Headmaster’s article on the hambo, and visit the video section for soon-to-be-posted examples of hambo kata.