Monday, March 19, 2012

Hanbo - weapon of self defense

The principal focus is Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa and for members of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai worldwide, is karate & kobudo (Okinawan Weapons). But in addition to these traditional Okinawan martial arts, students train in self-defense and learn to defend against a variety of attacks including assailants with guns, knives, clubs, rifles etc. Many of the students also train in Samurai Arts including iaido (samurai sword), kenjutsu (samurai sword techniques), naginata (halberd), yari (spear), bo (staff), hanbo (half-staff), jo (4-foot staff), hojo (rope), kobuton (short stick), and jujutsu.

Many students also train with weapons of the Japanese Samurai including hanbo (or short staff). Similar weapons to the hanbo include kioga (or kebo) better known as the expandable baton (Asp), tsune (cane), kobuton (short stick) and manrikigusari (chain or rope). 
Hanbo training at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts, Mesa -
Gilbert, Arizona

Members of Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa, learn how to use the hanbo in dozens of different situations for the street. But they also practice against an uke (partner) with a samurai sword as is tradition (as well as against an attacker with other weapons such as tanto [knife]). As they progress, they work up to juji-kumite to develop spontaneity and accuracy of action - in other words, to learn how to react without thinking. Restraints are important so that the hanbo can be used as a pragmatic instrument for law enforcement.

The Hanbo and Kioga are common weapons used by police departments around the world. As a Kyoju of Budo (professor of martial arts) at the University of Wyoming, Soke Hausel taught many law enforcement officials in these arts. But, you don't need to law enforcement officer to learn to use these valuable weapons. 

At the Arizona Hombu Dojo we focus on training 3 nights a week (with additional clinics). The evenings begin at 6:45 pm at 60 W. Baseline Road in Mesa. We have an interactive map on our website.

The hanbo (半棒) is considered to be a ‘half-bo’ and is taught in several traditional jujutsu and ninjutsu styles in addition to Seiyo Shorin-Ryu karate. This weapon was added to the kobudo curriculum of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu because it is such a practical weapon and is an extension of many of our empty hand self-defense techniques. Hanbo also goes well with kioga and cane and many techniques are similar between these weapons - so when you learn one, you are essentially learning all three.
In Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, to progress in hanbojutsu, students demonstrate basic strikes, blocks and stances and several self-defense ippon kumite against unarmed and armed assailants. They also learn very restrictive juji-kumite or sparring with the weapon. The kumite must be controlled and done with safety in mind. 

The origin of the hanbo is uncertain. Some researchers suggest it originated quite by accident. According to a summary on Kukishin Ryu, legend suggests that during battle between Kuriyama Ukon and General Suzuki Tangonokami Katsuhisa in 1575, Kuriyama was armed with yari (spear) and Suzuki with katana (sword). During the battle, Suzuki sliced through Kuriyama’s spear cutting it in half, but Kuriyama was still able to overwhelm Suzuki with the remaining spear handle.

Kuriyama realized the importance of the short staff for self-defense and developed hanbo-jutsu. Our members also train in katana and yari and learn these weapons along with many traditional Okinawan kobudo weapons such as nunchaku, sai, tonfa, kama, bo, and others.

Hanbo has been incorporated into several martial arts including taijutsu (体術). Taijutsu is a term used interchangeably with jujutsu. Most koryu (old style) jujutsu styles use arresting techniques for law enforcement. In particular, munadori waza (lapel grab techniques) are the focus of many of these arts. 

Hanbo is a half bo and is traditionally three shaku (35.8 inches) long, or essentially half the length of a traditional bo. A bo can be referred to as roku-shakubo, or a stick of 6 shaku
Shaku is the archaic unit of measure used until the Japanese adopted the metric system in 1961. Prior to 1961, shaku was a common unit of measure equal to 11.93 inches, or nearly one-foot. The shaku was derived from nature and is the average length between mature bamboo nodes.

But the Japanese also had a second shaku - to make things confusing. This latter shaku was equal to 14.9 inches or the length of an average whale’s whisker which was adopted in 1881 to measuring cloth. To distinguish between these two, the cloth shaku was referred to as kujirajaka (kujira meaning whale); and the bamboo shaku was referred to as kanejaku. For me, I was surprised to find out that whale's had whiskers.

The hanbo is still used in training by many Japanese law enforcement agents. And it became very promintent during the late 19th Century during the Edo Period, when some law enforcement officers were armed with wooden staffs and were responsible for disarming samurai. These people worked in teams and attacked criminals simultaneously to disarm and restrain them with a rope - another art taught at our dojo - hojojutsu.

Following the Edo period, the Meiji Restoration began in 1868, known as the beginning of the modern era of Japan. During the Edo period, samurai were still important and privileged individuals. But a chain of events led major changes in the political and social system in Japan resulting in opening their door to gaijin of the Western World. During the Meiji, members of the samurai class were eliminated and the honor of wearing swords was prohibited. This was followed by all Japanese males being required to serve in the military for 4 years. 

These events caused considerable unrest with samurai, who prior to this event, were allowed to bear arms – unlike peasants. A samurai rebellion resulted and many hanbo waza were developed at this time to evade strikes by katana followed with follow-up strikes to head or sword hand, or thrusts to the attacker's body. Included in this were many take downs followed by restraints.

Our classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa, Arizona at 60 W. baseline Road, across the street from SunDevil Auto and learn this and other weapons.

Bill Borea applies yubi uchi (toe strike).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jujutsu - Fighting Art of the Samurai

Soke Hausel teaches pressure point defense followed by nage waza (throw) to stop
 a grabbing attacker. Soke is assisted by Laramie Police officer and University of Wyoming alumni.
Jujutsu is a combat art developed by samurai centuries ago (both armed and unarmed). Karate, which focuses on kicks and punches is indigenous to Okinawa and became a combat form and later an art for peasants and Okinawan royalty. Jujutsu, was indigenous to the Japanese empire separate from Okinawa and had a different purpose. It was designed primarily as hand to hand combat to defend against heavily armed samurai with armor. Punching an enemy wearing armor with bare hands and feet does not seem like a bright idea, thus samurai developed throwing techniques (nage waza), foot sweeps and trips to defend against other armored and armed samurai.

Arm bar (ude garuma)
Along with throws, the jujutsuka (practitioner of jujutsu) learned unique strikes (atemi) to disturb the balance of the samurai. These atemi were designed to unbalance an opponent and generate a shock wave that propagated through armor.

Today we recognized two general categories of jujutsu: (1) Koryu (ancient) traditional jujutsu which was designed to defend against armed samurai with or without armor, and (2) modern Gendai jujutsu that favors self-defense applications used in sport and modern self-defense. Most Gendai schools lack lineage and traditions (i.e., Brazilian jujutsu).

In both old style and modern jujutsu, atemi is important. Before one can effectively throw an attacker, the aggressor’s balance should be disturbed. In Arizona we find people sweat more than in any other state (now did we need Federal Grants from the Obama Adminstration to discover this?). To grab and throw someone in Arizona is more difficult than in Wyoming (where it is dry and cold), simply because sweaty people are slippery and difficult to grasp. In Wyoming, throwing someone while standing on ice or snow may not be a very good idea either.

According to the Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary, atemi translates as "body strikes". It refers to "…a method of attacking the opponents pressure points". In A Dictionary of the Martial Arts there is a more detailed description. It states that an atemi is... "…aimed at the vital or weak points of an opponent's body in order to paralyze by means of intense pain. Such blows can produce loss of consciousness, severe trauma and even death…the smaller the striking surface used in atemi, the greater the power of penetration and thus the greater the effectiveness of the blow". This may be true in modern jujutsu, but in the ancient styles of jujutsu, pressure points for armored samurai were not important on a battlefield. A samurai covered with armor, had few if any exposed pressure points.
Kris applies wrist lock (te kubi) to Logan at Arizona Hombu clinic
Today, atemi is used to provide a distraction leading to a throw, joint lock, or choke. This is done by redirecting an opponent into a throw through attacking vital points to cause pain or loss of consciousness. In other words, it is easier to throw an unconscious or disoriented aggressor and one who is moving in the direction of the throw. One common atemi is a palm strike along the jaw line, ear (mimi) or neck (kubi). This also was likely used against armored samurai. Even with a helmet, a powerful open hand "teisho uchi" strike to the side of a helmet would ring one’s bell.
The term jūjutsu’ was coined in the 17th century, after it became a blanket term for a wide variety of grappling combat forms. Jujutsu (柔術) translates as the "art of softness" or "way of yielding".

The oldest forms of jujutsu are referred to as Sengoku jujutsu or Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. These were developed during the Muromachi period (1333–1573 AD) and focused on techniques that assisted samurai in defeating unarmed, lightly armed, and heavily armed and armored samurai – thus a greater emphasis was placed on joint locks and throws.

Daughter and father train in jujutsu at the Arizona Hombu
dojo in Mesa.
Later in history, other koryu developed that are similar to many modern styles. Many of these are classified as Edo jūjutsu and were founded in the Edo Period (1625-1868 AD) of Japan. Most are designed to deal with opponents without armor. Edo jujutsu commonly emphasized use of atemi waza. Inconspicuous weapons such as a tantō (knife) and tessen (iron fans) were included in Edo jūjutsu curriculum.

Another interesting art taught in Sengoku and Edo jujutsu systems is known as hojojutsu. This discplined involve using a cord to restrain or strangle an attacker. Such techniques have faded from most modern jujutsu styles, although Tokyo police units still train in hojojutsu and carry hojo in addition to handcuffs.

Weapons training were extremely important to Samurai. Koryu schools included the bo (six-foot staff), hanbo (three-foot staff), jo (4-foot staff), tachi (sword), wakizashi (short sword), tanto (knife), jitte (short one hook truncheon), yari (spear), naginata (halberd), ryofundo kusari (weighted chain) and bankokuchoki (knuckle-duster).

Edo jujutsu was followed by development of Gendai Jujutsu at the end of the Edo Period. Gendai, or modern Japanese jujutsu shows influence of traditional jujutsu. Goshin Jujutsu styles developed at about the same time, but the Goshin styles are only partially influenced by traditional jujutsu and have mostly been developed outside of Japan.

Today, many Gendai jujutsu styles have been embraced by law enforcement officials and continue to provide foundations for specialized systems by police officials. The best known of these is Keisatsujutsu (police art) or Taihojutsu (arresting art) formulated by the Tokyo Police.
Jujutsu is the basis for many military unarmed combat training programs for many years and there are many forms of sport (non-traditional) jujutsu, the most popular being judo, now an Olympic sport.

Some examples of martial arts that have been influenced by jujutsu include Aikido, Hapkido, Judo, Sambo, Kajukenbo, Kudo, Kapap, Kempo and Ninjutsu as well as some styles of Japanese Karate, such as Wado-ryu Karate, which is considered a branch of Shindō Yōshin-ryū Jujutsu.
Special training in kiogajutsu. This is an example of modern jujutsu using an expandable police baton for 
self-defense training. The kioga can be used very effectively similar to a hanbo and kobuton all rolled
 into one weapon. Many police departments carry this weapon but unfortunately, few officers are properly
 trained in its use. Sensei Brett Philbrick of the Laramie Police department applies joint lock on Shihan-Dai 
Kyle Gewecke from the Gillette, Wyoming dojo.

The training uniform (keikogi) provides an excellent indicator of traditions in a jujutsu dojo. Traditional schools wear plain white gi often with a dark hakama (the most colorful uniform might be plain black

or the traditional blue of quilted keikogi. Lack of ostentatious display, with an attempt to achieve or express the sense of rustic simplicity is common in traditional arts. The use of the traditional (Shoden, Chuden, Okuden, Kirigami and Menkyo Kaiden) ranking system is also a good indicator of traditional jujutsu. These are parallel to the common dan-i (kyu/dan) ranking used in traditional karate.

Ryan Harden applies yubi waza on Neal Adam
    Melinda applies choke on Dr. Neal Adam
    Even though our address lists us at 60 W. Baseline Road, we are actually on the NE Corner of MacDonald!

    Soke Hausel restrains Todd Stoneking (8th dan) after dropping him to the
    Soke Hausel demonstrates wrist throw on Josh at a Wyoming clinic held in Casper, Wyoming