Combined Primers on Classical Japanese Martial Arts of the Jissen Kobudo Jinenkan

Jinenkan Ottawa Dojo 6/24/2011

based on my training with Manaka Sensei and my analysis of the characteristics. Therefore. precise kyusho. the representative kanji mean "bone" and "method/ law/ rule". Manaka Sensei said Koto Ryu is a type of dakentaijutsu. it is unclear to what level the Koppojutsu was organized. The very name Koto Ryu. at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate (1870s) they reached Toda Shinryu-ken. embodies this idea. sometimes with the thumbs or fingers. I am not aware of any dedicated text written by its headmasters which describes these. he saw value in keeping them distinct from each other. and entered the Togakure Ryu. but rather manipulate it into a position of weakness. this suggests that as he had received them as separate traditions. respectively (It's worth pointing out that at least one modern dictionary translates it as "(knowing) the knack/ the trick"). and their ability to resist and protect themselves reduced. the accepted history of Koto Ryu acknowledges Toda Sakyo Isshinsai as the founder: he received the traditions of both Gyokko-Ryu Shito-jutsu and Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu in the Tenmon period (1532-1550). The word koppo is commonly expressed as "bone-breaking". as opposed to the jutaijutsu category. meaning "Knock Down Tiger school". However. reveal why this school is so fundamental. Within our organization. Within the Jinenkan. These are positions where the opponent's skeletal structure is over-extended. are targeted. as opposed to amalgamating them. Any mistakes are solely my own. In fact. However. and scrolls of Koto Ryu. Koto Ryu certainly contains throws. joint locks and so forth. Therefore. which emphasizes grappling techniques. further adding to this impression. another possible interpretation is "bone-method". I believe that this interpretation partly obscures this school. However it seems that Toda passed them to Momochi Sandayu as Gyokko-Ryu Kosshijutsu and Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu. Koppojutsu is frequently written as "bone-breaking technique". To accomplish these strikes. Koto Ryu contains subtleties which. Through Momochi the traditions were maintained by the Iga Ryu. and often bowing back the spinal column. it is the source of many foundational kamae and striking techniques which teach students to generate power with the whole body. if your set-up was not quite correct. when properly learned. O-Gyaku) the strikes have the effect of stretching the opponent out. or weak points. I base this on the observation that the kata often demonstrate strikes to set up grappling or throwing techniques from which it is very hard to take proper ukemi: for example. formalized. the strikes themselves do not damage the skeleton. I composed this subjective primer hoping to help fill the gap. or even named. . therefore.A Primer on Koto Ryu Koppojutsu Koto Ryu Koppojutsu. Though the Shitojutsu apparently already existed. However. Koyoku. the application of more strength was often enough to allow you to finish the technique. the category of martial arts in which striking techniques predominate. history. in several Shoden-level kata (for example. perhaps more than any other martial tradition within the Jinenkan. Sensei said the difference was that dakentaijutsu schools relied a little less on timing and technical set-up of their techniques. their balance is compromised. expresses power.

and well as methods of attacking them. This control of maai. and using the Moto Gata ("basic forms") and Torite Kihon Gata ("hand-catching basic forms") of Gyokko Ryu as a template. he established a similar set of techniques for Koto Ryu. Manaka Sensei never indicated that there was any surviving tradition of swordsmanship in Koto Ryu. we can appreciate the strategies. and what strategy you are adopting to accomplish a goal. strikes. as in choosing or building a fortification. Manaka Sensei teaches that.A commonly-repeated story is that the Koto Ryu was brought from China via Korea by someone named Chan Busho. When I first learnt the Shoden-Gata. to provide the Jinenkan with a basic training protocol. and I agree with this summary. Koto Ryu does not formally have a formal catalog of basic techniques. In Koto Ryu. and your opponent in the “upper” open portion of this X and attacking “down” into the center. since Manaka Sensei has not mentioned this particular story I cannot comment on it. What does survive. the footwork moves Tori away on an angle. natural stance. tactics. an open. or weak points. or will first angle back. the Shoden-Gata. these are collectively called Kurai-dori. however. Another is that this school has a distinctive brand of swordsmanship which deliberately tries to look unskilled. straight-line movements along the arms of the X. demonstrates elementary tactical maneuvering. or from Hira no Kamae. blocks and grappling techniques of the ryu-ha. an expression meaning to “take a (defensive) position”. I observe that much of the footwork of this ryu-ha could be mapped onto the shape of a giant “X” placed on the ground. and curriculum of the Koto Ryu. Often. Through analyzing the kata. you would have to consider your environment. the kata begins with the opponent (Uke) attacking by grabbing or striking empty-handed. Instead of stepping straight back against the Uke’s attack. and that it features a stance in which the sword is held overhead. in an attempt to reflect sunlight into the eyes of an opponent. Any such material may well have been lost to the mists of time. moving to where Uke has overextended himself. the Uke’s attack is defended against. they are carefully selected to represent awareness of your surroundings. . Therefore. in this case. and the adversaries’ disposition in your choice of where and how to stand. and he is then counter-attacked where an opening exists. which leads Uke to follow. The first scroll of techniques. He analyzed the movement of Koto Ryu. Manaka Sensei teaches that the Shoden-Gata demonstrate many different kyusho. this includes the terrain. at this stage to it is important learn Koto Ryu’s characteristic straight-line movement. or stances. If you envision yourself at the center. comprises 18 kata. unlike the Gyokko Ryu. Therefore. These enable students to learn the basic movements. By examining these. The practitioner (Tori) begins either from one of the kamae in the Kurai-dori. or distance. Manaka Sensei examined the Gyokko Ryu. the footwork is often in diagonal. In addition. Before the techniques themselves are the kamae. parallel to the ground. Tori often suddenly switches direction. This implies that more is involved than your body posture alone. stances are not automatically or blindly chosen. Again. the results are that Tori will either angle forward. In each. abruptly moving to Uke’s unprotected side. From this starting point. are the several categories of techniques passed down through the densho (scrolls of teachings). the weather. my sempai David Hewitt made the observation that this scroll was largely a self-defense course.

explicitly or implicitly there is the threat of multiple potential attackers. dropping. If they persist. however. contains 12 forms. or short sword. it is the penultimate scroll. the Okuden-Gata extends this to considering how and where to move. The express purpose of these kata are to help the student learn nimble body movements. In this scroll. you must be capable of using your taihenjutsu (the body movements learned in the previous scrolls) to escape the opponent's weapon. They expand on what is taught in the previous scroll to include techniques based more on the practitioner's body turning. at the beginning of Koto Ryu. they will make great progress. at least sometimes this may have been done due to the limits of filming. throughout the kata. In Koto Ryu. These kata continue to build on what has been learned previously. if you have mastered the taihenjutsu. reserved for students who were fully initiated into the traditions of the ryu-ha. then embrace the conditioning. disarming. they will not hesitate. the focus is learning to use taihenjutsu to assess and control the environment. it would be the final level of teachings.The middle scroll of techniques. these attributes will become deeply ingrained and automatic: like the tiger. It includes context that was previously missing. The name can be translated as "barrier (against) a sword forms". and especially leaping through the air. . Just as the Kurai-dori. the techniques against the sword include striking. it will act as a barrier through your control of distance and the environment. he advocated training to leap at least the width of one tatami mat. but also a progressively challenging curriculum in tactical awareness. The final scroll in Koto Ryu is the Hekito-Kata. All are practice for Muto-Dori (unarmed defense against a sword). The Okuden-Gata scroll is made up of 12 forms. teach the practitioner to consider how and where they should stand. which contains eight forms. including that of secrecy. or the technique of body movement. While in videos I have often seen the leaping initiated at very close range. but move powerfully and instinctively. but with two important considerations: in some kata the opponent now wields a kodachi. In my opinion. and throughout develop their ability to assess situations tactically. In many schools of classical Japanese martial arts. Manaka Sensei wrote that these forms are for practicing taihenjutsu. This would not only apply forwards. leaping and falling. David Hewitt observed that once you had learned the first scroll for self-defense. If students rigorously apply themselves to first learn the characteristic movements. the actual physical techniques in this scroll would not be out of place in the previous ones. Manaka Sensei emphasized that the goal was to leap into range very quickly from far away. In my opinion. Koto Ryu contains not only techniques. carrying with them the "knack" for fighting. and then to increase the distance until you could leap the length of one mat. the middle scroll was about conditioning. the Chuden-Gata. Again. Manaka Sensei has written that to accomplish these techniques. but in every direction.

long knives. axes. This primer will aid students outline the structure and important points of the ryu. Musashi himself never wrote about actual techniques.any fundamentals and a method of teaching real cutting were lacking. Furthermore. It contains an ordered series of kata. Manaka Sensei realized new students would have to undergo the laborious trial-and-error process he himself had endured to learn how to cut properly for combat.the Book of Five Rings. swords and swordsmanship still exert a powerful cultural fascination. In practical martial arts training. martial arts students deeply require opportunities to familiarize and acclimatize themselves to these ancient but ever-present weapons. Sui no Maki (Water Scroll). only generalities the warrior had to understand. Jinen Ryu Biken itself reflects some very traditional aspects of Japanese martial arts. By carefully practicing Biken (as it is also called). Within the past few years. only the kata had been passed down from antiquity. pipes. the suddenness of storms and lightning) at the heart of his teachings. or the lesson of the kata is lost. rather than esoteric in nature. each scroll devotes itself to a certain theme. or say that a person has “a rapier wit”. divided into scrolls. there have been notable cases of assaults with machetes. Furthermore.baseball bats. the sword attracts that part of us which values dedication and long practice. which is in accord with natural movement. or even with live-blade swords. and an eye to emphasizing the natural principles (the movements of air and water. the Jinenkan possessed the teachings of two separate traditional swordsmanship lineages: the Kukishin Ryu and the Togakure Ryu. Hi no Maki (Fire Scroll). students gain awareness of the cultural significance and practical reality of swordsmanship. A cutting blade isn’t even necessary. whereas the sword is still the mark of a gentleman. Their impact on language and society are very deep.we can describe intellectual debate as being like “a fencing match”. . or Emptiness. Despite the impressive names. Jinen Ryu means “House of Nature”. and while the firearm is definitely a symbol of power. Considering this. Manaka Sensei needed to create a practical course in sword technique for his students.share similar characteristics with swords. With this in mind. It is surprising how readily and inexpensively one can purchase either of the above. Manaka Sensei patterned the system’s structure after Miyamoto Musashi’s famous “Go Rin no Sho”. and which views training as honing the wielder’s body and character.the goal is to learn swordsmanship of “a splendid and nimble nature”.anything more specifically described could be stolen and used against him. Each kata is a short two-person (or more) sequence designed to teach a specific kind of movement or concept. Students learn the techniques and scrolls in order. many other common weapons. and Ku no Maki (Void. Fu no Maki (Wind Scroll). There are five scrolls: Chi no Maki (Earth Scroll). the sword is far from obsolete.A Primer on Jinen Ryu Bikenjutsu At its inception. it is a symbol used by both the police officer and the thug. and a way to guide and order their training. Despite almost disappearing from the public eye. Scroll). the scrolls are direct and pragmatic. sticks. It is critical to know the meaning of the name and the important points.any kind of stabbing point is lethal enough. he created Jinen Ryu Bikenjutsu. By contrast. However.

The first scroll is the Chi no Maki. The attacks are also less predictable. The last scroll is the Ku no Maki. here the student learns to handle more complex situations. which means entering a state of mu. or “the receiving sword”. Again. These are considered the most dangerous circumstances. but for actively seeking openings and pressing home a counterattack. . The main teaching of this longest scroll is Hayate no Tachi. like the water willow tree which bends in the wind. but rather a single idea for prevailing in each situation. Fire comes after water in traditional Japanese symbology. Footwork is extremely important. The descriptions of these kata are brief.to develop attacks that are fast like a lightning bolt. which means to be flexible and changeable. or emptiness. The central teaching is called Ryufu no Tachi. these techniques must really be taught before or alongside those of the Sui no Maki. The kata here are for dealing with situations where you confront multiple opponents. so the student must learn to watch carefully and then move all at once. or Water Scroll. without holding back. If students practice Kihon Toho. they are not merely passively escaping the attack. which means to be yielding and unresisting. there are five kamae for Jinen Ryu. These techniques are called uke tachi. instead of bluntly resisting. the attacks from the Hi no Maki. the kamae is incorrect. or Void Scroll. The next scroll is the Sui no Maki. These techniques demonstrate attacking from the kamae of Jinen Ryu. or Fire Scroll. As with the scrolls. The first part of this scroll is kamae. instead of merely making surface or jagged cuts. These should not be thought of as “defense” per se. using the whole body instead of only the arms to generate power. called uchi tachi. However. Having mastered the single attacks and counters from earlier. The fourth scroll is the Fu no Maki. and opponents armed with swords or other weapons. Footwork and timing are more important than ever before. which cover the major avenues of attack. and the order of scrolls respects this.literally “Basic Sword Way”. or stances. the central principle is Raiko no Tachi. Mastering these skills will take years. The following scroll is the Hi no Maki. attacking both an enemy’s body and balance. or Earth Scroll. The other part of the Chi no Maki is called Kihon Toho.if one has perfect physical form but does not concentrate on having this feeling. or “the striking sword”.they do not teach precise movements. they are almost all variations of these seven. Jinen Ryu Biken is not especially long. As befits the name. The main point of this scroll is called Mugen no Tachi. the Wind Scroll. This is a sequence of the seven fundamental cuts. and be able to enter a state of mu and apply their technique in a fluid and natural way. It contains techniques of attack.they are techniques for receiving and countering attacks: specifically. seeing the weak points in the enemy group and exploiting them without thought. The student should already have mastered the basic skills and movement. the rewards of constant practice in practical swordsmanship are immensely and immediately satisfying. it presents the material that is the foundation of all other technique. but it is compact and thorough. Though there are other attacks with the sword. they will develop the ability to cut straight through. However. Each kamae has a specific meaning and feeling.

very little of it’s accompanying fighting techniques. with the blade curving up towards the point. learnt the combative use of the tanto from Hatsumi Sensei and through his own experience. A tanto may vary greatly in length: one range given is 15-30 cm (6-12 inches). the kanji for “short” and “sword”. where it would have been ready but concealed.A Primer on the Tanto and Jinen Ryu Tantojutsu Classical Japanese martial arts are famous for the variety of. Manaka Sensei. despite the prohibitions on weapons. and high level of skill refinement in. and of course the katana. wakizashi and tachi.swords which are boundlessly depicted as the symbols of the bushi or warrior class. however. and possibly as ornate. others have no guard. . Double-edged tanto are not unknown: often they were re-mounted spear blades. including the yari (the spear which is symbolically linked to the creation of the island nation). the tanto was often the backup weapon to the longer sword – the tachi – on the battlefield. This article will attempt to explain the characteristics of this weapon. occupies an unusual niche in the arsenal. tucked into the obi (sash) where it would be out of the way but readily drawn when needed. even indoors where a sword would be inappropriate or even cumbersome. and the hilt simply meets the mouth of the scabbard when sheathed (as seen in the aikuchi). and therefore knives themselves. a common method of carry would have been inside the jacket. During the Warring States period prior to the 17th century. For the laborer. Some bear a tsuba (guard) similar to a sword. which approaches and blurs the line between tanto and kodachi (short sword). just as sometimes single-edged tanto were created from broken swords. traditional weapons of the culture. The knife or dagger known as the tanto. The typical tanto blade design resembles the larger swords: it is single-edged. In an agrarian and medieval culture such as feudal period Japan. in front the abdomen. they are collectively referred to as tanto. to commanding as much attention and care in manufacture as the swords they accompanied. Many smaller tanto were carried by women. The characters comprising the name are. and founded Jinen Ryu Tantojutsu. but were certainly present in wide variety. Some tanto were concealed by design inside sheaths resembling everyday items such as fans or walking sticks. have either survived or been propagated. Knives do not seem as frequently depicted. Known by many names (from the yoroidoshi armor-piercing dagger to the small kaiken commonly associated with women) and bearing many designs. affirming their close relation to swords. they were probably more than a fighting weapon or symbol of authority: a knife would have been a tool for everyday chores. Bladed weapons are among the most famous Japanese martial weapons. Even beyond the warrior class. and how it is practiced in our organization. The founder of the Jinenkan. through experimenting and research he created such a curriculum for his own ryu-ha. respectively. it would have been impossible to remove the need for cutting implements. referred to as tantojutsu. the laboring classes would have needed them for mundane tasks. It could be carried everywhere. Though it is well known in martial arts. but not a curriculum of kata (forms) he could use to teach. Therefore. the naginata (a halberd often ascribed to female warriors). They ranged from being very plain and utilitarian.

The Kihon Gata are the “basic forms”. . this training method also underscores a critical point: this is not dueling. moving the body as if unarmed is a better approach. Manaka Sensei placed the highest importance on muto (“no sword”). he faced the challenge of understanding the principles of the weapon. was the key. and include methods of thrusting and cutting. and rely on your body movements for power. he drew on Koto Ryu Koppojutsu and Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu (in which he has menkyo-kaiden license) for the body movement. since using a short knife to intercept an opponent’s weapon is almost impossible. the hilt. Various characteristics of tanto have been studied and reproduced by modern knifemakers and blademaking companies seeking utilitarian tools. By contrast. The Kamae. and only rely on putting power into the knife-bearing arm. Striking with the knife involves essentially the same movements as unarmed strikes. The spine is often thickened for reinforcement. the traditional fighting styles associated with this weapon don’t appear to have fared as well. the resolve of the wielder is what is expressed. include not only the physical postures. It is important not to become fixated on the knife. You are immediately outmatched. There are five scenarios for each Kamae in the Kihon Gata. and the overall design emphasizes these functional innovations. There are seven Kamae. By arming the partner with a sword. but needing a syllabus of formal kata to teach from. where the opponents are roughly equal. not technique. as well as moving. the knife is not your only option: you still have one free hand with which to trap. Also. a modern twist is to make the blade more linear and geometric. This approach helps connect the knife to the student’s footwork. but also ways of gripping the knife. rather than tradition. resembling a chisel rather than sweeping up towards the point. It is here the essence of Tantojutsu reveals itself: instead of the training partner wielding a similar knife. was published in 1986 and not followed by others: though it has considerable historical information. it was not unknown for a young officer. and Sabaki Gata. The result is Jinen Ryu Tantojutsu. the Kihon Gata trains you to respond to various attacks from each Kamae. The one book I encountered dedicated to the subject. and not focusing solely on the knife. to sacrifice his life by assassinating politicians believed to be disloyal. they are only infrequently encountered. There is historical evidence that it was a weapon of last resort. seize or control the opponent. they are perhaps the most successful survivor of Japanese weapons. When Manaka Sensei created the Jinen Ryu. You must move decisively. rather. scabbard and blade itself are frequently made of the most modern materials. wielding a dagger.Despite their non-exclusive past. The Tantojutsu is organized into Kamae. Kihon Gata. Small movements or resisting by using your own knife will not suffice. it does not mention by name the ryu-ha it depicts. incorporating the two from the outset of training. Russell Maynard’s “Tanto: Japanese Knives and Knife Fighting”. he wields a sword. and must rely on developing solid technique. as well as the attitude or psychological component. or “stances”. Realizing that moving the whole body. In addition. In both these historical examples. In addition. there is the fact that both men and women of the warrior class would use the tanto to commit seppuku (formal suicide) in order not to suffer disgrace or be captured by an enemy. The classical blade design is excellent for stabbing and penetrating. or when the wielder did not care for their own life: Manaka Sensei has commented that as recently as in the lead-up to the Second World War.

moving your body as if you are not armed is the core of these teachings. and for controlling the opponent by locking. as it includes the possibility of subduing an adversary without actually killing them. Therefore. Also. The tanto is not a replacement for your technique. the knife is used at the end of the technique to finish the opponent. menacing. Knives have been. the opponent is depicted as aware. this can be omitted if it is unnecessary. This drastically changes the range. these more advanced forms focus on application. this presents the possibility of using tantojutsu when you are not actually armed with a knife: a variety of short. I believe this final point is worth concluding on: the functional value of tantojutsu. and also the options open for both partners. it is the tanto and its design characteristics that have propagated in the modern period. this changes the striking and controlling options available. for a total of 21 kata. there are more advanced options for both striking the opponent with your other limbs. and remain. instead. However. and better armed. . The training partner may be armed with a sword or a knife. extremely useful. Jinen Ryu Tantojutsu does not present the knife as a weapon of assassination. In certain kata. Having practiced many kinds of body movements in the previous level. In addition. adaptable and common. These are the “forms for performing skillfully”. similar items could be substituted. There are three kata for every Kamae. This bears careful study. this is not an endorsement of carrying a knife for self-defense. As Manaka Sensei has demonstrated. the knife can be replaced. Despite the attention paid to swords and other weapons. or otherwise suppressing them. throwing. it is an extension of the body protecting itself in a moment of dire need. Finally.The final level of training is the Sabaki Gata. An important point is that each set of kata emphasizes different kinds of grips.

The Bo itself is six shaku (a shaku is roughly one imperial foot in length) in length. whereas the spear is held with the leading hand palm-up. whereas both ends of the staff must be used equally. and Okuden (secret level) scrolls each contain nine kata. split into groups of three. was four to five shaku and the Hanbo was three shaku. but in this case is the more common name for Rokushakubojutsu. In Japan these poles were traditionally made of Akagashi (Japanese evergreen “red oak”). Chuden Gata. and Okuden Gata. The Bojutsu of the Jinenkan comes from the Kukishin Ryu (Nine Demon Gods School). then all the other techniques of the school will be available to you. . or even exotic hardwoods such as purple heartwood. the Jo. an ancient school descending from Chinese martial arts. anyone who could pick up a stick had access to this weapon. “is faithful in including the type of movement… explained in the Rokushaku Bojutsu Kihon Gata”*. the art of the spear: the differences are that the Bo is held with both hands palm-down. but in the West other hardwoods such as oak or maple.A Primer on Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu Bojutsu is the Japanese name for what may be the oldest martial skill in the world: the art of wielding a stick or pole. there are a set of basic techniques called the Kihon Gata. Within this school. Chuden (middle level). common people… indeed. The Shoden (first level). and if you master these fundamentals. and not only restricted to the warrior clans: priests. if only the Sabaki Gata is learned thoroughly. followed by four scrolls of kata: the Shoden Gata. one could attack into the midst of hundreds of opponents all alone just as though simple walking along level ground. The word actually includes all manners of sticks. the 26 forms of the Sabaki Gata (“forms of skilfulness”) deserve special mention. Anciently. Sabaki Gata. or cane. in that it was available to all social classes. I believe that is why Manaka Sensei included the techniques of the Kihon and Sabaki Gata on all the Jinenkan rank tests. the art of the six foot staff. Throughout Japanese history. it was the Kukishin Ryu was so powerful that. Manaka Sensei has said that the Sabaki Gata.”* In the Kukishin Ryu Rokushakubojutsu. for a total of 27 kata. we need a Bo that fills the hand and won’t slip out. frequently changing between the two. These expound on the fundamental ideas contained in Kukishin Ryu. because we often wield the Bo from the ends. wanderers. “carrying a bo or bisento (a heavy battlefield halberd) and using these techniques. as Manaka Sensei has focused special attention on them in the past. This means the spear’s focus is using the bladed tip. by contrast. just like a demon god (Kishin). the Bo has been different from other weapons. One important note is that our Bo does not taper near the ends (forming a “toothpick” shape). and developed on the Japanese battlefields of the 16th century. “even without knowing any techniques you will be plenty capable of fighting”*. so it is important that any serious student of the Jinenkan develop a thorough understanding of this art. An ability to demonstrate Bojutsu techniques is central to gaining rank in the Jinenkan. This scroll includes every kind of movement with the Bo contained in the Kukishin Ryu. ronin. there is much similarity to the techniques of Sojutsu. are excellent substitutes. However. which also covered in the other weapons of the school.

there are 53 kata in the Rokuboshakujutsu alone: there are further sets of kata for Jojutsu and Hanbojutsu. having the partner armed with the bokuto countering each of the Bo strikes and cutting the wielder where he is open. spear or knife you cannot simply place a stick against an opponent and injure or deter them: you need to maintain the proper ma-ai. . This is because. training should be done for power as well. and then finding how to move to counter with the next Bo strike. This is part of the reason that.Bojutsu is very dynamic: the kata involve numerous attacks from changing angles. one tends to move forwards and backwards. One form of bunkai (analysis) is to break the kata apart. with strike following after strike. in the kata. or distance. one should not measure one’s knowledge or ability at Bojutsu by the number of kata in a notebook. When taken together. Manaka Sensei has always taught that on completing a kata. the Bo is a very weak weapon: this means that unlike a sword. as he has repeatedly taught. while practicing alone. (wooden sword): to observe the correct distance. Of course. such training should be done slowly and safely. If you do this. This means the Bojutsu of the Jinenkan is very rich and complete. mostly through the same basic techniques. practice with a partner is helpful to learn to do the kata while moving side-to-side and in other directions. such as striking with the Bo against a tree or post. Even ten or twenty minutes of daily practice in the basics will yield improvement and longterm growth in the martial arts. the partner /opponent is armed with a bokuto. Also. it is important to keep the specific important points of each kata in mind. it is very important to jump back. and to make your movements reflect them. Bojutsu practice can therefore be done in an aerobic manner or as conditioning. *.quoted from Manaka Sensei’s monthly articles on the Kukishin Ryu densho. However. for powerful striking. the kata are simply ways of expressing an idea or strategy. Therefore. I recommend massaging your hands immediately afterwards to work out any stiffness from the repeated impacts. after all. I’ve found that. While practicing either alone or with a partner.

Strikes with the hanbo are often delivered in a reverse manner. straight. however. the hanbo is not wielded in an aggressive way. and placing and pushing. the exponent holds it like a cane. This alternate name originates from when a Rokushaku (“six foot”) Bo is cut in half by a sword. or other such styles. Therefore. Therefore. and do not look threatening. the hanbo is too short to keep a swordsman back. . specifies the attacker is armed with a Shoto ("short sword"): there are nine techniques. In the remaining levels. Though the weapon is very plain. or in another unobtrusive way. or set of "Eight Basic Techniques". but learning the timing and way to enter properly can be quite difficult. and wrists. This teaches students methods of swinging the hanbo." The Kukishin Ryu does not contain as many hanbo forms Rokushaku Bojutsu. The following level. of the Jinenkan originates in the Kukishin Ryu. It requires whole-body coordination involving the legs. placing and scraping. therefore. By contrast. and then strike. and catching and locking an attacker. This allows the hanbo to strike suddenly from surprising positions and with little telegraphing. releasing it with either hand. hips. The hanbojutsu. Filipino Martial Arts. Learning these methods requires entering in close to an armed opponent. but by moving the whole body as one unit. The Kihon Happo is the only place where the attacker is unarmed. the longer sticks must be used in an aggressive manner. An alternate name is San-Jyaku-Bo. Unlike Bojutsu. not up from the thumb. The exponent learns to grip the hanbo with either or both hands. It is a simple. Often. the Shoden no Kata or "forms of the first teachings". and changing grip. striking with it. The varied methods of using the hanbo include "scissoring. Jojutsu. The kata ("forms") are reactive. the art of hanbojutsu contains many remarkable lessons. or otherwise subdue him. hanbojutsu is very different from these other stickfighting arts. Learning to use it in stickfighting requires using the whole body in a relaxed and coordinated manner. the Chuden no Kata ("middle teachings") and Okuden no Kata ("secret teachings"). the hanbo is used to get inside the sword to close range. meaning a stick three shaku long. or “half-staff technique”. where one shaku equals roughly one foot. Kukishin Ryu Hanbojutsu (or Sanjyaku-bojutsu) uses a familiar system of organizating techniques. sliding it between the hands. Power is not generated by the arm and shoulder muscles. three-foot long hardwood stick. arms. and then moving to exploit an opening. None of the kamae ("stances") resemble pure fighting stances. pin the attacker's arms. thrusting. and must master grasping it firmly and lightly. developing acute timing and footwork are essential. Students first learn the Kihon Happo. with the stick projecting from the little-finger side of the hand. striking. This ancient martial school also teaches Rokushaku Bojutsu and Jojutsu. but it's method of use varies greatly from those of other staff weapons.A Primer on Hanbojutsu The hanbo is a fundamental weapon and training tool of the Jinenkan.allowing the opponent to move first. Hanbo means simply "half-staff (stick)". The opponent is generally assumed to be wielding a sword. keeping the swordsman at long range and preventing him from closing.

to reflect that different spellings may be used. Mastering this weapon is difficult. Practicing rigorously with the hanbo improves overall movement. In many ways. This article is a revised version of one published on the Jinenkan Ottawa Dojo Web site in 2003-2004. There are. Both weapons require movement involving the whole body. four and three kata in each level. slight variations in the anglicized spelling of Japanese names were used. or "long sword". . with the hanbo emphasizing waiting for the right moment. The quotation above and the source material for this essay were drawn from Manaka Sensei's article "Kukishin-Ryu Hanbojutsu (Sanjaku Bojutsu)".the opponent is armed with a Daito. but also essential to understanding the fundamental principles of our martial arts. and the ability to generate power seemingly without warning. Because wielding it requires whole body coordination. whereas the bo requires dynamic movement and aggressive application. and then moving decisively. Command of timing and distance also improve with steady practice. respectively. In addition. the hanbo is the counterpart of the bo. the hanbo seems "quieter" and more unassuming. This quality and kind of movement are essential to making progress in martial arts. owned under copyright (2000) by the Jissen Kobudo Jinenkan. it instantly reveals bad habits to an examiner's eye.

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