View Full Version : hanbo (half-staff)

2nd June 2003, 11:30
I was pondering on the hanbo, since I just took 10 kyu in bukido-jutsu and 10th kyu is basically hanbo-jutsu.

Han-bo means "half bo", but must it refer to a roku shaku bo, i.e. 6 shaku/feet bo? We used a hanbo approx 70cm in length (about 28.5") compared to 90cm (about 35.5") which it would be if my above assumption was correct.

I'm just curious, does all schools (or maybe even individuals?) have different preferred lengths? Or is it supposed to be 3 shaku in length?

I just found the 3 shaku long hanbo a bit too long, but maybe that's just because I'm not used to it.. It sure does seem to make grappling a lot easier.

I'm really just brainstorming here, I know practically nothing on the subject so please hold the flames. :P

2nd June 2003, 13:24
Hi Sir,
I don't have access to the Koryu that use Hanbo in practice directly..But I would venture that there is not a 'set' size for the weapon (At 3 Shaku for an example), my arms can only just reach down to 3 shaku height on the staff and I would have to bend very deep to get enough of a grip on the tip to be used well...(That is...If I could use it well....). The solution has been a staff about 3 Shaku, 3 Sun.... The extra three inches (More or less..) make the height work better for me....And I would guess that many other (Especially generally taller Westerners...) people would find that this also applies to them...
I also think that the 'Jo' has had the same problem...They should not be accepted at a 'set height' for everyone but (I think...Need to check) should reach to the Shoulder level (Or is it armpit?..), different people will need differently sized tools..
Like you say, if the size is not good for you, you handicap any future use of it in training..Everything works of the size and distance of you, and your weapon...So make sure that the tool you hold can be used as it should be BY YOU....It does also depend upon the Ryuha that you study..Depending on that, the use of the Hanbo may well need to be at a certain length as it represents a broken Naginata or suchlike...If the break happens at the end of the Tang then the height (And consequently the Maai..) needs to be more set for that schools waza to work as they should...I think..

3rd June 2003, 11:14
bukidojutsu - what the?

Another concoction from someone with limited knowledge of Japanese.

I was actually a bit confused by that too, as it seemed a little much to have both "do" and "jutsu" in it for example. (But I guess that's possible.)
But since I don't know any japanese I can't really take that argument.. I would break it down to
Bu, Warrior
Ki, Spirit
Do, Way/Philosophy
and then Jutsu, Technique, which in a western grammatical sense would seem correct, but I don't think that's how japanese would express it..
But anyway, for all I know "buki" might be it's own word and none of my claims above are correct.

I can't defend it, nor explain the name. It's what I've been told it's called, and it's pure weaponstraining/weaponstechniques with different weapons for each kyu. (Next we're moving on to Jo and Booken, and after that Bo, etc..)
[Maybe it's called Bukido, but since he only took the techniques and nothing else from it, he wanted to add the word Jutsu to show it?]

:confused: But to conclude.. I have no idea, nor can I ask him until september.

3rd June 2003, 13:06
Hi Julien!

Happy to see budo people from Sweden here on the list...

Do this school that you practice have any homepage?


3rd June 2003, 21:41
Well, that specific course is not an official one really.. Everyone attending any other martial art in that place (URL below) was invited to learn/have a look at japanese weapons training. It's only been one hours classes each week, and it was mainly directed to the jiu-jutsu students. (Same teacher..)

I've heard now that he will probably incorporate the weapons training in the jiu-jutsu classes next semester, meaning I won't be able to continue. =( [I practice Suntukan Escrima at that place..]

The place is called Fighter Centre and hosts a lot of different styles/martial arts, some being Taekwon Do, Krav Maga, Ju-jutsu, Suntukan Escrima, etc..

The address is Fighter Martial Arts Centre (fightercentre.com) (http://www.fightercentre.com/)

It's all in swedish though.. (Check the left side with the news, and you'll see "Japansk vapenträning på fredagkvällar", that's the only announcment you'll find about it though, and I'm not even sure they mention "bukido jutsu" as the name..)

4th June 2003, 04:42
What's this doing on the Koryu forum?


I think it would be better in the "combatives" section....


sepai 85
4th June 2003, 11:46
I dont think that you should focus on the practicality of individual techniques. I believe that you should rather focus on the practicality of the principles. The reason I say this is because the techniques of the bo,jo,and hanbo are the same principles that you would use if someone attacked you and you used a stick, a pool stick , a gulf club etc to defend yourself.

for more information on the hanbo-shindo go to


yours in shugyo

4th June 2003, 19:54
Swedish är direkt inget problem för mig :-)

I think I agree with Russ that the Koryu Bujutsu secton is perhaps not the right place...

Btw...The teacher...Have he learned the weapon stuuf in Koryu or in Gendai arts...?


Morning Sky
4th June 2003, 22:54
Hi Guy,
I saw and focused on your original question as to whether a hanbo would be practical. From experience, it is very practical. Keep in mind the modern times as well. You might use a cane, or a police baton in the same fashion. It does alter the technique so it is wise to touch on both ancient and modern aspects of this weapon. I train in a Koryu that uses this weapon, but also teach Goshinjutsu (Self-defense) and we see how a hanbo would apply today in modern times as well.
Hey, you Koryu guys out there! How about helping here as well. This man has asked for advice and we should try and help him. Just my two cents.
Wayne Crocker

5th June 2003, 01:40
Totally Dan,
I would even venture to say that the use of blunt, rod-type weapons is not limited to Japanese martial arts. Even Great Britain had a method of wielding the quarterstaff until the early 1900s (When the UK Boy Scouts stopped teaching it...ironically). In the Philippines they use the "baston" in arnis/escrima which has variances from village to village; the most common method of sizing being a piece of kumagong or rattan that fits from your armpit to your wrist- but there are smaller versions as well. Baston were in use during WWII when the Japanese invaded the islands; lovingly nicknamed "Samurai Killers". Further yet they were still used during the Korean "war" era as discovered by the Marines that were occupying the Phils. I mean, how many times have you seen a piece of wood laying in the street and thought...hmmm.....weapon!


5th June 2003, 07:18
Fer real,

Stick Fighting has some awesome techniques in it, be them "a little watered down" and what not. I think senior Chambers has shown how effective they can be, or so I have heard, when he is torquing you around a wooden dowel like laundry whites.
Is it me, or do some of the techniques look similar to Shinto Tenshin Ryu (Tenshin Koryu Kempo) Hishigi as well? Actually, there may be a lot of mixing up going on in there- either way I had to give mine up to a friend of mine here as a gift because they liked it so well.

A certain someone told me on the subject (which kinda goes like this, as best as I can remember: ) "It's like you have to back off from the techniques slightly or you become sadistic and vicious but if you use it without the proper spirit it's like 'why bother'." Awesome book and I think it is one of the better ones out there in English on the subject apart from some on arnis that I have picked up.

SPEAKING of bullwhips (which I wasn't) I brought my "Australian" style whip into keiko one day. The sensei picked it up and starting using it like an old friend. I was totally suprised and when I inquired he told me that the same principles apply to chain weapons as well as those of leather, or any weapon of the like really. It was interesting to see how he adapted to it quickly. I am suppose the same goes for a hunk of 2x4 timber just squatting on the side of the road. Just takes moments for it to become the "thwacker of doom".


PS....:beer: be thinking of ya this weekend mate!!

Originally posted by Daniel Lee
Hi Russ,

Good thing Messrs. Hatsumi and Chambers took the more severe waza out of their classic kukishin-ryu/tenshin koryu book 'Stick Fighting' so many years ago. :)

Morning Sky
5th June 2003, 23:42
You see! There are those out there who have had real experiences and/or have seen first hand how koryu traditions apply to your question. Thanks, gentlemen. I learned a little also about other traditions because of your post. This is how true warriors should chat. It is always O.K. to disagree, but it is nice to do so in a kind manner. People like you guys encourage me to train more. Thanks.
Wayne Crocker