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Book Review: Hanbo-Jutsu,
Self-Defense with Stick and Staff

Hanbo-Jutsu: Self-Defense with Staff and Stick by Shoto Tanemura (Japan: Genbukan and Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei, 2006)

The author of this book, Shoto Tanemura, is, in addition to being a former police officer and police tactics instructor, an internationally acknowledged grandmaster of ninjutsu and jujutsu. One of the contributions to these arts by Tanemura Soke is that he has culled the techniques of many schools of various arts and devised a curriculum for each. One of the arts this was done for was hanbo-jutsu, where one can achieve ranking through and including Black Belt. Although only select techniques are demonstrated in this 140 page work, it presents the art from an interesting perspective.

Titles of each technique are given in Japanese, with kanji and English transliterations as titles. The accompanying English text goes on to explain what the term means, and then gives instruction of the techniques themselves. Unfortunately, there are times where the author assumes the reader understands certain Japanese terminology used in the text. While the work includes a glossary, it would be easier to simply substitute English in the text itself, e.g., "Go to maximum extension of the arm and hanbo to hit two to yokomen". The word "temple", which the glossary offers as a translation of the word "yokomen", could easily have been inserted in the text itself. The photos are large, although the lighting in some is a bit dark.


The work begins with the various formal postures, beginning with the bow, of hanbo-jutsu. In addition to the techniques of the 3 foot hanbo, there are sections which include the use of the cane and the umbrella (which are approximately the same length as the hanbo), and techniques and restraints with the tessen (fan). Additionally, there are some techniques with the tanbo, the one foot stick. (Note: in other systems of martial arts, the tanbo refers to the 2 foot stick.) At the conclusion of this text, there are charts showing hanbo-jutsu genealogy, as well as a blurb about Tanemura Soke and a listing of the grandmasterships and menkyo kaidens he holds.

While this work is recommended as a supplement and complement to those in law-enforcement familiar with the 3 foot riot baton, it may prove too difficult as an introductory text for those with no experience with this weapon.

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