Hi, this is Mark Roemke with Ninja Training TV, Pathways Dojo, and Ninjas in Nature with another blog for you. This blog is about hanbo striking drills. This training video below was filmed at our beautiful training spot in the redwoods of Santa Cruz, California. In the video we are gathered at our central fire pit area that we made in the forest where we practice our fire by friction and other survival skills.
On this day we had just finished making our own hanbos from wood gathered in this forest. There is a lot of tan oak that is competing for sunlight in this area, which creates strong growth rings. It's also an area where sudden oak death is hitting a lot of the tan oaks, so these two elements combined offered us an opportunity to "tend the wild" by selecting small trees that were effected by sudden oak death and to help open up the forest for other trees to grow bigger.
After we gathered the wood, we carved them with knives then fire-hardened them. The hanbo is the "half staff" in ninjutsu. There are lots of objects that can serve as a hanbo. You are basically looking for a three foot piece of wood or a length that measures hip height.
This video shows a lot of basic strikes, but also show angling, distancing, and timing. These drills are best for you to figure out on your own how they work. You can do these drills with or without a partner. Make sure you have plenty of room for swinging your hanbo. First start in shizen, or "natural" stance. Practice falling off in all sorts of different directions when doing these strikes. Practice "cane stance" or munen muso, much like you are walking with a cane. The second stance is called kata yaburi where you hold the hanbo with two hands horizontally in front of you. In the third stance called otonashi, you hold the hanbo behind you with both hands horizontally.
In this video you will see a variety of drills to flow through to practice these stances and angling, distancing, and timing. I hope you enjoy this video because it will give you a lot of drills to practice. If you can, take your training outside. You can practice striking dead branches and trees and moving over uneven terrain with these drills.