Military Wiki

Antique Japanese tanbo, an 18 inch long hard wood martial arts weapon.

Tanbo 1.JPG

The tambo, in Japanese (短棒),(also tanbo or tanjō ) is a short staff weapon used in Okinawa and feudal Japan.[1] Today the tambo is used by various martial arts schools.


The tambo is short hardwood staff that is used in the same way as the approximately 1 meter long hanbo. Short staffs smaller than 1 meter can be called tambo.[2] There is no official length for a tambo as different ryu (martial arts schools) use tambo of various lengths. Tambo can be individually sized using variations of the "hand to elbow" method.[3]


The tambo is used in several martial arts including: jujutsu, aikido, kobudo, hapkido, yoseikan budo, Cuong Nhu. Tambo are swung using the elbow and shoulder, or manipulated with the wrist. Many of the motions are similar to sword strokes. The tambo can be deadly in skilled hands. The main use is to attack the outer edges of the human bones with speed and accuracy. Applying this concept, virtually every part of the target can be hit with this weapon.

In order to use this weapon effectively, the opponent may be imagined as a 2-dimensional object standing in front of you, and your objective is to strike various targets (i.e. the top and back of the head, collarbone, hands, elbows, ribs, hip, kneecaps, and calves). Of course, soft tissues can be targeted, you can then aim at the abdomen, throat, eyes, thighs and groin.

The tambo can also be used for thrusting, checks or deflections, pummeling the enemy (with the ends), blocking strikes (while holding both ends), joint locks, chokes and parrying various sorts of attacks. Speed, distance, accuracy, timing and control are the key components in the successful use of this weapon.

Understanding human anatomy was learned in ancient warrior studies as well. Because this weapon was used in close combat, pressure point striking was also important. Striking areas of the human anatomy to disable an opponent was integral.

See also



  • Nalda, Jose S. (1984). Tambo - jutsu. Spain: Editorial Alas. ISBN 84-203-0164-7. 

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).