By request of the Aikido class last evening, we present a bit of the history of Tanjo, which we are working through.
This is from the Sei Do Kai Tanjo Manual which you can find at http://sdksupplies.com/ in the manuals section. The book includes instructions and photos of the kata plus a section at the end on using a cane for self defence. You’ll find many of the things we worked on earlier in the semester there, and the rest probably in the other book on cane self defence for seniors.
Uchida Ryogoro (1837-1921) was born Hiraoka Ryogoro to a menkyo holder in the Shindo Muso ryu (Haruyoshi ha) and learned Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo from Hirano Kichizo Yoshinobu of that same branch in Fukuoka. Uchida went to Edo in the late 1800s and taught Jodo there to, amongst others, Nakayama Hakudo, founder of Muso Shinden Ryu iai and Komita Takayoshi, founder of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. (The DNBK was the governing body for martial arts (through the education ministry) until the end of the Second World War when it was disbanded.)
While in Edo, Uchida Ryogoro developed a set of techniques for the European Walking Stick which was popular at the time, as Japan embraced all things western. This set was originally called “Sutekki Jutsu” (stick art) but later became Tanjo jutsu. Uchida’s son was Uchida Ryohei 1873-1937 and it was he who organized the school of Tanjo into its twelve kata. Ryohei was a member of the Genyosha, founded by Toyama Mitsuru. Ryohei later founded the ultra-nationalist Black Dragon Society. The Kokuryukai or Black Dragon Society (Amur River Society) was active in Manchuria in the early 1900s while the Genyosha was active there somewhat earlier.
In the book is a photograph of, from right to left, Uchida Ryohei, Toyama Mitsuru (with a big stick) and Deguchi Onisaburo. Who is that third fellow? He was the spiritual teacher of Ueshiba Morihei, founder of Aikido and those two ended up in trouble in Manchuria in 1924.
Yep, everything is connected.
The art of tanjojutsu was transplanted back to Fukuoka and returned once more to Tokyo with Shimizu Takaji who moved there in the early 1920s. There are now two streams of Tanjojutsu instruction, one from Fukuoka and one from Tokyo. The art comes down to the Sei Do Kai through both of those lines, although we treat the Fukuoka stream as our basic. The difference between the two lines is the order of the kata, and some few differences in the kata.
The kata as we teach them are as follows.
1. kote uchi hidari
2. kote uchi migi
3. suigetsu hidari
4. suigetsu migi
5. shamen hidari
6. shamen migi
8. ushiro zue
10. kobushi kudaki
11. sune kudaki
In the last two weeks we have gone through the first seven plus sutemi. Next week we will be working on the remaining four kata and we will review as well, not to worry.
The Tanjo set is “where we teach that”. “That” being the various ways one can sift off the attack line. In an Aikido context, we practice irimi, a shift to the right and forward as we step down on our third step, in katas 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
We have shifted to the right and struck the wrist (1), thrust to the solar plexus (3), and struck the side of the head (5). We have also struck down the sword (wrist), swept it downward and returned to strike the other side of the head (6).
Finally, we have shifted very slightly to our right (pivoting so that instead of being lined up two feet with two feet to the swordsman, we are both of our feet in line with his left foot, so that the sword will slice sensei’s big gut but miss most else). At the same time as we shifted we raised the tanjo to threaten our partner’s eyes (and if he’s smart, contacted his sword hilt too). On this kata we then shifted forward and locked his sword down and as he pulled back to cut once more we thumped him in the ribs.
Shifting to the right front is a pretty important move it would seem, and it’s true. This shift puts us in a position to knock the swordsman back over his heels, as we do in number seven.
We may want to shift to our left as well, and so we do in number 2, where we step down on the third step forward in a straight line and find ourselves under the descending sword. A fast shift back (push off with that weight-loaded front foot) to our left rear and then a smaller shift back in to strike the swordsman’s right wrist.
In order to get to the swordsman’s ribs in number 4, we shift to the left rather than the left rear, which leaves us closer to him, able to reach his ribs.
We did number 9. sutemi, last evening, out of order, for no particular reason except that I forgot the order. Sutemi means sacrifice and it really feels like that because we dive forward, right down the attack line, to block tachi’s (the swordsman’s) arms as he cuts. We finish him off with a punch to the solar plexus. OK just go with me on that punch for now, we’ll talk about it later. For now you should understand that we aren’t working on sliding off the line, so we have to use our footwork timing (the beat) instead. As tachi steps 1-2-3 we step 1–23, slide our hand down the tanjo and drop to one knee under tachi’s arms.
The safe places around a sword are outside it’s range (Kote 1, 2) or inside it’s range (7. Kuri Tsuke and 9. Sutemi). When we have to be in the cutting range, like for Suigetsu (3, 4) and Shamen (5, 6) we need to consider how to deal with the sword. We talked a bit about that and will talk more when we have learned the dance steps and start to review.
For now try to remember the steps and think about that attack line.
June 14, 2018