All of our training tools- yai, bo, katana, are ways to explore distance based on the length of the weapon. By seeing and isolating the length of the weapon, we can understand the footwork that powers that weapon, and better isolate it in our unarmed taijtusu movements.
In this way, training with these historical tools, we are using them as methods of self-discovery for our own movement.
For the past month or so we have been exploring the Japanese sword- the distance of three feet given the length of the blade. Postures, cuts, interactions, and kata. For the fall, we are now going to switch back over to hanbo- the 3 foot stick for a bit as a way to contrast it against the sword.
Both are about three feet in length, but the difference of blade and point vs. no blade and no point make them same/different.
One of the interesting aspects of the hanbo is how it is used to not only strike, but also engage with your training partner in a variety of locks, throws, and restraints. Unlike the 6 foot stick (bo), where you want to keep your training partner at that distance, the hanbo operates, naturally, much closer.
With the physical power of the stick behind the footwork, suddenly various locks and throws become much more challenging in terms of ukemi.