Grappling with the Hambo

Dr. William Durbin

When it comes to bludgeon type weapons that are actually handy for self defense, there is none better than the Hambo, or half stick. Known actually by many different names, this weapon is one of the best all around, practical items of self defense. Some styles refer to it as the Tambo, short stick, and among police officers that train in Japanese law enforcement tactics it is known as the Keibo, simply, police stick.

The reason this weapon is so practical is that the techniques practiced with a stick ranging from one foot to three feet, according to which style you train in, can be applied to many everyday items, such as, a ruler, an umbrella, a rolled up newspaper or magazine, small gardening tools, hammers, and many more.


Primarily, weapons such as this have one main emphasis, the striking of an opponent. In too many situations people try to go into advanced grappling skills without realizing that if a person is not stunned or disabled before hand, they will be able to fight a grappling attempt off fairly easily. It takes a lot of precision to enter into a grappling technique, without having first loosened up the opponent with some type of strike.

Even when one has mastered such grappling skills, it is still best to weaken an opponent first with strikes, but they can be directed at the limbs, rather than the body. However, if there is any question as to whether or not a person can be handled, then strikes to actual vital points should precede any grappling attempt.

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