curriculum-tantoujutsuchuuden

Tantoujutsu Chuuden

Tantoujutsu (短刀術) is a sub-specialisation of kenjutsu (刀術), focusing on the use of the Japanese dagger. Tantoujutsu chuuden is an intermediate module that teaches more advanced principles and concepts of a short Japanese knife or dagger.


Although the tantou shares the same mechanics as the daitou and shoutou, it's use and doctrine focus on ambush and opportunity. Unlike the daitou or shoutou, it cannot be used defensively to receive attacks and can only be used to attack or counter attack. Taijutsu (体術) is a critical aspect of tantoujutsu.

The fundamentals of tantoujutsu are split into three levels; shoden, chuuden and jouden or beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Tantoujutsu chuuden is made up of 18 forms split into three categories; drills [keiko] (稽古), capturing [mutoudori] (無刀捕) and concepts [gainen] (概念). These three areas are called Tantou Roppou Keiko, Tantou Roppou Mutoudori and Tantou Roppou Gainen respectively. 

These forms are designed to reinforce muscle memory and practice good martial habits.

Prerequisites for Tantoujutsu Shoden are:
- Taihenjutsu Shoden
- Taihenjutsu Chuuden
- Tantoujutsu Shoden
- Koppoujutsu Shoden 


Tantoujutsu Chuuden Keiko - 短刀中初稽古

Keiko (稽古) are drills designed to practice postures, receiving and attacking. Keiko should be fluid and practiced with intent.

[一] Hi no Keiko - 一の稽古 (First Drill): Shizen no kamae. Opponent attacks with tsuki age from shizen no kamae. Receive with tsuki geigeki striking into the jakkin.

[二] Fu no Keiko - 二の稽古 (Second Drill): Kenkyo no kamae. Opponent attacks with tsuki jouhou from kenkyo no kamae. Receive with geidan geigeki.

[三] Mi no Keiko - 三の稽古 (Third Drill): Tsuyoki no kamae. Opponent attacks with tsuki ichimonji from tsuyoki no kamae. Receive with seigan geigeki. 

[四] Yo no Keiko - 四の稽古 (Fourth Drill): Shusei no kamae. Opponent attacks with tsuki kesa from shusei no kamae. Receive with joudan geigeki. 

[五] I no Keiko - 五の稽古 (Fifth Drill): Seishi no kamae. Opponent attacks with tsuki sage. Receive with tsuki age.

[六] 
Mu no Keiko 六の稽古 (Sixth Drill): Rishi no kamae. Opponent feints with tsuki and follows up with a sokugyaku kick to the sai. Receive with kerisage geigeki. 

Opponents attacks should be done from a hidden position and the receiver should receive from a hidden position. These techniques are designed to reinforce the lessons taught in tantoujutsu shoden including postures (kamae), tsuki (thrusting) and geigeki (counter-attacking). 


Tantoujutsu Chuuden Mutoudori - 大刀中初無刀捕

Mutoudori (無刀捕) are techniques designed to capture or disarm the opponent unarmed. These techniques are very difficult, but their purpose is to reinforce distance, angling and timing to hone these areas. Mutoudori also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the tantou or dagger. These techniques are a vehicle for learning, rather then purely for practical application in combat. 

These techniques should be practiced for both the omote and ura grips of the tantou. Techniques start with 'rear foot leading' as an allegory to being 'on the back foot'. 

[一] Hi no Mutoudori - 一の無刀捕 (First Capture): Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. The opponent thrusts in with tsuki age from shizen no kamae. Evade the upward slash or thrust, then move in and catch the opponent's elbow with the rear hand. Strike to the kimon with the lead hand. Shift the lead hand up and catch the opponent's lead wrist, pull the elbow down and the wrist over behind, throwing with omote nage.  

[二] Fu no Mutoudori - 二の無刀捕 (Second Capture): Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. The opponent thrusts in with tsuki kesa from shusei no kamae. Evade the diagonal downward slash or thrust, shift in to catch the opponent's lead elbow with the rear hand, then strike to the kimon with the lead hand. Shift the lead hand to catch the opponent's lead wrist, pull the elbow up and the wrist over behind, kick with the lead leg to the opponent's lead leg and throwing with omote nage. 

[三] Mi no Mutoudori - 三の無刀捕 (Third Capture): Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. Opponent thrusts in with tsuki ichimonji from tsuyoki no kamae. Evade the slash or thrust, then kick to the opponent's lead leg. Grab the elbow with the rear hand and grab the wrist with the lead hand. Throw with seoi nage.

[四] Yo no Mutoudori - 四の無刀捕 (Fourth Capture): Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. Opponent thrusts in with tsuki jouhou from kenkyo no kamae. Evade the first thrust or slash, then intercept the opponent's arm with the rear hand. Shift the hand down to catch the opponent's lead wrist, then step across while bringing the lead leg around pivoting on the spot, then apply omote gyaku on the wrist. 

[五] I no Mutoudori - 五の無刀捕 (Fifth Capture):  Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. Opponent thrusts in with tsuki sage from seishi no kamae. Jump back to evade. As the opponent raises the tanto to thrust down, jump in and grab the elbow with the rear hand, while striking to the kimon with fudou ken. 

[六Mu no Mutoudori 六の無刀捕 (Sixth Capture): Shizen no kamae, rear foot leading. The opponent thrusts in with tsuki from rishi no kamae. Shift forward and grab the elbow with the lead hand, then catch the wrist with the rear hand. Throw with seoi nage.  

These captures can be done against the omote or ura grips of the tantou. These techniques are high risk and dangerous, but they teach valuable lessons to both the attacker and receiver. Remember that these are not combat techniques, rather they are lessons in distance, timing and angling to improve the use and understanding of the tantou.

Tantoujutsu Chuuden Gainen - 短刀中初概念

Gainen (概念) are core combat concepts for the Japanese dagger. These are basic engaging techniques from a hidden position against an attacking opponent.

[一] Hi no Gainen - 一の概念 (First Concept):  From shizen no kamae. Opponent thrusts in with tsuki age, evade the first thrust or slash then move in and wrap the rear arm around the opponent's lead arm. Thrust to the throat. 

[二] Fu no Gainen - 二の概念 (Second Concept): From shizen no kamae. The opponent thrusts or slashes down with tsuki kesa. Thrust into the opponent's attack with the lead hand, then sweep the tantou back to shift the opponent's tantou away. Thrust through the opponent's kimon. 

[三] Mi no Gainen - 三の概念 (Third Concept):  From shizen no kamae. The opponent thrusts or slashes down with tsuki kesa. Thrust into the opponent's attack with the rear hand, then sweep the tantou away before capturing the opponent's arm. Thrust to the back of the neck. 

[四] Yo no Gainen - 四の概念 (Fourth Concept): From shizen no kamae. The opponent thrusts or slashes in with tsuki sage. Evade the first thrust or slash and as the opponent thrusts or slashes down again, step through them and thrust to the kimon. 

[五] I no Gainen - 五の概念 (Fifth Concept): From shizen no kamae.  The opponent thrusts or slashes in with tsuki ichimonji. Evade the first thrust or slash and as the opponent thrusts or slashes back, thrust down into the opponent's nagare. 

[六] Mu no Gainen 六の概念 (Sixth Concept): From shizen no kamae. The opponent thrusts or slashes in with tsuki ichimonji. Evade the first thrust or slash and as the opponent thrusts or slashes back, jump in and thrust to the opponent's amedo. 

The tantou is extremely dangerous at close range and can do fatal damage to someone who is not wearing armour. The tantou is a single handed weapon, so one arm is always available to capture the opponent's arm or attack. This is important when considering a counter attack or close combat with someone holding a dagger. The purpose of these concepts is to learn how dangerous daggers are and how difficult it is to engage someone at close range using a dagger themselves. 


Review and Conclusion

Tantoujutsu chuuden is an intermediate continuation to the mechanics of a dagger. The tantou is similar to the daitou, but the doctrine and purpose of both these weapons is very different. The daitou is a weapon of war, the tantou is a weapon of peace. This makes the tantou all the more dangerous, because attack is not expected. These techniques are designed to teach students how to attack ruthlessly and efficiently, not for violence, but to understand the danger a dagger can pose at close range. Tantou techniques should not be taken lightly and the lessons in this module should be considered seriously.