Yawara drills (Tanren) are either deceptively easy or quite advanced. Drills focus on developing skills that utilize the Tambo, Yawara and Kubotan for Atemi, Kansetsu Waza, and Nage. Some of these skills may be a bit difficult to perform if you are using a longer Tambo.
Atemi No Tanren
This drill involves a variety of different strikes to different regions of the body. The drill may be used with the weapon held in either hand. Strikes are defined in terms of body target locations. The weapon is held such that a portion of the weapon extends beyond both sides of your fist. For the purposes of this drill a strike using the thumb side of the weapon will be referred to as a Tsuki or Uchi. A strike with the little-finger side of the weapon will be referred to as an Ura Tsuki or Ura Uchi. Hold both hands in a good guard position to start. Consider using the opposite hand to check or position your opponent where appropriate.
- Strike with Me Tsuki.
- Strike with Sakotsu Ura Uchi
- Strike with Mimi Uchi
- Strike down with Ura Kubi Uchi.
- Rotate your center and strike downward with Ura Kin Uchi, keeping your other hand in a well-placed guard position.
- Strike with Suigetsu Uchi
- Rotate your center as you slide your arm outward and then strike inward with Yawara Ura Empi Uchi.
- Raise your elbow and strike with Ura Mune Uchi. Check your opponent’s arm downward and outward with your opposite hand.
- Move your weapon-arm outward and then strike inward with Abara Uchi to your opponent’s side.
- Raise your weapon and strike with Nodo Uchi.
- Lower the weapon and strike with Ura Te Uchi. Proceed to step 1.
When you become accustomed to this drill you may wish to practice it with a partner. The partner should train to check, block or otherwise intercept every strike attempt you make. This is a good flow-drill for both partners. Take it slowly at first until everyone knows what to expect and always be prepared to pull a strike short should your partner not be in position to properly avoid your strike. While developing the skills necessary to perform both the weapon and non-weapon sides of this drill is important, safety, as always, is paramount.
Kansetsu No Tanren
This series of short drills focuses on locks and holds intended to control an opponent or gain pain compliance. You are encouraged to try these maneuvers with a training partner, but please ensure you move slowly and with great care to prevent excessive pain and potential injury. You will injure a training partner if you try some of these activities rapidly and/or with exuberance.
You will find that these drills are not flow drills. You will likely need to do one sequence, pause, and then do another. In a conflict you are unlikely to flow directly from one control hold to another in rapid succession so it makes little sense to practice these maneuvers in a flowing manner. After all, the purpose of a control maneuver is to prevent your opponent from moving or remaining combative. Focus on making sure each short sequence can accomplish that goal.
- Assuming a mirrored overhand wrist grab, move the weapon under and to the outside of the opponent’s arm, but keep your thumb on the inside of the opponent’s arm. Grasp the other end of the weapon with your opposite hand so that your thumb is placed adjacent to your other thumb. Now twist downward with both wrists as you apply opposing pressure with your thumbs. The weapon will press into the opponent’s forearm and cause significant pain or injury.
- Assuming an opposite-side wrist grab, move the weapon under and outside of the opponent’s arm such that the little finger rests on top of the opponent’s arm. Grab the opponent’s hand from above with your opposite hand so the opponent cannot release their grip. Apply downward pressure with the weapon to force the opponent to his or her knees.
- Assuming a side headlock, raise the weapon behind the opponent’s head then either press the cylindrical portion of the weapon under the opponent’s nose and press backward, or push the end of the weapon into and behind the collar bone on the opposite side of the opponent’s head. Stand up straight while pressing back and down with the weapon.
- Assuming an opposite side wrist grab, hook the weapon over the opponent’s arm from the outside as you move toward the ear side of the opponent. Pull their elbow in to your chest and use the weapon to force their arm straight while keeping their wrist tight against your torso. Use the opposite hand to turn the opponent’s head so they cannot strike with their opposite hand. Apply downward pressure with both hands.
- Assuming a mirror side wrist grab, Step toward the opponent’s ear side as you raise the weapon hand slightly higher than their wrist. Use your opposite hand to trap their hand and then apply downward pressure with both hands. This is commonly referred to as a Z-Bar.
- Initiate the same movement as described in step 5, but after trapping the opponent’s wrist with your opposite hand, keep the opponent’s wrist folded back and then twist their arm so his or her elbow is pointed slightly upward. Use the thumb end of the weapon to press directly into the elbow joint and then push directly downward.
- Assuming an Oi Tsuki attack, step to the opponent’s ear side and mirror their strike to the inside of their arm. Trap their arm with your opposite hand as you raise the weapon hand up, outside, down and finally inside. This will trap the opponent’s arm. Move your opposite hand to the opponent’s forehead and press back and down. Now use the little-finger side of the weapon to press the point of the weapon directly into the front of the attacker’s chest.
- Assuming an Oi Tsuki attack, step to the opponent’s face side as you move the weapon under and then outside of the opponent’s attacking arm. Circle the weapon over their arm and twist their elbow so it faces upward. Press the end of the weapon down and into the back of the elbow.
- Assuming an Oi Tsuki attack, step to the opponent’s face side and use your outside (non-weapon) hand to check the strike outward. Insert the weapon over and behind the opponent’s attacking shoulder and then hook the end of the weapon under his or her arm pit. Pull down and in with the weapon while hooking the opposite arm down and then over the opponent’s arm, thus keeping the opposite hand positioned to trap the opponent’s arm in place.
- Assuming an overhead strike (perhaps a stick attack) step forward and block with the non-weapon hand at the shoulder. Wrap this hand under and around the attacker’s arm as the little-finger side of the weapon moves behind the attacker’s neck and presses forward form the back. Press the weapon inward and down while maintaining a lock at the opponent’s elbow with your non-weapon hand.
Nage No Tanren
The following is a series of short throwing drills or exercises. Like the Kansetsu No Tanren, these are not flowing drills. It is hard to throw someone to the ground and then flow right into another throw when they are already on the ground. So, again, work to ensure each short sequence below is effective at taking an opponent off of their feet.
The same cautions apply regarding intensity and speed when training with a partner. Some of these actions can be very dangerous if applied with disregard to a training partner’s safety.
We will use Tsuki and Uchi to refer to a strike using the thumb side of the weapon, and Ura Tsuki and Ura Uchi to refer to strikes with the little-finger side of the weapon.
- Assuming a grab or punch attack, step toward the ear side of the opponent as you check the opponent’s nearest arm downward, but not backward. Maintain a check on this arm so the opponent cannot turn in toward you. Press the weapon up under and then inside of the opponent’s mandible using either Age Tsuki or Ura Age Tsuki (depending on the hand in which the weapon is located), pressing upward into the soft tissues inside the jaw in the location of the rear molars. Maintain pressure into these tissues as you tilt the opponent’s head up, back, and then down. Do not use excessive pressures with a training partner. If you are a training partner be prepared to tap out in the event too much pressure is applied. Try the exact same maneuver while holding the weapon in the opposite hand.
- Assuming a punch or front grab attack, step to either the ear or nose side of the opponent. Insert an Ura Uchi down and just posterior (behind) the opponent’s collar bone. Press down and back. Use the opposite hand to restrain movement of the opponent’s lower back.
- Assuming a punch or front grab attack, step to the ear side of the opponent and check their arm with your non-weapon hand. Place the weapon so it is in front of the opponent’s throat and then press the weapon into his or her throat to pull them back and toward your center. As your weapon hand moves comfortably into your center triangle, change the direction of movement and press downward briskly with the weapon.
- Advance straight toward the opponent and use a Chudan Tsuki to press the rounded edge of the end of the weapon directly into the top portion of the sternum. Press down and forward.
- Assuming a front hand strike or grab attempt and that you have the weapon in your back hand, check the opponent’s attacking hand with your non-weapon hand, grabbing the opponent’s arm at the wrist. Insert the weapon under the opponents’ attacking arm, then over the arm. Now place the little-finger side of the weapon on their forearm just below and forward of the wrist. Pull the weapon in and downward.
- Assuming a front grab attack, place the weapon on the outside of the opponent’s wrist. Use your opposite hand to grab the weapon also and then apply inward and downward twisting pressure into the opponent’s wrist using the weapon. Rotate your center and strike the opponent in the upper torso with your face-side elbow.
- Assuming a rear-naked choke hold from behind, insert the weapon down directly under your chin and into the elbow joint of your attacker. Twist the weapon down and way as you insure the weapon does not slip away from the elbow. Rotate your body so you move toward the shoulder of the elbow you are manipulating. Pull down and inward with the weapon as your rotate your center toward the opponent and trap his or her forearm against your torso.
- Assume a Mae Geri attack, step to either side of the leg and insert the weapon under the attacker’s kick using your back hand. Reach over the attackers’ leg and grab the weapon with your other hand as well. Twist and pull both hands so they rest against your abdomen as you concurrently rotate your center toward your opponent until his or her knee is pointed directly downward. Shuffle forward slightly while maintaining pressure on the back of the calf just above the ankle.
- Assuming a front hand strike from the opponent and that you are holding the weapon in your front hand, check the incoming strike with your front hand. Use a Jodan Ura Uchi to strike at the side of the opponent’s neck with your weapon-arm wrist while the weapon is concurrently placed behind the attacker’s neck. Pull down and inward with the weapon while checking the opponent’s arm with your other hand so that the arm is guided upward.
- Assuming a Mae Geri, Mawashi Geri, or similar kick, step to the face side of the opponent and apply a Ura Kubi Uchi using your front hand. Rotate your center as you pull the weapon back toward your center, causing the opponent to fall backward.