Samurai with a kanabo  






















Oni ni kanabo (鬼に金棒) Give an ogre a kanabo. "To make someone strong, stronger."

Within Japanese folklore, a kanabo was the weapon primarily used by an oni which is a demon or ogre.  The oni is said to bring bad luck and evil spirits.  So, giving a kanabo to an ogre would make the already invincible demon even stronger.

The kanabo was commonly used during Japan's feudal period.  It is a club or staff adorned with spikes or knobby-like protrusions on its striking surface.  A kanabo is a smashing type weapon that would be used on the front lines of a battle where a samurai might meet up with enemy fortifications that were too strong for swords or spears.  It could be used to smash through an opponent's armor, break though their ramparts or simply break the legs of charging horses.  It was an effective but slow weapon and thus something typically not used in close quarters combat unless one was very strong.

In the martial arts, we only get better in relation to our partner's improvement.  In a sense, we are the kanabo.   In training when we give our bodies to our partners so that they can become stronger, we are like giving an ogre a kanabo.

No one has ever gotten good on their own.  We all need to work together as a community.  It may take village to raise a child but also an entire dojo to develop a student.  Please put your efforts into being your partner's kanabo and making them good first.  I promise you that it will pay dividends for not only you but the whole school too.