The tanbo (baton, or short stick) is a very accessible and practical weapon for self defence purposes.  The initial focus of the TJR programme is on basic striking, blocking, manipulation, weapon retention and striking defences against grabbing and moving attacks.  Once these basics are acquired, you can graduate to other more complicated techniques such as controlling, locking and strangulation.

The use of the baton is very much related to the Japanese jitte.  A jitte was a weapon of feudal Japanese police.  It was commonly referred to as a "fencer's baton".  It is essentially an iron truncheon.  Its use was  popular because it could be used in a wide range of circumstances including to parry a sword and disarming an armed assailant.  Essentially a defensive or restraining weapon, the short length of the jitte required getting close to armed assailants.  It is also useful for restraining unarmed persons and used in similar ways as a baton.

A single hook or fork, (kagi) on the side near the handle allowed the jitte to be used for trapping the blades of edged weapons, as well as for stabbing or striking.  The hook could also be used to entangle the clothes or fingers of an opponent.  Just like the history in Western cultures with batons and truncheons, the jitte also came to be considered a symbol of official status, transcending its use beyond that of a mere weapon.

Miyamoto Musashi is perhaps the most well known warrior in Japanese history.  Miyamoto Munisai, his father, was also an accomplished martial artist, being famous for his skills with the jitte and sword.  It was likely there existed a family art based on the use of the jitte and sword together which provided the inspiration for Mushshi's famous style of the use of two swords.

Hirata Shokan founded the Tori ryu towards the end of the 15th century.  Whilst his school did other weapons, it was noted specifically for jitte and jujutsu.  Whether the art of Miyamoto Munisai in the use of the jitte was in any way related to Tori ryu is the subject of speculation.

The jitte has many different forms.  The lengths and materials vary as does the degree of decorative accessories.  Some are definitely utilitarian and basically simple bars of forged iron.  On the other hand, some jitte are very detailed and include intricate designs and decorations.  The highly decorated jitte were more symbolic in nature and an emblem of office rather than intended to be used as an actual self defence weapon.

Even though the carrying of swords was banned in March 1876, police forces in Japan carried and used the jitte long after the end of the Edo Period (1600-1868).  In fact, some units and even individual officers carried the jitte until the early part of the twentieth century.  Doubtless the techniques changed to deal with a broader range of situations and away from its historical purpose of dealing with swords.  As the Japanese police department underwent modernization, the jitte was eventually phased out.

A baton (in various forms) has been  and continues to be popular weapon carried by police forces.  Generally, it is regarded as a high level of force option.  This is because it is taught to be wielded with destructive force.  It is unfortunate.  The fact is that the baton can be used effectively to achieve self protection without reeking horrific injuries on assailants.  Skillfully used, it can be effective through the lowest ranges of force to the highest level if the situation warrants it.  It can be used for blocking, striking, applying restraining techniques and is highly effective against a knife.