The Tan is basically a small barbell. It was originally constructed from a wooden shaft with stone weights on either end or very often (as shown in these pictures) two small cast iron wheels from farming equipment attached to a steel 2 inch bar.

Exercises with this piece of equipment for those people familiar with weight training techniques might include simple pressing, squatting, curls, bent over rowing, upright rowing, lunges etc, and can be practiced as with the kongoken and the two handed chishi stone, for all over body development.

Where the Tan comes into its own is when it’s used to build and condition the person’s arms for powerful blocking and striking techniques, with the Tan rolled up and down the forearms as well as thrown up into the air and caught across them, enabling you to build up impact resistance.

The Tan shown in these photo’s weights 42lbs -20kgs in weight. With  conventional barbell you can add extra weight to the equipment but with the tan the idea is to condition the muscles through repetition encouraging you to increase the sets and reps while maintain good technique and posture.

Examples of the various exercises performed with the Tan can be found in the book 'Fighting Strength - Effective Power Training for Combat' available from Mona Books at: