Monday, March 7, 2011


  Having mentioned (here) before that I'm not big on teaching weapons in my classes, I'm placed in the position of now eating a little crow, LOL. Though I don't feel that the weapon's (themselves) have any practical application for the average student's self defense use. I do feel their practice will provide useful reference/application to the student's open-hand technique's. 
  The weapon's themselves, could (definitely) prove useful in a self defense situation, but what are the odds that one would have any of these implements on their person if/when they find themselves in a (true) self defense situation. First off, the individual would most likely be in conflict of local laws (as it's illegal to have 95% of them on your person in a public place). Next, for those that say you can transfer application to commonly found objects, not really. Again, this goes back to what the common assault consists of, which is a one on one situation. Unless you can really prove that you had a fear for your life, you've now provided the (supposed aggressor) with a (legal) fear for their life (which they could use against you in a court of law). Stopping your defensive actions (in order to pick-up some object) could arguably prove intent (on your part) to escalate the situation beyond it's present level, will definitely be used against you. Please don't try to use the “I'd rather be judged by 12” BS argument as being applicable (it isn't). That sort of thinking, has put more people on the loosing side of judicial decisions (if not in jail), than any other. First off, unless you kill the individual, you'll only be facing a single judge (for a disturbing the peace/public disturbance type of charge). No doubt the (would be) aggressor, will also have a lawyer, who will be attempting to prove that you (in some way, say..picking up a weapon?) escalated the situation to a (potentially) lethal level. Even if you win that legal battle, it will cost you a great deal of money to settle the situation (fines, punitive damages, probation costs, lawyer costs etc.).
  Putting all that aside (because I don't teach weapon's for their use in a self defense situation), I feel that weapon's can prove useful for a student's instruction in self defense. Although sounding contradictory, (if not hypocritical) it really isn't. I think the majority of student's will envision themselves using those weapon's in a situation (while practicing the motions), but my emphasis is more towards the hand/arm motions being utilized in those weapon's manipulation. This isn't some great vision of my own (hardly, LOL), Taika stresses that weapon's training, teaches the student various hand/arm motions that are commonly done in/with self defense applications (without the weapon). Anyone that teaches/uses weapons in their training methodologies, will (or should) recognize that using the weapons will teach the student open hand motions/application also.
  Almost any motion, done with the majority of weapon's, can be transferred to open hand application. This can be conversely applied with the hand technique's to a weapon's application also. Taika teaches that there should be no difference in their (the weapon's) application. Their biggest use (IMO), is in teaching the particular motions (of the hand's/arm's) when those weapon's are being manipulated.
  Though student's (rarely) recognize it, the use of a weapon will also emphasize the need for correct body motion. I've found that Footwork and body motion, are the two most ignored pieces of any (practiced) technique's application. For some reason, I've found that when a student places a weapon in their hands, their footwork (suddenly) becomes applicable (in their minds). I'm not exactly sure why this is the case, but it does seem to get them to move their feet, LOL. When using a weapon, student's also seem to notice (more) when they're leaning or over extending. Of course, how well this transfer's to the student's open hand technique's can only be confirmed over time.
 Oyata's use of weapons (for training purposes) from what I've observed, varies somewhat depending upon the weapon being practiced. Training with the sai, most often stresses finger/wrist motion, tanbo emphasizes forearm/wrist motion. Bo and Jo kata, often stress whole arm, and body motion. Chizikunbo kata contains combinations of all of those actions, and each contain specific body motions in their use/application. There are numerous other things that can also be learned from their practice, I have only listed those things that I directly correlate to in my own classes.
  No weapon can be utilized (properly) without incorporation of the taught open-hand motions being included in those actions. Although I do have biases against weapon's training, it isn't because something can't be learned from their instruction. My bias, is in regards to it's (the weapon) being taught as being (directly) practical for self-defense purposes.

1 comment:

Lee E. Richards said...

One of the most important reasons I see for training with weapons is historical. There are a lot of forms out there that are being lost because people don't see them as practical any more. This is in many arts, not just ours. For me, history is an important topic. Not just in the martial world, but World History, genealogy, etc.

The other big reason is sanity. It seems to me that students need a diversion once in a while, something a little different, some 'candy'. Weapons, for various reasons, seem to be fun for many students. Sometimes the brain just needs a diversion from the usual road you are going down.