If you're studying the martial arts, innevitably weapons will enter your training regimen,especially if you're training with a primary focus on self defense and personal protection.
Of course, if your primary reason for practicing a martial art is asthetics or for the sake of martial arts...
... this article will probably not prove to be that useful for you.
When you do begin to look at the subject, the sheer number of martial arts and self defense weapons can be overwhelming. In addition, the focus of some schools and teachers on more traditional ones like the sword, bo staff, and throwing stars, can be confusing. After all...
... isn't this the 21st century?!
The apparent logic of the matter should dictate that one would focus on more practical, modern, weapons like knives, guns, pepper spray and stun guns...
Seeing Beyond the Form
Anyone truly focused on self-defense should come to the realization that, unlike a karate gym or competition...
... you probably will not have a choice as to the location or type of attack that you will have to defend yourself against.
The logical extension of this is that, unless you have made the decision to carry a weapon or for your own personal protection, any that you do use will be common items lying around at the time of the assault.
Why study formal martial arts weapons then?
The answer lies not in the weapon but in the nature of them and what they can do for us or, more to the point...
... what they do to the assailant.
If we can just look past the form of the weapon - the fact that it's a sword, knife, bo staff, gun, or whatever - we can start to see that there are really weapon types or classifications of weapons.
The Five Martial Arts Weapons Classifications
Upon closer examination, we can see that all weapons can be catagorized by their 'nature' - the design, if you will, of many forms as one 'idea.'
The 5 self defense weapon classifications are:
Here's an example of a much overlooked weapon from the "stick" catagory that's easier to learn and use effectively than ANY other in a self-defense situation.
Each weapon 'type' has a common 'essence' or property that makes its use similar to others within the same catagory...
... regardless of shape, size, or form.
This is not to say that each particular tool does not have its own specific nuances which must be learned to be effective with that weapon, but rather that seeing beyond the form allows us to expand our ability by recognizing the similar nature of 'like' impliments.
This idea can be understood if we train with knives AND swords. When we make the jump to this new perspective, we suddenly see that a knife is a sword with a shorter handle and blade.
What does this do for you? It effectively...
... doubles the number of techniques that you can do with the knife BECAUSE of your sword training.
You will do things with the knife that most people, including your assailant, simply never think of. The lessons learned with the sword will have crossed the void of understanding to effect every aspect of your weapons use, both armed and unarmed.
Carry this concept further and you will do the same with every weapon at your disposal. The...
... hanbo, or short stick/cane weapon, takes on characteristics of the sword - without a cutting edge...
... the sword, likewise, borrows techniques and strategies from the staff weapons to become a leveraging and striking weapon - both in and out of it's scabbard...
... the gun becomes a striking weapon, the throwing star a cutting weapon, and so on...
The mastery of weapons relies, not on your ability to learn techniques and tricks with each weapon, but...
...to bridge the gap of seeing each individual weapon as such to seeing weapons as extensions and aids - tools if you will - that add to your unarmed 'Taijutsu' skills and give you an advantage over your assailant.
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