Training With Martial Arts Weapons - Karate Kung Fu Weaponry By Clint Leung
By Bob Hubbard - Tue, 13 Nov 2007 16:18:40 GMT


Training With Martial Arts Weapons - Karate Kung Fu Weaponry
By Clint Leung

There are opportunities in martial arts training to learn to
use various martial arts weapons. Many martial arts schools,
especially those that teach Japanese karate and Chinese kung fu
styles have weaponry as part of their overall curriculum.
Popular weapons from karate systems include the bo staff, kama,
sai, sword, nunchaku and tonfa. Chinese kung fu styles have
broadsword, 3 section staff, kwan do, whip chain, butterfly
knives as well as their own versions of staff. Of course, there
are many other types of weapons in martial arts but the above
are the more common ones taught. Some of the more exotic weapons
include the fan, rope dart and the hook swords. Martial arts
weapons can be divided into short and long range. An example of
a short range weapon would be a pair of sai. The bo staff would
be a long range weapon because of the longer reach. Weapons can
also be divided into bladed and non-bladed. Kamas and swords of
course would be bladed weapons where staffs and nunchakus would
be non-bladed. In most training situations with bladed weapons,
the blades are not live. That is, the blades of swords and kamas
are blunt rather than sharp. This adds to the safety aspect of
martial arts weapons training. Weapons can also come in
different weights from heavy traditional models down to ultra
light weight versions for forms competition.

Martial arts weapons are considered as extensions of a martial
artist’s own body. For example, strikes with a weapon are really
extended hand strikes. Blocks with weapons are modeled after
traditional martial art blocking techniques. Therefore, it is
important for martial arts students to be relatively proficient
with martial arts techniques using their own bodies first before
learning to use any martial arts weapon. This will help the
students understand the applications behind each weapons
technique much better. In most Japanese karate schools, weapons
training won’t be offered until students reach an intermediate
level such as green or blue belt. There are martial arts that
are strictly weapons oriented. An example is Japanese kendo
which is modeled after samarai sword fighting. Philipino arnis
is stick fighting which was developed in the South Pacific

There are many benefits in training with martial arts weapons.
Because most weapons have some weight to them, their use will
help develop muscle tone and strength. Performing forms or katas
with weapons will also develop coordination. In today’s world,
martial arts weapons may not be as practical as the days of the
past when it was acceptable to carry weapons wherever one
traveled. However, with some understanding of weapons
techniques, a martial artist today can turn almost any household
item such as an umbrella, cane or even a set of keys into
weapons of self defense if required. Another important point
that shouldn’t be ignored is that most practitioners will claim
that training with martial arts weapons is a lot of fun.

However, not all martial arts clubs and studios will teach
weapons. Many tae kwon do schools for example do not include
weapons in their overall training. This is not to say that
Korean martial arts do not have weapons. The Korean martial art
kuk sool won features the staff, sword and cane. So if a martial
arts student wishes to learn the use of weapons, a school that
includes them in their training should be sought after. Another
alternative for students who are otherwise happy with their
martial arts club that doesn’t have weapons training is to get
supplementary private instruction from instructors who can
provide it.

Weapons training can open up a whole new dimension to overall
martial arts training. Even advanced tai chi practitioners use
swords in some of their forms. It doesn’t matter if sometimes
the swords are made entirely of wood either since the actual
weapons techniques will still be used in the forms. For many
martial arts competitors, weapons forms are their favorite
divisions to compete in. From a spectator point of view, weapons
forms can be very exciting to watch especially when weapons such
as whip chains or kamas with strings are used since their
presentations are so dynamic and even somewhat dangerous to the
user. Such weapons have caused injuries to users when certain
techniques were sloppy or mistimed. But like other aspects of
martial arts, proficiency with a martial art weapon after much
hard training can bring a high sense of satisfaction to a
martial artist.

About the Author: Clint Leung is a lifelong martial artist with
over 32 years of training experience in kung fu, tae kwon do,
karate, kickboxing and martial arts weaponry. He has won
Canadian and world championship titles (NASKA, NBL and WSKF). He
is also owner of Free Spirit Activewear
( , an online retailer and
designer of premium martial arts activewear. Free Spirit
Activewear has martial arts info articles.


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