Monday, July 31, 2017

Weapons Bite

Something that is not often discussed is that weapons training with the original weapons are dangerous.


That means eventually the student discovers that the weapons bite.


At times that is simple to imagine,


The new student training with the nunchuck can strike themselves in the head.


When sai was a rather new study for me, one warm day I was practicing. Sweat happened

and when I went to do one movement,

my sai spun from my sweaty hand and then struck

my big toe in the middle with the handle.


I have known individuals who broke their rib with the side strike of a bo.


I have too many memories of kama accidents.

From simple cuts in practice,

To friends sinking their kama in their arm by accident.

To competitors who using a kama with a leader slicing their foot open leaving blood on the ground.


The tonfa can be spun and if the concentration fades,

You end up striking yourself.


Often instructors allow lighter training weapons to learn the student skills.


The older way was the actual weapon should be used.


The brutal logic was the bites are necessary. For they occurring is the only way you develop the correct respect for the weapon and learn to handle it safely.


Originally the weapons were not things to teach beginners or youth, to keep them busy.


Now I know very little about the Japanese sword. When I was a relatively new black belt I had to judge in a youth weapons division. One where a young man was shouting and moving around with impressive sword swings.

I judged just on the motion I perceived and probably gave a middle score. A friend, who was very knowledgable with sword, and an accomplished competitor in his own right awarded the young man a zero.


I realized he saw something I did not see.


Later I pressed him on that score.

What he explained using an unsharpened blade when he returned his sword to the scabbard his fingers were wrapped around the opening of that scabbard. The zero was because if that blade was live he would have cut off his own fingers.


Training with a fake sword, did not build skill,

Rather false skill that might one day kill him.


Somewhat later I moved to NH,

And I attended a local AAU tournament.

This time it was a young man dancing around with a sword.

He also had his fingers around the scabbard opening,

and if his blade had been live, he too would have lost his fingers.


Now I was just in the audience, but none of the judges really knew what to look for, and their skills reflected that lack of knowledge.


Training with real weapons is a risk.


One friend working on steel whip, had a move where he was spinning around, the whip wrapped itself around his neck, then he continued to spin till that spin caused the chain to fly off on a new angle.


Complicated, sure. One day when practicing he became distracted, This time is speed of spin was off,

The chain removed a strip of skin off his neck.


I had learned a 3 section staff form and was working on it when visiting Ernie in Pittsburgh. One of the movements was where with one hand I was to spin the 3 sectional staff over my head. Of course this time what happened is I spun the staff and struck myself in the head. Thunk! Lesson learned.


My instructor told me about another time, and a very dynamic 3 sectional staff form when he would spin the staff between his legs while he was lifting those legs up to allow the spin. One time he messed up on his timing and stead of stepping over the 3 sectional staff, struck is own groin,

Knocking himself out.


Even Okinawans experienced these moments.


I recall one instructor who was blind in one eye, because of such a moment when training with a kama with leaders.


The lesson is that weapons bite.

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