Saturday, February 21, 2009

Real Weapons Training

A few days ago in class, my instructor and I were going over some weapons techniques and wound up having a semi-conversation about weapons applications. Typically what you see when someone's doing a weapons kata, in tournaments for instance, there's a whole lot of spinning, flipping and other techniques going on, but there isn't a lot of practical applications in the kata. For example, when the need arises you want to simply hit your opponent in his ribs with your staff without twirling the staff!

What we found is that many styles teach kata applications or "bunkai," and teach concepts such as one-step sparring. These actions do what I call "making sense of things;" in other words, they teach you how to use the techniques that are learned in the katas and in sparring.

Why not do the same for weapons? Get a training partner and do some one-step sparring drills with a bo staff for example, or mix it up with a bo versus the sai. Afterwards, you can progress to two-, three-, and four-step sparring. Another great drill is to take a section of your weapon kata and turn that section into a three- or four-step sparring drill. Believe me, as a result you will learn so much more about your weapons techniques.

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