Why train with weapons at all? Kali is a weapons based martial art. The majority of ordinary people, disregard the need to gain even a basic understanding of proficiency with weapons for self defence. If asked why, they would put forward some reasonable sounding arguments. ‘Society has evolved to the point where we do not suffer armed attacks from invaders’. ‘We have a system of laws and a police force to protect us’. ‘People aren’t allowed to carry weapons on their person under the law, so what is the point?’ These arguments are all put forward to those who train in a weapons based fighting system. At best your art will be thought of as redundant, a quaint relic of the past – like learning basket weaving. They will shake their heads and wonder why you do not get on with more practical things. At worst you will be regarded as someone with sociopathic tendencies. The logic often runs as follows – only criminals and misfits mess around with weapons, so if you are into that, you must have some anti-social tendencies yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that the above arguments fall away when the person is on the receiving end of a physical altercation, such as a mugging. It is then that their inability to cope with the even that has transpired is brought home in an overwhelming way. The person will react by blaming society for going to the dogs, blaming the police for not being there, blaming government for not providing enough police etc. But the one thing they will almost certainly not do is look at themselves and their failure to prepare. It becomes apparent that the logical arguments presented to the functional martial artist were a cover for a deep rooted fear of physical aggression. I’m not saying that there are armed assailants on every street corner. In my view martial arts schools can often be guilty of conflating the danger. Thankfully, this kind of violence is a rare occurence. However the impact of these kind of assaults should they do happen take a great toll on people physically and psychologically. In a way it is similar to the risk of fire. We all know that fires are relatively rare, yet public buildings are fitted with fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, and employees in offices are required to carry out fire drills. That is because we know that the damage can be catastrophic and that prevention goes a long way. A similar line of thinking with regard to weapons is necessary for anyone who practices self defence.