Why Train With Weapons At All?

Discussion in 'Filipino Martial Arts' started by am1t0, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. am1t0

    am1t0 New Member

    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2014
  2. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Moved from articles to Filipino Martial Arts, where it'll generate more discussion.
  3. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    My mistake.

    Must learn to not scan read.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  4. HarryF

    HarryF Malued Vember

    I agree that training with weapons is important if you want to have a well rounded physical arsenal (along with ground fighting, multiple opponents, 'surprise' attacks, protecting a VIP (e.g. your child) and so on), and of course physical is the last line of defence. Awareness, avoidance, escape, de-escalation and pre-emptive offence all, IMHO, come before physical defence.

    Anyway, back to weapons/familiarity/fear - training with weapons, including how to use them effectively as kali does, means that you (should) develop a realistic awareness of how weapons are used optimally, and, conversely, sub-optimally, through time spend on the giving end as well as on the taking end.

    As a "defender", this gives you the intuitive knowledge of how to encourage/force the attacker to use their weapon sub-optimally (as when you play the role of attacker you know that "oh, it's easy to cut from here", or "oh, I have to re-position first"), therefore increasing your chances of survival/escape (e.g. cut on the outside of the forearm = extensor damage, cut on the inside of the forearm = flexor damage and significantly higher rate of blood loss from the radial and ulnar arteries).

    Gaining knowledge relating to something that you once feared through 'fear of the unknown' (being a potentially infinite fear, as the boundary The Unknown was not known), rationalises the possibilities/probabilities, giving you (again) intuitive knowledge about the %chance of this or that happening or not happening. The thing you feared has become quantifiable and finite, meaning that you can rationalise it better (pre-contact of course!), accept it and start to consider strategies to deal with some of those situations, and train them in a safe environment.

    In the training itself, having a training partner who can use the weapon in an optimal way gives you a more difficult opponent to deal with (picture a Sayoc knife guy feeding vs some of those terrible "Ice Pick To The Top Of The Head Stabs From 3m Away") and it can help you develop some realistic drills (scenarios as well as techniques) to reduce the %chance of being damaged in a signficant area ("will I get cut?" "will it be lethal?")

    I'd rather train against someone skilled and agressive, and then face someone less skilled and agressive; rather than train against someone unskilled and not agressive, and then face someone less skilled and agressive.

    Personally I'd rather prepare for the worst and hope/behave for the best, but of course I'd rather not face anyone at all, armed or unarmed ;)

    There's a great quote from Doug Marcaida which goes something like:

    When are you in a weapons altercation? When you don't know for certain that the guy's hands are empty.

    This also applies nicely to pulling a weapon mid-scenario or mid-drill, and means that you have to be constantly aware of that possibility :D

    Do you train in kali? If so what type and how's it going? I'm always happy to meet fellow kalistas!
  5. Janno

    Janno Valued Member

    I heartily agree, OP.

    Skill at arms is frequently an area that is neglected or ignored by the martial arts community. Very often though, the same people who do so are either terrified of weapons, or are teaching disarms with the assumption that the attacker will run away once they have no weapon. Because they are also terrified of weapons.

    The fact is that our species has developed significantly because of our ability to use tools - whether they are physical tools for affecting our environment, verbal tools to articulate our thoughts to each other, or mental tools to aid our perception of the world around us. Whichever way you look at it, we are a tool-using species, and tools are here to stay.

    Ever since the first cave man picked up a rock to crack someone or something's skull open, weaponry has been in widespread use throughout human history. Weaponry is still in use today. And yet, despite our dependency and continued development of weapons, they are so often branded as tools of the oppressors, criminals, and psychopaths.

    And yet, even though it's perceived that only "bad guys" use weapons, the "good guys" who don't use weapons are still quite prepared to leave their enemies disabled, disfigured, and/or deceased in the wake of their brutality. They train with enthusiasm and efficiency. With this in mind, perhaps some of them should re-assess their moral high-ground...

    A tool is a tool. A gun, a knife, a hand, or a foot: They are only turned into weapons by the intent of the person using them. Otherwise, they are considered useful and necessary to everyday life.

    To separate and discard skill-at-arms from a combat-orientated curriculum is naive and counter-productive. If the martial art chooses only to focus on a particular type of context that does not involve weapons (ie. sport or health), then fair enough. But all to often i witness people teaching gun disarms to students who have no idea how to operate the weapon once they have it in their hands. And that approach, unfortunately, sums up the majority of what i have seen taught in the martial arts industry.

    Apart from the negative perception of weapons though, can anyone else suggest reasons why skill-at-arms is neglected by so many martial arts practitioners?
  6. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I think the negative perception has a lot to do with it. And I actually get that. I know it's unusual for a kali person, but I think the whole weapon thing can get a bit fetishistic sometimes.

    I'm not saying I don't see the logic in training weapons. I wouldn't be in kali if I couldn't. But I know so many FMA folks who walk around with multiple knives on them. And I'm not that guy. I'm just not. I do, however, see a lot of value in knowing what a weapon can do and what to do about it. And I agree wholeheartedly that the best way to do that is to learn the weapon.
  7. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    I'll start by addressing your question at the end. Much of that may have to do with the fact that most of what is taught in terms of martial arts weapons is stuck in the past and has no practical purpose in the real world we live in. For example, take Kobudo as it relates to Okinawan Karate. Don't get me wrong, I love good solid Karate, and believe it to be a fine way to train your stand up empty hand game. However, the majority of the Kobudo that comes along with it has little practical purpose today. The same thing can be said for the weapons forms of Japanese arts, Chinese arts, and don't even get me started on Korean arts claiming to train Japanese sword work.

    In the FMA, much of what is taught (not all mind you) has application to today's world. Knife is knife, yesterday and today. Stick can be readily translated to a baseball bat, a pipe, wrench, etc. Heck, the systems who have tomahawk could probably use the exact same techniques with a normal claw hammer and have to do very little in the way of modification.
  8. HarryF

    HarryF Malued Vember

    Absolutely, I suppose this ultimately gets to "my MIND is the weapon, everything else is a tool", the mindset that leads to effective use of improvised tools, as it applies equally to any available tool: body, hand/foot, stick, knife, gun, vehicle, doorway, wall, other people, newspaper, pen, voice, coins, dirt, clothes...
  9. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

  10. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Why train with weapons at all?
    WHY NOT?

    For that matter;
    Why train at all?
    Why eat healthy?
    Why drive a auto?
    Why post on MAP? :)D)

    Bottom line...You do what you want, or like, and to get proficient
  11. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Yeah, fundamentally because it's fun.
  12. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    Heh, I spent about 6 hours at our group's annual camp on tomahawk last year. Then I pulled out the hammers to show the translation. Interestingly enough the hook below the head on the Cold Steel 'hawk trainer is exactly the same curve as the claw hammer I was holding. Exactly.
  13. Bambi

    Bambi Valued Member

    tbh if you're a civvie who lives in most parts of europe and you're justifying training espada y daga etc as self defence then you're doing some fairly heavy rationalization.

    I've no problem with the idea that elements of what I train are largely redundant from a modern self defence perspective

    also, I've never seen a sayoc guy feed an "Ice Pick To The Top Of The Head Stabs From 3m Away"
  14. HarryF

    HarryF Malued Vember

    Neither have I, it was a comparison of a 'good feeder' with a 'bad feeder'...
  15. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Not all martial arts have practical weapons curriculum though. Take Kobudo. To my untrained eyes I only see the Bo/Jo as the practical ones. The rest however, I don't see how they could translate to real world self defense.

    Weapons like the sai and the sickle weapon. I don't see any thing around me that can be used like they are. Especially sais.
  16. Florete

    Florete Valued Member

    I figured it would work. We were talking about it in class the other day with someone who was getting ready to move and worked in a dangerous area.
  17. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Even from an SD perspective, you need to have some idea of what to do with a weapon if you manage to take it from someone.
  18. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    I'd like to train a weapon based art but solely for fun and to become a technician with the weapon again for fun. I don't feel i need it to feel safe. I know my area and te do's and don't of an evening. It's not much dangerous where i live also.

    Do you guys who do weapon based MA walk the streets with these weapons conceled? In the UK you get thrown in the clink for that.

  19. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Personally, no. I'm never armed. And I don't really train specifically for SD. I'm not sorry that my training in kali has exposed me to some good tactics for dealing with a lead pipe, a broken beer bottle, a switchblade, or various other feasible threats. But at the end of the day, I train in this stuff because 1) it's interesting and 2) I like the physical problem solving exercise it presents me with. In other words, I don't seriously expect I'll ever be attacked with a machete. But as a physical/thought exercise, coming up with realistic responses holds intrinsic value to me.
  20. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I'm pretty much always armed

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