View Full Version : Practical weapons

les paul
04-06-2001, 03:44 AM
In my opinion it seems more realistic to train with a weapon you might be forced to use one day. Almost all styles have some "practical weapons" that are of a real value in mastering in todays society. By this I do not mean the sword or any type or polearm. There isn't one place in the "developed world" where you can carry one of these items in public.

Better in my opinion would be a staff of some type. Simply, you train differently with a stick than with a sword. Saying to yourself, "I train with the sword, therefore if I have to I can apply my skills with a stick if pressed" is true to a degree, but then why not train with a stick?

There is also a host of "other" weapons that are just as practical in our society. Weapons like knives, chain whips, clubs(hard whips), throwing knives/stars, ropes etc.. You can actually carry these in public un-noticed and your prepared.

Why spend your life mastering a weapon just for cultural exploration/enlightenment(nothing wrong with this if you have another more practical weapon you train in also) ****JUST MY OPINION****

Also, you ever notice that you can train in a sword, polarm etc...for so called martial art reasons (tournaments etc...) and not many people look at you funny, but when you start training in practical weapons for actual reality based reasons and start carring these weapons for defense, even some martial artist look at you funny. It's like your getting to serious for them.

Hopefully this will start a cool thread

04-06-2001, 06:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Why spend your life mastering a weapon just for cultural exploration/enlightenment[/quote]
None of these are the reasons you learn the weapons in traditional Chinese martial arts. Anything can be a weapon. It doesn't take much training to pull a trigger or stick someone with a blade. I don't think you are understanding why you train weapons in CMA. You get certain benefits from spear/longpole and quite different benefits from sword or saber. It's more about the way your body moves with the weapon than how to stick/whack/slice/shave/skewer another person. One thing I will say though and that is if you want to carry a weapon with the intention of ever using it, train your ass off and learn how, whatever it is.

04-06-2001, 07:05 AM
Hey, Spanky!

Spanky, Spanky, Spanky...Spanky, Spanky, Spank-ee! Spank, Spank, Spank, Spankity-Spanky!

Spanky Spank.

You're right, this is a cool thread, Spanky.

Thanks, Spanky.

Spanky, I owe you one. By the way, Spanky, where's Froggy?

K. Mark Hoover

04-06-2001, 02:30 PM
I agree with count. You get a lot more out of learning a weapon than simply how to use it. You learn different movement patterns and different hand positions depending on the weapon. Then, see if there are any applications you can learn from it without the weapon (as in open hand techniques).

I don't know about other styles, but I have found that often the techniques you learn for one weapon are very interchangeable with other weapons. As my name suggests, I like the broad sword. When I learned the stick, I noticed that the techniques were essentially the same, only slight differences were present based on the fact that the sword in a bladed weapon. The hand positioning and use of the weapons were almost identical. Same deal with the pole and the spear. It is probably the same with many other weapons.

And who knows, one day you may find yourself in a sword fight ;)

Talk softly and carry a big stick.

04-06-2001, 08:57 PM
Spankster - In bagua, alot of what you think of as "traditional weapons" are used for conditioning purposes (ie. power generation training), and have ALWAYS been used for this. People seem to think that in the "olden days" everyone carried a sword or a polearm with them wherever they went, but this simply wasn't the case. There has always been a demand for street-oriented weapons training. In bagua, this is satisfied with training in such things as special iron knuckles, emei piercers/judges pens, the crescent blades you may have seen in crouching tiger hidden dragon, and pairs of single and double edged knives.

les paul
04-07-2001, 12:19 AM
Your post is what I was talking about. Count and Broad sword, I know what your talking about and I understand the ramifications of training with weapons, but I disagree hole heartly. I've trained with double braod sword and Kwan Dao for 15 yrs. I even fight in the SCA and can trade blows with knights.( "hell" I was squired to one of the best i.e. Midrealm, Ironwolf, Ozric... nuff said.....) Most of the people in Martial Arts are not really training with their respected wepons, but only posing, untill you go full contact you don't really understand the weapon or the science behind it. As to strength training yea a weapon will help, but most don't sparr(prearanged two man forms don't count) So, what are you really getting from it besides strength conditioning? Why not at least practice with a weapon you can actually use. Just my two bits worth.

04-07-2001, 02:40 AM
I think you are missing the point. Strength, yes, but even that is not what is all about. When we train long pole we do go full power. We put on the Kendo gear and hit full out. We train with Iron wood and we are developing the kind of power that will send someone flying. But even that is not what I am talking about. Your body becomes coordinated in a different way with the pole in your hand. You are training techniques which are mostly off the backhand as opposed to sword techniques which come of the front hand. You are using a different philosophy of attack and defense. It is about the system not the weapon. I think you are gereralizing when you say
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Most of the people in Martial Arts are not really training with their respected wepons, but on ly posing, untill you go full contact you don't really understand the weapon or the science behind it. As to strength training yea a weapon will help, but most don't sparr(prearanged two man forms don't count)[/quote]
I haven't seen MOST but I do recogniz e when people are not getting correct training and only posing. You may disagree with me and that is fine, everyone studies martial arts for their own reasons. But the benefits of training with traditional weapons are you do not compleatly understand a ny one system without it. You can train your entire life and still not really get it. What you choose to take from your system and apply to Real Life is up to you.


[This message was edited by count on 04-07-01 at 05:45 PM.]

04-07-2001, 02:45 AM
Spankorama - I think what count's saying is that when we say "strength training" or "conditioning" we don't mean it really in the western sense. That is, it's not like we're simply doing forms with greater resistance to work out our muscles. The movements of traditional weapon forms are designed to train specific ways of generating power that would be difficult to train with other methods. The benefits translate directly to practical, empty-hand combat. For example, the big broadsword in bagua is famous for teaching the coordination of the waist and wrist to generate spiralling energy. Baji has the lance. Some taiji schools have staff forms - etc.

04-07-2001, 05:34 AM
there is no way anyone can convince me that most of the people who practice traditional gung fu are posing with their weapons. wushu is a different matter, of course.

04-07-2001, 02:48 PM

Why doesn't pre-arrange 2 man sparring count? You still feel the blows and you still wear the bruises if you stuff up. I trained sword against staff with my training brother and I can assure you we took hits, and his staff was definitely the worse for wear. We could have used a short stick instead of a sword, but we chose to use a sword. I can still apply what I learned to the short stick and I am no worse off.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

Kevin Wallbridge
04-07-2001, 10:35 PM
I have found few weapons more practical than a Bick pen for Bagua applications.

However, there is a very practical reason for training with traditional heavy weaponry of medieval design. When you wield a very heavy weapon it inspires the body to relax deeply into its frame, non-internal movement just can't be sustained as long. As well, without a weapon when you connect to an opponent's limbs you can "wield" them instead. I find that when I'm training a lot of weapons work it is easier for me to twine my training partners limbs into locked shapes that they can't escape from.

"The heart of the study of boxing is to have natural instinct resemble the dragon" Wang Xiangzai

04-08-2001, 12:01 AM
Abandit, I think Spanky's point was that you were not trying to damage him and he was not trying to damge you. You were not really fighting with weapons, you were doing coreiographed dance with weapons.

Of course, the SCA combat has it's share of issues, illegal targets, limitation to thrusting and hacking weapons, subjectivity of called hits, rules against flexable handles and hitting with shields/legs/etc, deliberately knocking over your foe.....

So Spanky, you are not exactly practicing for street combat either.

04-08-2001, 01:25 AM
Don't want to sound ignorant, but I don't know what the SCA is. I assume it is a group of people doing medieval combat?

Just because you aren't trying to hurt each other doesn't mean you are not going at it full power. We go full power, but also try to have enough control to stop if we need to. I think this is actually harder than just slugging it out.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

04-08-2001, 02:59 AM
Alot of systems have the bench form, the other night at training sifu was demonstrating the YKM bench form and I realised that even if we don't have many places with such benchs clubs , bars and restaurants have stools so such forms still have their use yeh! particularly if someone pulls a knife.

04-08-2001, 05:37 AM
Abandit - Yes, the SCA is the "Society for Historical Anacronism". It is a historical society, and it has many "stick jocks". People who dress up in armor and beat on each other with weighted rattan.

My point was not that you were not going full power. It was that in a 2-man form no one is trying to win. It is not competetive, therefore you do not really know if you are vunerable to counter strategy. In other words, it's Kata, not fighting.

04-08-2001, 06:07 AM

Fair enough I guess.

BTW if it is the Society for Historical Anachronism, then why is it the SCA? Shouldn't it be the SHA? :)

And if they are dressed up in armour and using weighted rattan, how is that better than choreographed moves? If you get hit you don't get hurt (well I wouldn't think so if you had armour on anyway).

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

04-08-2001, 07:07 AM
My bad, Society for Creative Anacronysm.

And I am not trying to pick on two-person forms. I'm just pointing out the difference with sparring.

And as I also pointed out, there are problems with SCA combat from a fight-training perspective as well (I pointed out several).

04-08-2001, 09:00 AM

Sorry, that obviously came out wrong. I wasn't having a go at you, I was just asking questions.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

04-12-2001, 05:19 PM
Even 2 man choreographed sets serve a purpose beyond show. You are training your techniques, your timing and speed. You are training angles and distances, and you get a sense of what it is like when you are being attacked by another weapon.

Just wanted to fuel this debate up again. I still think some of the bagua weapons sets are using weapons that are practical for street defense. Sets like elbow dagger's, needles, and judges pens since these weapons can be easily carried, concealed and effective.

les paul
04-15-2001, 04:05 AM
Your post is what I had in mind when I started this thread. I was hoping to start up some talk on practical chinese weapons like bagua pens/xingyi needles, chain whips, knives, short staffs and throwing stars etc. These things are very practical for defense in todays society.

I train with xingyi needles and the chain whip. Both (expecially the chain whip!) are small enouph for your pocket!) You can carry both very easly. Since street thugs travel in packs, a small weapon with a big punch could be the equalizer. A hand gun is a great example of this. But a gun does't suit me at all, being an eternal student of the martial arts. Most of these martial art weapons in the hands of a trained master are just as deadly as a hand gun.

FBI statistics prove this. I'm not sure what the exact figures were but the study went something like this.

Officers gun not drawn: knife weilding attacker kills or severly wounds officer within a 10 foot distance 90 percent of the time. (usally officer never got to pull his gun)

Gun drawn but not aimed at knife weilding attacker and all within a 10 foot range of each other: Attacker kills or severly wounds officer 70 percent of the time. 30 percent of the time officer kills or severly wounds attacker in the encounter. 15 percent both inflict lethal/fatal injuries on each other.

Gun drawn and aimed at knife weilding attacker within a 10 foot distance: 50 percent chance of both inflicting fatal wounds on eack other.

"This last statistic I was amazed about." The FBI concluded that who ever got the jump on the other usally got the best of the encounter.

*one of many conclusion:*

"So the gun isn't a magic wand after all"

Percentages went up favorably for the officers as the distance of the encounters increased beyond 10 feet. (i.e. because the hand gun's effective range)

This study was meant to show law enforcement personnal how dangerious knives etc... really are. This is why law enforcement get uptight about concealed weapons)

It also shows that a gun is just like any other weapons. In order for it to be effective, the user must be throughly trained in its use.

This study reminded me how dangerious the weapons we study actually are. I can only assume most of the officers ecountered attackers with little or no martial background besides the street smarts one learns living the thug life.

This is why I'm into studying pratical weapons These studies show they can be just as effective as a gun for self defense.

04-15-2001, 03:10 PM
I only disagree with the way you brought it up in the first place. Instead of making a point you seemed to take a side door that was critical of people who spend time to learn classical weapons in their martial training. If you had made this the original post I might have debated, (for debates sake, mind you) that it takes so much time away from your training to become expert at some modern weapons which have no benefit to your traditional style and I am training martial arts so that I can stop a fight before it gets to the point of deadly solution. or whatever.

But I love the metal whip and it does have traditional benefits as well as practical ones. I always have a chain with me when I am walking the dogs at night. (but then I have the dogs too :-) I learned a Cane set once. By practicing the form again and again it became a part of me. It just flows in my hands like a natural extension for hitting and grabbing. To date, it is THE ONLY weapon I have ever used against another person in a street confrontation besides hands and feet. It may be the most practical weapon of all. I have NEVER made the argument that I learned the cane by learning sword or saber. If there are any similarities in the set, it is only by coincidence. The set just taught me how to move with the cane, but it was up to me to spend time with it and develop it's actual usage. Give me a cane against a knife any day! I hate knives. Knife against knife is stupid. Someone is gonna die and no one is gonna come out without a scratch. But learning the knife as a traditional weapon did teach me about the possibilities.

Your last post is an excellent one and I would be interested in doing more research to get actual statistics. We learn about gun in our classes too. We must know what ranges our techniques might be effective and when a person actually knows what they are doing with a gun and just get down on your knees and pray. We frequently get "law enforcement personal" in our class for training and they all agree with what you are saying. But I have not seen any documented studies with accurate findings to support it. So I too, will be doing some research.

I think the self defense aspect of our training IS the most important aspect of all. Unless you are going to be a teacher or a professional fighter, you do not need to learn every classical movement of a style. There are only so many hours in a day, and they should be hours well spent. But if you intend to teach someone else you should master your system first.

04-18-2001, 01:34 AM
With all that out of the way, Now i'll write.
I agree with you Count, I hate Knives also.
But, with the average person behind that Knive,
I have no fear. He's just swinging in the air trying to get lucky,Like most bare fisted fights.

My Favorite Weapon is the Spear. my weapon of specialty is the DeerHorn. In NY in the Winter
With the right clothes, you can walk the street with with DeerHorns. Depending on my mood, I've been doing it for years.

But being purly practical,
The Judges Pen, The Chainwhip, the cane and all within hands reach. anything is a weapon in a true Martial Artist hands.
Also, How could I forget. Years ago My Sifu introduced me to the fan. A perfect weapon in the summer. And every summer I walk with mine.
The steel one wraped in silk. The fan works perfectly with the palms of Ba-Gua.

Well Just my piece.


04-18-2001, 02:54 AM
Now that's something I would like to see! Hey Maoshan, I'm working on deerhorns right now. I'm really lovin'em!

04-18-2001, 04:31 AM
i just finished learning our northern shaolin cane set, and i agree with you that the cane is an awesome weapon... if you don't mind my asking, i'd be interested to know how you fared with it in a confrontation.

04-18-2001, 05:08 AM
Over a parking place dispute a huge guy grabbed me by the throat with both hands and pulled me out of my car. I had the cane by my side and I took it in my hand. I hooked from underneath and locked him across both arms perfectly, set up to swing across his face. At that point, the guy was hurt and backed off making some lame excuse about not being able to fight a cripple guy. He assumed I was crippled because of the cane. So you see it was not only an effective defense and offense but the cane gave me a psychological advantage too. BTW, a large crowd saw the whole thing and applauded. Gave me a huge ego rush, and I took a bow! Got the parking place too.