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Thread: Traditional Weapons & Modern Day Benefits

  1. #1
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    Traditional Weapons & Modern Day Benefits

    One could easily argue that we dont need to practice traditional weaponry to further the effectiveness of martial arts to meet modern concerns and needs.

    Though I would tend to agree with this mindset, I also believe that there are many benefits one can gain while in practice with traditional weapons. Enhanced further if you have live sparring included in your weapon training.

    From just basic solo exersizes and drills one of the first things i noticed when i initially began weapon training personally, as im sure many others have, wrist strength is constantly being tested and worked when dealing with the majority of weapons out there.

    Balance, Coordination, Timing, Strength, Speed, Power are a few more benefits/requirements that quickly come to mind recieved and needed while practicing and advancing with traditional weapon styles.

    I dont mean this thread to be a debate on whether we do or do not need weapon training in todays world. that can be left up to each person individually. Rather to bring about discussion of what others may have experienced in regards to the beneficial traits required and honed by weapon training, in conjunction with crossing these aspects over into modern day life. IE: Sport, Self Defense, etc..


    ill pick one aspect and touch on it lightly.

    Strength:

    There are a variety of weapons out there on the human market. The Chinese alone have developed a vast amount of different weapons for man to choose from.

    While of course weight training is a key point for cross training to get a set pattern and system to build and train your muscle groups. Weapons themselves are a great source of strength training. From your staff to your saber, from your spear to your halberd, weapons have proven in the past to be a great aid in building men into mountains of strength.


    any thoughts?
    A man has only one death. That death may be as weighty as Mt. Tai, or it may be as light as a goose feather. It all depends upon the way he uses it....
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  2. #2
    cjurakpt Guest
    training weapons definitly improves strength, balance, coordination, timing, etc.; the problem is that it improves these attributes pretty much in terms of the specific weapon that you are using; so you might get really good at whip chain, which can be a biotch to learn, but it doesn't mean your empty hand sparring will improve much at all;

    my point is that, most classical CMA weapons training is basically an end unto itself: it's a cool looking thing, it's deinitely a lot of fun, and it can help improve your stamina / endurance if you do it at an aerobic level sufficient enough to get your HR up (although there are obviously other, easier ways to do that as well), and eye-hand coordination will improve relatie to the specific weapon, or at most class of weapon that you are using; in terms of practicality, some of the basic concepts of certain weapons - staff, broadsword, whip chain, bench - might be applied to everyday items like broomsticks, canes/umbrellas, belts, chairs - things that you may be lucky enough to find lying around - but only if you work it against opponents who are really trying to get to you (I'd advise foam safety weapons to start); of course, it would probably make more sense to train to use a knife and carry one (or more) if you are planing on getting into fights requiring weapon use on a regular basis...

    anyway, I love working with weapons, but my personal interest is a little weird: I am into a sort of comparative anatomy of figure-8 patterns: that is, how are they formed differently from weapon to weapon, and how can these patterns be used to generate a local and generalized health effect - the point being is that by working fig-8's and the patterns that extend out of them, the lymphatics of the axilae get worked nicely, as well as the entire t-spine/costal cage gets benefit as well, which ultimately improves resp. diaph. function, leading to improvements in heart, lungs, liver, intestinal and other visceral function, both via direct mechanical changes and also by changes in autonomic tone; but as i said, I am weird...
    Last edited by cjurakpt; 05-31-2007 at 08:57 PM.

  3. #3
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    I was tearing a deck apart with a basic hand-held hammer the other day and starting thinking about real world applications using this weapon in place of my butterfly knives. Short weapons training is very beneficial for self-defense. I only know one other weapon and that is the staff. I enjoy it for the difficulty, and all the attributes you listed. Plus they are very fun to do and that means some stress release (unless I mess up!) and that is very, very beneficial in modern day life.
    A unique snowflake

  4. #4
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    I often times hear people say things like, "You wouldnt be carrying a broad sword, or stick and dagger, or staff, around in the Mall or on the street, so why train it?", or "Fights can go to the ground so you better know all your ranges", or "If its not functional, then youre wasting your time" or countless other remarks based on current trend.

    I think, train what makes you happy, makes you feel like youre moving in the direction you want to go. Enjoy your training, be excited to reach that place you seek. If you get something out of squaring off with your peers and working the long sword, then do it. If you want to be good on the mats then do it. If you want to work ancient techniques or modern techniques, work forms, fight UFC, or something in between, then DO IT. Determine what you want, know what it is, and pursue it vehemently!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PangQuan View Post
    From just basic solo exersizes and drills one of the first things i noticed when i initially began weapon training personally, as im sure many others have, wrist strength is constantly being tested and worked when dealing with the majority of weapons out there.

    Balance, Coordination, Timing, Strength, Speed, Power are a few more benefits/requirements that quickly come to mind recieved and needed while practicing and advancing with traditional weapon styles.

    Strength:

    There are a variety of weapons out there on the human market. The Chinese alone have developed a vast amount of different weapons for man to choose from.

    While of course weight training is a key point for cross training to get a set pattern and system to build and train your muscle groups. Weapons themselves are a great source of strength training. From your staff to your saber, from your spear to your halberd, weapons have proven in the past to be a great aid in building men into mountains of strength.


    any thoughts?

    I believe it was Golden Arhat that asked me "why would you need to practice a spear form?" on a thread once. I basically voiced the same opinion.

    You want stance training, transition drill, coordination and balance. Practice a weapon form. For even tougher hand an eye coordination training, try a jointed weapon. 9 section chain, rope dart or 3 sectional staff.

    Also if your breathing is off, you will finish a weapons form out of breath. Providing you do all your stances properly. That actually helps you in sparring. Granted that is not all you need to spar flawless, but it help with conditioning - both strength and cardio.
    Master of Shaolin I-Ching Bu Ti, GunGoPow and I Hung Wei Lo styles.

    I am seeking sparring partner. Any level. Looking for blondes or redhead. 5'2" to 5'9". Between 115-135 weight class. Females between 17-30 only need apply. Will extensively work on grappling.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjurakpt View Post

    anyway, I love working with weapons, but my personal interest is a little weird: I am into a sort of comparative anatomy of figure-8 patterns: that is, how are they formed differently from weapon to weapon, and how can these patterns be used to generate a local and generalized health effect - the point being is that by working fig-8's and the patterns that extend out of them, the lymphatics of the axilae get worked nicely, as well as the entire t-spine/costal cage gets benefit as well, which ultimately improves resp. diaph. function, leading to improvements in heart, lungs, liver, intestinal and other visceral function, both via direct mechanical changes and also by changes in autonomic tone; but as i said, I am weird...
    Im completely unfamiliar with this concept/science.

    If its not too much of a bother, could you elaborate further? I'm quite interested.
    A man has only one death. That death may be as weighty as Mt. Tai, or it may be as light as a goose feather. It all depends upon the way he uses it....
    ~Sima Qian

    Master pain, or pain will master you.
    ~PangQuan

    "Just do your practice. Who cares if someone else's practice is not traditional, or even fake? What does that have to do with you?"
    ~Gene "The Crotch Master" Ching

    You know you want to click me!!

  7. #7
    cjurakpt Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by PangQuan View Post
    Im completely unfamiliar with this concept/science.

    If its not too much of a bother, could you elaborate further? I'm quite interested.
    well, I'll try - but if you don't get it, it's not because it's you, it's because I am doing a lousy job of explaining it

    many different movement-therapy approaches talk about the body organizing its movement in spiral patterns; a 3D fig.8 pattern is one aspect of this - so if you hold a sword / stick and do a basic fig.8 in the air, the tip will trace that fig.8 in 3-D - kinda like an "infinity" sign that bends in space towards you at the ends, the cross-over point being the furthest from you - okay? you can also do it with a staf two-handed, or double swords, etc. - but this is the easiest to start with

    now, if you think about how the shoulders / spine / pelvis / hips have to turn and move to create a smooth flow through that pattern, they also follow that 3-D fig.8; so as you move through this pattern, you might notice parts of it where you "skip" a bit, where it's not as smooth as other areas - this can be indicative of some sort of bock / restriction somewhere in the body that is moving as a unit instead of dissociating (e.g. - two vertebra "stuck" together moving as one unit); now, you can certainly move and find this sort of thing out without using a weapon, but it can be harder to locate becauseyou are referencing the body through it's own internal fulcrums - because you are moving all day with those same patterns, it can be harder to get an objective sense of where you might be stuck; by doing it with an extension such as a stick in your hand, you are sort of exaggerating the pattern - it's like the longer lever arm created by using an implement gives you a perspective on your structure that you wouldn't ordinarilly have, because it changes the biomechanics of your movement - the body has to accommodate the added force - so it breaks you out of your familiar movement pattern into one that is stranger, so it's easier to observe it - does that make any sense?

    doing the fig.8, being a correlate to the body's natural movement patterns, can help smooth out those rough spots, and is a good way of getting the spine and extremities to decompact a bit, allowing better lymphatic flow through the joints, and also releasing tension through the thoracic spine especially, since you are doing upper extremity movement - this can help to "chill out" the sympathetic autonomic nerve ganglia that sit on either side of each thoracic vertebra, decreasing their tone, and putting you more into parasympathetic response, whcih is the body's "rest and digest" mode; of course, you have to do this more slowly, it's not a performance or fighting thing at all...

    it's one of these annoying things that I can talk all day long about and get nowhere, but you spend 5 minutes doing it this way and you know exactly what I am talking about...

  8. #8
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    actually, i totally understand what your saying.

    I'm glad you brought this up, because i had previously no idea about this. quite interesting actually.

    it gives me something to really pay attention to next time i am working with weapons.

    in your opinion what type of weapon is best suited for this type of personal diagnosis? or would it matter?

    perhaps the weight. like a staff vs. a sword.

    also would two handed weapons have much of a different impact on this rather than a one handed weapon? or perhaps dual weapons like say, double sabre or tiger hook?
    A man has only one death. That death may be as weighty as Mt. Tai, or it may be as light as a goose feather. It all depends upon the way he uses it....
    ~Sima Qian

    Master pain, or pain will master you.
    ~PangQuan

    "Just do your practice. Who cares if someone else's practice is not traditional, or even fake? What does that have to do with you?"
    ~Gene "The Crotch Master" Ching

    You know you want to click me!!

  9. #9
    cjurakpt Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by PangQuan View Post
    actually, i totally understand what your saying.

    I'm glad you brought this up, because i had previously no idea about this. quite interesting actually.

    it gives me something to really pay attention to next time i am working with weapons.

    in your opinion what type of weapon is best suited for this type of personal diagnosis? or would it matter?

    perhaps the weight. like a staff vs. a sword.

    also would two handed weapons have much of a different impact on this rather than a one handed weapon? or perhaps dual weapons like say, double sabre or tiger hook?
    good questions all - I don't reall have an answer, not sure that there is one - again, this is my own little strange idea (although I'm sure someone somewhere has come up with it before), so it's not like there are any hard and fast guidelines; it might be different ones for different people, on the other hand, maybe best to start with the least number of parameters: single stick or if two hands, staff; doubles would certainly change it, since you are doing bilateral fig.8's at the same time - so the spirals kind of overlap

    for me, the key is to try to engage the entire body - from the feet up, in conjunction with the breath (this can mean different things at different times); feeling the connection, the continuity (or lack thereof) and exploring from there; again, the key is not performance, but kinesthetic awareness development and fine tuning

    one thing that can help orient you is to change the fulcrum - so with a single stick you can twirl or do fig.8's from the fingers, the wrist, the elbw, the shoulder, and then keep going see what it's like to "do" it from the spine, the hips, the feet (I'd skip the knees)

    you can also just keep it as a uniplanar circle if the fig.8 is giving you too much info - like doing inside or outside upward or downward twirls (this will occur mostly in saggital plane)

    BTW, this will not necessarily increase your skill with a given weapon by any means - it's just a specific concept in a specific context that uses some principles of body movement, which may or may not be helpful to you - but if it floats your boat, go to town - I'd be curious to know what you observe, as I am still developing it myself
    Last edited by cjurakpt; 06-01-2007 at 07:01 PM.

  10. #10
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    All the responses above are valid. And I'd like to add one more benefit. When I train with a weapon that was used when my system was founded I am closer to understanding the complete art, the needs that were being met, unique methods of problem solving, and something about the society of the times. Even if the weapon is no longer in common use, it is useful to me if it helps to make me worthy of my tradition.

  11. #11
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    Why train with swords? READ Slice, Chop or Julienne? The Case for Traditional Chinese Weaponry by Phil Humphries

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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Why train with swords? READ Slice, Chop or Julienne? The Case for Traditional Chinese Weaponry by Phil Humphries
    That's the best article I've seen in a while. I love substituting unlikely objects into traditional weapon forms, but when it comes to street-fighting against knives, I seem more inclined to use kicks to retain distance. Maybe its just because I have longer legs than average, IDK

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