Weapons training should be an integral part of a traditional martial artist’s training schedule, once they have reached a high enough level with their open hand training.
The benefits of weapons training are numerous, one of the most important factors is that it’s great fun and adds a new element of excitement into your training! We are fortunate enough to not have to train with these weapons with the thought of going into battle or defending ourselves with them so a great part of the training becomes enjoyment and keeping the art and the traditions alive for future generations.
Once a certain level of achievement has been reached with open hand training, putting a weapon into a practitioner’s hand (or hands) is a good way to take training full circle and start as a beginner again. It also allows an instructor to correct basic errors that may be undetected in open hand training as they are very slight but they become magnified once a weapon is being used (for example, a very slight shake of a hand may be undetected while performing open hand techniques but you can be sure it will be noticed with a Chinese straight sword in hand).
Learning weapons forms will introduce a whole new world of stances, martial applications, postures and movements that otherwise for the student to practice. Some weapons forms can be very aerobic in nature, so they are great for fitness training and once heavier weapons are used they can really tax all aspects strength and conditioning.
As a traditional club, at WCA we have wide variety of weapons on offer to learn. Several students are learning the Chinese straight sword as well as the fan and staff and later in the year those lucky enough to get a place on the course will learn a traditional spear form.
However, these are just the tip of the iceberg as other routines in a diverse range of weaponry such as the trident, cane, double daggers, Da Dao (literally meaning ‘big knife’) are available to learn for those who are training hard and regularly.
So keep up the hard work and who knows where it will lead you!