Martial Arts Encinitas: Facts About Weapons Training
During a student’s first few years at our school for martial arts in Encinitas, we spend most of our classwork on kata, or forms. As students progress, some basic sparring training is added and eventually we move into more advanced sparring. Usually, at this point, students have joined our Tournament Team. After two years on this team, taking part in many competitions, a student can join our World Team, and the curriculum for these students includes weapons training.
When parents first hear the words “weapons training,” they tend to be a bit concerned. After all, the word “karate” translates to “empty hand,” so it might seem like the weapons we use include only our hands and feet. To ease your mind, it is important to understand that we don’t simply hand two kids Samurai swords and let them battle it out. We spend a great deal of time learning how to use each weapon and have protective gear to prevent injuries. Safety is always our top priority with weapons training, as well as with any type of sparring.
Keep in mind that by the time a student has progressed to this level, they already have gained an enormous amount of knowledge about karate as well as improving their self-control. They have practiced sparring (and most parents were nervous the first time they witnessed sparring), and are comfortable with facing an opponent. With proper protective gear and plenty of training, weapons training is just as safe as any other sport, and perhaps far safer than sports such as football, hockey and other sports where injuries are common.
There are many important benefits from weapons training. For instance, students build strength as they use weapons such as a staff. Holding a staff and using it correctly builds strength the arms and wrists. Using weapons improves a student’s focus and coordination, and even helps prepare them for other sports, such as baseball, lacrosse, tennis and hockey. For instance, you will notice improvement in a baseball player’s batting ability as they progress with weapons training.
Here’s a quick look at some common weapons used by practitioners of karate and martial arts in Encinitas. We don’t use all of these weapons, of course, but it can be interesting to learn about the different types of weapons commonly used in karate.
There are several types of staffs used in weapons training, including the Bo and the Jo. The Bo staff is about six feet in length, while the Jo is about two feet shorter. Traditionally, Bo staffs were made of bamboo or rattan, but as we practice with these staffs, we typically use foam staffs as well as head gear and other protective items to ensure safety.
Commonly known by Americans as nunchucks, this weapon consists of two sections made of wood that are connected by a chain. This weapon was developed in Okinawa, and as a martial arts student works with this weapon, he or she is certain to see an improvement in their hand-eye coordination. There is actually an entire martial art developed around the use of nunchaku, which is known as Nunchakujutsu. When one begins using the nunchaku, padded versions often are used until the student develops better form and more control.
The tonfa are a set of sticks that are less than two feet in length, with handles placed toward the end of each stick. The tonfa can be used both as a defensive and offensive weapon, and students will learn both blocking and striking skills as they use the tonfa. There are foam-covered tonfas that can be used to ensure safety during practice sessions.
There are many different swords used in martial arts in Encinitas, and while they might seem a bit scary, sword work begins with foam or wooden swords and plenty of safety gear. Samurai swords and ninja swords are two common types of swords that might be used in weapons training.
These are just a few examples of the types of weapons that can be used for weapons training. There are also many types of throwing weapons, such as ninja stars and knives, that can be part of weapons training. As stated before, we don’t use all of these weapons for our classes in martial arts in Encinitas. Most types of martial arts include the use of weapons at some point during training, and students at this level are highly enthusiastic about beginning their weapons training.
While it might make some parents a bit nervous, the use of martial arts weapons is surprisingly graceful. Watching students use these weapons is more like watching a form of art than observing combat. If you are interested in learning more about weapons training or our classes for martial arts in Encinitas and Carlsbad, give us a call today.