Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Martial Arts Weapons 2

The Unsafe and the Absurd 
This is a follow up to the Martial Art Weapons 1 blog I posted back a couple of months ago.

Keeping in mind the following rules which I discussed before
  1. Safety is the primary concern.
  2. Price shouldn’t be the determining factor, durability and safety should. 
  3. What is it’s primary use going to be? 
  4. As a general rule you get what you pay.  So keep in mind rule #1.

Tonfa on left has space between the handle and the base

In the photo notice how the handle is attached to the tonfa body, this is from a leading martial arts supply manufacturer.  When using your weapons for real contact against other weapons this could be very dangerous.  Compare it to the higher quality but more expensive tonfa on the right, from Pro Budo.  When practicing against other weapons with contact opt for the higher quality, because they both last longer and they are safer in the long run.
The handle is actually cut 1/2 way through due to a manufacturing process error, this is the 2nd set I received from the manufacturer after I complained about the same defect on the 1st pair.

Notice how wooden blades are broken due to contact
Even with training weapons when contact is being made they can break.  Notice how these wooden training kama have broken or chipped over time, the sharper metal training kama aren’t used against the good quality Bo because they would cut into or chip the more expensive Bo.  When the wooden training kama are used, care is used not to go full force keeping safety in mind. 


Ever wonder how people can spin and twirl their weapons around so fast at tournaments?  There is no real fear of getting hurt with plastic toys such as these, these aluminum kama blades got bent from storage, yes storage mind you.  Look close and you will see that these kama are the same pair shown from different angles to show how bent the blades are.  The handles are light weight plastic or maybe balsa wood and are used to teach kids and adults kama.  Kama such as these are used to teach people "Weapons" in many karate schools today.   I actually had a mother call me up one time inquiring about classes for her 7 year old child who as a Yellow belt; with only a couple of months of study, had learned kama and nunchaku.  She was offended that I wouldn’t continue his study in these weapons.

The author's training kama along side of the toy kama
The kama is a sickle use to harvest grain, cut weeds etc. etc. The blade is sharp and meant to cut with; or as one instructor told me a edged weapon acts as a matter separator (think about it).  Traditional kama katas have the person being cut, decapitated, stabbed etc. etc. and if mistakes are made when practicing using live steel (i.e. sharp) kamas then someone has scars (I speak from experience and have the scar to prove it).  What an instructor was doing teaching a 7 year old Yellow belt kama kata and/or techniques (probably with kama such as these), I have no idea.  In reality the only separating happening; was the mother from her hard earned money, and the instructor from his integrity in taking it.  

Assisting in Class 2

My Brown and Red Belt Assistants (or meet the Bradburys)
For anyone that has attended my Saturday classes you have probably met or seen Kate, my Red belt assistant.  For over the past year Kate has been my primary assistant helping me teach on Saturdays.  Kate leads the warm ups, if extra people are needed then Kate takes part in the warm up games, leads the kicking, teaches kata, etc. etc. and basically handles any teaching duty I assign her.  In short Kate is an awesome assistant.

Kate and her Dad (I'm in the middle) at the 2013 AKATO Awards Banquet

What you might not know is that Kate has been studying the martial arts since she was young girl, I believe she has been in the martial arts since she was five years old.  Due to her parents relocating she has trained in several arts earning rank of various levels up to brown even in another style.  She has been with me for over two years now switching over from another local American Karate school after earning rank (blue or purple) there as well.  Due to her skill on her first belt exam with me she was double promoted to brown belt by the exam board.  Kate devotes much of her Saturday to helping me for two hours and then working out in the advanced class for a third hour all without much of a break.  Do to her dedication in helping with class, her work ethic in class and her all around sunny disposition Kate was my Student of the Year for 2012.

Jackie helping me teach the AKATO Kobudo black belts Arnis techniques
Then of course there is Miss Jackie and Mr. Kevin; Kate’s parents, who train in my Modern Arnis program.  Jackie and Kevin have also trained for the past several years in several martial arts including a similar local American Karate program, as well as Ryukyu Kenpo (Okinawan karate) and Modern Arnis under a different instructor.  While mainly helping out with my Modern Arnis program they have helped train my karate students in double stick drills, Modern Arnis Anyos (katas), pressure points, and self defense.  Both Jackie and Kevin have been instrumental in helping to guide me and improve my martial arts program by working behind the scenes to help me revamp and publish our new curricula, design our logos, the facebook page and even create the website.  These two have been awesome friends and assistants and they were my 2012 Student of the Year for my Arnis program.

While the Bradbury’s (Kate, Jackie and Kevin) have been my main primary assistants in the advanced (under black belt levels), I do have other Purple belts that also help me out when needed as well.  If Kate can’t be there on a Saturday then I put out a general call to my purple belts to see if help is available, I'll introduce them in another blog.