I have always had the opinion that martial arts training should be relevant to the time and the situation that we live in. If there is no application of some sort to the training that we do, then there is no point in doing it. I guess I have always been a practical person in that regard. I have been doing martial arts for the majority of my life, and even when I was a kid, I trained with a purpose in mind – fighting and winning! If the martial art didn’t convince me I could use it, then I wouldn’t bother. While I enjoy my training, I have never done it with the sole purpose of “having fun” or amusement. If you want to have fun, go to the circus.
I look at many martial arts today and think that the people doing them would be better off practicing dancing. They repeat movements with no understanding of what they are trying to accomplish and no practical application at all (When I say this, I am not referring to patterns and forms – I think there is huge benefit in these exercises if done correctly.)
So, what has this got to do with weapons? My opinion is that many martial arts are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to weapons training. While I understand the need for tradition, etc. there cannot be so much emphasis on weapons that have no practical use today. Walking around with a Bo, katana or nunchaku (to name but a few) is impractical in these times. So besides “having fun” and enjoying yourself, I really don’t see the need in becoming a “master” in one of these weapons.
If a martial arts club is going to train people to defend themselves in today’s time, then they need to teach weapons relevant to today’s time. A martial artist that uses weapons should be training in knife, baton (extendable, and not), baseball bat, taser and gun(there are lists of other “traditional” martial arts weapons that can also be used today). We are practicing to defend ourselves in a modern, often urban environment, not in a feudal Japanese village.
While I can appreciate the athleticism and aesthetics of people flailing around with archaic weaponry, it in no way engages me to want to practice it – the same as I can appreciate the skill in ballet, I just don’t have the inclination to do it myself. I believe that martial arts training should have relevance and application to our everyday living.