“We train in the use of weapons: rope, swords, spears, chains-everything is a weapon. A piece of paper. Anything that is nothing. I’m a walking arsenal – but being a ninja is more than just the physical. It’s teaching awareness, the spiritual. You have to develop a real killing feeling, but with the ability to not kill. You have to have the guts to kill. But also the physical and spiritual ability and strength to not kill, to give your opponent an out, an excuse to back off. In truth I don’t teach them anything. I show them how to lead their lives. It’s up to them to grasp it or not.” – Soke Hatsumi
As a ninjutsu practitioner, we should constantly be honing our ability to utilize and deal with weapons. Whether we were back in the early days or on the modern streets today, attacks with w a weapon happen every day, and if you are not preparing yourself to deal with reality. Hiding your head in the sand and avoiding this type of training could result in you or your loved one being seriously injured or killed. Now, I am not known for not being somewhat controversial in both what I say as well as in my training methods, so prepare yourself for the rest of this post!!(LOL)
Myth Busting 101
“Will traditional ninjutsu training will prepare you to deal with a weapon attack.”
Well, yes and not so much. It may give you a better chance of surviving but having spent 4 decades in various weapon based arts (Southeast Asian, Western, Chinese, and Japanese) I will throw out to you that most training against a static attacker with the application of traditional taijutsu movements will not adequately prepare you for an attack. Why you might ask? It is not real and there is no force on force training going on here. Let me explain what I mean by Force on Force training: This is where two or more training partners are attempting to smack the crap out of each other. Is it sparring, yes. Is it brawling, yes. Can you get hurt, oh yes you can! But without this type of training you will not see the realities of real combat. Now there are many ways to apply this principle in your training, and since this post is about weapons training here are a few suggestions for you.
Force on Force Training
1) Use simulated weapons that you may carry every day in your sparring sessions. This would mean knifes, collapsible batons, chains/ropes, guns etc.
2) Start with them in a common concealed carry position and start the simulated situational sparring session having to deploy the weapons
3) Add multiple man attacks and multiple man counter/defensive situations.
4) Wear real everyday clothing
5) Utilize an AAR (After Action Review/Report) of the session, film it or have others record the highs and lows of the sessions, what worked and what didn’t
6) Add low light situations
7) Add realistic and explicit language
Ok, there are a few tips, but your training should be fun as well, and there is nothing wrong about taking your traditional weapons practice to new levels by applying the above training tips. I have sparred with bokkens, shinai, naginata, various swords, shields, spears, staffs, flexible weapons etc. etc., I know I am a bit crazy and I have taken my share of injuries, and gone home healed up and came back for more. You may or may not want to take your training that far, but there are alternative padded weapons and protective armor that will allow you to still gain some of the benefits of this harsh level of training. Here is a link of one of my students and I demonstrating at a training event several years ago, this was not scripted and was at full power with control.
Well I hope I have stimulated some thought and changes to your next practice session, more on this subject to come.
Airyu – A Ninjutsu Renegade!
Living the Ninja Lifestyle!