Why train weapons in Kung Fu?

There is a lot of debate over the value of forms practice; and weapons training is no exemption. It seems that anything that isn’t completely understood, or that doesn’t directly relate to hurting someone, poses no value in modern society. And that’s a real shame. So rather than give you a valid reason for training traditional Kung Fu weapons, I’ve decided to give you 5:

1. Developing coordination – If you have trained martial arts, you know that to develop power in your open hand strikes takes coordination and proper body mechanics. Weapons training brings that to a new level. Now you have an external item that you are trying to coordinate with your body and make it move as one. This gives you a better sense of mechanics, proprioception and the use of relaxation and tension.

2. Increased strength and endurance – Even with proper body mechanics, weapons take more strength than open hand because you are essentially weight training. (See why the type of weapons you train with are important) This increased weight helps to develop strength in the hands, wrists, shoulders and core; and each weapon will focus more on one or two areas than others and in turn this will make moving without a weapon easier.

3. Cultural – Weapons training, just like open hand forms, lion dance and Bai Si ceremonies, are all part of a rich tradition. When you practice, you are practicing a piece of history that is thousands of years old. This isn’t something you watch on TV, or read about. This tradition needs to be practiced to be kept alive.

4. Can be used in self-defense – Some weapons like, daggers and staff can be directly applied to most common things we find in everyday life. So it just doesn’t teach you how to use traditional weapons, it teaches how to use ANYTHING as a weapon.

5. It’s Fun! – Please…. Let’s forget about fighting every once in a while. It’s ok to do things that are healthy and make you feel good AND don’t involve hurting another human being. Weapons are a blast to train, just for the sake of doing it. And I think all of us can use a little more fun in our lives.

Thanks for stopping by,

- Sifu Edward Tomaine

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