This article is going to seem as if I am contradicting my own philosophy about specializing in the martial arts.
But let me clarify something first. Not all martial artists are created equal. There are some of us who do this full-time as teachers, some of use do this full-time as students/fighters, some do it part time as teachers, some are part time students, and some do it part time as fighters. And then on top of that, you have the casual “dabbler” in the martial artist, and the casual “serious” martial artist. They are not the same, and each of them have their own differences and unique needs and characteristics. This article is speaking to the full time teacher and the full time fighter.
There is a saying that the true warrior must master many weapons. The idea behind this is that we have different weapons that are most suitable for various situations, and sometimes, you cannot use a gun in a knife fight–just as you shouldn’t try to use a knife in a gun fight. While there are many times where your specialty should be modified or adapted to use against various weapons, opponents and situations, there are those times that your weapon is just not practical. For the casual or part time fighter, this is acceptable and reasonable. But for the full-time martial artist, we must be able to pull out another set of tricks from our bag.
(Darrin Cook’s Big Stick Blog has an article about this subject, btw)
There are many skills that can be applied to various weapons, but there are many weapons that require a completely different set of skills. As a full-time martial artist, you must be able to wield each of the weapons in your arsenal well. This is the mistake of many full-time martial artists who teach several weapons, but do only one or two of them well. You must strive for the goal of mastering most of what you teach. In my own school, I teach more than 10 weapons–Filipino as well as Chinese–and I can realistically claim expertise in all of them. Some teachers are satisfied with only some knowledge of their weapons, which is often limited to simply some demonstration technique, drills or forms. But you must have practiced for hundreds of hours with the things you teach until you have completely lost count. To the untrained eye, none of your weapons work should be easily identifiable as a strength or weakness. As fighters, you must strive to be able to fight, with confidence, using any of the weapons in your knowledge base.
There are too many reasons why this is true, and we will have to get into it another time. It’s late and I need to get to bed! I hope I have given you something valuable to think about!
Thank you for visiting my blog!