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Introduction to Weapons in Martial Arts

Weapons play a big part in many different styles of Martial Arts. Each weapon has a unique history and special techniques associated with the item. Most weapons in Martial Arts derive from one of two aspects: the martial need and the common need.

Martial weapons, like swords, gims, or spades, are present in many of the military fighting systems of pre-mechanical, pre-artillery worlds. Because of the prominence in use of these weapons during war and combat, there are very formal traditions and protocols around the use of many of them. For instance, in drawing a samurai sword, one must follow very specific steps. These formal steps are integrated into most forms that involve this weapon, the last step normally being to clean the blade (of blood) prior to sheathing. The formality of these weapons also presents itself in the form, with strict adherance to tradition and keeping the forms pristine.

Common weapons, such as fans, canes, benches, or chains, are purposely common in their appearance. They speak to a point in time when either Martial Arts was not allowed to commoners or oppressed peoples. These people learned to defend themselves with things that laid around, items that they could easily find and use… and hide in plain sight should local authorities come knocking on their doors. Over time, and as Martial Arts was more openly accepted, these common weapons found their place in various systems and gained attributes to make them more powerful. For instance, the iron fan has been modified from the typical olden fans to have points at the end for more damage.

Weapons are perhaps one of the most readily recognized and sought after training in Martial Arts. The history behind the weapon can often lead to understanding the lineage of a style. As we explore each of them, we’ll uncover some of their history, secrets, and appeal that make weapons such an important part of Martial Arts.

Check in our Weapons category as we explore each of the weapons.

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