I had the privilege at the end of last year to participate in a weapons seminar with one of the world's leading swordsman, Grand Master Glenn C. Wilson.
Watching weapons and learning weapons had been one of the reasons I wanted to get into Martial Arts. I loved the fluidity of the forms and the way the movements were effortless. So given the opportunity to spend a full weekend doing nothing but learning more about weapons was extremely exciting to me.
I had worked with a few weapons before, as most other Martial Arts students do as they progress up the ranks. However, I must admit it was but a portion (and a small one at that) of my overall training. While I understood many of the concepts, I didn't have any real practical experience with weapons.
My weekend with Grand Master Wilson was amazing and taught some very interesting lessons about the weapon. Here are a few things from my notes that I learned that weekend:
Over before you know it
While we are mesmerized these days by movies where they have this epic sword fight that lasts 10-15 minutes, in actuality a real sword battle lasts but moments. Normally, within the first 2-3 moves, the winner is already determined.
Present arms, prevent fights
At times, having the weapon and knowing how to properly present it would be enough to bring about a peaceful resolution to issues. So, it was important to know how to properly present your arms not just to respect your lineage but to also potentially avoid bloodshed.
It's all in the wrist
I knew this before going to the seminar but working with a weapon all weekend for at least 8 hours a day really did a number on my wrists. We were working with live blades, which meant being very careful not to cut ourselves and having to deal with the real weight of a sword in our hands. Doing it for so many hours was great exercise. You have to build the strength in your wrist to be effective in doing weapons.
You think, you're done
Weapons, even more so than any other training, really has to be automatic. If you have to stop and think what your next move will be, you're done and in ancient times you'd be dead. Weapons move at such a fast pace that you have to really train your body to react without thinking.
If you're starting to study weapons, keep some of these points in mind. Fortunately, we don't necessarily live in a world like the past where the weapon was a necessity for the defense of ourselves and family. But if you want to truly achieve learning weapons, you have to find a way to absorb these lessons and work towards them.
Enjoy and happy training!