Once practitioners have begun to master the basic moves in aikido, they often ask about weapons training. In this month’s blog, we give you the run-down on the types of weapons we use here at Shin-Gane, and why we believe training with weapons is useful.
Why Train with Weapons?
Some ask why we even bother with the rather old-fashioned weapons used in aikido. Even if they were on-hand in a real-world fight, they might not be any good if the opponent has, say, a .45.
While we recognize that a bokken will be of very little use against a handgun, we still feel that there are important skills to be gained by training with traditional aikido weapons.
(1) Weapons help you develop a correct stance in aikido, which in turn gives you heightened speed and balance. If you’re interested in improving your stance, the use of a weighty weapon may be the practice that helps you get there.
(2) Weapons training also helps you better understand the optimal distance you should maintain between yourself and a sparring partner. As we know, correct distance is a skill that is extremely important in aikido. When you train with weapons, you learn to be close enough to control your partner, but far enough away so your partner cannot get a chance to hurt you.
(3) Finally, weapons training helps teach you timing. You learn to understand the correct counter-movement to respond to your partner; you learn to move in sync with your partner, even to anticipate his next moves.
All of these skills are important to learn; training weapons can be a way to “level up” your aikido practice.
The Types of Weapons Used in Aikido: Bokken, Jo, Tanto
The Bokken is a wooden model of a Japanese sword. This weapon is not wielded to kill; rather, it is used primarily in training.
The Jo is a light, smooth pole made of wood. With a length of 130 cm, this weapon is used in several practices of martial arts – not just aikido. The Jo allows practitioners to slash, chop, poke, or block.
Another weapon is the Tanto, a Samurai dagger. This short, cutting weapon is a popular one, but one we don’t use very much at Shin-Gane. At our dojo, we practice the five kata of the bokken on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month.
Are You Interested in Weapons Training?
Come to a free introductory session at Shin-Gane. Our instructors will be happy to tell you more.