In terms of martial arts, to be able to use a proper / improper weapon does not mean specifically:
- Knowing how to perform codified forms
- Knowing how to run “tricks” of skill / ability
All this is very useful and helps us but our real focus is on being able to fight. In this regard, here is an exercise that aims to make us develop spatial intelligence (the ability that we have previously identified as “primary” for a warrior, read The most important skill in combat).
This exercise (already described for the free body) may be performed either with flexible weapons (rope, nunchaku, etc.), both with the rigid ones (stick, knife, etc.), the only precaution is to use only training tools (no sharpened blades, made of non-hazardous materials, etc.).
Here is the exercise (in its simplest version):
- Let’s find a closed room, neither small nor large but devoid of delicate objects
- Let’s tell people near us that we are training with weapons (for their security and ours)
- Let’s take a couple of tennis balls, 1 classical and 1 with reduced elasticity (eg. the ones for dogs)
- Let’s choose the weapon we want to use (rope, sai, 3-section stick, etc.)
- Let’s start with the simplest thing, let’s bounce the ball on the ground
- We have to try to hit the ball with the weapon before it hits the ground a second time
Although we may have already had ample opportunity to work with the chosen weapon we will probably realize how different is to hit the air or an imaginary / simulated target than having to reach a very specific space in a short time.
We must teach our mind to instinctively perform complex calculations about power, distance, position, air resistance (etc.) in a split second and without losing focus on the surrounding environment.
To perform this exercise we need:
- Right technique
- Right power
- Right speed
- Right balance
- Right control of the weapon (eg. if we feel it too heavy we will fail)
If instead, we are already able to accurately hit the ball, we can move on to more complex and advanced versions of this practice:
- Let’s change (sometimes) the ball with the other ones with damped elasticity
- Let’s throw the ball and hit it in the air before it hits the ground (slightly more difficult)
- Let’s fight with the ball and his rebounds on the wall / floor / ceiling trying not to stop the bounces (much harder)
- Let’s fight with the ball in the presence of obstacles on the ground (let’s choose non-hazardous ones)
The ideal goal is to be able to project the effectiveness of our weapon at the speed of thought in an infinitely small time / space. This, together with the absorption of a good technique / practice / deception ability, means knowing how to fight with a weapon.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.