I will take minor exception to any notion that one has to train to become proficient with kobudo as weapons cum self-defense weapons. Obviously, the normal reason to train in any form of self-defense is to be able to use that method in a real-life scenario. I would agree with that for empty-hand self-defense, and with weapons one might find oneself in possession of, such as a gun or a knife. However, it is my opinion that training with some forms of kobudo (most especially as I have noted, bo and sai) are actually pretty good tools to help your empty-handed self-defense as well. In other words, there's nothing at all wrong with training bo and sai (perhaps other weapons) on empty air, without full power, without clocking people over the head with them, etc. Learning to effectively control the weapon can be accomplished without striking anything; the weight, heft, and balance of the weapon in question can all be learned to an effective degree without actually striking anything. Now, if I intended to train to use, say, a bo, as a self-defense weapon, then absolutely yes, I would say I need to train actually using it to hit people and things. However, I am unlikely to find myself wandering through Sherwood Forest with a large staff, and suddenly be set upon by ruffians intent on relieving me of my purse of gold coins. In other words, a) I don't carry a bo around and b) I can't think of a situation in which I'd wish I had one.