The Value of training with odd-ball weapons

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by geezer, May 31, 2020.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    The recent thread on the Chinese "Monk's Spade" evoked some debate over why people would ever bother to train with such an oddball weapon in this day and age. Of course there are a number of reasons, ranging from tradition (in any traditional art regardless of culture), to conditioning, to reinforcing certain basics of movement, stance, steps, and so forth.... But, I also see value in training with oddball weapons, even in a practical and contemporary system such as the pragmatic style Escrima I train.

    Our basic training is with short sticks and empty hands, then we branch out into bladed weapons, little palm-sticks, long staffs, etc., adapting the same fundamental concepts to exploit the attributes of whatever we can lay our hands on.

    Recently, I tossed out a couple of old PR-24s and a pair of tonfas I found in the back of a closet, probably collected in the early 80s. I told my students (just the last two guys I'm still meeting with during these times) to take some time and figure out how to best use these things for self-defense, based on what we already know and do.

    The results were pretty interesting. We tested some of their ideas with each other, on the bag and with a striking shield, we analyzed problems, and finally put together some striking exercises and a little practice form for solo training.

    The point was not to make anybody expert in a police tool that is little used these days, but to be able to grab whatever object is available, assess its attributes and use it effectively as an improvised weapon of self-defense. Everybody seemed to find the exercise challenging, useful, and fun. Any thoughts?
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    This idea is the main principle behind the weapons training I do. The basic weapons are sticks (single and double, same sticks you use - a carry-over from my FMA training) and a staff. Forms exist for single stick, double stick, and staff. I encourage students to do what I do: attempt the forms with different sticks (jo vs. bo, hanbo on either form, can I do a staff form with an escrima stick??). We dabble a bit with flexible weapons (mostly cloth), and occasionally just play with whatever is handly (like your "found" weapons). The idea is that some sort of stick is often handy, and working out how to use various objects (and how to defend against them) builds basic principles that can be applied with (and often without) other weapons.

    I don't expect anyone to learn expert weapon technique from me. That'd be a miracle, given I don't have that to transfer to them. But then, I don't think you need to be an expert with a stick to make good use of it. Most folks can figure out how to hit with it, and the training is just to help them hit better, retain better, and defend better.
     
  3. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Outside the box thinking and innovation with different shaped, weighted, length, sturdiness, flexibility types of objects and how to incorporate them within one's strategies and tactics. Becoming comfortable with objects of opportunity as a weapon or force multiplier.
     
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  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    how odd ball ?

    to be really useful in combat a weapon needs to have at least one of the following qualities

    sharp, long heavy hard or chemical

    short blunt soft light, inert things are a real challenge. to use as a weapon give them a paper handkerchief and see what they come up with, you best hope is a covid bio weapon, though you might make a case for a length of rope, but even that has to be long enough


    the best use should really be obvious from what qualities it has in what percentage

    by far the best improvised self defence weapon ive come up with, was as a kid when some big kid was insisting on fighting me, i picked up the biggest dog turd in the park, suddenly he didnt want to fight any more
     
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  5. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    That´s really gross ...and actually pretty good thinking. When we were kids, my brother (a really little guy, only about 5' 3" tall as an adult) used the same tactic with good results. Later he became a fanatical weight lifter and state champion wrestler. That worked too.

    Anyway Jobo, you clearly have no problem thinking "outside of the box". But a lot of people are more boxed-in by their perceptions. If somebody threatened them ...at say ...a desk, they would look down and see their monitor, keyboard and mouse, maybe a coffee cup, a stapler, some pens and pencils, an electric pencil sharpener...

    Under similar circumstances, you or I might see exactly the same things ...as a bunch of potential weapons. Mind-set or perception can make all the difference.
     
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  6. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    I knew a Chinese martial art instructor back in the 80s who taught ...mostly Chinese kids behind his restaurant in south Phoenix after closing time on Saturday nights. I was friends with a couple of his students, and he knew my old sifu from Hong Kong ...so I hung out there. We also got to eat the left-overs from the buffet for free! One time while I was chowing down, he told me that when he was younger, and working in restaurant kitchens in Hong Kong he saw an older cook defend himself against a knife slash with a large dish-towel.

    When some angry kitchen help approached the cook brandishing a knife, the cook turned to face his attacker and flicked his dishtowel into a pot of boiling broth next to him. When the attacker closed and crudely chopped downward, the cook sidestepped the awkward strike and whipped the end of the towel soaked in boiling broth right into the guy's face ....ending the attack.

    Apparently, they didn't make a big deal out of it afterward, and the scalded waiter healed up OK. The thinking was that if somebody really wants to kill you with a knife, you won't see it coming.

    Now do I believe all these stories? No. But I still like to retell them! ;)
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I've had folks on forums challenge that you can't defend against specific kinds of attacks like a knife attack from behind without warning. I just agree with them, and tell them we're just looking for principles that might improve the odds a bit when we can see it coming.

    I've done some experimenting with wet towels. Those things can get heavy and make an effective bludgeon. Not likely to create direct trauma, but it'll certainly move the head and knock legs around. Never experimented with boiling broth, though. I keep eating the training tools.
     
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  8. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    I think this is a very useful debate, use and train with as many things as possible, if someone is coming at you with a weapon, you are better using an equaliser, a chair, a picture frame, a fire extinguisher, anything that comes to hand, this is one of the things I like about FMA, the training movement is the same, be it fist, knife etc, similarities will become self evident.
     
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  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    This is it in a nutshell. The object is not to take down with this or that, joint lock, punch or kick. The object is to defeat the opponent. In any fashion. Perception of "odd" objects as potential weapons is useful. Right now, I am at my desk and I'm looking at a coffee mug, pencils, phone, wooden bill organizer, pen and full gallon water jug. All of them are within arm's reach and capable of being an accessory to my karate techniques. Spending a minute or two to visualize how they may be used is time well spent.

    gpseymour mentioned a wet towel. Aside from a nasty snap, it can be used to block, trap and lock. A little similar to nunchaku is this regard. There is a story of Tomari-te expert, Matsumora (a teacher to Kyan and Motobu) defeating a Satsuma samurai with a wet towel (although he lost a pinkie finger in the process). As Jobo hinted at, there are objects/weapons that can be grouped into categories of shared qualities. By knowing how to use one, others in the same category can often be used effectively.
     
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  10. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    I dont think there really is a odd ball weapon, depends how you define it. Priority wise its ones you would most often come across or use, then going to least common, and least common soemtimes exists as a experts weapon to drill in better refinement to basic principles etc. Like whips are usually the last thing you get and that really is a experts weapon or are put in so you can better understand body mechnics and some other principles, or something like that. (could probbly write a paragrapgh for all the justifications of inclusion of something)
     
  11. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    sorry to be stating the obvious, but some times its required to stop flights of fancy,

    on selecting a weapon from a choice of objects or just to have or have not, its necessary to consider if the weapon is of more value than the hand you have given up to hold it

    grabbing a coffee cup for instance is of limited value to be honest, id sooner have my hand free, your not going to knock them out cold, rather just be left holding the handle

    that is of course if you can hit them with it, whats likely to happen if the weapon now becomes the focus of the tousle and they have two hands free to your one

    ive taken various weapons of people over the years based on numeric hand superiority, by which time they were helpless
     
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  12. O'Malley

    O'Malley Blue Belt

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    After having been on the receiving end, I can definitely say that, during my childhood, my father displayed remarkable skill in using his shoe as a blunt and ranged weapon. However, his training regimen remains a mystery to this day.
     
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  13. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    The point was not to make anybody expert in a police tool that is little used these days, but to be able to grab whatever object is available, assess its attributes and use it effectively as an improvised weapon of self-defense. Everybody seemed to find the exercise challenging, useful, and fun.

    That right there. That says it all. Nicely done.
     
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  14. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Something else to look at after 'assessing attributes and using effectively' drills with odd or unusual weapons is to also throw in using the weapon other than as effectively as possible type of drills. For instance, have the students wrestling on the ground but after 30 or 40 seconds surreptitiously give one of the wrestlers a tool but give it to them so that they are holding it some way other than the natural or most efficient way. The benefit is that they now get the experience of having to use it, as is, while in the fight and the benefit for their partner is that they start to learn intuitively when a weapon has been added to conflict and how to or if to deal with it, while in the fight. Another lesson is how to do the work while holding something that is clumsy and ineffective but if let go of might give the other a tool that is neither clumsy or ineffective. Restricting the use of 'hand' while providing other rarely tried options can be liberating and mind/body expanding.
    Regards
    Brian
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent idea. Thanks for sharing that.
     
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  16. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    ^^^^ You know, that's something I really like about training MA to begin with. The problem-solving and mind expanding bit. The older I get, the less likely it is that I will ever use this stuff "on the street", and the lower my odds are of getting away without injury if I did.

    On the other hand, like you said, training this kind of problem-solving is good for the mind and body ...and can be applied way beyond the narrow confines of "self defense". I could even see it's use in the corporate world ...although I'll never be part of that! An old Escrima instructor of mine did offer FMA themed corporate "team-building" workshops at one time. But then, his day job was in that world.
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I tell my students I hope those are the only lessons they ever actually need to apply in real life from my classes.
     
  18. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I train with a bunch of odd balls.

    Some of them are weapons.
     
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  19. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You.

    You were his training regimen.
     
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  20. Oily Dragon

    Oily Dragon Orange Belt

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    Weird weapons are my favorite kind.

    This thing is bizarre, but still devastatingly effective, like the name suggests.

    Shock and awe works, so the odder the weapon, the more confounding to the enemy. Like knocking someone out with a wet towel. I've seen it happen.

    [​IMG]123
     
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