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?