Why do Westerners train in exotic unrealistic weapons and ignore practical ones like baseball bats?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Bullsherdog, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Bullsherdog

    Bullsherdog Yellow Belt

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    I'm watching High School of the Dead and I just watched Train to Busan. In both zombie apocalypse work, the more preferred weapon by the heroes is the baseball bat and most bystanders are using broomsticks, wrenches, crowbars, and one handed heavy clubs and sticks and other boring weapons. The few people who choose to use fancy martial arts stuff like Sai and Kama either get eaten quickly or are shown to be at an extremely high level of skill that a regular Joe can't expect to attain in years or even decades.

    It leads me to ask why so many Westerners tend to search out specifically to train in weapons that are impossible to find in daily life and are often illegel or even impractical to carry around. Most commonly is wooden Japanese sword styles, nunchuks, Tonfas, and too many weapons I cannot name that are simply to bizarre to describe or to obscure even in Asia. Rather than learning the use of weapons that you can easily find an improvised tool to translate into impromptu such as flailing weapons (easily created with so many home tools, even simply putting a lockpad in a sock) and shield arts (you can simply pick up a metal trash can lid). Or even common weapons such as a bat.

    I bring this up because in East Asia, the most common weapon to use is not a Tai Chi sword or Katar and these other fancy stuff but simply the baseball bat. Used in the most amount of non-passionate (angry housewife who caught you cheating) and non-criminal killings (esp in self defense) and the most common tool local gangs and thugs use for violence. That nowadays not only do most TKD and Karate RBSD-specific classes in Korea and Japan not only emphasize defense against bats but bats is actually far more common to teach for use as a weapon than any other traditional martial arts tool excepting for the nunchuks, bo staff, one handed clubs and stick, and knife arts. For the average non-committed weekend warrior, more time is spent on teaching bats than even those other practical weapons. In addition with how baseball has been dominating those countries in modern times, old heavy bat martial arts such as Kanabo styles have been in revival in dojos and school instructions. As baseball rises in popularity in China, there too is a revival of obscure and mostly forgotten styles using long heavy clubs.

    But in the West there is s much emphasize on the fancy of bizarre weapons. Even stuff barely used back at home in Asia (such as some weird local Filipino fighting using a bullship). Excepting nunchuks (which can easily transitioned into improvised stuff like tying two sticks together and lockpad in socks), bo staff (broom sticks), and one handed clubs and sticks (obviously easiest to transition to as almost everything from tire irons to mallets can be used), all the practical self defense weapons style that can easily transition to civilian lifestyle are so damn ignored.

    Why is this? In Asia as I mentioned the bat gets far more emphasized esp in civilian self defense and criminal activities than kendo styles and even advanced martial artists (esp since many top athletes also practise martial arts and are baseball fans in their spare time) prefer two handed bats even over staffs, knives, and other practical small arms. In China most commoners with some kung fu training tend to use kitchen knives esp heavy meat cutting blades for self defense over those strange swords More common than even stick and staff arts in Korea is the preferred use of fist based weapons like brass knuckles and training in forms of boxing that emphasize defenses against bats, etc under the use of brass knuckles and other older similar fist weapons in Korean history.

    Why isn't the baseball bat a popular weapon to train in the West? I can barely find any school teaching about bats and those that do focus far more on defending against bats than using it. Same with other lots of practical tools. We don't have styles teaching how to use a crowbar to hook enemy weapons as common in the West. While the crowbar is quite popular among Chinese gangs and the Chinese police use a variation of it because of its ability to hook away and disarm weapons! Hooking weapons have seen a revival in Chinese kung fu lately. Yet this practical weapon type is ignored in the West's school just like baseball bats are.

    What makes impractical weapons so popular in demand by Western students while day-to-day life tools like hitting with a hunting rifle, disarming with crowbars, and esp baseball bats not in demand for lessons?
     
  2. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    You answered your own question in the first paragraph. "And other boring weapons". People train them because it's fun. And as with your Paris Syndrome post, I think you're picking a very specific group of people and saying that's "The West."

    By the way, if you're familiar with a nunchaku, you're also familiar with any other similar weapon, i.e. a chain, a weight tied to a rope, or a pool ball in a sock.
     
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  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I think if you phrased your posts as "I think training baseball bats would be useful" or "I think training baseball bat is better than training weapons" it might go over better. You're asking why people do something, and are picking a group of people to antagonize over not thinking like you.

    Rather than separate two people into a "smart people" and "plebs" group (which it seems you have done), why not discuss the actual martial application you want to talk about?
     
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  4. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Weapons training, especially training a variety of them, allows the practitioner to utilize various weapons of opportunity.
    Oh and one of the things several of the people I train learn to use a stick, a club, a bat, a walking stick, staffs, and an assortment of sharp pointy objects of various lengths as well as with firearms and other such objects.
     
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  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    A good question. Decades of glamourized stylization and misguided ideas from the movie industry, books, magazines, and yes, even many schools/teachers have always been my answer your question.

    In my Kung Fu and Kali experience, it was always stressed that the weapons we practiced with (in KF) were used to honor the past and keep the training traditional. The ability to see anything available as a weapon was also Very, very stressed. So we were known to have a surprise attack some nights by the random baseball bat or such. By doing so, short staff or Bo staff training will teach valuable training for you even if your only choice for a weapon happens to be a baseball bat. Transferrable skills do a person zero good if they don't even know they have them.
    In the Kali I learned, there was less emphasized on the stick and more on blade work. So the stick work was more as a means of safe training for blade use. Other systems get much heavier into stickwork.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, why does the result of different weapons in a movie persuade you those weapons need to be treated differently?

    Anyway, back to the point. Some things are fun to train. Some of the knife and sword work I trained is pretty fancy. I loved working on those bits. The simple stuff is more likely to be useful, but is generally not as much fun to train. I teach and train with sticks of various sizes (escrima sticks, hanbo, jo, bo, baseball bat, etc.) and blades of various sizes and types (small knives, large knives, machetes, swords). I've trained in nunchaku and dabbled in other esoteric weapons. I sometimes work with "flexible weapons" (belts, shirts, etc.). All of that is just time to practice using different objects, learning to feel their balance and find their strengths/weaknesses. The actual weapon used in training is not terribly important - its characteristics are what matter.
     
  7. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Especially when other movies in the same genre are different, where in the Walking Dead a Katana or a crossbow can let you survive for a long time.
     
  8. Rat

    Rat 3rd Black Belt

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    I am doing a TL;DR. But one of them uses a bokken in the first program, then a Katana. And its mainly avalibility and for fun. Most weapon styles have died out or only exist for historical weapons. Yes due to law changes and cultrual shifts. One of the reasons i think filipino martial arts is liked as it does weapons first and it uses most of the weapons you will find in the west. Or be able to improvise out of. (eg longest blade is usually machete length, sticks etc) And does them first and generally hasnt been as sportinised (pending style)


    I know of not a single english martial arts style that is not historic that does not put weapons training first, just for comparision. Plus if you have done bat sports, how you swing a bat in that would probbly be sufficent of a technique to get you through the encounter reliably. (by bat i do mean a actual bat, like a baseball bat, or a cricket bat etc)

    I belive somone else would have or will relay the Bokken being a training tool for the katana etc etc.

    edit: this is also in part due to sport, its easier to have a fun match unarmed than with blunted or training weapons. and fightign to the death hasnt been allowed for a while.
     
  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Blue Belt

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    Baseball bats may be effective against zombies, but what little I know of this persecuted group is that they are "slow." This is not a slur regarding their mental capabilities (don't want the undead defamation league getting upset), but rather their physical capabilities in regards to slowness of speed of movement and reaction. Heavy ended clubs were used by the cavemen, but this group were not comprised of Bruce Lees, either. Heavy mallets/sledgehammers were used against armored knights during the middle ages, but being weighted down by 70-80 pounds of armor did not make them very speedy. Such weapons are good against slow opponents. Smaller, maneuverable warhammers were useful against a wider variety of opponents.

    A baseball bat's power is in its swing. Much like a heavy two-handed broadsword. If it misses its target, its mass and momentum makes it hard to redirect for a follow-up strike or defensive move. Could be very effective against a slow/unskilled opponent, the kind a thug would choose to attack. Also good against a mob of closely packed bodies, unable to take evasive action. IMO, its uses are limited to these cases. I had a guy take a swing at me with a shovel. Keeping mindful of engagement distance, it was simple to lean back and evade the initial (only) swing and then move in to disarm him while taking him down (he was a little drunk, so not too hard, but it illustrates that weapon's weakness.)

    Sai and kama were mentioned as being ineffective against zombies, unless the user was highly skilled. Using a close range against a hard to kill (undead) enemy would be challenging indeed. Though adept with sai, I would still prefer a bat against a zombie. In using the bat, I would rely on my training in other weapons to flow as efficiently as possible, considering the bat's characteristics. Other posters have also mentioned transferrable skills.

    I'll stick with my traditional kobudo weapons, katana, and kali sticks, and improvise from there if need be.

    Note: Tomari-te expert Matsumora was said to have disarmed a Satsuma Samurai using a towel (though he lost a pinkie in the process.) In 1968/69, I saw Bill Riyusaki, a Hawaiian born karate-ka (don't recall what syle) who had a dojo in North Hollywood, CA, do a demo using a towel against hand and weapon attacks. Can use a belt in a similar fashion. Similar to nunchaku in many ways.

    Well, that's enough of a response to a posting that began with zombies. Bury the damn things and R.I.P.
     
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  10. Bullsherdog

    Bullsherdog Yellow Belt

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    The art of Kanabojutsu (which uses far heavier than your typical MLB League Baseball Bat) disproves your whole claim.
     
  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There is a weapon culture of having to be tricky.

    Karabit guys are a good example of overcomplicating a fairly straightforward process.



    I think it is byproduct of emphasis on drills. You get a room full of guys and drill something simple like defend an overhand right. By the end of the session they are all doing cartwheels or something.
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And complicated looks cool. We all like to look cool sometimes.
     
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  13. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    the immediate answer is that have lost touch with the purpose of ma, which is hurting people and have got lost in cultural appropriation, and a no longer existant culture at that.

    and its their time/money, i laugh at people who practice fighting with muskets, but if they enjoy it ???, come the zombie apocalypse and they and the archers may be laughing at me

    but most of these weapons are, in the right hands extremely effective, just as baseball bats are not much use if you cant use them properly, start swinging wildly with them and someone of the required coordination will take them off you and they are much to long a weapon for close quarter combat, and require two hands if someones swinging a bat at you get as close to them as you can, they cant hit you and both or least one of their hands are tied up

    the issue is really availability, you may find it difficult to gain admittance to a nightclub carrying a katana, but you'll have much the same issue with a baseball bat, just as wandering the streets with either may attract the attention of local law enforcement

    with our culture weapons need to be both discrete and effective and that rules out most things you cant fit in your pocket or at least cover with a jacket

    i saw a confrontation a couple of weeks ago between two cyclists who on a very wide road were contesting who should give way, one pulled a claw hammer out of his bag, the other an axe, they circled each other for a short while and both decided to leave, they are both extremely effective close quarter weapons, that beat the hell out of a baseball bat and both ancient in design
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    When the zombie apocalypse arrives and it’s time to hit the road with my trusty band of survivors and make our way through the burning remnants of civilization, the hardest choice I will have will be in deciding WHICH Spears, swords, staffs, kukhuri, butterfly swords, tomahawks, daggers, sheath knives, folding knives, shuriken, nunchaku, sai, bow-and-arrows, and sticks, to bring with me. My collection is vast, and I am but one. I cannot carry more than several of these myself, before I become too bogged down to use any of it. I could load up the car with them all, and share them with worthy companions who may join me along the way. My closest friends know that they need to make their way to my place for arming, when the tragedy of the zombies begins. I will have something for everyone. Or I could have the luxury of choosing which favorite weapon to select as the zombie mob closes in around my vehicle, cycling through my collection, giving each weapon its turn.

    I wouldn’t select a lowly baseball bat or crowbar unless I had no other choice. Wending my way through the burning ashes of civilization with a baseball bat or a crowbar??? How utterly pedestrian.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    This would be the equivalent of throwing haymakers. It's a power swing, but highly telegraphed and not that fast of a strike. (Pun unintended).

    There are 4 types of zombies:
    Slow / Dumb
    Slow / Smart
    Fast / Dumb
    Fast / Smart

    Slow/Smart zombies can be seen in movies like I Am Legend, Fast/Dumb zombies in 28 Days Later.

    You are right about cops watching people regardless of what weapon they carry. My friend and I were walking from our high school to our college, and my friend found a stick. Another friend was driving by, so we talked to him a bit, and then he drove off. A cop saw the whole thing, came up to us and started accusing us of brandishing a weapon and stopping traffic. It wasn't even a baseball bat, just a big stick we found on the side of the road.

    Crowbar seems like it would have use. Plus, Gordon Freeman proved it's great against zombies. At least the kind that you turn into from an alien head-crab.
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    28 days later were not undead zombies. They were living people, infected with a rage virus, making them non-rational and utterly homicidal. They retained all their physical capabilities, as they were not animated rotting corpses. More options in killing them, too. Body shots count. Doesn’t always need to hit the head.
     
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  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Still, fast zombies exist.

    EDIT: Fast zombies exist in literature and film.
     
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  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don’t disagree.

    A lot depends on the condition of the corpse when it reanimates. The fresher the corpse and the better condition, the faster it can move. The more rotten or poor condition, missing or mangled limbs, the slower it will be.
     
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  19. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    That all depends on the author.
     
  20. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge 2nd Black Belt

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    I thought that we had reached a low point when we were looking to YouTube as "reality". Now, zombie movies are our basis for what happens in the real-world?

    My personal favorite is Sean of the Dead, so I guess I'll buy my class a couple of pints and lead some cricket bat drills tonight.123
     
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