How hard is it to become proficient in weapons based martial arts compared to physical fighting ones?

Monkey Turned Wolf

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That really depends on what weapon you are talking about. A bow and arrow is different than a gun is different than sticks/knives.

I would guess though that for most weapons (and the ones I've done all found this to be true) is that it takes about the same amount of time to be proficient. And certain weapons go well together, while others don't. For instance, if you do hema or arnis, you'll find that they teach you a couple weapons together and principles translate. I probably wouldn't recommend learning olympic fencing and iaido at the same time though, if your goal is to become proficient in one quickly, as those have different principles and what you learn in one won't easily translate to the other.
 

Bill Mattocks

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And would you recommend training in one weapon at a time or in more and how many?
It depends on what you call proficiency, I suppose. Anyone can learn to use a weapon in basic fashion, and if I get hit over the head by a baseball bat, it probably won't matter how proficient the person was who smacked me with it.

In the style of karate I study, there are three weapons as part of the kobudo, and several kata for all but one. Proficiency in at least one weapon is required for promotion to black belt in our system, although by proficiency, we mean that the student can perform the kata, not that they are a deadly killer with it.

There is another kobudo associated with our dojo which I do not hold rank in, which has many weapons and nearly 50 katas. I have no proficiency in any of those weapons. I suppose I could learn them if I chose to. It would probably take several years of dedicated study.

I hope that helps.
 
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Flyingknee

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That really depends on what weapon you are talking about. A bow and arrow is different than a gun is different than sticks/knives.

I would guess though that for most weapons (and the ones I've done all found this to be true) is that it takes about the same amount of time to be proficient. And certain weapons go well together, while others don't. For instance, if you do hema or arnis, you'll find that they teach you a couple weapons together and principles translate. I probably wouldn't recommend learning olympic fencing and iaido at the same time though, if your goal is to become proficient in one quickly, as those have different principles and what you learn in one won't easily translate to the other.

I had in mind canes (particularly canne du combat) and knives in particular.
 
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Flyingknee

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That really depends on what weapon you are talking about. A bow and arrow is different than a gun is different than sticks/knives.

I would guess though that for most weapons (and the ones I've done all found this to be true) is that it takes about the same amount of time to be proficient. And certain weapons go well together, while others don't. For instance, if you do hema or arnis, you'll find that they teach you a couple weapons together and principles translate. I probably wouldn't recommend learning olympic fencing and iaido at the same time though, if your goal is to become proficient in one quickly, as those have different principles and what you learn in one won't easily translate to the other.

I had in mind canes (particularly canne du combat) and knives in particular
It depends on what you call proficiency, I suppose. Anyone can learn to use a weapon in basic fashion, and if I get hit over the head by a baseball bat, it probably won't matter how proficient the person was who smacked me with it.

In the style of karate I study, there are three weapons as part of the kobudo, and several kata for all but one. Proficiency in at least one weapon is required for promotion to black belt in our system, although by proficiency, we mean that the student can perform the kata, not that they are a deadly killer with it.

There is another kobudo associated with our dojo which I do not hold rank in, which has many weapons and nearly 50 katas. I have no proficiency in any of those weapons. I suppose I could learn them if I chose to. It would probably take several years of dedicated study.

I hope that helps.

By proficient I meant advanced/quite advanced (I probably should've just said so).
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I had in mind canes (particularly canne du combat) and knives in particular.
I can't say much regarding canne du combat, but sticks and knives go very well together-it's what most FMA will focus on as well. The movements that you use for one are almost identical to the movements that you use for the other, with the main difference being range and tactical differences that you have to differentiate. Also certain strikes that are safe with a cane aren't with a knife. And you can learn both but you'll probably gravitate more towards one as personal preference.

As to proficiency length: For most people the learning curve is about the same as it is for striking arts, from my experience.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I had in mind canes (particularly canne du combat) and knives in particular
I can't speak to those weapons, so I will leave that to others.
By proficient I meant advanced/quite advanced (I probably should've just said so).
I don't mean to be blunt and I hope you take this the right way, but in my opinion, what you seek takes a lifetime. I have been studying Isshinryu karate and its kobudo for 15 years now. I hold a black belt and am considered and advanced student. I do not consider myself one and I don't anticipate reaching that in my lifetime.

Put another way, there's no such thing as a free lunch.
 

JowGaWolf

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And would you recommend training in one weapon at a time or in more and how many?
For me I train one weapon at a time. For me Training is the path to application so I don't want to try to cram too much into my training schedule at once. I rather train the staff 4 hours a week, Instead of training it only 2 hours a week. By being dedicated it to it, I can learn it faster in a shorter amount of time. Even if I had an extra hour a on those same training days. I rather turn it into 8 hours of staff training instead of 4 hours of staff and 4 hours of daggers.

Keep in my this is just my training preference. It's not a one size fits all
 
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Flyingknee

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I can't speak to those weapons, so I will leave that to others.

I don't mean to be blunt and I hope you take this the right way, but in my opinion, what you seek takes a lifetime. I have been studying Isshinryu karate and its kobudo for 15 years now. I hold a black belt and am considered and advanced student. I do not consider myself one and I don't anticipate reaching that in my lifetime.

Put another way, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

At what point did you gain a black belt? How many hours per week had you been training before that?


I don't see why you felt the need to use the free lunch idiom. I'm not under the impression that this could be achieved quickly nor have I written anything that would reasonably make you think otherwise. I guess you just didn't want to waste an opportunity to be moralistic.
 

drop bear

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I had in mind canes (particularly canne du combat) and knives in particular


By proficient I meant advanced/quite advanced (I probably should've just said so).

Go find a club that fights with sticks, pretty much.

Same as any skill. You have to do a thing.

For us unarmed. We can put a dedicated person in to a full contact fight in about 3 months. At which point they have a usable skill.

Advanced after that stage depends on the other guy.
 

donald1

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Your question is a bit oooodd... weapons vd 'physical' fighting? I don't understand that... If I hit someone with a rokushakubo, I'm hitting them with 'physical' blunt force. This ain't no chi strike flowing through my weapon. But I digress...

As someone who has experience in both empty hands and weapons... in my experience... it all boils down to simply that... experience... weapon forms and hand to hand forms can be easy to do and effective, but you need to practice practice practice to be any good.
 
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Flyingknee

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Your question is a bit oooodd... weapons vd 'physical' fighting? I don't understand that... If I hit someone with a rokushakubo, I'm hitting them with 'physical' blunt force. This ain't no chi strike flowing through my weapon. But I digress...

As someone who has experience in both empty hands and weapons... in my experience... it all boils down to simply that... experience... weapon forms and hand to hand forms can be easy to do and effective, but you need to practice practice practice to be any good.

And would you recommend training in one weapon at a time or in more and how many?
 

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And would you recommend training in one weapon at a time or in more and how many?
It takes as long as it takes, and that varies from person to person, as well as over time for the same person.
The deeper you want to dive into it/them, the longer it will take.
Train many, add complexity, add time.
 

isshinryuronin

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For me I train one weapon at a time.
I will train a couple of different weapons at a time (I find the change from one to the other keeps my interest and focus at a higher level) but learn just one, to, as you say, "dedicate" my meager learning skills to this one task.

Without prior MA experience, I think weapons are harder to learn than empty hand, since many empty hand TMA concepts and techniques lend themselves to weapons. With this experience, you have a head start.


sticks and knives go very well together-it's what most FMA will focus on as well. The movements that you use for one are almost identical to the movements that you use for the other, with the main difference being range and tactical differences
While the flow of FMA knife and stick are very similar, there are the differences you note, so for me, one at a time is preferred for serious study. Although, learning both at the same time stresses the differences between the two and could be a positive learning experience as well.
 

Bill Mattocks

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At what point did you gain a black belt? How many hours per week had you been training before that?
Five years, thrice per week, 2 hours per session.

I don't see why you felt the need to use the free lunch idiom. I'm not under the impression that this could be achieved quickly nor have I written anything that would reasonably make you think otherwise. I guess you just didn't want to waste an opportunity to be moralistic.
Best of luck to you.
 
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Flyingknee

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I will train a couple of different weapons at a time (I find the change from one to the other keeps my interest and focus at a higher level) but learn just one, to, as you say, "dedicate" my meager learning skills to this one task.

Without prior MA experience, I think weapons are harder to learn than empty hand, since many empty hand TMA concepts and techniques lend themselves to weapons. With this experience, you have a head start.



While the flow of FMA knife and stick are very similar, there are differences as you note, so for me, one at a time is preferred for serious study.

How many weapons do practitioners of Arnis, Silat, Krabi Krabong and so forth actually study at a time? Do they end up specialising in one or two?
 

donald1

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And would you recommend training in one weapon at a time or in more and how many?
I've learned multiple weapon forms around the same time. Though in order to do that I did a ton of practice in my spare time. Personally I recommend focusing on one weapon at a time unless you just have so much free time your willing to spend training.

Dirty dog gave a great response. The way I see it... if you can learn multiple weapons, cool? All the weapon forms I learned were from the same guy, so that was super helpful.

Practicing multiple weapons can be fun... I have rokushakubo from goju Ryu. And I know kwandao form from a kung fu style. The reason why I'm mentioning these two weapons is because I have tried the kwandao form with my staff and even tried staff forms with my kwandao. Sone of the moves in bo forms don't transition well when your holding a top heavy kwandao. Its difficult but kinda interesting. Theres other weapons that are fun to switch as well. Doing a nunchaku form with tonfa or a staff form with an eku or a sai form with tanbo. I love seeing similar movements in weapon forms and stuff but you still wanna be actually good at the stuff as well.

Doing multiple different weapons can be both fun, but also really challenging. Its a lot of work. I did a lot of training in my free time. I'd assume it would be important to know what your instructor thought.
 

JowGaWolf

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I will train a couple of different weapons at a time (I find the change from one to the other keeps my interest and focus at a higher level) but learn just one, to, as you say, "dedicate" my meager learning skills to this one task.
lol give me a pencil, tell me that it's a weapon and I'll enjoy finding all the ways I can use it. Weapon training and non-weapon training is like that for me. My teacher used to get frustrated because I wanted to stay on the beginner form longer than he wanted me to. My staff is my Mistress. My wife an I walk every night right after dinner and I decided to do a little less than a mile of staff strikes.

My wife saw the staff and told me that I must want to walk alone lol. But we got the walk in. During that entire time I only worked on 2 strikes. I'll keep working the staff until fighting with it and using it is easy and as effective as punching or kicking. Once I get halfway of mastering those techniques at a "masters level" then I'll probably pick up either the spear, sword, or double daggers. But I still have quite a way to go until I'm satisfied with the staff. I don't feel like I'm strong enough physically. I still need to work on my grip strength and wrist strength. I've been really slack on those things. Still gotta lose some belly weight as well.
 
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