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"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

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Are Weapons Extensions of Karate (the body)?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Directly, I would say yes, weapons are an extension of the body. Directly speaking, I would say no, weapons are not the extensions of karate. Weapons are preferred over empty hand combat, fighting and self-defense but as to why they are or not is … complex. 

First, karate itself as I have come to understand it is about, first a means of social communications even in the beginning of its history in the older, starting in the 1600’s or so, Okinawan culture where it was born. Second, it comes to light from some historical sources that empty handed practices were a requirement and a prerequisite to training and learning about weapons. This is not necessarily applicable to modern times especially as to the military.

Granted, forms of what is called martial arts have been implemented into military training. What is great about it is the training now extends beyond the eight hours of hand-to-hand often taught in boot camp. The Marines created their MCMAP or Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Yes, to the observer it is more about a more sport oriented methodology but since the goals of the program are not necessarily their use in combat it still holds high regard and purpose and benefit to our Marines. 

Someone actually provided a quote, can’t find it but when I do I will add it, from a Marine D.I. concerning MCMAP and hand-to-hand where in essence he stated his goal was not to teach them to use it but rather teach them the discipline and confidence to simply fight. 

As to civil defense of weapons as extensions of karate or the body or both, not so much. I see it more as a meme to pass on some agenda that is not about self-defense or fighting successfully or even in combatives. Weapons are and should be preferable over empty handed strategies and tactics. As to kobudo, they really don’t serve any purpose for defense except in a academic historical sense. Kobudo weapons don’t really provide you much extension as to using your empty hands in self-defense. This comes from a technique based training and teaching model. 

Kobudo, weapons, of the karate origins are old and not very useful in defense civilly speaking especially toward levels of force, force disparities and legally acceptable self-defense use. Weapons must depend heavily on force levels and decisions. Exceeding those levels with inappropriate force decisions leads to legal ramifications that can be worse than just getting the crap beat out of you (this also depends on social vs. asocial conflict and violence as well - it ain’t all that simple).

Kobudo, weapons, are fun. They are interesting and challenging to say the least. As to following the way through study of things like theories and philosophies they are great. The benefits are great and worth the effort to study,. but as to self-defense or as extensions of the body and/or karate - not so much. 

Yet, if certain distinctions as to weapons, kobudo, to self-defense applications being made do provide practitioners with many ways to analyze and theorize weapons work for defense. Not that you will carry such things around in the event you are attacked but making certain distinctions allows you to learn how to recognize environmentally available things to be used as “Enhancers” in an attack then you benefit and they are good, i.e., like Bo training allowing you to pick up almost any object of like construction be it a broom handle or a large tree branch, etc. as long as the force levels and disparities allow, the use would be justifiable. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

1 comment:

  1. The more accurate question is are karate et al bodies extensions of weapons. Different martial arts suggest their unarmed defences are merely extensions of their weapons techniques and tactics. They may very well be ... to their detriment. The classic is some aikido schools who strongly suggest their unarmed defences are those of sword defences. SWORDS ARE SOLID, UNMOVABLE, AND HAVE SHARP AND POINTY BITS THAT CUT THINGS. An aikidoka's body parts do not have any such attributes. ... One of Shihan Jan de Jong OAM 9th Dan's pet hates was those martial arts that are based on animal movements. We are not tigers, monkeys, preying mantis', or even dolphins. We are human beings so it makes sense to assess our capabilities and develop unique ways to defend ourselves.