Weapons training of some sort is part of many martial arts. Children are drawn like filings to a magnet when it comes to martial arts weapons-training and have a natural inclination to want to train with something in their hands.
How this type of training is handled and explained to children is critical to its safety and success.
The question naturally arises, “should children train with martial arts weapons?”
Over the years, I’ve had a handful of parents protest the use of any type of martial arts weapons training because they abhor violence of any kind, even in self-defense, but is their fear justified?
So, should children learn to use weapons in their martial arts training?
Let’s begin with common fears concerning children and weapons training.
- Children could get hurt.
- They will attack others.
- It’s not “civilized.”
- It will make kids more aggressive.
Yes, children could get hurt while training with weapons. Fortunately, innovative martial arts teachers have develop much safer, padded weaponry, which along with the proper protective gear and the proper guided instructions, greatly minimizes the risks of training with martial arts weapons. Throughout my own lifetime of training the biggest injuries I sustained were a concussion and a trip to the hospital for stitches, from a baseball and a baseball bat/leg of a chair respectively, while playing baseball, not during martial arts training.
It doesn’t take a child with martial arts training to grab a stick and chase another kid around with it. In fact, it’s more likely that the child without the proper weapons training (and the respect of weapons learned) to will try to attack other kids. Lack of proper weapons training never stopped a child from using a makeshift weapon on another child, but proper training has.
As history shows, weapons training traditionally was reserved for the upper classes, for the more refined members of society. From knights to samurai, it was an honor and a privilege to learn how to use martial arts weapons. Peasants had to fashion their own weaponry from common farming implements. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, ““Your father’s lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon… for a more civilized age.”
Children begin aggressive, with aggression as their default strategy of handling conflict and getting what they want. Martial arts weapons training teaches children to harness, focus and control their aggressive tendencies to prevent students from lashing out at the slightest provocation. Weapons training is a powerful tool for self-control and self-mastery that has been wisely used by martial arts teachers for millennia.
7 Powerful Reasons Why Martial Arts Weapons Training Benefits Children
- Working with weapons builds functional strength. Weapons such as a staff have a center of gravity far beyond the student’s wrist. As a child learns to wield a staff he develops arm and wrist strength, including a strong grip.
- Weapons add another level of complexity to martial arts training. Directing and controlling sticks, swords or nunchaku without hitting yourself develops sharper focus and extends your sense of space as you take into account the movements of your weapon.
- Traditional weapons came from farmer’s tools. Just as the tools became weapons, the use of and wielding of weapons translates into an increased ability to use tools.
- Dealing with faster moving objects increases eye-hand coordination, make empty-hand work easier.
- In learning how to use weapons, students acquire a healthy respect for weapons and learn the seriousness of weapon use.
- The use of weapons in training also teaches children how to defend against weapon attacks, which are becoming more common in schools and playgrounds. Arguments that were ended with fisticuffs are now settled with knives and guns. Learning to defend against such weapons can prevent tragedies.
- Weapons work prepares children for sports. The cross-training benefits of weapons to bats, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, etc. is easy to see.
Come join us this Saturday at 9:30 -10:30 AM for a very special introductory to short stick training with guest instructor, Mr. Al McLuckie from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Register at the sign-up board or call Ms. Michelle at 303-485-5425.
See you there,
Mr. Brad Scornavacco, Head of School
P.S. The children’s workshop is immediately followed by an adult workshop on empty-hand vs. knife defense from 10:30 -11:30 AM, so why not join in after your child is done training?