9 Benefits of Weapons-Based Martial Arts Training

Uncategorized May 12, 2020

Originally posted on January 8th, 2017 by Dustin B. Denson

1. Improved Visual Acuity and Ocular Sensitivity

Weapons training will improve both visual acuity and ocular sensitivity. Acuity is defined as sharpness or keenness. Sensitive or sensitivity in this sense refers to the ability to quickly detect or respond to slight changes, signals or influences. Through weapons training, vision will sharpen and the ability to quickly respond to slight changes or movements in the visual field will be greatly increased. While training in Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, a weapons-based Filipino martial arts system that begins training with the single stick or single sword, it is necessary to track an opponents weapon visually, because that is the threat. The stick and the hand holding the stick move fast, but to achieve adequate protective skills, the eyes must follow the opponent's weapon, if countering any incoming attacks or neutralizing weapon threats is going to occur. Consequently, your eyes' ability to detect and tract movement will improve.

2. Hand / Eye Coordination

As a result of the improved visual acuity and ocular sensitivity, hand and eye coordination is improved. Training in Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (PTK) requires learning specific striking mechanics with the single stick or sword. Regardless of the weapon, the same striking mechanics are used. These mechanics are required, if attack and/or protection with a sword, stick, or empty hands is to be executed. As mentioned previously, the visual tracking of an opponent's weapon and the timing of their strikes is trained and developed. So, hand and eye coordination are significantly improved through the training process of the combat flow (the flow of weapons from strike to strike in order to execute attacks or to self-protection) because tracking the weapon hand visually must be done by both practitioners (combatants). That is, practitioner A must track practitioner B's weapon with his own weapon, if he is to successfully attack or protect himself. This develops hand and eye coordination. 

3. Timing

In any combative art (whether it is primarily sports focused or not), timing is critical. It is critical that it is understood and trained. Timing, in martial arts, refers to a persons ability to track ("time") an opponents attacks or counters so that they may counter attack, attack, or protect themselves against their opponent. It is a crucial and critical ability to develop if one is to be successful competing or protecting themselves in a real-life self-defense situation. Weapons training develops timing intensely. As visual acuity and ocular sensitivity develop (along with hand and eye coordination) from tracking an opponents weapon, the ability to time attacks will inevitably develop as well to a heightened degree. It is not easy to track a weapon during a cooperative combat drill; it is even more difficult to track a weapon during sparring. So, weapons training will quickly improve your timing.

4. Dexterity / Agility

Dexterity is the skill or adroitness in using the hands or body. Agility is the power of moving quickly and easily - nimbleness (this includes dynamic balance). Manipulating and striking with a weapon while moving is a requirement of any weapons-based martial art and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali is no exception. Nimbleness, swiftness, and dynamic balance will be improved through the combined practice of footwork and striking mechanics. Initially, this is not such an easy thing to do. It is also the reason why footwork is often practiced separately from weapon striking mechanics at the start of training and then put together as skill increases. Over time and with practice, dexterity and agility will increase greatly. Most fitness programs will include a program or routine that focuses on athletic movements executed for developing dexterity and agility. These are two important attributes for overall athletic ability; weapons-based martial arts training will improve these attributes.

5. Situational / Environmental Awareness

Training with weapons improves situational and environmental awareness because it requires the tracking of an opponent's weapon(s) and the control of how close one is to an opponent so that they can be hit without getting hit. When sparring with weapons (and empty hands) an opponent's movements and weapon(s) have to be watched closely. This develops range sensitivity which is the awareness of how close potential threats are. The more training and practice, the better this sensitivity becomes. Consequently, there is a tendency to be more attuned to any given situation or environment - who is coming close, what may be in their hands, what's around you, who is around you, and changes in any context in which you might find yourself. This is what situational/environmental awareness.

6. Core Strength

Weapons-based martial arts develops core strength through the repetitive execution of strikes while moving quickly in various directions. This must be done while maintaining balance and control over footwork, the weapon, and the whole body. To execute these movements with control and precision, you must engage your core at the appropriate time to stop and start movements, change direction, and speed up or slow down. Core strength will be improved through this process.

7. Overall Fitness

It is a great way to tone muscles, maintain flexibility, improve balance, and improve cardiovascular fitness. So, it contributes to overall improved health and fitness.

8. Weapons Transfer to Empty Hands and Other Weapons

Specifically, the weapons training of the Filipino martial arts and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali transfer readily to empty hands combat. That is, the movements that are learned and practiced with a long weapon (sword/baton), short weapon (knife), and/or the various combinations of those weapons are pretty much the same movements that are executed in empty hand combat. You don't have to learn a new system or method with different mechanics.

9. Weapons are Equalizers

For smaller individuals, personal protection may require an equalizer. There are no weight classes when it comes to personal protection and self-defense. Weapons (Personal Protection Tools) become a necessity for someone to effectively protect themselves from stronger, larger, or multiple attackers. So, practicing a martial art that instructs in the use of all kinds of weapons is highly beneficial. Weapons are equalizers.


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