Many traditional martial arts have a weapons component in their curriculum, while others like Kendo and Bojutsu are centralized around a specific type of weapon. With many schools teaching multiple disciplines of martial arts, weapons training can be great addition to your school, even as an extracurricular class. Weapons training can differentiate your school from others, while providing a fun style of training that students enjoy practicing.
With weapons training also comes a lot of responsibility and education. Expectations need to be set and safety needs to be taken seriously. This means students must be disciplined and respectful. In addition, including a weapons component is an excellent opportunity to boost sales via your pro shop. Here are some of the most important things to know, when you want to start teaching weapon classes at your martial arts school.
Set Expectations and Rules
Martial arts weapon classes bring an additional perspective to martial arts. By going a step further than striking or grappling, clear expectations need to be set out, to prevent injuries during training, as well as out-of-school misconduct. We’ve discussed the importance of having a code of conduct that your student's sign, when they sign-up for a membership, and the importance is even greater with weapons classes. You don’t want to be liable for weapons-related injuries that happen on your premises and you also need to work towards reducing the likelihood of injury and misuse.
With most weapons training, dummy weapons can allow your students to spar or train hard without getting hurt. Plastic, rubber, or wood versions of certain weapons can reduce the likelihood of injuries but this doesn’t mean these weapons won’t ever hurt you. Getting hit by a heavy wooden sword may cause injury and padding may be necessary, for some training exercises. Making sure you iron out any sloppy movements that would put a student at risk before they become bad habits, while effectively communicating the potential damage from a real weapon, can further reduce any accidents.
Martial arts tournaments are a great way for students to utilize all the hours of training and studying they’ve done. It can be a motivating experience and we highly recommend every martial arts student get at least one competition under their belt. Just like with non-weapons training, having a special class to prepare students for tournaments can help your students succeed while giving you some more options for classes.
While martial arts are not a timid pursuit, there are many things masters can do to reduce the risk of injury, without sacrificing the quality of training. Martial arts weapon classes can have many different rules and guidelines that improve the safety of the class. Teaching students how to safely handle their weapons is essential, as is establishing a set of directives, such as always pointing the sharp side of the blade away from people or never pointing a knife at anyone. These rules can also help shape their understanding of their weapon, teaching them the dangers in various contexts and situations.
Conflict avoidance and de-escalation are skills martial arts students should learn; violence should always be a last resort. If the martial artist has done all they can to avoid conflict yet they still need to defend themselves, knowing the reality of a physical fight is crucial for success. While you and your sparring partner know what to expect from each other, to a certain degree, there is no certainty with an unknown assailant. They could have training or they may not and the resulting altercation can be very unpredictable and different from your own training.
With an adrenaline surge, things can happen quicker than you can mentally react to, leading you to rely heavily on muscle memory. Boosting muscle memory through repetition and training can help you master the right techniques, more effectively equipping your students with the ability to defend themselves.
Have you practiced martial arts with weapons? What was your biggest lesson learned, in the beginning? Let us know on our Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.