10 Martial Arts Weapons Training Safety Tips
These 10 martial arts weapons training safety tips can help protect you and training partners whether using real weapons or those designed specifically for practice. Weapons training in martial arts can help produce greater options when facing an opponent, including learning improvised weapons that utilize items around you. The following tips will help improve safety when training with weapons.
- Always practice the moves solo first when weapons training. This is particularly important because, realistically, you cannot learn the proper form and technique if you jump straight into a sparring or training match. Study the form taught by the instructor, copy the moves carefully, and use a mirror to monitor your form.
- Limit weapons when training in martial arts. This can seem boring to some eager students, but the best way to master the weapons training in any martial arts form is to practice one weapon at a time. Do not try to master both sword and bo techniques, for example. Instead, practice training on one weapon at a time.
- When training with multiple weapons, divide up the training to focus on one weapon at a time. This ensures that the moves and techniques are committed to memory, both in your brain and in your body. If the weapons training session is 90 minutes long, for example, and the student trains on four weapons, each weapon may receive twenty minutes with ten minutes allowed for warm up and stretching.
- Go slow and be patient when training with martial arts weapons. Even if training solo, the best way to master techniques while preventing injury is to work slowly from the beginning. Get in the position as demonstrated by the instructor then slowly mimic his moves with the weapon. Once proper form is mastered, speed and accuracy may be incorporated into the training.
- Wear proper protective gear. This may seem obvious, but sometimes protective gear puts limitations on visibility or physical movements and it can be cumbersome to adorn. Despite this, the protective gear is designed for a purpose: safety.
- Remember that training is meant to provide the knowledge and skills with martial arts and weapons, and not for causing harm to opponents. When in sparring matches with weapons, avoid striking or targeting the sparring partner in a way that you know will cause pain. The goal is to move slowly at least until moves are m mastered, then treat the partner with the same respect expected in return. No one will want to practice with you if you have a tendency to whack vulnerable fingers with hard wooden boken.
- Warm up and stretch properly before any training session. This is important because muscle conditioning is most efficient when the muscles are warm, and stretching helps reduce injury and improve form and technique. A minimum of five minutes doing light to moderate calisthenics (e.g. jumping jacks, jogging, push-ups) followed by a minimum of five minutes of stretching (e.g. shoulders, hamstrings, quads, back) should be performed before every training session, whether with weapons or not.
- Hydrate to avoid injury. It is easy to forget to drink enough water, especially when the workout is slow, as it is in the beginning of many weapons training sessions. Proper hydration, however, can keep muscles working better, reduce the risk of injury, and help the brain focus throughout the training, all of which improve safety.
- Watch what others are doing to offer tips for improving their form, and they will do the same for you. Of course, do this in a polite way, not in a “know-it-all” way; the goal is to help each other throughout the class so everyone can train safer and smarter and everyone can improve.
- Practice, practice, practice! The best way to improve safety when training with martial arts and weapons is to practice. Practice form in the mirror, record yourself to critique your form and technique later, have a friend or training buddy so you can critique each other, and practice all the time. The more often the moves are performed, with and without weapons, the more accurate the body will respond when delivering the techniques which will improve safety for you and those around you.