Why I Focus on Weapons Training

When a student takes one of my classes for the first time, I want him or her to be able to walk away with the skills to fight off an attacker THAT day.

I am often asked by my students and outside observers alike, “Why do you focus on weapons so much?” Most martial arts systems start with empty hands and move on to weapons only at advanced ranks. I do the opposite. About 90 percent of my teaching is focused on weapons (at least from a surface view of things). Today I am going to take some time to explain my reasoning for putting so much emphasis on weapons training in my system.

First and foremost, my art is about self-preservation. When a student takes one of my classes for the first time, I want him or her to be able to walk away with the skills to fight off an attacker THAT day. It might take months for a student to learn how to throw a proper punch with enough power to do damage to an attacker, but after one hour of training with a knife, a student would potentially have enough information to fight off a deadly threat. It’s something they can use right away.

Blade Combat

Second, weapons training teaches the body how to move correctly. It is easier to learn proper angles when using a stick or a blade. The length of the weapon exaggerates any misalignment, making it easier for both the teacher and the student to identify improper alignment in movement. Also, as the body learns to control and manipulate hand-held weapons in a fluid and precise manner, the hands are being trained to move as well. In fact, I would contest that there are empty hand movements that I teach that can only be learned or understood through weapons training.

There are so many things that you can do with a blade against an unarmed opponent that will get you instantly killed against an armed one.

Third, when my students train with weapons, they are almost ALWAYS training against a partner who is armed with a weapon as well. The only exceptions are when the students are training to defend against an armed opponent from an unarmed state, or when they are training to use an impact weapon as an intermediate force device. By consistently training against an armed opponent, the student learns the dangers of the weapon and the best ways to avoid an opponent’s weapon through distance and angulation.

I DO NOT teach my students to use a blade against an unarmed opponent. I take serious issue with this practice, but I see instructors doing this all the time. Sure, it looks great on YouTube, but what do you really accomplish by teaching students to shank an unarmed opponent? Gutting and unarmed opponent is easy. It’s not so easy when they also have a knife and are intent on using it. The cutting and stabbing part is a no-brainer, it’s dealing with the opponent’s weapon that requires real skill. There are so many things that you can do with a blade against an unarmed opponent that will get you instantly killed against an armed one. I won’t even get into the legal issues at hand.

I can attest that placing the focus on weapons develops a more well-rounded martial artists at a faster rate, at least when implemented with the training methodologies that I use.

Ultimately, prioritizing weapons in training just works. Having come from such a diverse martial arts background, I have had the opportunity to observe and participate in both methods of training. I can attest that placing the focus on weapons develops a more well-rounded martial artists at a faster rate, at least when implemented with the training methodologies that I use. Now, if your goal is to be a UFC contender, then this methodology is not for you. That is not my motivation or focus. If your goal is to be a highly skilled martial artist who can effectively transition from stick to blade to empty hand, then my teaching methods might be exactly what you need.

 

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Chad McBroom
Chad McBroom is the owner and founder of Comprehensive Fighting Systems, and specializes in practical empty-hand, blade, stick, and firearms applications. Chad is a regular contributor to ITS Tactical, Black Sheep Warrior, BladeReviews.com, and other tactical publications. He is the author, coauthor, and contributing author of several books on blade combat and the martial arts. Chad is also a blade designer and knifemaker, who uses his extensive knowledge of edged weapon tactics to design and create some of the most versatile bladed weapons on the market.

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