Home > Martial Arts > Martial Arts Weapons And Their Lack Of Effectiveness

Martial Arts Weapons And Their Lack Of Effectiveness

Becoming over-dependent on martial arts weapons is dangerous!

Good Times With Weapons?

Possibly the only thing cooler than having the ability to use your arms and legs to defend yourself is being proficient in martial arts weaponry. There are a host of interesting weapons including the Kama blade, Nunte spear/dagger, the Naginata sword or the Bo Staff. Then there is the legendary Nunchaku. A feeling of pride and confidence swells in your chest as you become an expert in the use of these weapons. Yet the fantasy is better than the reality in this instance. Martial arts weapons are, in the main, a bad idea as a means of self-defence for a host of reasons.

Lack Of Skill

Beneath all the legal problems associated with martial arts weapons is the fact that becoming over-dependent on them is dangerous. It’s one thing being an ace when it comes to wielding a Bo Staff, it’s quite another when you find yourself in a combat situation without one. This is not ancient Japan. Your opponent will not allow you to retrieve your weapon before engaging in a bout. If you have improved your expertise in weaponry at the expense of your unarmed technique, you will quickly find that a huge mistake has been made.

Bo Staff (Photo ©Mike Oliveri All rights reserved)

How To Carry Them

Then you have the practical aspect of using weapons. Where exactly are you going to keep a Bo Staff? In your pocket? Most people don’t have room in their bag for a Samurai sword and Nunchaku can be a burden to carry. There’s no better way to attract attention than by carrying a huge 16th century Japanese sword down the street. You will certainly ward off attackers but will have company in the form of the police force.

Lethal Weapon: A drawn sword (Photo ©Mike Oliveri All rights reserved)

Legal Issues

Unless you have been living under a rock, the majority of martial arts weapons have been deemed illegal. Nunchaku for example, is deemed to be an illegal weapon in nations like Russia and Canada with various states in the U.S placing it on the restricted list. Until recently in the United Kingdom, Nunchaku could be purchased by those over the age of 18 though they couldn’t be carried in public unless you could prove you were travelling between your home and martial arts training. A February 2010 case ruled that Nunchaku fell into the illegal weapon category as outlined in the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Most countries also operate a strict no tolerance policy when it comes to butterfly knives, the Bo Staff and a variety of other weapons. Being caught in possession of such a weapon could see you hit with a large fine or even a custodial sentence for multiple offences. It is also illegal to use such weapons for self-defence. Believe it or not, if you used a Bo Staff to defend yourself against a gun, you could technically find yourself in trouble!

Rina Takeda using a set of Nunchaku in Karate Girl (Courtesy of Terracotta Film Distribution)

Safety First

The final reason not to use martial arts weapons is for your own personal safety. Just because you see an expert use a sword or Nunchaku with ease during a demonstration doesn’t mean that you can follow suit. These men and women have been practising for decades in many instances. When you’re handling a sword, one mistake could cost you a limb or even worse. Martial arts weapons are often deadly in the hands of an expert but are more dangerous when handled by a novice.

Simply put, you can’t expect to have good times with martial arts weapons. They are not a practical method of defending yourself, are against the law and could do more harm to you than your assailant. Once you bring a weapon into play, a host of legal and physical ramifications manifest themselves. It’s much better than leave things uncomplicated and learn to use your hands and feet more effectively.

Author profile:

Justin Wheeler is a fitness fan, martial arts practitioner and evangelist for online Martial Arts supplier Black Eagle.

Special thanks to Mike Oliveri for the use of his photos.

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Categories: Martial Arts
  1. January 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Great points. I think students taking up kobudo should keep in mind it’s more about fun and history or tradition than anything else.


  2. Anthony
    January 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    In my experience, a good teacher will teach empty handed techniques first, and then the weapons. This way, the mechanical principles that are necessary to use the weapons effectively are already developed. If you learn and understand the principles, then learning to use the weapons (or anything in your environment as a weapon) is largely trivial. Likewise, trying to using a weapon without a solid foundation in body mechanics from ground up is pointless.


  3. February 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    The legal issues really make me laugh. Someone once pointed out to me that you would be in less or equal trouble for pulling out a handgun as you would be for pulling out nunchaku. I will go with the handgun. Kobudo (Okinawan Weaponry) is something for enjoyment and should be thought of similar to learning Long Bow in England – fun but useless for its original purpose.


  4. September 14, 2014 at 8:36 am

    With heavier bo staffs comes higher prices so you’ll also want to compare prices.
    Get a discount by signing up for all three seminars INCLUDING the weapons for only $99.
    When you visit the school, is the practice safe, or are students
    allowed to train in dangerous ways or without proper


  1. February 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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