To be a modern warrior, you should (or must) know how to be a primitive warrior. The ability to build and use simple, effective weapons from our collective history provides a wealth of skills that transfer very well to modern combat. Primitive Tech such as throwing rocks, tomahawks, throwing knives, spears, and bows are important weapons. These simple weapons were effective and easy to learn. They sustained humanity for hundreds of years. They can also keep you safe if all you have to defend yourself is a handful of rocks or a pointy stick. In our dojo, these are training tracks in the weapons program.
The ‘traditional’ weapons of American martial arts movies are the weapons from Okinawa. Even though ninjas hail from Japan, in movies they are often depicted with nunchuku and tonfa, which are Okinawan weapons. Japanese warriors had a lot of unique weapons as did the proud traditions of Chinese martial arts. It is a shame that American movie producers don’t often use the Chinese Hook Sword or the Japanese Kusari-gama. They are dazzling, interesting weapons.
What I call Low Tech weapons are the traditional martial arts weapons from various cultures like Okinawa, Japan, and Europe. Yes, Europe. I feel the German Longsword and other Western weapons are just as valid to study as the Japanese Naginata or Okinawan combat hoe. Yes we wear Japanese gi in the dojo, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a valid fighting technique from Russia, Germany or Spain. Open your mind and drop the bias.
We live in a modern world with modern weapons. This is evident in the newly created gun and rifle defenses of many current styles. High Tech weapons include guns. Therefore, we should learn how to use them, and use them accurately. This will help in defending against an opponent who is using a gun against us. In certain forms of Ninjustu, they have a tradition for using traditional guns of an earlier era. That era was current when the style was developed. Likewise it is imperative that we do the same.
Style of No Style
I have peppered this post with inspirational quotes from Bruce Lee’s book. This whole post was inspired by Bruce Lee and his book—his practical view on the martial arts. I am not fortunate enough to have trained in Jeet Kun Do but that doesn’t mean I can’t take his wise words and apply them to my situation. I believe that was his intent. He wanted us to break out of the mold of old-way thinking and embrace the thought process of scholars. It is the only way to improve what we have and pass on something wonderful to the next generation.
This is of course a hotly debated topic in the martial arts community. Feel free to express your opinion in the comments below. Be civil and professional, please. We are all martial artists and deserve courtesy.