By GM Steve Tappin

A longer post than usual as there is no short answer to this question – read on if you have the time – Moral obligations of training with weapons! I have often been asked is it morally right to teach weapons in martial arts? In short yes, but to satisfy the question honestly covers several points.

Most martial arts start unarmed and then train with weapons at the higher levels – this means although they are skilled at their unarmed they are not yet skilled enough concerning weapons.If you study and become a master of an unarmed based art and then start weapon training this makes you a beginner with weapons as the rank does not transfer concerning teaching!Many unarmed systems try to make weapons work (or unarmed techniques against weapons work) based on unarmed knowledge but not on weapon knowledge.This then is morally wrong as now people are trained how to deal with weapons by people with limited weapon knowledge and this is false information that puts the student at high risk.How can I say this?Because I have been teaching different systems for years because they had the courage to recognise their limitations.This means that Escrima as an armed and unarmed systems has the skills, knowledge and experience to judge the morality of weapons training because they themselves are effective weapons fighters.

Read on as to why we in Escrima Concepts justify our right to teach.We Escrima teachers always explain how dangerous it is to fight against weapons. We know this because we teach people how to fight with a variety of weapons and companion weapons.The good Escrima systems will teach unarmed alongside the weapon training as its easier to understand the transition from armed to empty hands at the same time.Escrima gives you better peripheral vision, sharper reflexes, great timing, you become a better judge of speed and distance and your awareness of movement and danger enhances your survival instincts.You recognise the skill and danger of your armed opponent quicker – and yet we cannot guarantee success but we will work harder than most to help you win and survive.

Escrima is not about hitting weapons together, making noise or randomly hitting empty space or using weapons in pretty patterns!Escrima is a tactical deadly combat art of strategy against two equals or a potential massacre against a well trained and clever weapons fighter verses a novice.Do unarmed Escrima practitioners have a better chance against a person with a weapon?I have worked the doors and fought on the street and it has helped me.I have taught people who survived attacks and whose employment puts them at risk who said it helped in real situationsI’ve trained several police, military and security forces and many stated they felt better prepared after our training compared to their previous training.However, no promises can be given, but our training under pressure and mental preparation means you are better equipped to deal with stressful situations and your survival rate may improve. Without Escrima your chances are less and you may need more luck but lets hope its not bad luck.With Escrima your percentages of survival increase as you will move better and have a greater understanding of the attacks due to the weapons training that you have also trained.

Our understanding of body and weapon mechanics make us very versatile and cold calculated fighters.If the attacker with the weapon is skilled, determined and used them before you are in trouble whether you are skilled or not especially if you don’t have a weapon too. However, Escrima people know how to turn everyday items into weapons and are rarely unprepared – they are environmentally aware and see things as they walk to use as weapons and can turn innocent daily objects into aggressive weapons in an instant.Is Escrima the best authority on progressive weapon training (excluding revolvers etc).We are one of the best available!There are other systems that are good who may have learnt from Escrima teachers or seen a need to upgrade what they teach because of Escrima’s skill and increasing popularity. BUT there are charlatans and con men out their in all arts.I learnt as a young man to be aware of weapons and I fought against and used them myself.I studied Escrima since 1976 and medieval weapons since 1978 and taught police and security across the globe for over 20 years without advertising and have always been in demand.Therefore, my opinion concerning weapon fighting is based on training and real life experiences and the feedback I get from members and police etc.

I see Escrima as one of the best arts in the world today – but you must research your instructor as there are too many liars and egotistic greedy idiots out there smiling and taking your money with limited knowledge.But is teaching weapons morally right I hear people ask again?You bet your arse it is!Never has a student said to me they are frightened of just being punched their biggest fear is being attacked with a weapon. As long as people are prepared to attack others with weapons then arts like Escrima will be needed and justified.If you are attacked you are surviving and trying to avoid getting killed, maimed or scarred so we need to be as best prepared as we can be.

What civilisation has always shown is violence has always been around.If everyone threw away their weapons across the globe you can bet that a few people would see that they can exploit the situation.Better to be prepared for a fight we hope not to have than not be prepared if attacked.It’s only morally wrong to deliberately teach weapons to those who intentionally want to use them to rob or harm people – but its not morally wrong to train. incase we become potential victims of an armed attack.

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