Thursday, July 07, 2011

Does the weapon teach the hand?

From what little exposure I've had to Filipino martial arts (FMA), as I understand it, they teach the weapons part of their systems first, and after you get good at that, the empty-hand comes later.  I had one of my FMA buddies tell me that their philosophy is "The weapon teaches the hand, but the hand never teaches the weapon." Meaning (I suppose) that they've found that the weapon should come first or else bad habits from empty hand training will carry over and spoil your weapons training.
Aikido generally seems to work just the opposite - empty hand for a while, then weapons are added in, perhaps concurrently with more advanced empty-hand training.  The aiki philosophy on this is basically, "Nothing changes," meaning that aiki is expressed empty handed about the same as it is with an object in your hand. 
I don't think this is exactly true.  There are differences, but it does seem like because aikido was derived to some extent from feudal weapons arts, those principles carry over into our early empty-hand training, which allows us to add the weapons back in later, claiming, "Nothing changes."

Patrick Parker
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