Weapons Training at One World
Weapons practice in an integral part of training at One World. Practice with the bokken (sword) and/or jo (staff) is included in regular classes. Students may borrow weapons from the dojo until such a time as they wish to acquire their own.
At One World, we believe that weapons practice is a tool for developing a sense of spacing and timing. When one practices with a staff or sword, it has the net effect of elongating the arms. This means that all movement is enlarged, and can be viewed quite differently than with a partner.
We draw from a rich body of weapons work. Beginners learn solo forms starting with very basic movements. As students are ready, they may work on more challenging solo forms, and begin to do partnered practice. At the senior level, students practice riai, forms with an attacker in front and one behind simultaneously attacking.
The forms learned can be mapped directly onto body arts, and vice versa. In this case, weapons work is very helpful as a teaching tool. If the student is having a hard time understanding a particular movement with a partner, the instructor may choose to show that same movement in a weapons form. In this way, teaching goes back and forth between weapons and body arts, both with equal value.
Children may also learn weapons forms. Most children start with the jo (staff) as it is a more intuitive weapon. The sword is much more challenging, especially for very young children. As the child learns more, they may progress to doing harder forms and using both weapons. The children understand that doing this kind of practice is exciting, and they participate with a healthy level of respect for their sticks.