Man has been using various hand- held objects and has been applying them in the purpose of self- defense from ancient times. Such objects were bones, stone and wood which were used for hitting, shooting or piercing. Also, over the centuries man was forced to use his various tools and other hand- held objects in order to protect himself from danger.
A dagger (knife), spear, bow and arrow and, somewhat later, an axe were the first human weapons which he used primarily for hunting and later on in battles between man and man, i.e. for military purposes. Over the years, because of circumstances people were forced to improve its usage. Many of them became remarkably skillful in the usage of various tools which is why it became a dangerous instrument for self- defence in their hands.
By men's development through the centuries different weapons were developed which were used in different ways. However, their aim was unique- to defeat the enemy. From ancient times, man has encountered with weapons and was forced to be acquainted with them and their purpose. This is the reason why certain men (and sometimes women) have trained and become real experts in handling these weapons. History of mankind is filled with a great network of different and ingenious weapons which, in some cases, had more than one purpose.
Many martial arts masters as well as various war commanders have been crafting and designing types and kinds of certain weapons and some of them were exceptional in their production. Different types of, primarily, self- defense skills have developed in many countries of the world by using tools which have, accordingly, become weapons.
Many warriors (martial arts masters) carried with themselves and used various types of weapons. They depended on the fight with the opponent, i.e. the fighting action as well as the goal which was to be attained with this action, as well as the fighting skill they were adept for.
Very few basic weapons that can be used exist. However, they have been often modified and thus we nowadays have hundreds of different weapons in different parts of the world and the skills needed to handle some of them are far from being easy. For example, if you wont to learn a Japanese skill like kyu- jutsu, ken- jutsu, so- jutsu, kusarigama- jutsu, sodegarami- jutsu, sasu- mata- jutsu, juken- jutsu, uchi- ne, chigi- riki- jutsu, gekiken- jutsu, jutte- jutsu, fuki- bari, or tetsubo- jutsu it is hard to find a master for teaching and handling this weapon. For some other Japanese skills like iai- jutsu, naginata- jutsu, sai-jutsu, tonfa- jutsu, kama- jutsu, bo- jutsu, jo- jutsu, nunchaku- jutsu, tessen- jutsu , shuriken- jutsu, manrikigrusari- jutsu, ho- jutsu or eku- jutsu is much easier to find a martial art instructor.
In the time when some martial arts were starting to exist, others were already completely out of practice as well as some tools and weapons used in these types of martial arts. Unless they later didn't go through their revival, many such arts were completely forgotten or became a folklore characteristic of their country. They have been cultivated and cherished in various societies in order to preserve cultural and historical properties and traditions of a certain country and martial arts have been a part of their legacy.
Handling with various tools and weapons is considered to be one of the most serious and most difficult phases of learning in different styles of martial art. On the other hand, handling with two weapons at the same time is said to be one of the most demanding exercizes in the mastery of using weapons that represents an advanced technique in which only masters of martial arts can be proficient. In order to learn the correct and synchronized movement, i.e. the correct usage with two weapons simultaneously, a martial arts master needs long- term training and needs to gain certain experience.
The simultaneous usage of two weapons has a long tradition and is well- known from the times of Ancient Egypt (a skill called Nabbut), Ancient Rome (gladiators, retarius – a fighter with a trident and a net, dimachaeri – fighters with two swords). The Italian style of fighting with swords (a knife called cinquedea was held in the left and a sword was held in the right hand), Spanish skills (espada and daga), Polynesian skills (Arnis de Mano, Arnis, Escrima, Kali), the Thai skill (Krabi Krabong), the Japanese style of fighting (skill called Nito ryu created by M. Musashi), The Chinese (various kung fu styles) as well as many other have been known and existed throughout history
Before using two weapons simultaneously, a martial arts trainee needs to practice with only one weapon. Of course, before generally training with any weapon he needs to know some basic facts about the weapon he wants to practice with.
The examples are the following:
First and foremost, every trainee needs to know the basic division of weapons.
According to their origin, weapons are divided into so- called cold (melee) weapons (knife, sword, axe etc.) and firearms (pistol, gun etc.). They are further divided into soft weapons (chain, rope, nunchaku etc.) and hard weapons (sword, axe etc.). They are also divided into short weapons (knife etc.) and long weapons (rope etc.); blunt weapons (metal bats etc.) and sharpened or jagged weapons (knives, maces, kama etc.). Weapons can also be split into individual weapons (rope etc.) and weapons used in pairs (sai, nunchaku, tonfa, kama etc.) as well as so- called traditional weapons (katana etc.) and modern weapons (automatic rifle etc.). Likewise, there is also the division of weapons which are held (sword, kama etc.) and those that are thrown (knife, spear, bumerang etc.) and the weapon with which it is cut (katana etc.) and the wearh with which it is stabbed (spear). The aforementioned belongs to the basic division of weapons according to their purpose and their basic aim for which they are used.
When using any weapon its highest efficacy needs to be assured. Hard weapons need to be used as if they are soft, whereas soft weapons need to be used as if they are hard. This way their efficacy is maximized in the moment they are used.
An appropriate distance from the opponent that needs to be maintained when fighting with a weapon is different in defense and in offense. If the distance becomes larger, it is harder to attack but it is easier to defend oneself. This is why short weapons such as knives are good for attacking, while, on the contrary, long weapons such as a spear are better for defense.
Every weapon needs to be chosen patiently and carefully because it is not the same for every person. This is why it is not recommended to use standard weapons but to adapt them to yourself. The weapon need to be adapted to a person's build (his height, the size of his hands as well as strength). So a weaker person of a smaller height should use shorter and lighter weapons, while a stronger and heavier person should use longer and somewhat heavier weapons. Also, weapons need to be chosen according to the degree of mastery by which a person has overcome handling a certain weapon.
If a person wants to use two weapons at the same time, he or she needs to consider the fact that it is much more effective to use weapons of a different weight and length. If the trainee is right- handed, he should place a heavier and longer weapon in his hand while using a lighter and shorter weapon in his left hand. Firstly, practice movements with only one and then with the other hand. Then it is safe to proceed with practice with both hands simultaneously.
Be careful- it is not the same if a right- handed person uses the weapons with his right or left hand. The dominant hand is much stronger and skilled which is why it is much easier to use it. On the other hand, the trainee is much weaker and slower and more clumsy with the other hand. This is why he needs more patience and practice with the weaker hand in order to control the skill of handling with a certain type of weapon, especially if he wants to control two weapons simultaneously.
A person who plans to use two weapons simultaneously is considered to use the weapon in his or her weaker hand for the purpose of self- defense whilst attacking and dealing blows with his or her stronger hand. Such notion is incorrect because this kind of a technique can be seen only in beginners while skillful masters can defend and attack themselves from their enemy in much the same way using either hands or weapons.
An attack using weapons is by far the most dangerous type of an attack. A weapon, whether it is cold (melee) or a firearm, always unambiguously shows the intention of the attacker. The man who is attacking us or threatening us with a stick (a bat), a knife, a pistol or any other type of weapon (or a certain tool) is surely dangerous. Apart from that, he is probably determined to seriously harm or kill us.
Any experienced martial arts master will tell you that you need to respect a basic rule when it comes to using a weapon in real combat- the rule of effectiveness and prudence (economy of movement). The economy of movement is the performance of movements with as little consumption of energy as possible. In other words, you should not make any unnecessary movements which are not vital for your defense or offense. By making the smallest mistake, if the surface you are standing on is slippery, a moment of hesitation, a premature or a late reaction- all this may bring grave consequences. Every superfluous movement is unnecessary and by waving uselessly with a weapon you are risking to drop it out of your hands and give it to your opponent who will use it against you.
When using two weapons, it is ideal to use two different weapons. For example, a soft weapon (a nunchaku, a chain etc.) in your right hand and a hard weapon (a sword, a sai etc.) in your left hand (for a right- handed person). Be careful- a soft weapon bends and, unless you have practiced it sooner, you will hardly know how to defend yourself.
If you are holding two hard weapons in your hands, it is much better to hold a shorter weapon in your left hand while holding a longer weapon in your right hand. Also, you will be much more efficient if you are able to defend and attack equally with both hands.
When being attacked with a weapon it is not sufficient to fight off (to defend yourself). You will need to counterattack and fight as long as the opponent is holding a weapon in his hand. When the attacker drops his weapon and stops fighting and attacking you, you can slowly move back but never before you have seen the attacker let go of his weapon which brings you no more danger.
Be careful- the moment you took a weapon into your hands, you made it clear to your opponent which martial art you have been training and when you have started to move, you showed him how skillful you are when using weapons. Do not boast with weapons or wave with it wanting to impress or scare someone off. It could lead to a fatal mistake.
Not one real martial arts master who knows how to use a weapon will not use it unless it is utterly necessary for the purpose of self- defense. Also, he will never hold a weapon if he really does not want to make use of it. When taking a weapon, he will know how to use it and, moreover, how to use it with both hands at the same time.
The correct usage as well as simultaneous control of two weapons seeks long- term practice and its usage in fighting calls for immense experience from the martial arts master.
David “Sensei“ Stainko
Master 7th Dan - mixed martial scientists