Saturday, September 01, 2001

Archone's solo weapons training article

NOTE: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 04:38:40 -0700 (PDT); I go by the handle of Archone, and have here a set of single man drills I have developed, which will allow a student willing to train daily for six months to obtain basic mastery of any hand to hand weapon, from stick to sword to chain. I still have to work on drills for 2 weapon fighting, but what I have will work for single weapons held in one or two hands, and I present it with pride.

I work as an unlicensed plainsclothes security guard, for a construction property that on occasion suffers intrusion by the "fringe" elements of society. I have to be prepared for everything from bludeons-including impromptu ones made from the surrounding lumber and metal poles-to knives, to the cheap little pistols that are responsible for most shooting related crimes. And all of this in the dead of night, with the only possible help my relief partner, who works the nights I'm off duty and lives on site.

I train in sabre fencing, and have 12 hours a night to study and practice. I have developed a series of training drills that will give any serious student basic Mastery of any weapon. That means you'll have mastered the basics, and can then go on to the subtle tricks inherant to each individual weapon.

First, let's get a grip. Learn the proper grip for the weapon, for both hands. If it's a one handed weapon, like a sabre or hammer(a particularly good choice to study if you work as a carpenter or related trade-like the Karateka of lore, learn to make your tools into weapons! Unless you live on a farm and cut the wheat with a kama and thresh with nunchuku...), then practice the proper grip, with both left and right handed grips. If it's a two handed weapon, like a baseball bat, katana in standard kendoka style, wood chopping axe, or sledgehammer, practice with both a righthander's and southpaw's styles. Learning to use your off hand skillfully will increase your good side's abilities. It also allows you to change hands depending on injury(like a cut to the hand or arm), or to adapt to the circumstances.

Next, learn to perform the 9 basic strikes. All techniques, with all weapons, come from one of nine basic angles: four horizontal and vertical strikes, four diagonal strikes, and the ubiquitous thrust. Different instructors assign different numbers depending on their systems(or even add additional diagonals to bring the number as high as 13). Here's my preffered labeling:

2 1 3
\ | /
/ | \
6 8 7

Practice 100 strikes with the weapon, for each of the 9 basic strikes, for each hand or side. That means 1800 reps per day(or night, in my case). Perform EACH strike in the proper manner for the weapon, not letting fatigue or blisters affect your technique. A sabre cut should be done with the proper drawing motion, a bat should be swung with the all or nothing technique for hitting a home run, an axe should be swung like chopping wood. If the weapon is not meant to be it anyway. A sledgehammer or bat thrust with a 9 is enough to knock the wind out of an attacker, making an excellent setup for a classic 1 right on his noggin, or a 4 or 5 to the jaw. Also note that the 7 will be a little difficult to perform, and for a two handed weapon, the 8 will be as well. Keep practicing, and they'll become easier. And always remember to aim for a specific point in space with purpose, not merely swing wildly.

Practice for a week. Congrats! You've practiced 12,600 strikes, or 700 of each individual attack! Your hands should have become horribly blistered, then the blisters popped open, fell off, and were replaced by thick hard callaus-which then peeled off to be replaced by softer and smoother but considerably tougher callauses, kind of like what you'd get from iron palm training. Take pride in 'em. A callaused hand is a hand belonging to someone who works hard and is proud of it.

Now for something a little more complicated: 2 strike combos! Nine units in a 2x2 matrix means 81 possible 2 cut combos. Start with a 1 1 combo. Strike downward, then immediately repeat. Do it again, for 10 reps. Then a 1 2 combo, a 1 3, 1 4, 1 5... up to a 1 9 downward strike straight thrust attack. Then on to all the combos beginning with a 2 diagonal downward cut. And so on, until you finish off with 10 repetitions of the 9 9 thrust thrust combo. Again, every night, do what adds up to 180 attacks each technique, or 3240 strikes total(I list these numbers so you can take pride in your accomplishments). After 2 weeks, you're up to 45,360(had to use the calculator to doublecheck that one!)plus 12,600 for 57,960 techniques total. 2520 plus 700 means 3220 strikes with each individual technique. If you've been paying attention to your technique, you should have attained CONTEMPT for the movie techniques performed by most of those "action" stars, even with visual effect enhancements, stunt doubles, and considerable coaching by trainers, when compared to your fast, powerful, simple yet elegant attacks.

Now for the REAL hard one. 3 strike combos. 1 1 1, 1 1 2, 1 1 3, etc. Perform ALL the combos begining with a 1 strike the first session. Then the next day, perform all the combos beginning with a 2. And so on, for 9 days, for each of the 729 possible 3 cut combos for each hand/side. Result(Not even gonna bother doing the math in my head this time.). 101,700 total, broken down into 5,650 individual strikes. You have now attained the raw skill needed to perform a technique without even needing to THINK about it. You just say, "Number 1," and your weapon swings downard, without any conscious thought about technique. You don't need to go on to 4 strike combos, since once you can do 3 move combos, you can blend them seamlessly into a continuous barrage of attacks, both from raw skill and from muscles and hands become hard and tireless from the continuous practice. Now for the FUN stuff...

Emptied soda cans work well for sticks or well made swords, once you've drunk your fill (a good way to practice recycling!), pieces of cardboard for a knife, or even wood blocks or bricks for heavy weapons like axes and hammers. Start with the 1s. Toss the target of choice into the air, then smack it back down to the ground. Again, for 10 reps. Successful reps, repeat them if you miss, only count the ones where you succeed. Move on until you've done all 9 cuts each side, 10 SUCCESSFUL reps each side(remember, we're working on accuracy now). Continue for about a week, or as long as it takes until you can toss and hit successfuly every time, rather than missing one out every two or three tosses. Note that this includes thrusting techniques. Can you toss a soda can into the air, then send it flying into space with the end of your stick?

Then, toss TWO targets in the air, and knock BOTH down (or shatter or cut them, depending on the weapon and target) before the second hits the ground. Only one successful repetition of each combo, this time. 162 successful strike strike combos, each night. Then THREE targets, and so on, as many as you can do. For a light weight weapon like a knife or escrima stick, you can make it up to as many as 5, 6, or more targets, knocked out of the air before they fall to the ground(meaning, six accurate strikes a second!). For a heavier weapon, like an axe, you'll probably peter out at 3(still, THREE strikes a second with an AXE!?). Note, at the time of this writing, I'm on the 2 target drills with a wooden sword, still a bit more to go. Still, ever seen someone tear open a soda can with a WOODEN blade?

Ta Da! You've attained basic mastery with your chosen weapon, in about six months of hard work. Now, seek out a real instructor, and learn the subtle tricks of a true master!

Well, that's it for this installment. Any feedback would be much appreciated, send it to:

NOTE: Posted 8/5/2014 and backdated to 9/1/2001 to mirror my old site. As the contact email was from 2001, it's possible it's not a valid email anymore, but I added the "NOSPAM" just in case, take that out before emailing Archone.


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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps