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Do You Use Weapons In karate? 

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Do You Use Weapons In karate? 

Karate is a martial art that is practised all over the world. Manu people dedicate their lives to learning and mastering this skill. It is an activity that is peaceful at its core and is designed to teach inner balance and harmony. But we often see people who do karate also be skilled in using deadly weapons.

The literal meaning of Karate is ‘empty hands.’ Karate encompasses fighting and self-defence skills that people learn using their body as the primary tool. Karate does not make use of weapons, but learning karate can allow you to develop the skill-set needed to yield certain weapons such as nun-chucks.

Karate is also a gateway to its sister martial art known as Kobudo. Kobudo is extracted from karate and employs some of the same techniques as karate, except it involves using various weapons. 

Keep reading this article to learn more about the distinction between karate and Kobudo.

Why Does Karate Not Use Weapons?

Karate originated in East Asia, in the region of Okinawa. It was developed in the 17th century and quickly became part of the culture there. The purpose of Karate was to equip people to be able to defend themselves using nothing but their bodies. That is why it is referred to as the ‘art of empty hands.’

Karate does not use weapons because that was never a part of its origins, to begin with. The purpose of Karate is not to injure or cause harm; the main principle behind karate is peace and harmony. It equips you with the skills and techniques to protect yourself using nothing but yourself as the shield. That is why weapons are not popularly used in Karate.

Why Do People Who Know Karate Make Use Of Weapons?

Now you’re probably wondering why most Karate professionals are often seen swinging around nun-chucks and batons. While it is true that Karate primarily focuses on the development of inner ‘Zen’ and does not employ the issue of weapons, over time, this martial art has evolved to include the teaching of weapon-yielding techniques. 

But this training is not a part of Karate itself; those who learn Karate are also later and at higher levels taught other forms of combat that make use of the skills learned in Karate. These weapons are later included in separate classes that teach ‘Okinawan Kobudo.’

What Is The Difference Between Karate And Kobudo?

Both Kobudo and Karate originated in Okinawa around the same time. Kubodo evolved a bit later than Karate and was first used in around 1762. The techniques used in both these arts are almost the same, except Kubodo is a more aggressive style of fighting and involves the use of various different weapons that are not included in Karate.

What Weapons Are Used In Kobudo?

Kobudo makes use of various different weapons, and the use of all weapons is distinct from the other. They all require their own training, but the patterns are often similar. 

To learn about this in greater detail, watch

Nunchaku Are The Most Popular Weapon

This one we have all encountered in movies and video games. Nun-chucks or Nun-Chaku have become popularised by pop culture because they were often yielded by stars like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. These weapons consist of two batons joined together using a chain. Their purpose was mostly training and self-defence, but they can be yielded to cause serious injury to an enemy.

Traditionally Nun-chucks were made of wood, but now they can be made of plastic, fibreglass, and even metal at times. They help teach quickness and precision and improve hand-eye coordination when learning Kobudo.

The Tonfa Is Also Increasingly Used

Though not as popular as the Nun-chucks, the Tonfa is crucial to the Kobudo training process. It consists of a stick with a small handle at the one-third point of the stick. The handle is used for gripping the weapon, and the stick is used for attack and defence.

The weapon is usually yielded in pairs and is particularly useful in close contact combat. 

The Kama Is An Essential Weapon

Kubodo is incomplete without learning to use the Kama. The Kama is also yielded in pairs and is generally made of a metal blade with a wooden handle. They resemble a sickle in appearance. 

The Kama has a very sharp end, making it extremely deadly. Pairing it with Kobudo can seriously injure the opponent. For training, usually, a blunt end is used.

The Bo Is The Most Basic Of The Weapons

This is probably the first weapon you are taught to use as part of your Kobudo training. It has many variations that were developed later on, but it essentially consists of a long wooden stick that is used to ward off attackers and keep them at a distance.

This weapon can teach you balance and helps improve situational awareness. As a result of these factors, it forms the core of Kobudo. 

The Sai Is An Interesting Weapon

This is a mixture of a trident and a dagger. It is one of the most aggressive weapons usually taught in the later stages of Kobudo and is useful in disarming the enemy. 

Can People Who Learn Karate Use These Weapons?

Generally speaking, it is very difficult to learn Kobudo without having learned Karate. The form and the techniques are basically the same. In fact, during the initial classes for Kobudo, Karate is often taught. Anyone skilled in Karate will definitely be able to learn to use these weapons better than an unskilled person.

However, it must be kept in mind that all these weapons have their own training that is needed to learn to use them, and so separate classes must be taken.

The Conclusion

In short, while it is true that Karate itself does not include the use of weapons, Karate does become the grounds on which you can later train to use various different weapons. It equips you with the discipline and skill necessary to be able to handle such weapons properly during combat.