When do you start learning to use weapons, in Karate?

Is it when you’re a higher belt or something? Because I always thought it was part of the karate, like once every so often, there’d be a weapon class. But my school doesn’t do it at all.

I’d really like to learn weapons as well.

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17 Responses to When do you start learning to use weapons, in Karate?

  1. Caz says:

    I didn’t know that Karate taught weapons at all!

    I used to do kungfu and weapons training only begins when you are a higher belt.

  2. Rinky Dink says:

    colombine here we come

  3. jeff k says:

    Generally when you have reached brown belt status, remember karate is like building a house! you must prepare the foundations first, but weapons are not a real part of karate, karate means open or empty hand.

  4. Albo says:

    In karate the weapons are your hands and feet.

    You use weapons with kung fu or ju jitsu.

    You’re doing the wrong martial art!


  5. ghm says:

    you dont learn to use weapons in Karate

    They do in tai chi though so you could start practicing that if you want to use weapons

  6. christopher m says:

    you don’t us weapons in Karate! the word Karate means empty hand, so you will need to learn combat training of a different kind that uses a weapon of your liking i.e. sword, flail or other type of killing implement.but I don’t think you can just walk in to this type of club without some knowledge so look be-for you leap is the best plan.

  7. Shihan J says:

    karate doesn’t teach weapons it means “empty hands”
    kobudo teaches weapons, and is more accurately what you are trying to ask.
    not all karate dojo’s teach kobudo. and the rank and age depends on the instructor.
    i don’t teach any one weapons to someone under 12 or below 5th kyu(purple). i have my reason i don’t make exceptions. for iaido and kenjitsu i don’t start my student until they are 1st kyu (3rd stripe brown) or higher.

    i have seen some dojo’s start them at white belt with weapons. i don’t agree with this. but is is up to the sensei’s to decide and not all sensei’s do weapons

  8. Katana172 version3 says:

    In our organization you are not allowed to start weapons training before green belt. To all the people who say karate does not have weapons, you are wrong. Weapons on Okinawa fall under Kobudo, as Shihan J said, but many styles of Okinawin karate have incorperated them.

    I know for a fact that Isshin-Ryu has 3 bo katas, 3 sai kata’s, and 1 Tonfa kata in it’s official style curriculam. The japanese styles do not contain weapons, but the okinawan styles do, so for all those who said they don’t yu are wrong, so why don’t you actually answer questions that you know about.

  9. Sensei Scandal says:

    I have a friend who teaches Kobudo and he begins kihon at advanced green belt.

    That’s the general time frame, but if you noticed, I said “kihon”.

  10. John says:

    Some styles and organizations don’t teach weapons or require them for testing and promotion. Others do and they usually start with an un-bladed weapon first like staff, nunchaku, or tonfa before going into kama or sai. Some styles also teach boken and will even move into the sword. I do not teach a student a weapon until they reach blue belt (4th kyu) generally speaking as they have enough to learn and practice without adding to it. I do make exceptions for those that are diligent, dedicated students and currently have such a female student that works out several times a week and practices daily. I do relate some weapons techniques to empty hand techniques though like turning your hand over when doing a punch or doing a thrust with a staff for better focus and power. It helps reinforce things and keeps things a little fresher for students and gives them other ways of thinking and relating to those concepts and techniques where both empty hand and weapons techniques correlate with one another.

  11. TeamMinions says:

    To answer your question it really depends on the martial art. Arts like Kenpo, Okinawa and Escrima (kali) all depend very much on the incorporation of weapons but they may also use only one weapon versus multiple. Other arts may use them as a means of disarming an opponent versus using them as offensive tools. The best thing for you to do is do some research, make a list and put down what you want to see and ask around. Shoot an email off to the instructors and ask them if they use weapons and if so which ones and why they use them.

  12. pugpaws2 says:

    There is no clear answer here. Karate is a stand alone art. It does not have weapons training/ Kobudo. Kobudo is a also a stand alone. One or several weapons may be taught. Some styles/organizations will teach both karate and kobudo. Those that do each has its own way of incorporating the weapons training into the mix. Some start teaching the weapons early on. Others require that the student attain a certain level before beginning weapons training. Usually this is because many of the stances used in kobudo training are like those used in karate.

    My first few karate instructors did not teach weapons. It was more than ten years after beginning my training that anyone ever began to start teaching weapons.

  13. Rob B says:

    It depends on the style and philosophy of the master. I take a karate style and we start teaching bo at an early level if the student has demonstrated proficiency in certain empty hand forms.

    However, we restrict teaching certain weapons to higher belts. Nunchaku cannot be taught before green belt and only if certain other kata are proficient. Bladed weapons must be brown or black.

  14. wowfood says:

    i’m just repeating what everyone else has said really but Karate means “open hand” and the basics of karate are to make your body parts weapons.

    Karate was made for two reasons, firstly it was pretty much stolen from chinese martial arts >.> Secondly during a period, can’t remember which, okinawa had all its weapons removed from them by the shogunate,It was after this that they began weapon training using common tools for them, such as the sai, which was for planting seeds, and nun-chaku (i can’t spell) which were for taking down grain or whatever.

    The most common styles of karate don’t really teach much if any weapon training, the most i’d normally expect to see in a lot is anti-weapon drills, such as disarming a knife, (although they always stress that if they have a knife your first reaction should be run like hell)

    If you want weapon training then perhaps you should ask your sensei / shihan if he can recommend anywhere so you can train along side your karate

  15. callsignfuzzy says:

    Most classic karate systems do not include weapons in their curriculum. Exceptions are, I believe, Isshin-Ryu and American Kempo, and in those two cases the weapons forms are learned around brown/black belt. My first sensei taught a bo and a nunchaku kata at brown belt, but this isn’t common. Occasionally you get a karate dojo that teaching Okinawan Kobudo (traditional weapons) as well as karate, but again this is more the exception than the rule.

    Weapons based systems include Okinawan Kobudo (bo, sai, tonfa, nunchaku, kama), Escrima/Kali/Arnis (fighting with single- and double-sticks, knives, other impact and cutting weapons of different lengths and styles), Kendo/Kenjutsu (Japanese fencing), Iaido/Iaijutsu (Japanese art of drawing and cutting with the sword), Western fencing (foil, epee, and saber), Kumdo (Korean fencing), jodo/jojutsu (Japanese art of fighting with a 4-foot staff), and other, harder-to-find systems from around the world.

    Systems that include both weapons work and empty hand techniques are most systems of Chinese martial arts (“kung fu”), some classic Jujitsu schools, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, many Silat styles, some Aikido schools.

    Best of luck in learning weapons!

  16. Halloween Haze BlackBelt Kitteh says:

    In my American Kenpo Karate class, the first day you walk on the mat with a brown belt you pick up your first weapon.
    Our defense moves are “open hand” as with some Kata’s, however we learn five weapons in Kata form. Once we earn a Black Belt we will learn a few other weapons through a Kata form as well.

  17. RichardFitzentite says:

    I believe that it depends on what style of Karate you are learning. I studied Shotokan and we were introduced to weapons at the green belt level. My Sensei wanted us to learn some sword techniques (katana) and one other weapon of our choice by black belt. The weapons we had to chose from are bo staff, sai, nunchucku, kama and tonfa. There are more, but I think these are the ones that my teacher felt most comfortable teaching.

    The word Karate was originally translated to mean “China Hand” because of its roots from Chinese kenpo. When Master Funakoshi brought Shotokan to the main land Japan, he new that Japanese would not accept something that was Chinese in origin. So he changed the name to “the way of the empty hand” or Karate-do. The Japanese symbols for both meanings of the same word are very similar.

    Funakoshi consulted many in his efforts to modernize Karate and Kendo was one of those influences. So, in conclusion, the fact that Karate is “the way of the empty hand” does not necessarily exempt the art from weapons training. Most of the weapons in Karate are derived from farming implements so that poor farmers could defend themselves with what was on their property, rather than having a vast arsenal that would be confiscated by the Samurai.

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