NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

Handling Weapons During

Your Sho-Dan Test

By Jonathan Wilson

Watch the video of your own test, and you’ll begin to see things that bug you.  I am no exception.  When I watch my test now, one of the most aggravating aspect of the entire test was my poor handling of weapons.  When I was a kid, my father and grandfather were constantly drilling me on the proper way to hold a weapon.  Front sight discipline, Two Hands on the weapon, trigger finger never actually on the trigger until you were ready to shoot, the BRASS acronym (Breath, Relax, Aim, Shoot, Surprise), the value of the functions check, and most importantly:  “Always Treat the Weapon as if it were loaded.”  My childhood lessons (and these were all childhood lessons), were reinforced during my time as an infantry officer in the United States Army.  

Unfortunately, in this test, I completely disregarded a lifetime’s worth of training in my treatment and handling of weapons.  Whether the weapon was a tanto (knife), escrima stick (club), or rubber handgun, after every takeaway, I typically casually slid the weapon back across the mat towards the attack line.  

At the time, it was sort of funny, as people standing in the attack line kept jumping out the way of a club or tanto sliding toward their pinky toes, but in reality it was poor behavior on my part.

What should I have done?

I should have treated every weapon as if it were dangerous, and with utmost respect.  After the takeaway, I should have escorted the weapon back to the attack line and presented it to the next attacker, or possibly laid it down gently on the mat at the font of the line before readying myself for the next attack.

What say ye?



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The Tenshin Movement ~ modified to operate out of a shizentai stance.  It is a movement back and off line, offering tremendous kuzushi (balance breaking) opportunities.  The Tenshin movement works especially well against round attacks.  Unlike Irimi and Tenkan Movements, the Tenshin Movement draws uke into the space nage was holding.

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