When most people think of martial arts, chances are the first thing they think of is hand-to-hand combat involving a range of different punches, kicks, and other techniques.
However, weapons also play a large part in many martial arts. The use of (and defense against) various weapons is a key part of training in martial arts such as Kung Fu, Jujutsu, and even forms of Tai Chi!
But does Taekwondo involve any weapons? And if so, what types of weapons are used in Taekwondo? Don’t worry – we’ve got all the answers right here!
In this handy guide, we’ll take a look at whether or not there are weapons in Taekwondo, and what types of weapons would fit into Taekwondo training.
So read on, and learn all there is to know about Taekwondo’s weapons!
Does Taekwondo Have Any Weapons?
First things first – are there actually any weapons in Taekwondo? Well, the answer is yes – there are!
Many Korean martial arts involve the use of weapons, including Tang Soo Do, Hanmudo, and Kumdo; Taekwondo is no different, and practitioners use a wide variety of weaponry in their training.
Weapons training in Taekwondo is very similar to unarmed techniques, where more of a focus is put on practicing forms and techniques as opposed to using the weapons in a fighting scenario like sparring.
Because of the danger involved with training with weapons, the use of weapons is typically reserved for more advanced training; additionally, practitioners will wear various protective gear to keep themselves safe while practicing.
There aren’t really any weapons that are unique to Taekwondo – in fact, most of the weapons used in Taekwondo are either also used in other martial arts or were adopted from existing martial arts for use in Taekwondo.
However, Taekwondo uses its weapons in a unique style, with similar types of forms and techniques as used in unarmed combat.
What Weapons Are Used In Taekwondo?
So now that we’ve established that Taekwondo does, in fact, use weapons, let’s take a look at what some of these weapons are.
In this section, we’ll go over the most common weapons in Taekwondo, as well as how they are used.
1. Eskrima Sticks
Originating from multiple Filipino martial arts, eskrima sticks are a type of medium length baton or stick. They can be made of several materials, but the most common material is wood.
Traditionally, eskrima sticks were made out of a material called rattan; this is the stem from a type of vine that is incredibly durable and lightweight.
Eskrima sticks can be wielded as a single weapon or in a pair, and are used in drills that focus on parries and counterattacks.
The sticks are used to strike in straight lines horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, and parry by blocking in the opposite direction to the incoming stick.
Because of their lightness and relatively short length, eskrima sticks can be used quickly and fluidly in the hands of a skilled practitioner.
While eskrima training doesn’t involve any weapon-to-body contact, most people will use some form of hand and head protection to keep themselves from harm in case of an accident.
One of the most iconic weapons in martial arts, nunchucku (also known as nunchucks) are weapons made of two short sticks connected by a chain or rope.
Like eskrima sticks, nunchucku can be used either as a single or double weapon. However, this is where the similarities change – everything else, from their fighting style to their design, is completely unique.
Nunchucks are used by keeping a firm hold on one stick, while using swings and twirls to strike with the other stick.
Using the nunchuck’s momentum to its full advantage can produce a lot of speed and power; however, keeping control of the nunchuck and avoiding hitting yourself with it accidentally takes a lot of skill and practice.
3. Bo Staff
The bo staff and its variants is one of the most common types of weapon across all martial arts.
These long staffs are typically around 6 feet in length, and are used as an extension of the wielder’s limbs.
In training, bo staffs are used to perform thrusts, strikes, and swings as the target.
The staff is gripped in thirds with the hands in opposing directions – one facing palm-down and the other palm-up. This gives the wielder better control over the bo staff and allows it to rotate.
The bo staff is incredibly versatile, despite its simplicity.
In Taekwondo, the bo staff can be used for offensive techniques as well as defensive ones, which use the staff’s length and mobility for blocks, sweeps, and guards.
Not all weapons in Taekwondo are just different-sized sticks, however. There are also multiple bladed weapons in Taekwondo – one of these is known as ‘Sai’.
Sai knives have a unique and interesting shape. They are pronged, with two small curved prongs branching out from a central blade at the hilt.
Actual sai knives aren’t sharp, and instead the middle prong leads to a pointed tip. However, sai knives used in training are completely blunt to avoid unnecessary risks.
This pronged design isn’t all for looks, however. Sai knives use their prongs to trap and block an opponent’s weapon, and can even be used to disarm an attacker.
These knives are typically used in pairs, and most drills focus on using two sai knives in tandem.
The kamas is a sickle-like tool that was originally used as a Japanese farming instrument before being repurposed as a weapon.
Kamas have a mid-length handle and a slightly curved blade springing from the tip.
With the blade’s sharp point and cutting edge, kamas are a versatile weapon.
Traditionally wielded in pairs, this allows for a variety of techniques such as strikes and slashes, as well as blocks, trapping, and disarms.
These aren’t all the weapons used in Taekwondo, and there are several other weapons with their own unique purposes and drills.
Just because there are weapons in Taekwondo, it doesn’t mean that they are used for fighting.
Most of the weapons training in Taekwondo involves form and techniques; remember, these weapons are only used for practicing purposes!
As long as you stay safe and sensible, you can avoid injury and get the most out of your training.