(March ‘96/#18)

	One day I was visiting my local martial arts supply store.
	“Hey, Al, take a look at this!”
	I went into the back room where I was presented with a billy club made out of PVC and foam.
	This was a while ago, I admit, but there’s something that you don’t understand about these tools.
	“Hey, they’re fake!” I exclaimed, pounding my hand with one. “What good are they?”
	“The police wanted them to train with.”
	“Why don’t they use the real thing?” I asked.
	“Oh, they say the real ones hurt too much.”
	I will always remember standing around with these guys, who knew martial arts, and looking at each other with a confused, whimsical, ‘I don’t believe it,’ kind of attitude.
	What’s not to believe? Why do I take objection?
	The reason I take objection is called ‘responsibility.’
	By training with a tool that doesn’t hurt, is not real, the cop will not understand the limits and attributes of the real thing. He will not be able to gage when force becomes too much, or when more force should be applied. Thus he will not be able to take responsibility for that tool.
	Some tools have to be softened. An arnis class that used machetes would be a tragedy. A samurai sword in a kendo class would be a slaughter.
	On the other hand, a person who trains with gloves or other types of pads is lying to himself about impact. He will not understand impact, and he will not be able to take responsibility for impact.
	And that brings us back to plastic batons.
	I believe in the need for police in today’s society.
	I think the police should all be trained in martial arts.
	I also think that if more people were trained in the martial arts we wouldn’t need the police.
	But, lastly, I believe that if a policeman, or any other martial artist, is going to train with a tool capable of inflicting damage, they should get as real as possible.
	Quite simply, grab arts should be taken all the way to the floor, or at least until it is obvious beyond any shadow of a doubt that you know what you are doing, AND CAN TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT! Freestyle should be done with bare knuckles and toes and no pads, so that people can learn what hurts and what doesn’t, and what is dangerous to the inflictor as well as the inflictee.
	And police, or any other martial artist, should train with the real thing! 

Monster Martial Arts

Several officers have written in to reassure me that methods have upgraded.Monster_Martial_Arts.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0