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Care Demonstrating Weapons

I want to share an experience I had in the late 1970s here in Hawaii. I went to a martial arts demonstration that was held outdoors at what we now call the Neil Blaisdale Center (we used to call it the "HIC"). Rows of chairs were arranged in front of a small elevated stage. Various martial artists took the stage to give demonstrations.

About mid-way through the show, a man in his 20s (as I recall) walked up to the stage and began to demonstrate a Kung Fu spear form. He spun the spear all around and was pleasing the crowd. At a key point, he thrust the spear toward the center of the audience.

The shaft of the speak vibrated and the spear head flew off, landing in the fourth or fifth row between an elderly man and his granddaughter! Needless to say, the man and his granddaughter were frightened, the crowd was shocked, and the martial artist stood there for a moment holding his.... bo.

A few inches left or right and someone could have been seriously injured, even killed.

Extreme care must be exercised when demonstrating weapons in public, especially bladed weapons. The safety of the audience is the first concern but the demonstrator must also be careful not to injure himself or herself.

I have often heard that if you practice with a "live blade" the issue is not whether you will cut yourself, but when. One of my Iaido Sensei sliced his own forehead performing a Shinden-Ryu kata. I have heard of students slicing off fingers during testing.

I stabbed myself in the leg with a pencil teaching a woman's self-defense class. It was like the movie Young Frankenstein when Gene Wilder stabbed himself in the leg with a scalpel while giving a lecture. I literally said, "class... dismissed." The pencil broke off in my thigh and I had go to the emergency room to have it removed.

Please be very careful with any weapons.


Charles C. Goodin