Some dojo hold classes which are devoted almost exclusively to training
with to JO (staff), TANTO (knife), and BOKKEN (sword); the three principal
weapons used in aikido. However, since the goal of aikido is not primarily
to learn how to use weapons, trainees are advised to attend a minimum of
two non-weapons classes per week if they plan to attend weapons classes.
There are several reasons for weapons training in aikido.
First, many aikido movements are derived from classical weapons arts.
There is a historical rationale for learning weapons movements.
Second, weapons training is helpful for learning proper MA AI, or distancing.
Third, many advanced aikido techniques involve defenses against weapons.
In order to ensure that such techniques can be practiced safely, it is important
for students to know how to attack properly with weapons, and to defend
against such attacks.
Fourth, there are often important principles of aikido movement and
technique that may be more easily demonstrated by the use of weapons than
Fifth, training in weapons kata is a way of facilitating understanding
of general principles of aikido movement.
Sixth, weapons training can add an element of intensity to aikido practice,
especially in practicing defenses against weapons attacks.
Seventh, training with weapons provides aikidoka with an opportunity
to develop a kind of responsiveness and sensitivity to the movements and
actions of others within a format that is usually highly structured. In
addition, it is often easier to discard competitive mindsets when engaged
in weapons training, making it easier to focus on cognitive development.
Finally, weapons training is an excellent way to learn principles governing
lines of attack and defense. All aikido techniques begin with the defender
moving off the line of attack and then creating a new line (often a non-straight
line) for application of an aikido technique.