Drop Your Weapon
“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”
― Bertrand Russell,
I mentioned to students of mine that I never do any weapons practice outside of the studio. I do not trust the public at all to have any discrimination between legitimate use of a practice sword and exercise with that implement. I trust even less the officers of statute who have even less common sense in dealing with the Tai Chi player going about his exercise. The growing trend of marginalising and demonising martial arts practitioners is now of epidemic proportions.
There was a case, not so long ago when a man on Hampstead Heath was surrounded by the Para Military wing of the police force, all because some person of low IQ, infected with media fear, reported to the police that a bloke with a sword running about the Heath. In actuality the man in question was going through a fluffy slow moving straight sword Tai Chi form. ( clearly a plastic sword and clearly an exercise ) His back was facing the stealthy Para Miltaries closing in on him. So utterly frightened for their safety and eager to defend the realm they ordered the man " Put down your weapon , " scared shitless the Tai Chi warrior turned slowly to witness a group of super cops training their sights on him. "it's a plastic Tai Chi sword" the man whimpered!! ...."Drop the weapon or we WILL shoot " My thoughts about acts of structured cretinism need no amplification at this point.
On a more serious note: if that can happen to someone exercising with a plastic sword then this more next example should make you think seriously about never going outside with your practice weapon and never with a shiny metal replica sword, no matter how blunt. In this next case the man arguably was lucky to get away with his life. We live in a world now where warnings may or may not be given by armed police units and we run the serious risk of some andrenalised officer letting off a round or two to probably to avert the next Boxer Rebellion.
In this next case the Tai Chi player gets a custodial sentence for practicing in some woodland with a metal practice sword. (A conditional discharge is where an offender is not punished at the time of sentence, but receives a period of grace, often for 12 months. If the offender were to be convicted of another offence during the period of discharge, they face being sentenced for that offence, as well as the original offence.) I am disgusted that this even went ti court let alone that the poor man be treated as a criminal, which clearly the judge said he was not and yet sentenced him as if he were.
For martial arts practitioners it is not illegal to possess or practice with a blunt metal practice sword. I tell my students that I no longer go to the park even with a wooden sword as I know only too well what kind of world we live in.
read on and please take note: