For Investors - weapons

There are eleven issues. (1) With some management and luck we will be able to convince everyone to buy standard batons, sabers and swords. We note that many people with autism spectrum disabilities DISLIKE the visual, auditory and tactile experience of wushu-style (flexible) sabers and swords as opposed to the older style more rigid weapons. This extends beyond one's own weapon or weapons to those of nearby classmates. On the other hand, a minority favor noisy and visually reflective flexible blades. This is also an issue with Kwan daos - the classical Green Dragon is stiff and silent and heavy and long. The Eagle Kwan dao is somewhat lighter and slightly shorter. So far, no one has ever chosen an Elephant Kwan dao - it would be similar to an Eagle. The wushu style Kwan dao is shorter, lighter and, due to its flexibility, noisier. Given a choice, as a teacher I would prefer everyone use the Eagle Kwan dao as they are silent and take slightly less floor space than a Green Dragon. If we eventually teach a fork set forks with more rounded blades (or tines) appear to be much safer. The flying fork (fei cha) has a cymbal at the junction of the handle and blade in a configuration that is similar to the Nine Point Rake - in both weapons the noise made by 16 or more cymbals is difficult to teach over and almost certainly upsetting to some students. (2) For accessories, based on a limited sample, red and white flags are preferred to green, blue, silver, yellow and gold flags. We did not experiment with patterns - all the saber flags were solid colors (3) Similarly, based on a limited sample, shorter tassels are preferred. There may be visual influences, but most of the problems appeared to arise from tassels contacting the hands, wrists or forearms. (4) For sabers and swords grips that feel pleasant and which wick away perspiration are preferred. (5) A choice is whether to buy double sabers and double swords at the beginning. (6) Because people with autism spectrum disabilities are often very tactilely discriminating, weapons, especially staffs and spears (because the hands move up and down a great deal), are often a matter of individual taste. We would NOT be surprised if a student eventually owns several staffs: various combinations of wooden, graphite, metal, round, hexagonal ... There is not much choice for Kwan dao handles - wood or stainless steel. The latter is attractive as the handles can be unscrewed apart for easier transport, but unattractive due to the weight. For staffs and possibly kwan daos a day may have to be taken to have the class go shopping at a warehouse. (7) We expect student short weapons will be kept either in lockers or in racks at school. We anticipate either more racks or a closet will be needed when long weapons are studied. (8) This might imply the student buys a second weapon to practice with at home. We remain unenthused about wooden swords and sabers. The objective would be to avoid the student (or parents) being obliged to transport weapons. (9) Depending on student interest, weapons from other arts may be taught. There are non-canonical tai chi weapons like the Wind Fire Wheels. Bagua has a large saber, a double-ended spear and deer horn knives. Hung Gar and Shaolin each have at least a dozen weapons. While we are resolved not to teach throwing knives, three section staff or whips, and we personally despise fans, we might teach pu dao, monk's staff, monk's spade, long sword (two handed), or an exotic saber such as Ghost Head or Goose Wing. We find the Melon Hammers and the Twin Short Halberds as built to have serious balance problems so it looks unlikely that those weapons would be taught. We have not located sets for the Gold Coin spade, Mandarin Coin knives, hybrid weapons like the butterfly wing or the wolf teeth mace. We currently lack enthusiasm for the Japanese short weapons of sai, tonfa and kama. There are sets for Nine Point Rake, rattan shield with butterfly knife, trident (serious safety concerns), tiger head hook swords, whisk, single and double nunchaku, axe and cane. (10) We would be willing to teach javelin (thrown spear), atlatl and Chinese archery. (11) While dragon and lion dancing do not involve weapons there are definitely some challenges with both the noise from cymbals, gongs and drums as well as getting people inside lions.
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