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  • Writer's pictureTSC

Safety Mindset

What does TSC's Safety Mindset look like? The following list of ideas is a pretty good description of how TSC thinks about safety:

  • A successful class or event is one where everyone participates without injury.

  • Safety is everyone's responsibility.

  • Everyone is empowered to call out safety concerns.

  • We want to demonstrate historical techniques, not historical injuries.

  • There is no virtue in "battle wounds".

  • We realize that – just as with any sport - injury is inevitable; but there is virtue in minimizing frequency and severity by making injuries opportunities to improve safety.

  • If a partner/opponent is doing something that you deem unsafe, tell him/her about it immediately. Be clear and firm, but respectful.

  • Treat the sword as if it is real!

  • You don't ever have to do anything that you’re not comfortable with.

  • The "Hold" command: "Hold" is TSC's universal command to stop. The "Hold" command should be made loudly and clearly. Put another way, it means "Stop your weapon, stop your feet, stop your mouth." Because you may not know what is going on around you; you need to stop moving as quickly (and safely) as possible. Quiet is needed so that everyone can hear the next set of safety instructions. We never call anyone out for calling "hold" in good faith.

Controlled Strikes

  1. When we strike at an opponent, we do not use full force. We may strike quickly, but we "pull" the attack: slowing down at the last second to minimize the impact. This minimizes injury potential while still demonstrating proper technique.

  2. It is the attacker’s responsibility to not strike the defender when vulnerable. So, if you perform a technique at your partner during a drill or while sparring, and your partner misses their guard, you need to have enough control to prevent your strike from causing injury.

There are three types of ‘safety’ that we need to be conscious of.

  1. Safety… of Bystanders - Bystanders are those outside of the drill or match, such as other students or an audience. Bystanders (particularly audiences) aren't there expecting the risk of injury, and are likely not prepared to deal with a dangerous situation (such as a weapon or person leaving the ring). It is therefore your first responsibility to ensure that they are not put at risk.

  2. Safety… of your Partner - Your partner in a drill or match has accepted the risks that go along with it. But, you have a lot of influence on whether or not your partner gets hurt. So, ensure that you are conducting yourself in such a way that you minimize the risk to your partner. For example, if you see that your partner retreats quickly when you attack, refrane from attacking if your partner has a hazard (stanchion, wall, etc.) close behind them.

  3. Safety… of Yourself - Yes, students have a responsibility to not injure themselves as well. Someone who acts with a disregard for their own personal safety is hard to trust with the safety of those around them.

Though we all have to accept that we are doing a sport (and a weapons-based martial art!), along with which comes a degree of unavoidable risk, we seek to minimize risk as much as possible. Doing so makes what we do more enjoyable because it maximizes who can participate and minimizes the amount of time that we’re laid up with injuries.

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