From the Budoka’s perspective a weapon can actually be deemed as limiting and dangerous, and we therefore must strive to cultivate the mindset and freedom that allows us to not be bound by the concept of a weapon, or controlled by its form.
We must cultivate the understanding that in the space, anything can be used to our advantage and that an actual weapon is surrounded with common sense that could ultimately can be used against you, creating a risk that should be considered.
Often people carry weapons, and it is understandable that this can create a sense of security, but really does it ultimately protect you? In these days of strict laws towards self defense one can actually be imprisoned for using a weapon to defend oneself. When I was still residing in the US full time several years ago, I knew of a martial artist that always carried a very large knife with him wherever he went. Eventually, he actually used the weapon to defend himself against a would be carjacking that ended in the fatal stabbing of the offender. In result, this martial artist went through several court hearings and depositions and was ultimately found not guilty, but the chance of being charged for a crime was very high and created a tremendous stress on this person’s life. The major area of focus was on the fact that he had used a knife or a “weapon” to defend himself. From my own personal experience and as a Budoka, I cannot help to think what if the knife was actually taken away by the offender, would it be the martial artist who was killed?
Also from my personal experience, when I was younger and much less wise, I actually deliberately carried a weapon into a fight thinking that it would give me a tremendous advantage. At the time, I was a somewhat of a trained martial artist and felt great confidence with this particular weapon. However, I quickly experienced it taken away and immediately used against me in a pure violent way that was potentially risky to my life. It was clear in hindsight, that actually taking this weapon willingly into an altercation increased my risk of injury and was a very unwise choice. Ultimately, I was able to defend myself effectively using an object in the immediate area that would not be deemed a weapon by most people. What I was able to realize from this experience, is that the opponent quickly locked on to the fact that I had a weapon and therefore immediately wanted possession of it. This can also be an aspect of kyojutsu, to draw the opponent to desire the weapon and then take advantage of the lack of focus on the surroundings. What appears as an advantage is actually a disadvantage and as a budoka, we must develop the eyes to see this. Further training has allowed me to ultimately see that unorthodox thinking is far more advantageous than what might perceive as the rules of engagement.
Therefore, it can be seen that deploying a “weapon” can actually be very risky on many levels and should be fully considered in the control of the space. Obviously, there are times when lethal force is justified, but will you truly know when to do so? According to Soke you will and this can be seen in the Godan test. It is not a decision you will make.
Thinking about this and recent discussions with Soke, the Bujinkan concept of using an object as weapon that is not considered a weapon by definition, is an advantage in the control the space on many levels. The risk of the opponent gaining possession of the weapon and it being used against you is far more manageable since the opponent may not possess the training or the unique mindset to utilize something as a weapon that is not considered a weapon. It also may reduce or eliminate the risk to you as far as the public eye is concerned about the use of lethal force and creates the room or yoyu 余裕for escape of persecution in this sense. If you are able to develop the ability to see the surroundings as weapons then you never need to carry anything and will develop a much more creative and unlimited ability in taijutus that can develop a level of confidence that is not false. Additionally, if you do not carry a weapon, then it cannot be taken away and then used against you.
Of course, we must not jump to the conclusion that this means to throw away your rifle in a time of war, but it does give a perspective that still can be very much utilized even in wartime.