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Al Williams
09-28-2006, 07:41 PM
It came to my attention after a tanto session that what we where doing in the dojo did not truly reflect real life situations.
I was concerned the techniques we had learned were not enabling us to deal with a real knife. I understand that to first learn a technique it must be slowed down and pulled apart. However, it appeared that even when the techniques were well practiced they still did not allow for dynamic change.

One way we overcame this was to replace the tanto with a thick marker pen and step up the attacker’s intention and aggression. This resulted in a lot of frustration on everyone’s part.
The attacker was not trying to trick or out fox Nage, but there was a constant effort on uke’s part to “kill” Nage even when they were being thrown and pinned.

By the end of our experiment I believe we have two conclusions. Firstly, if you are confronted with a live blade on the street you are more then likely going to get cut to some degree. That’s not to say you will by seriously hurt or your technique will be ineffective but to expect to walk away unscathed is unrealistic.

Secondly, to be able to deal with a live blade on the street your dojo training must reflect possible situations that you are confronted with. Granted you can very fully recreate street situations in the dojo, but as close a possible in always best. Having committed honest attacks and resistance go a long way to achieve this.

I am interested in how other people have overcome the problem of recreating the street in the dojo and ways that our training can be improved.

Cheers. (",)

Mark Uttech
09-28-2006, 09:51 PM
I don't think the street can be recreated in the dojo; it is a common martial art fantasy. In aikido, we have the kihon waza, which are a strong introduction to the art of aikido. Even a master of chess, or Go, studies basic strategies and defenses. But the real battle field is not created. There are basic lessons; they give you a sort of map. The street is always 'another story'. In my own case, I always remember the story of a 3rd dan who was stabbed to death with a butcher knife by a 13 yr old. He was pursuing the kid for reasons I cannot remember. the kid ran to the cab of a truck; and when the 3rd dan opened the door to the truck cab, in a moment of sheer violent surprise,he was stabbed and fell bleeding to death in the street. No, it is best not to fool ourselves and give ourselves confidence that is futile; we need to simply make a regularity of our practice and our serious intent to practice.

In gassho,
Mark

Al Williams
09-28-2006, 10:41 PM
I agree that you can never create the street in the dojo. That however does not mean that we should not make an effort to recreate the environment.
I want my training to prepare me for all situations, within reason. It would be foolish not to have at least experienced a simulated “street” encounter. The more tools you have the more likely you are to be able to call on the best response.

Fred Little
09-28-2006, 10:50 PM
In accepting that you will be cut lies your only hope of survival.

or if you prefer a more canonical text::

"He who would save his life will lose it, and he that would lose it will be saved."

FL

Tim Fong
09-28-2006, 11:11 PM
You really have to learn how to use the knife first before you can defend against it.

Charles Hill
09-29-2006, 03:04 AM
The research seems to show that most people do not realize a knife is involved until they have been cut several times or even more likely, not until the altercation is over. So to train "realistically" against a knife you would have to incorporate that. And I have no idea how one could do that. I have to agree with Mark on this.

Charles

Abasan
09-29-2006, 04:06 AM
All i can say is from experience is, there's a big difference between thugs with knives and and knife fighters. Thugs, would seldom lunge at you unless they're dumb. like our typical ukes. :P

Those that don't go for the sneak attack (those will hurt you before you know you're being assaulted much less have time for self defence), they will threaten you. After that they'll wave it around your face. Angry ones will attack with both hands (1 free and 1 armed) and oft times the knife will be thrusted to the body. Others will just bugger off if you walk away.

Knife fighters are lovely, cause they go for every expose part of your body. So expect to bleed to death if you attempt to do unarmed disarming. :P

Kyudos
09-29-2006, 05:58 AM
If your attacker shows you the knife, the likelihood is they don't really want to use it. So its the knife you don't see that you have to be wary about.

Anyone who really wants to kill you will probably knife you from behind, or with no preamble whatsoever. So you'd have to be incredibly fortuitous to perform any kind of technique.

SeiserL
09-29-2006, 06:16 AM
I came to Aikido after years of FMA.

I would agree that the knife techniques of Aikido tend to be more traditional as if fighting someone with armor on.

I would also agree that in a real situations an attack is usually an ambush and you will get cut.

Several years ago we did an article for Black Belt Magazine on Aikido against the 5 angles of a knife (FMA) and used a live (sharp) blade. The techniques used were very effective.

IMHO, practice slowly (at first) against different grips and slash angles and you will find that Aikido can be very effective.

Aristeia
09-29-2006, 06:34 AM
seems to be an odd theme in this thread. "worst case scenario you can't defend against, so don't even bother making the training realistic". C'mon - we set up a certain scenario with our training - guy in front of you about to attack with a knife you are aware of - whether or not there are other scenarios that may arise, and whether or not they are even more likely, can't we at least practice the one scenario we *do* train in a realistic manner? That's all the OP is saying imo.

philippe willaume
09-29-2006, 06:34 AM
Hello

I am practicing both aikido and medieval fencing which involve long knife (the Messer, about the size of a katana) and smaller one dagger (between a Tanto and a Wakisahi), I have just practiced both for a little over 5 years so I am pretty much a beginner.


I would say that the same could be said about the way we defend against any attack.
It does not mean that it does not work; it just means that it is presented in a way we can train and understand. I would not see what we do in dojo as a “if he does then that we do that” but more as principles and to that respect every bit of our training, tai-jutsu, ken jo and tanto.
This is true for every marshal arts, the deference being the easy with which you can transfer what you have learned in fighting situation. They all have the same difficulty to deal with surprise attack or “prison yard rush” (rush and grab and repeatedly stab, no really caring what your victim is hitting you with, after all you have the knife and he does not). Though I would say that provided that there not so much a surprise element, aikido is relatively well equipped to deal with a “prison yard rush”, as it really based on not being there anymore.

That being said, from the 13the century to nowadays, if we believe court report the vast majority of fatilites from knife died of multiple stab/cut (as in plenty not 2 or 3). So we can expect to get cut but we can except to survive a few cut and thrust.

What is the most striking, when knife are involved, is our propensity to forget what we usually do when we practice open hand or weapons. Hence because we are in a disadvantageous situation, the opponent has a longer weapon than ours. We do stuff that doe not really make sense when we have a weapon of the same length.

That a guy with knife has the possibility to cut you when you try to grab his weapon hand is really nothing new.
That is exactly what we do in the first ken awase: starting from crossed blade, the bady cuts at use and we side step and counter cut at the wrist.
Or may be sometimes when we are attacked with shomen or yokomen we tenchin as we control/counter is attacking hands with our own.
Clealy attacking so exposes our forarms/hands, Why the hell should we think it is going to work if our oppoent has a longer weapon than us, when we can not make it work when we all have a weapon of the same length?

There is no technique with a knife that you are not going to find in fencing (with a sword being able to cut and to thrust) or open hand fighting.
A thrust and punch are the same thing, a cut is either shomen or yokomen.
And with a knife you can thrust as if you were punching or as if you were thrusting with a sword.

When we do open hand technique, we use atemi before and after we grabbed, those atemi can be replaced by a strike with a knife. If we can create a situation where we can do it so can our opponent.

I am not saying that defending against a knife is easy because it is not, but I think aikido shows us what does not make that much sense for use to do to as well a teach us to move to what a 16th century English fencing master called the “true place”.

I am not sure that we need a more realistic Tanto training but may we need help in identifying how every thing kind of link together.

phil

DonMagee
09-29-2006, 07:01 AM
The closest I've seen is the dog brother's knife defense videos. They do a lot of full contact sparing where on of the attackers pulls a knife out of the back of his pants in the middle of the fight. Most of them fail to defend as well.

Dazzler
09-29-2006, 07:20 AM
The problem with this thread is that everyone is focussed on the knife and techniques to deal with it.

For me of greater interest is the dialogue that accompanies the knife attack. Do people just run up and randomly attack strangers (yes of course...but how often), are people exposed to trained assassins (if yes then by the time you pluck a technique the knife is already in you) or are knife attacks predictable in any way?

eg. crimes of passion...your spurned lover in a frenzy, or some desperate addict after a quick fix.

In these cases there is usually some dialogue between the knife wielder and intended victim. Here you need to be a student of human behaviour and conflict management.

If you can recognise the warning signs, physical and verbal and spot the approach of the point where verbal turns physical then you may have opportunity to pre-empt an attack. Or better still disappear.

Geoff Thompson in the UK has writen at length on this subject - may be worth a bit of search engine time.

Personally I found scenario training useful and in real life has watched situations unravel exactly as they have when role playing in the dojo.

I dont think you can ever cover all situations but at least an insight can improve ones chances.

FWIW

D

Dazzler
09-29-2006, 07:28 AM
This might also be of interest...

http://www.4-site.co.uk/goshin/weap1.htm

Amelia Smith
09-29-2006, 07:38 AM
By the end of our experiment I believe we have two conclusions. Firstly, if you are confronted with a live blade on the street you are more then likely going to get cut to some degree. That's not to say you will by seriously hurt or your technique will be ineffective but to expect to walk away unscathed is unrealistic.

True.

Secondly, to be able to deal with a live blade on the street your dojo training must reflect possible situations that you are confronted with. Granted you can very fully recreate street situations in the dojo, but as close a possible in always best. Having committed honest attacks and resistance go a long way to achieve this.

Not so true. The main thing, in my opinion, is to have some idea of what one might do. The attack/technique is never going to be exactly the same "on the street" as in the dojo, but the same fundamental principles should apply. I don't think I would like the magic marker exercise -- too much laundry to be done afterwards, and it really doesn't work like a knife, at all. It just makes a mark. If you get nicked with a knife, no big deal. If you get stabbed hard in a vital spot, it's a real issue... though you might not be dead, or even fully incapacitated.

I agree with the basic idea that a few people have mentioned above -- a sneak attack by a trained person intent on killing you is pretty darn hard to defend against. However, a lot of "knife attacks" are not really attacks, per se, but techniques of intimidation.

"Hey lady, gimme your purse."
"Oh, you have a knife! May I see it?" (benign-looking little old lady steps in closer).
At this point the theif may attempt an actual attack, but is more likely to think. "This is one crazy grandma... I'm getting out of here!" The initial strategy has failed, and the theif may not be cool-headed enough to change tactics.

Then again, maybe it's just safer to hand over the purse (and not carry something that's so easily snatched!).

Now, you wouldn't want to rely on that kind of thing too often, but the point is that an effective defense has to deal as much, or more, with the attacker's intent than with the immediate physical positions.

I also agree that:
... there is usually some dialogue between the knife wielder and intended victim. Here you need to be a student of human behaviour and conflict management.

If you can recognise the warning signs, physical and verbal and spot the approach of the point where verbal turns physical then you may have opportunity to pre-empt an attack. Or better still disappear.

Training can never cover all possible scenarios, but it's still useful!

Dazzler
09-29-2006, 07:43 AM
Then again, maybe it's just safer to hand over the purse (and not carry something that's so easily snatched!).



Agree.

If its something thats likely to happen and you can't move then invest in a 2nd purse and drop it and disappear quickly!

An exploding one would be nice.

Lan Powers
09-29-2006, 03:42 PM
as kids we (several friends and I ) would agree on a day and make sure to wear old white t shirts to school as well as that one pair of ratty pants that Mom wouldn't get too worked up over...and grab markers. It becomes clear that you don't get away clean with attacks or defense but *usually* get marked/cut as well.
That sort of playing around is very illuminating. But then, we were a weird little group.
Lan

ChristianBoddum
09-29-2006, 04:22 PM
The problem as I see it is that the distance used to train aiki in (grabbing wrists),
is too close to be out a slashs` range, or you have to be extremely quick !!
I once heard the phrase "to be like a cat when it comes to knifes" and it does make a lot of sense.
I guess if you really want to study knife fighting,you should also do some Kali/Escrima/Phillipino
type training,we simply don't do enough tanto-training,at least in my dojo,to know anything about
knife fighting.
But then again ,the type of training we do is for the surprise attack and not for fighting with knifes per se,so if we want to know more about fighting we should look elsewhere !?!

Charles Hill
09-29-2006, 06:56 PM
Hi,

Just to expand on my previous post, the reason I feel that purely scenario type training fails is that the psychological element is not the same as the scenario trying to be imitated. The reason that most people do not realize a knife is involved is that they are in a heightened state that is on the way to total panic. To train realistically to handle a knife attack you must work on your ability to stay calm under a variety of stress situations. There are a million ways to do this all based on putting yourself in a slight stress situation and watching how your body and psyche react. Once your reaction normalizes, you then find a slightly more stressful situation.

For ex. Many years ago I walked by a junkyard on the way to work. There was one place where a huge dog would throw itself at the fence going after passerbys. It was extremely educational to watch myself as I approached the area, when the dog would go nuts, and then how I reacted when I was walking away. What I learned there was far more helpful in terms of combat than any work I have done with a wooden "tanto."

2 more points
-some people have mentioned filipino work. I read somewhere that the old filipino knife masters were all extremely religious and fervently believed that whatever happened to them was fate. I believe that that was the base of their ability to successfully deal with the knife, much more than any drill.
-it is my understanding that knife assaults are much more common in the uk than the us where guns are more freely available

Charles

eyrie
09-29-2006, 08:27 PM
If its something thats likely to happen and you can't move then invest in a 2nd purse and drop it and disappear quickly!


Indeed. Always carry a 2nd purse or wallet with $10-$20, with some expired cards, but nothing that would give away your current personal information (like addresses/drivers license), that you could hand over to an armed bandit - i.e. be prepared to lose this wallet/purse.

Replacing stolen cards, and such like is a real hassle - not to mention the possibility of identity theft, or the bandit knowing where you live!

dps
09-29-2006, 11:11 PM
Indeed. Always carry a 2nd purse or wallet with $10-$20, with some expired cards, but nothing that would give away your current personal information (like addresses/drivers license), that you could hand over to an armed bandit - i.e. be prepared to lose this wallet/purse.Don't hand your purse or wallet to the bandit, toss it to and behind him. When he goes to get the wallet or purse this will give you an opening to run away.

eyrie
09-29-2006, 11:24 PM
OK, run if you must... but I don't feel I need to... I don't like running, and I'm too old and creaky to run anywhere fast. He wants my wallet, he can have it (the fake one that is). Most bandits will take the money and run. They ain't gunna hang around waiting for something to happen - unless you give em a reason to. Never show fear and never do anything to escalate the situation. Run if you must/can/want/need.

CitoMaramba
09-30-2006, 01:25 AM
A lot of people are of the opinion that Filipino Martial Arts are the bees knees when it comes to knife fighting. Well, being Filipino myself and having trained in some styles of FMA, I can say that the knife techniques are pretty sneaky. Edgar Sulite (God rest his soul) used to teach that if the defender attempted a "classical" juji-uke (x-block) against a knife thrust, the attacker would trap both blocking hands and proceed to do exploratory surgery.
Also about the fatalistic attitude of the knife masters: In the Philippines we call that "Bahala na" (come what may). And its not limited to the eskrimadors. One could write a whole socio-anthropological dissertation on "Bahala na".
As a final note, I must add that the percentage of Filipinos who have trained in FMA is actually very small, similar to the percentage of Japanese who train in Aikido. During my medical training, I rotated in the emergency department of the largest hospital in Manila, and saw a lot of victims of knife and stab wounds. None of these were caused by FMA "knife masters". Just thugs, petty goons , and other lowlifes who got drunk enough to pull out their balisong and stick it into their drinking partner.

xuzen
09-30-2006, 01:33 AM
Realistic is when your training partner is holding a live blade slashing at you wildly, and you attempt to do a technique. Can you do that routinely in an dojo without getting wounded? I can't...

In dojo practice, I see very often my dojo mates "Forget" to employ atemi when executing a response. I see a very dramatic change in uke's response when he was hit/surprised with an atemi vis-a-vis without. It is so much easier to execute an aikido technique when uke is inconvenient with an atemi. I know, I was uke for both the scenarios.

Go on try it, atemi first.

Back to being realistic: Should one is confronted with a knife wielding assailant(s), and assuming you have tried
i) Escaping
ii) Shouting for help
iii) To Look for a weapon to even the odds
iv) You are not LEO or in security work
and failed, then try your very best and pray that said assailants are not Kali/Sayoc experts.

Boon.

SeiserL
09-30-2006, 09:37 AM
I would agree that all dojo training is by definition unrealistic, yet it is far better than not training at all.

I would also agree that the majority of people don't train in any art, as attacker or defender.

We are making a good case for cross-training, or at least cross-awareness, so we can be more conscious of what is possible.

mut
10-01-2006, 04:58 AM
:ki: :do: I don't think the street can be recreated in the dojo; it is a common martial art fantasy. In aikido, we have the kihon waza, which are a strong introduction to the art of aikido. Even a master of chess, or Go, studies basic strategies and defenses. But the real battle field is not created. There are basic lessons; they give you a sort of map. The street is always 'another story'. In my own case, I always remember the story of a 3rd dan who was stabbed to death with a butcher knife by a 13 yr old. He was pursuing the kid for reasons I cannot remember. the kid ran to the cab of a truck; and when the 3rd dan opened the door to the truck cab, in a moment of sheer violent surprise,he was stabbed and fell bleeding to death in the street. No, it is best not to fool ourselves and give ourselves confidence that is futile; we need to simply make a regularity of our practice and our serious intent to practice.

In gassho,
Mark
i agree its best we stay real, however ive been attacked in the street several times, and aikido has completley worked for me, but not exactly as it is done in the dojo, most techniques work but not without atemi, but sertanly the tai sebaki and unbendable arm. just to quote words from my sensei ( how many aikido techniques do you think work in the street?.....none....its you the individual that makes it work). i think to many people practice aikido to nicely they misunderstand harmony, yes be pleasant but remember you are harmonising with the energy of the attack not the person, if someone is attacking you with a blade then i really dont think they all that nice, practice for real, i mean when you attack your partner with a tanto, do it with the intent to kill him, you need a commited attack, deal with that and it MIGHT just save your life on the street. :ai: :ki: :do: :)

Al Williams
10-01-2006, 12:08 PM
First of all let me just thank everyone for their contributions. I thought I might get a few posts but nothing like this.

Another way to look at this issue is to focus on the way that nage is being attacked. I have trained with a few schools and it was a common theme that the uke would follow you through the technique.

This aggravates me more then any other MA issue. The way I view ukemi is not about rolling or following. It’s purely about the attack. I am not focused on following or judging where I will roll or fall. The attack-that’s it.

If technique is correct I will only be able to think about one thing. In a street situation, your attacker is not wondering how he will receive the technique that you use to defend yourself. He is only focused on the attack.

This can be illustrated in an amusing experiment one of my instructors undertook. A person was confronted by a signal attacker. Both uke and Nage were unaware of what would happen. The uke would attack with full intensity and a randori would follow. At some point a person wearing a bear suit would came into the dojo and back out dancing all the way. When randori finished, neither aikidoka recalled the dancing bear.

This sheds some light not only on the sense of humour of the instructor, but also on the focus of uke during an attack.

dps
10-01-2006, 08:45 PM
This aggravates me more then any other MA issue. The way I view ukemi is not about rolling or following. It's purely about the attack. I am not focused on following or judging where I will roll or fall. The attack-that's it. Uke better know rolling and falling if uke is going for all out attack and nage does the technique correctly.

In a street situation, your attacker is not wondering how he will receive the technique that you use to defend yourself. He is only focused on the attack. You better know good ukemi if you have to use it in response to your attacker. As my sensei says' " Ukemi is about survival."

Brion Toss
10-02-2006, 10:57 AM
So far, I don't believe anyone has covered the matter of steering the attack. Even in the kihon waza, we are trained to stand a certain way for shomen uchi, another for yokkomen; a little experimentation will show that the respective stances make their respective attacks more "attractive" to uke. Similar stance-taking notions will tend to produce other specific attacks, especially when you add in arm and hand position, body angle, and spacing between you and uke. Now it's only a tendency, but such things can, in my experience, give nage a tremendous advantage, to the extent that nage knows what the attack is going to be — and is thus already dealing with it — before uke does.

kiaiki
10-13-2006, 12:33 PM
Hi all. My first post here. I am a firm believer that Aikido needs to include:

Strong atemi which would cause damage if not met with effective technique.

Effective weapons practice which commits the attack at a level which tests and endangers Tori should he fail to meet it.

Firm links to the Japanese lineage and language of our art.


Shudokan Aikido (a Yoshinkan derivative) used to train with live tanto. We would start with wooden tanto and progress to steel, then 'live' steel.

From 1st Dan onwards, grading included a live (sharp) tanto 'jiyuwaza' (freestyle'). Uke chose the attacks without any required or restriction on attacking techniques, incliding deceptions, feints etc.

This meant what it said: random successive attacks with a live tanto. Yes, there were injuries and the attacker's (Uke's) aim was to bring the defender ('Tori') 'close to death'. Few would now risk this, with litigation etc. but how much 'martial' training have we lost by being fearful of being sued?

Using a marker pen or wooden/rubber tanto is fine for practice, but lacks the one key element in a 'real' knife situation - FEAR.


If we practice regularly with a live tanto there are several possible outcomes IMHO:

We get better, arrogant, and think we can handle a street attack better.

2.
We get better, and complacent, and think we are invincible.

3.
We get better, but apppreciate that a street attacker may use entirely different attacks or have no MA experience at all, and this makes the experienced Aikidoka realise that he may survive, he may win, but he WILL get cut.

IMHO only 3. is true. However much we practice and however familiar with a knife attack, the likelihood is we will get cut. Recognise this and you may be able to defend your life. It's a fine balance: Too much fear and you freeze - and die. Too much confidence and you engage - and die.

Have I tried it on the street? Yes, but to put it in context, alcohol was involved in one attack, PCP in another, so both attacks were pretty poor. If an attacker were sober and skilled, I don't know what the outcome may be. I've handled baseball bats and unarmed attacks without injury, but a knife? I can only hope I would be OK and it would be an arrogant SOB who would claim otherwise IMHO.

One critical issue. Without strong and committed atemi, Aikido on the street is worthless IMHO.. A guy on drugs or enraged and 'pumped up' is not going to let you apply any lock or throw without it. Forget fancy footwork and 'taking his balance' - strike first
!
In the UK, if you feel you are under threat of attack, atemi is fine under law, even as a pre-emptive move - but you'd better have witnesses to back up your need to use it.

Frankly, here in the UK, police knife amnesties have been worthless: locally, it trawled in granny's kitchen knives, 'wallhanger' katanas and kukris and a Klingon weapon which looked ready to cut the head off anyone daft enough to use it. meanwhile, on the street, knife crime grew even faster!

The punk on the street will always carry. Sadly, in this decade, it's a growing risk that he'll be tooled up with a gun. Gun ' jiyuwaza' anyone?? :)

Al Williams
10-14-2006, 06:38 AM
Nice first post mate

Have I tried it on the street? Yes, but to put it in context, alcohol was involved in one attack, PCP in another, so both attacks were pretty poor.

The quality may have been bad, but they were attacks none the less. They may have required very little in terms of technique or response-but attacks they were (hope point 2 is not sneaking in there).

One critical issue. Without strong and committed atemi, Aikido on the street is worthless IMHO.. A guy on drugs or enraged and 'pumped up' is not going to let you apply any lock or throw without it. Forget fancy footwork and 'taking his balance' - strike first
Now that is going to raise hell. I'm a cop and deal with guys on drug, mentally ill offenders often. I fully behind you that atemi is a vital part of street aikido but not the be all and end all. Atemi is never the end to a technique- it is part of it. If you focus on one aspect of a technique you will be trapped by it.
Giving Bob McNutto a tap on the chin will give you an opening- but if you are under attack there is always an opening. For a person to attack you, they give themselves to you. Some are able to minimize the openings in their attacks, but they are still there. If your first though is strike- there you will stay.

There is no fancy footwork in Aikido, IMHO. When you use ken- fancy footwork? No. Same with open hand techniques. :triangle:

not going to let you apply any lock or throw
There is no "let" about it- if you are trying to do something then that is the wrong thing to be doing. From an attack the technquie reveals itself- technique prediction will trap your mind.

Aikido does not require the attacker or uke to be compliant in any way.

I have used aikido to defend myself and others, with and without atemi. Some situations require atemi, some don't- being able to correctly observe this is the key.

kiaiki
10-14-2006, 11:29 AM
I think I get your point. It does, of course, depend upon the timing, distance and balance issues which typify our art. It may be that even a simple evasion will work, but IMHO we need the full arsenal of Aikido at our disposal in order to have the options open.

In UK law, I believe a pre-emptive strike is allowed if you fear for your safety and are about to be attacked....lots of witnesses helps! But if a guy has a weapon?

Take a simple kote gaeshi: works fine in a dojo, but at the point where direction is reversed and the lock applied we 'encourage' the reversal of the direction of the attacker with a strike to the face. (Try it on a beginner without a strike (or good feint) to move them backwards.)

Of course you don't always have to atemi, but IMHO there's too much Aikido around which is ineffective due to training methods which fail to question 'why' our attacker leaps about or lets us apply techniques.

I've seen very little hard and fast atemi. It may be that the original students of O Sensei would have been expected to know atemi anyway, but today I think it needs to be a core element of any syllabus.

I've seen a lot of 'habitual' practice where everyone knows what's expected and goes along with it. IMHO the chances of dealing with weapons or using atemi outside the dojo are very poor if practice inside the dojo is routine and predictable - oe even completely absent. Is it still even 'proper' Aikido with no atemi being taught (and I don't mean a floppy wristed flipper) ?

It's usually shown up in such dojo when a beginner turns up and is then made to feel somehow that the reason techniques don't work on him is his fault, not Sensei's.

Classic case: a local 'Ki' Aikido club I went to watch made Uke fall to the floor with a pointy finger going up and down in thin air - it worked on all the students - all that is, who knew the 'script'.

Next, the Sensei could move a whole row of students with a tiny push, the guy at the back flying backwards as the 'Ki' apparently shot him into the back wall.

Call me an old cynic but your average knife wielding kid in a UK city centre does not know this 'script' and I've never, ever seen it work outside a dojo. I've seen unbendable arm, guys you can't lift or push over due to simple biodynamic circus tricks, but IMHO very little of 'wepons defence' Aikido works well without good atemi. (I seem to remember some guy called Ueshiba saying the same thing about atemi in Aikido in general, and Shioda, and... ;) . )

For me, the 'harmony' in Aikido is simple: Another person is causing disharmony and you do what is necessary to restore the balance - and if that includes hard atemi, use of weapons etc. then as long is it is proportionate and tries to minimise damage that's fine. That's harmony as a general principle.

The 'harmony' of using an attacker's energy is much the same - the aim is to restore balance and completely neutralise the attack. In Yoshinkan there are 'blocks', so again we don't have to assume that Aikido is all about 'blending' or even circular in all respects.

On another forum a wiser Aikidoka than me summed it up:

'Do not change the art but let the art change you'.

IMHO there are too many people now teaching a version of Aikido which lacks the 'martial' element, a key element of which is atemi and weapons practice. I've almost concluded that the term Aikido should be abandoned and only the style names used:
Yoshinkan, Aikikai etc.
That way there would be no arguments about 'proper' Aikido at all.
(Dream on...:) )

Mark Uttech
10-15-2006, 01:38 AM
wow david, you are carrying a lot of chips on your shoulders. Your whole post seems to be: whimper and whine."
In gassho,
mark

Erick Mead
10-15-2006, 09:13 AM
Of course you don't always have to atemi, but IMHO there's too much Aikido around which is ineffective due to training methods which fail to question 'why' our attacker leaps about or lets us apply techniques. ...
IMHO very little of 'wepons defence' Aikido works well without good atemi. (I seem to remember some guy called Ueshiba saying the same thing about atemi in Aikido in general, and Shioda, and... ;). The problem with atemi is not in their use, but in their improper use. A guy drunk, stoned or hopped up enough on Meth or PCP, could take the worst strike I could give in the wrong place and never even stop coming. A minimal strike in the RIGHT place however, will destroy his stability structure, regardless of this perception of impact or pain. Aikido is about reorienting structure to break under its own weight, in which atemi play their part, but are no substitute for the true objective.
In Yoshinkan there are 'blocks', so again we don't have to assume that Aikido is all about 'blending' or even circular in all respects. Any block to an attacker with a knife or blade is a very poor musubi ;) -- such weapons are too easily reversed -- try "blocking" a trained knife fighter or swordsman. You generally get one and only one shot to close and blocks have nothing to do with it

Simbo
10-15-2006, 07:13 PM
You really have to learn how to use the knife first before you can defend against it.

What's a good source of learning how to use a knife, without looking like a psycho when you ask/read/whatever about it?

Peter Ralls
10-15-2006, 10:49 PM
I think the big question here is, what really is realistic training? I have been a cop for twenty three years, and have been in some good fights, and have responded to and investigated hundreds more. When I read martial arts forums, it seems to me that a lot of martial artists' perceptions of what happens in a fight are based more on watching professional ring fighting matches like Ultimate Fighting Challenge or Pride, than they are with what my experiences have been with fights on the street.

Aikido as a method of self defense is pretty much based on defending against a fully committed attack. As a result, it really isn't designed for sparring, or for a ring fighting venue. I know very few aikido practitioners that can use their art very effectively in sparring.

But in my experience, attackers in real life do attack with big, fully committed attacks. Generally, in real life, whoever "gets in firstest with the mostest" is going to win, and this is what aikido is designed to defend against. People in real life don't dance around each other throwing jabs and thigh kicks. So my own opinion, for what it is worth, is that some aikido training is not realistic not because aikido practitioners don't spar, or have a competitive format, but because in the dojo, the attacks they give each other aren't intense enough to be realistic. I don't think that giving one person a marker pen, and having him try to mark nage, knowing full well what nage is going to try and do in response, is necessarily very realistic.

What I do think is realistic training is,

Using a high degree of intensity in attacking, so that each person can only go for a few minutes before becoming tired.

Using non traditional attacks, such as hard shoves, punches to the face, and tackles.

After drilling techniques using the above methods, go to jiyu waza using the same methods.

As far as atemi goes, I think there is also some misconceptions about using atemi to set up techniques like sankyo or nikyo. In law enforcement, a control hold like sankyo is going to be used at a pretty low level of force, before someone is coming at you to knock your head off. If the other person is really going for it, his adrenaline level is going to render him pretty impervious to pain, both from a control hold or an atemi. At that level of force, I think you are going to want to either throw your attacker or knock him down. I think that atemi are pretty much for knocking people down. As other persons have mentioned, people aren't going to feel a lot of pain in a real fighting situation, so just hitting someone, without knocking them down, is probably not going to help you much.

In terms of knife attacks, as other persons have mentioned, you probably aren't going to realize the attacker has a knife in the beginning. People don't wave knives around like they are Zorro before attacking you with them, That's why I don't think the magic marker style training method is particularly realistic. Maybe training to avoid getting stabbed while you are grappling with your partner would be better.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

Ron Tisdale
10-16-2006, 09:37 AM
You generally get one and only one shot to close and blocks have nothing to do with it

Just to clarify, the Yoshinkan word for "block" is yoke, from yokeru, to avoid. When it comes to dealing with an edged weapon, your best options are to avoid the situation entirely, or to get a weapon of your own (preferrably one which provides an advantagous ma ai). But if pressed, I would always recommend the use of the "bone shield" when entering into the armed attackers space. Sometimes even the pressense of the bony parts of the arm can save you from a sudden slash as you enter...and I'd probably rather take that slash on the bony parts of my arm, rather than to my throat (jugular or carotid) or my groin (femoral).

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
10-16-2006, 04:32 PM
Peter Ralls,

I pretty much agree with your assessment of what it takes to train for dealing with reality.

I am of the school that does not think that it is aikido's focus to teach these things, since the methodology was designed for an entirely different purpose (the whole peace and harmony thing).

While certainly the basic premise and principles of aikido are relevant in theory, but I have found it to not be the best paradigm to develop a defense or fight strategy if this is your goal in life.


I agree that most "committed" knife attackers do not reveal there "fight plan" until it is too late and all the irmi/tenkan, breathing exercises, and what not, will not adequately and appropriately prepare you for that moment of first contact.

This is why I do as you say, train to avoid/minimize damage from the clinch/grappling as it assumes what I consider to be the 99% solution, that you failed to prevent the attack and now you must keep your attacker "close hold" to avoid further damage.

Aikido, IMO, was designed to teach good dynamics of movement etc, to refine character and all that good "DO" stuff. By focusing on the practical aspects of what those movements might lead to in "real attacks" dilutes that what the founder wanted to teach, and also does a poor job of teaching what to do for real...therefore it becomes a practice of mediocrity and a waste of time.

If you really want to train to condition yourself for a real fight, get a low voltage taser and conceal it. Pain is a great teacher! :)

Erick Mead
10-16-2006, 04:41 PM
I am of the school that does not think that it is aikido's focus to teach these things, since the methodology was designed for an entirely different purpose (the whole peace and harmony thing).

While certainly the basic premise and principles of aikido are relevant in theory, but I have found it to not be the best paradigm to develop a defense or fight strategy if this is your goal in life.


I agree that most "committed" knife attackers do not reveal there "fight plan" until it is too late and all the irmi/tenkan, breathing exercises, and what not, will not adequately and appropriately prepare you for that moment of first contact.[/quote]

This is why I do as you say, train to avoid/minimize damage from the clinch/grappling as it assumes what I consider to be the 99% solution, that you failed to prevent the attack and now you must keep your attacker "close hold" to avoid further damage.

Aikido, IMO, was designed to teach good dynamics of movement etc, to refine character and all that good "DO" stuff. By focusing on the practical aspects of what those movements might lead to in "real attacks" dilutes that what the founder wanted to teach, and also does a poor job of teaching what to do for real...therefore it becomes a practice of mediocrity and a waste of time.

If you really want to train to condition yourself for a real fight, get a low voltage taser and conceal it. Pain is a great teacher! :)[/QUOTE]

Erick Mead
10-16-2006, 05:03 PM
Sorry for the dupe dummy respsone; stupid keyboard ...
I am of the school that does not think that it is aikido's focus to teach these things, since the methodology was designed for an entirely different purpose (the whole peace and harmony thing). Peace and harmony -- through superior firepower :D Let's face it. There are always more devastating means of applied energy, if we have the time and wherewithal to bring them to bear. Aiki is a certain choice of stategic posture and applciation, regardless of the weapons in play.
While certainly the basic premise and principles of aikido are relevant in theory, but I have found it to not be the best paradigm to develop a defense or fight strategy if this is your goal in life. Aikido is a poor art for domineering intimidation. Having said that, its defenses are almost purely offensive in movement (IRIMI), although not in contact (tenkan) so go figure.
I agree that most "committed" knife attackers do not reveal there "fight plan" until it is too late and all the irmi/tenkan, breathing exercises, and what not, will not adequately and appropriately prepare you for that moment of first contact. I am fond of the old saw that is is never the knife you see that cuts you ... or the one that goes -- the last guy to know he is in a knife fight is that guy without one. Always train -- AS IF -- this is how I was taught aikido even in pure tai-jutsu.

Aikido, IMO, was designed to teach good dynamics of movement etc, to refine character and all that good "DO" stuff. I disagree. As I said somewhat earlier (or was it eslewhere) I find more and more that what distinguishes aikido in my mind from aikijujutsu is not the abandonment of the "-jutsu" for the "-do", but the abandonment of surviving remnant of "ju" and "goju" principles in favor of aiki alone.

In some respects I think the "-do" almost inevitably flows from that choice, which is how I think O-Sensei came to that conclusion, espcially given his own, very brutal life history.

If you really want to train to condition yourself for a real fight, get a low voltage taser and conceal it. Pain is a great teacher! But an exceeedingly poor strategist ... And I thought that the point of budo was to harden one against the counsels of pain and hardship through the ministrations of shugyo -- not to follow them. :p

Not that they are not relevant considerations, but they are not the soundest basis for choosing every action either.

Peter Ralls
10-16-2006, 11:24 PM
Kevin Leavitt

I am of the belief that aikido is a martial art, even though each practitioner has to find his or her own interpretation of how it is to be used in a violent confrontation.

I agree that aikido by itself, in my opinion, is not a complete answer when developing fighting/self defense skills, but then none of the other martial arts I have trained in have been either, including BJJ. In doing law enforcement defensive tactics training, we try to do a wide and shallow range of very simple self defense training, to try and cover as many different situations as possible in the very limited training time we have. And I am not including the firearms and impact weapons training that we do as well, or tactical awareness training, or hazmat training, or defensive driving training. Aikido, and most other martial arts as well, just don't cover that much ground.

I think that cross training in several different martial arts that cover a wide spectrum is the best solution for an unarmed fighting strategy. None the less, I have found aikido very useful in my law enforcement career in a number of different situations.

I think the most important thing to have in developing ones ability to defend themselves in a fight is to actually have been in some fights and gained some experience in what actually works for you and what doesn't. This lets you gain insight in how to apply whatever skills you have, in addition to teaching you how to function in a crisis. I was already a black belt in aikido before I got involved in law enforcement, and I've found that what being in actual physical struggles has taught me is what kind of circumstances aikido is going to work for me and when it isn't. And I learned that by sometimes having stuff work, and sometimes having stuff not work. But since I have done a bunch of cross training, when aikido wasn't working for me, I could pull something else out of the tool drawer. Still, in my first couple of fights, I didn't do very well. It wasn't until I had a little experience that I started (sometimes) to be able to make stuff work.

I don't have any military experience, like you do, but it's been my understanding that combat experienced troops are generally considered much more effective than troops that haven't yet experienced combat. I think that unarmed fighting is probably much the same.

Given a decent foundation in aikido, including some more realistically oriented training on a semi frequent basis, in addition to cross training in some arts that cover areas that aikido doesn't, and with the addition of a little real life experience, I don't think aikido is a bad choice for an unarmed self defense strategy.

Erick Mead
10-17-2006, 09:17 AM
I think that cross training in several different martial arts that cover a wide spectrum is the best solution for an unarmed fighting strategy. This prompted a larger set of questions for me, so I a started a thread on Peter's point and some questions I have::

This: "Cross-training or Cross-purposes?"
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=155976#post155976
I think the most important thing to have in developing ones ability to defend themselves in a fight is to actually have been in some fights and gained some experience ... teaching you how to function in a crisis. And this: "Training for Crisis?"
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=155978#post155978

Kevin Leavitt
10-17-2006, 01:35 PM
I agree with your comments Peter. Cross training is the way to do things, your experiences and perspective parallels my own.

Erick also brings up some good points that gets me thinking.

These are the thoughts that come to mind. There are two basic mindsets we all know, the DO and the JU for simplisty sake.

To me, DO is fairly simple in that it is concerned wtih the core of you, mind, body,and spirit. While the practice and methods my be complex and multifaceted, the concept of it is simple.

JU, though is interesting to me. we are concerned with the external or practical applications of techniques, or what we call ëxternal effectiveness.

JU is of course interlocked with DO, because you cannot manifest or practice the DO with out the external part.

I do believe that even in the JU that in order to be effective, you must be whole. (Book of Five Rings stuff!)

So it gets very hazy and cloudy quickly about the intent and reasons for our practice!

I think arts like aikido are really concerned about the DO, and yes, there are JU aspects, and I will say that my aikido training has benefited my purely JU aspects in my Military career.

But, when we start looking at solely practical aspects or effecient methodologies to defeat attacks (JU), then we are now looking at a small slice of the whole and we have now defined things differently.

This is where I state such things that "aikido is not a efficient/effective methodology for training these things".

All that said, what is most important I think is that everyone define the reason for their training and what they think is most important and seek out that which best supports that.

If I were "knife centric" and really concerned with learning to fight/defend against knife fights, í'd find a knife fighter, not an aikido instructor.

A good analogy would be Business School, while a good formal education can certainly give us a good base to be successful, if you really want to learn to be a successful entrepreneur, go find one and learn from him/her.

I suppose that is all I was trying to say, but not very well.

Peter Ralls
10-17-2006, 08:36 PM
Kevin

I understand your point and heartily agree with you. but I think probably most people who have trained for a while have a variety of reasons for practicing, and get a variety of benefits from their practice. And things change over time. When I was younger I was very focused on "Ju", and practical application. As I get older I am finding myself becoming more focused on "Do".

Also as I get older and well into middle age, I am finding my survival strategy for daily living is changing. I am thinking more about training in a way that protects my body's health, and in general reducing my level of stress. I am thinking more about this as a survival strategy rather than putting all my energy into training to deal with a physical assault. Since the statistics still show that a huge percentage of cops die within five years of retirement from health problems, and relatively few get killed on the job, I think this is a good mental change.

If I was younger and thinking solely in terms practical techniques for fighting, or even self defense, I think you are correct, aikido wouldn't be the way I would go. But I have found that for law enforcement, a lot of the tactical training in aikido is very good. Keeping the kind of maai we do in aikido is just right for contacting a potentially dangerous person. Approaching that person with the goal of de-escalating rather than immediate confrontation is very beneficial, and is, hopefully, a product of aikido training. These kinds of things are certainly related to surviving conflict, as well as the ability to apply technique physically when things go to s..t. One of my training officers told me when I was a brand new cop, "it's not your gun or your vest that's going to save your ass, but what's between your ears." I have found this to be so true, and I think aikido has a lot of potential benefit for developing the right mindset for survival.

In addition to that, I believe that I have obtained such benefit from aikido in every area of my life, having started when I was a teenager, that I am very thankful that I have been involved in it. Even though I have spent (and still spend) a good bit of time training and experiencing a wide variety of other martial arts, I have always maintained aikido as my primary art, and in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing.

So, to sum up, on the level of basic practical fighting techniques, I absolutely agree with you, aikido has some severe limitations. But in terms of getting some self defense technique, and a whole lot of other good stuff as well, including some good self defense tactics, on both the physical and mental level, aikido has a lot to offer. I think you and I are on the same page as far as our practical experiences and the lessons we have drawn from them. But though I recognize aikido does have some significant areas it doesn't address, for me, and what I am training for, aikido's benefits far outweigh it's shortcomings.

ian
10-18-2006, 07:31 AM
Peter Ralls,
since the methodology was designed for an entirely different purpose (the whole peace and harmony thing).

While certainly the basic premise and principles of aikido are relevant in theory, but I have found it to not be the best paradigm to develop a defense or fight strategy if this is your goal in life.

Hi Kevin. I'd say there are definately aspects that are not taught in aikido (avoiding confrontation with body language, verbally and your day to day behaviour). There are no 'ideal' self-defence strategies, but aikido training I believe is very good. It certainly saved my life in a knife attack once and good self-defence instructors will say 'get out the way of the attack'.

Also the method of aikido I do not believe is about peace and harmony. It is about training in dangerous techniques safely and repeatedly, and as Peter said, developing distance and timing.

I think the main problem is often people do not know how to relate their training to real attacks because they either have no experience of real attacks or they believe that this or that technique is more important than the fundamentals the techniques are teaching.

Although people do aikido for different reasons, I do believe that the focus of improvement must be application. If this is not the case aikido should no longer be considered a martial art. The blending principles could easily be used (and are used) in other sports and activities. Also, I do know a small thin and quite frail man in his 60's who was attacked by a young drunk bruiser that swung at him and he managed to knock him out with tenchi nage.

Thus, it is often not aikido that is the problem, but the way we perceive we will use it practically, and thus this changes the focus of our training. And yes, I agree, we should never be complacent.

George S. Ledyard
10-18-2006, 12:01 PM
If you are unarmed and an assailant has an edged weapon, there is no knife defense. The very idea of "knife defense" is what gets people killed. The only way you can survive an attack by someone who has any idea what he is doing with a blade is to go to the center and take him out. You protect those openings that would get you killed if he stabbed you and you make sure that when he does cut you he only gets one try.

If you look at most knife attack stories, the person who is killed almost always had multiple cuts and stabs. They were "defending" against the knife. One needs to get to the center and deliver enough decisive atemi waza that the attacker himself becomes the defender. If, for some reason, you decide to do some waza which goes for control and a de-escalation of the encounter, you only do so after you have already "won" and it is safe for you to do so. In other words you destroy the guy and then, and only then, do you choose not to finish him off completely.

If you want to practice "real" edged weapons attacks, you need to get a Model mugging type suit and go at it. You give the armored attacker that silly magic marker and then you proceed to knock him so hard that he can't effectively use the marker on you. If he is down and out and you only have marks on you that would have been non-lethal, you won. The fewer marks, the better, but it's really about taking the guy out before he gets a target that will kill or maim you.

If you are practicing without the ability to strike the attacker with full speed and power, your training is inherently unrealistic. Almost all dojo knife defense, in pretty much all arts, is inherently unrealistic. It is crucial that people understand the difference between training and a real encounter. Training gives one an understanding of entries and technique but it has little to do with fighting.

kiaiki
10-18-2006, 12:59 PM
In answer to those who think I whine, and to expain 'blocking' to those who have not been taught this aspect of their art:

I lament the alomost total disappearance of hard and fast atemi.

'Blocking' in the Yoshinkan school means BEFORE the strike has had any opportunity to gain momentum. You don't block a full force tanto strike, or indeed any other whch has gathered momentum. That's just common sense.

The assumptions made embarrass the 'poster' as it shows a lack of understanding that Aikido is NOT about harmonising and 'blending' all the time, but about nullifying the attack, thereby restoring harmony.

Ron Tisdale:

Hi. You have translated but IMHO misunderstood the block. It is always undertaken before Uke has built up any momentum. It has nothing to do with avoidance, as Tori steps in (linear) directly to take the initiative away from Uke.

Avoidance of a tanto is just asking for another attack. Uke must be controlled by Tori - whether block or blend is utilised, and the Uke disarmed. The classic case is shomen-ate, where Tori's block is 'irimi' with tegatana and accompanied by the strike to the chin, as Uke draws back the arm in preparation for a strike.

You never, but never, allow Uke to came back with a second armed attack. You should fail a 1st Dan grading by not disarming Uke.

Hope this clarifies. :)

DonMagee
10-19-2006, 07:04 AM
F
Another way to look at this issue is to focus on the way that nage is being attacked. I have trained with a few schools and it was a common theme that the uke would follow you through the technique.

This aggravates me more then any other MA issue. The way I view ukemi is not about rolling or following. It's purely about the attack. I am not focused on following or judging where I will roll or fall. The attack-that's it.

If technique is correct I will only be able to think about one thing. In a street situation, your attacker is not wondering how he will receive the technique that you use to defend yourself. He is only focused on the attack.

This can be illustrated in an amusing experiment one of my instructors undertook. A person was confronted by a signal attacker. Both uke and Nage were unaware of what would happen. The uke would attack with full intensity and a randori would follow. At some point a person wearing a bear suit would came into the dojo and back out dancing all the way. When randori finished, neither aikidoka recalled the dancing bear.

This sheds some light not only on the sense of humour of the instructor, but also on the focus of uke during an attack.

I have never experienced this. I find i'm well aware of what is going on around me even in the most intense sparing sessions. I think this is because usually i'm sparing in a room with a lot of other guys sparing, and if we are not aware, well it could get messy. Even in the ring, a strong fighter is aware of his attackers intent, body language, position, his position, relative distance and angle to your corner man, are your hands up? How is your foot work, where is he open, is he attacking in a pattern. It's not just "Let's throw this punch". I think if I get attacked on the street I will fight the same way. Because this is how I train day in and day out.

Kevin Leavitt
10-19-2006, 12:57 PM
Also the method of aikido I do not believe is about peace and harmony. It is about training in dangerous techniques safely and repeatedly, and as Peter said, developing distance and timing.

I think the main problem is often people do not know how to relate their training to real attacks because they either have no experience of real attacks or they believe that this or that technique is more important than the fundamentals the techniques are teaching

I would tend to agree with you that principles are more important than technique...in the long run. I think end state is even more important, and that is where many martial artist lose focus.

I obviously do not agree with you on the purpose of aikido, which in my opinion is a critical point in defining end state. Sure, it teaches ma'ai. however, understanding the principles of ma'ai, and being able to apply them in a fully violent situation is another thing.

I do agree that people do not know how to relate to real attacks because they do not have experience with them, or train for them. When you do focus on real attacks, technique can become very important, as you need to find a few things that you can do well based on the "average scenario", based on your size, ability, flexibility, skill level, etc. The focus is to train to defeat a scenario in which you will probably face.

This is 180 degrees IMO from aikido.

Prison guards will train drills to subdue prisoners and how to survive in certain situations. I train military guys on how to apprehend, subdue, and survive attacks in close quarters combat. All technique driven, but also have underlying universal principles found in aikido.

It is not that they have nothing in common, just that their are two different endstates to the reasons for training and that is a huge difference.

David Humm
10-21-2006, 07:51 PM
Prison guards will train drills to subdue prisoners and how to survive in certain situations. I train military guys on how to apprehend, subdue, and survive attacks in close quarters combat. All technique driven, but also have underlying universal principles found in aikido.

It is not that they have nothing in common, just that their are two different endstates to the reasons for training and that is a huge difference.I was a UK Prison Officer for seven and a half years working within Category A (High Security/Risk) establishments; I have faced several (a small number of) shank wielding prisoners and with the exception of one instance I can remember, someone always got cut, that would either be me or one of my fellow officers. I've been wounded twice, thankfully both minor injuries however, my point is this -

There is only one truth in a fight involving a knife: someone is going to get cut, the important factor is however .. "how badly"

My sentiments with regard to surviving a fight with a knife is ensuring I'm in a position to get to the hospital before I bleed to death. In terms of technique; I'm always looking to deal with the person and not a weapon they may have (this is something I always assume).

As for realism; that's a state of mind as far as I'm concerned. Ask your uke to grab a wooden tanto and really try to stab you with it in the upper torso, I'll think you'll find that when the stab is successful, you'll know about it fairly quickly. :eek:

The arms are fairly resilient objects which can take a fair amount of punishment; I've seen instances of injuries to the upper and lower arms with improvised knives, sometimes very deep wounds and yet the individual is ok [for want of a better description] Taking a hit to the torso however isn't obviously a good idea, even relatively short bladed objects used with force are able to penetrate deep enough to cause fatal injuries, lets not even discuss how vulnerable the neck is. What I'm suggesting is that we must prepare ourselves both technically and mentally for the inevitable, what we must do is control the level at which the inevitable occurs. In training we must be totally honest with ourselves and acknowledge when and where our bodies come into contact with the tanto, this is after all no different to taiso and closing the openings which exist in that form of practice.

deepsoup
10-22-2006, 04:52 AM
Excellent post, sorry to nit-pick but...

As for realism; that's a state of mind as far as I'm concerned. Ask your uke to grab a wooden tanto and really try to stab you with it in the upper torso, I'll think you'll find that when the stab is successful, you'll know about it fairly quickly. :eek:
<snip>
Taking a hit to the torso however isn't obviously a good idea, even relatively short bladed objects used with force are able to penetrate deep enough to cause fatal injurie
Taking a hit to the torso with a wooden tanto isn't a great idea either, so for more realistic training, I suggest a less realistic weapon. Uke should feel quite motivated to land a solid strike, and quite uninhibited about doing so.

Its often been suggested before, but.. how about a cheap white t-shirt (or no shirt at all) and a big red marker pen? Otherwise, a flexible tanto, like those used in Shodokan, or a rubber knife might be a better bet.

Vincent Dorval
10-22-2006, 08:40 AM
Hi everyone, I'm a long time reader, first time writer:

In my dojo, in certain circumstances, we use a realistic fake knife. When you see the shinny blade comming at you, it increases the stress. Even if you know that it won't even cut butter, suddenly, adrenalin kicks in and it's a "real" knife that is coming at you, not a wooden tanto. It also helps to remember the principle: disarm with you hand at the NON cutting edge of the blade...

But before doing that kind of exercice, you better know the technique you are doing.

Ron Tisdale
10-23-2006, 02:56 PM
Ron Tisdale:

Hi. You have translated but IMHO misunderstood the block.

Hi back...

I'm afraid I disagree...I don't think I misunderstood anything. ;)

It is always undertaken before Uke has built up any momentum. It has nothing to do with avoidance, as Tori steps in (linear) directly to take the initiative away from Uke.

I was making a [I guess bad, in your case] pun. No sweat. I would agree with your statements about entry into the attacker's space. And my very point about the meaning of the word yoke in Japanese supports the idea of "avoiding the force of the blow".

My larger point was that outside of a dojo, I will not engage someone with a knife unless there is ABSOLUTELY no other choice. Given no other choice, direct entry, with a yoshinkan block, utilizing the bone shield would be my choice, much as you describe. But I'd much rather yokeru the entire situation...

yokeru
(v1,vt) (1) to avoid (physical contact with); (v1) (2) to ward off; to avert; (P)

yoke
(n-suf) (uk) protection

From a rather nice site...
http://linear.mv.com/cgi-bin/j-e/dict

Best,
Ron

MM
10-24-2006, 08:49 AM
My larger point was that outside of a dojo, I will not engage someone with a knife unless there is ABSOLUTELY no other choice. Given no other choice, direct entry, with a yoshinkan block, utilizing the bone shield would be my choice, much as you describe. But I'd much rather yokeru the entire situation...


Best,
Ron

Ron,
Got to agree with you. Outside the dojo, I will do my best to not engage someone with a knife. If I have no other choice, I'm going to find some weapon - a gun, chair, belt, something - to use.

I'm currently studying Albo kali/silat and it's been an eye opener for knife attacks. There are some knife attacks that you will never recover from. And they take a second or less to complete. Not to mention the fact that a good knife fighter will hit you several times in as many seconds or less.

I also like Ledyard sensei's post #46. Great advice.

Mark

Rupert Atkinson
10-24-2006, 11:25 PM
I would agree that all dojo training is by definition unrealistic, yet it is far better than not training at all.

We are making a good case for cross-training, or at least cross-awareness, so we can be more conscious of what is possible.

Though you are right, I want to disagree. Unrealistic training is a waste of your time, my time, my student's time, everyone's time. I want realistic training. I needrealistic training. As time passes, and as I improve (hopefully), I realise that a lot of what we do is unrealistic. I want to change that. People are cross-training because they realise that their training is insufficient. Insufficient can often translate as - no good. But, is the cross-training any better! Not always.

One of my friends commented about a certain school, "They are good at what they do but what they do is rubbish." It was spot on in the moment, and now, years on, I do not want it to apply to me.

SeiserL
10-25-2006, 08:58 AM
Rupert,

We are cut from the same cloth.

Yes, while all training is IMHO unrealistic, the closer we can get it to realistic the better the training and translation/generalization to actual application. Always train with honest and genuine intent and intensity.

I personally enjoy cross-training, but not because Aikido isn't enough, complete, or it's insufficient. I just enjoy the variety in physical and mental training and conditioning.

George S. Ledyard
10-25-2006, 10:49 AM
Unrealistic training is a waste of your time, my time, my student's time, everyone's time. I want realistic training. I needrealistic training. .

Since we are talking about knife defense, let's adress what we mean by "realistic".

Are we atlking about an opponent who is highly trained in some South Asian knife system like Kali or Silat? These are integrated systems and have their own empty hand components which are specifically adapted to the way that they use their weapons. Aikido is not. Do you start to change your Aikido oto adapt to this particular usage? Do you intyroduce the various flow drills that these systems use to train their own people?

Are we talking about defense against a predatory type indiviual armed wirg a blade? In that case we are talking about an ambush. Are you practicing having people attack you at random times? Do you train them in how to smile at you while they set you up for the kill? In a situation like this, there is no "knife defense" because you won't even know they have a knife until you are stabbed.

Are we talking about traditional Japanese tanto? This might most closely resemble what most Aikido people do... But what was the "real" application? Do you do a takedown and then access your tanto to finish the opponent? Do you pull your tanto right in the middle of doing your sword kumitachi and stab the partner? Do you practice attacking by surprise from a seated seiza position while trying to distract your partner? Do you have your students carry tanto in their onbis during training? Do they pull them any time they see an opening? Do they pull yours?

Realistic knife defense could mean all sorts of things. I can virtually guarentee that there isn't an Aikido dojo in the country that is doing all of the above. There are certainly dojos which are doing some of the above. It's a question of what you are training for and designing your training to acheive precisely that end. Their are many choices of what that end should be. Anything that doesn't acheive that particular end is by defintion "unrealistic".

Ron Tisdale
10-25-2006, 10:56 AM
Do you practice serving tea to your host, then strangle and gut him when he is taken unawares?

:) Always liked that one...

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
10-25-2006, 11:17 AM
Do you practice serving tea to your host, then strangle and gut him when he is taken unawares?

:) Always liked that one... Note to self: Cancel Ron's invitation to tea ...

Ron Tisdale
10-25-2006, 12:31 PM
Hey, It's not me you have to worry about ;) Don't invite Ellis Amdur to tea!

Best,
Ron (dude, that kata is sick!)

Fred Little
10-25-2006, 01:04 PM
Hey, It's not me you have to worry about ;) Don't invite Ellis Amdur to tea!

Best,
Ron (dude, that kata is sick!)

The good news:

I just took a look on YouTube and found a PG-13 version from that set of kata:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2_Z-whRDRk

The bad news:

The list of people you might not want to make a tea date with just got longer.

FL

Ron Tisdale
10-25-2006, 01:10 PM
Yeah, that would be pg-11. ;) When Ellis does that kata, it's rated MA to XXX...

B,
R

Rupert Atkinson
10-25-2006, 02:46 PM
Since we are talking about knife defense, let's adress what we mean by "realistic".

Are we atlking about an opponent who is highly trained in some South Asian knife system like Kali or Silat? These are integrated systems and have their own empty hand components which are specifically adapted to the way that they use their weapons. Aikido is not. Do you start to change your Aikido oto adapt to this particular usage? Do you intyroduce the various flow drills that these systems use to train their own people?


Realistic knife defense could mean all sorts of things. I can virtually guarentee that there isn't an Aikido dojo in the country that is doing all of the above. There are certainly dojos which are doing some of the above. It's a question of what you are training for and designing your training to acheive precisely that end. Their are many choices of what that end should be. Anything that doesn't acheive that particular end is by defintion "unrealistic".

We are on the same track. Nothing is ever realistic in the dojo - but the most important thing to realise is just that - that it is not realistic. Once that realisation begins we can start improving, by what ever means you think effective (you listed several) if we are so inclined - and we should be.

In an Aikido setting, the Tanto offers you the opportunity to raise your awareness a notch or two, and hopefully, that will transfer over when you go back to empty hand. Anyway, all I can say is I remain wary of many Aikido tanto techs I have been taught ... Tanto tsuki shiho-nage - well, pull the other one!

I too, shall pass on the tea party.

MM
10-25-2006, 04:43 PM
Since we are talking about knife defense, let's adress what we mean by "realistic".

Are we atlking about an opponent who is highly trained in some South Asian knife system like Kali or Silat? These are integrated systems and have their own empty hand components which are specifically adapted to the way that they use their weapons. Aikido is not. Do you start to change your Aikido oto adapt to this particular usage? Do you intyroduce the various flow drills that these systems use to train their own people?

Ledyard sensei,
Any thoughts on "knife defense" against kali/silat? It's not a very entertaining thought and my best guess would be to take their center quick and hard but even then I know my chances aren't good.

Thanks,
Mark

SeiserL
10-25-2006, 09:37 PM
Any thoughts on "knife defense" against kali/silat? It's not a very entertaining thought and my best guess would be to take their center quick and hard but even then I know my chances aren't good.
Several years back we did an article for Black Belt Magazine that used traditional Aikido techniques against the traditional FMA five angles of attack. shot the whole thing with a live blade too.

paulb
10-25-2006, 09:44 PM
Defence against a FMA knife attack. Run away.