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05-06-2007, 12:30 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of May 6, 2007:

How physically effective do you think aikido is against a real knife attack?

I don't do aikido
Perfectly effective
Very effective
Somewhat effective
Not very effective
Not at all effective


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=375).

Dirk Hanss
05-06-2007, 12:58 AM
It's funny to be the first one, who votes - new experience.

While I think, aikido is very effective against a knife attack - all the concerns about effectiveness count as well in this case.

A qualified knife attack would never look like a typical training attack. To be effective in the defense you must train hard and enhance speed and quality of the attacks in order to act automatically.

In addition knives are very dangerous and it is always better to avoid the attack in total than trying to fight it.But when there is no choice and no helpful tool, the idea of 'instant victory' seems to be the best chance you have. If you do one good technique you might get hurt seriously and even the chance to get killed is valid. But if you doubt and hesitate in action, you are likely to get cut several times and bleed to death.

Again there is no rational to enter an unarmed fight with a highly skilled knife fighter, when there is no need. That is just a kind of suicide. But when an unexpected attack occurs, intensive aikido training gives you a valid chance to survive, which I count as 'very effective'.

My 2 cts

Dirk

Mark Uttech
05-06-2007, 05:50 AM
Early in my aikido journey, I was fortunate to hear the advice of a shihan that "to question effectiveness is to kill effectiveness", that the purpose of training is to learn of our openings and work to close those openings. A big part of aikido training is the art of becoming aware. For example, how do you wake up in the morning? You just do it.

In gassho,

Mark

CitoMaramba
05-06-2007, 07:25 AM
I am supposing that "real knife attack" means "attack with a knife with intent to harm" as opposed to "attack with a knife by a knife expert".
Tanto-dori techniques in aikido are being criticized as being of dubious effectivity against an attacker trained in a knife fighting system (eg., some style of Filipino Martial Art or SIlat, or the Fairbairn knife fighting method, etc). However, what is the reality? What are the odds that when we do meet a knife wielding attacker, said attacker will be someone trained in the aformentioned arts?
At least if we have some training in the concepts of Ma-ai, irimi, aiki and atemi, we will have a slightly better chance than if we had no training at all.
I would really like to see a retrospective study of knife attacks to find out the training history (if any) of the attackers, as well as how the vicims defended themselves and the results..
Sounds like a nice search on the Pubmed database :)

Cheers!

Cito

kironin
05-06-2007, 10:10 AM
Not very effective is my vote.
at least how standard aikido training is usually done.

If the person has a minimal knowledge of how to use a knife, they don't need to be an expert by any means, most aikidoka will be hamburger. As uke, your intent should always be to harm, but with the caveat of control. My intent to harm a beginner is slo-mo and in a very specific direction. My intent to harm my teacher is as best as I can do it as long I am aware his intention is on me and not divided saying something to the class. So I assume you are talking about something more than just good ukemi.

The most traditional knife attacks in aikido are not knife attacks, they are spear or sword(shoto/tanto) attacks.

I took to heart training I received from Dennis Hooker Sensei years ago. If you want to make your training applicable to a real knife attack you need to NOT use hanmi. You need to accept that you will get cut and understand the showstoppers. The showstoppers are where you cannot afford to get cut because your ability to continue effectively will be gone: throat, palm side of wrist, and leg tendon behind the knee. Your stance needs to minimize exposure of showstoppers while allowing mobility. I prefer the nonconfrontational thinker stance that can quickly transition into a stance Hooker Sensei calls an Uechi Ryu stance.

When we play freestyle, it quickly disabuses you of many notions that come from standard kata training.

of course the surprise attack also a real knife attack is by definition a very tricky thing and the only defense there is ki/awareness.

---

L. Camejo
05-06-2007, 08:11 PM
I voted very effective.

A "real" knife attack as seen where I am is most often executed as surpise, close range stabs in a very rapid succession (like a "shanking"). Our Aikido trains to deal with this pretty well, however this does not mean that one should preferably face a knife totally unarmed or empty handed either. If one gets ambushed from the back well... good luck, regardless of how well armed or trained you are.

For other knife attacks, where one is shown the knife as an intimidation tool before an attack, should be easier to deal with since the "ambush" element is gone. However imho these are not so common.

Alluding to Craig's post above, none of our pre-attack postures (whether dealing with a knife or not) start from hanmi, the preferable stance is mugamae or shizen hontai. In tanto randori this sort of "square" stance provides a lot of fast movement options in multiple directions and allows for quick adaptability while moving, assisting one to avoid being stabbed or struck with a blade.

LC:ai::ki:

Chuck Clark
05-06-2007, 08:44 PM
The only answer to this sort of question is...
It depends on who the attacker is and who the defender is.

Edward
05-06-2007, 10:01 PM
Apart from what we see in the movies, I have my doubts that a MA expert of any art would be able to defend effectively against a knife attack.

senshincenter
05-06-2007, 11:16 PM
The question, or at least the hinted-at answer(s), seems to make the mistake of misunderstanding Aikido training to be technique-based. Aikido is, rather, a process of transformation. Therefore, one isn't supposed to ask if kote-gaeshi can work against a knife attack, for example, and then go on through the endless twist of turns of what constitutes a knife-attack, a REAL knife attack, an attack, etc. This really misses the point of Aikido training in my opinion. It even misses the point of dealing with situations that might have you being attacked by a person wielding a knife. After all, if you want to improve your odds of coming out of a knife attack, you got to have at least the following:

- control space/distance/time prior to the encounter
- be better armed/equipped through the encounter
- or don't be in the encounter at all (be gone)

None of this has to do with technique. It has to do with a warrior-body/mindset. Aikido training is as open to these things as the practitioner will allow it to be - as no art has a monopoly on this stuff; as no art can guarantee it.

dmv

Steven
05-07-2007, 08:05 AM
The only answer to this sort of question is...
It depends on who the attacker is and who the defender is.

Amen -- well said

mriehle
05-07-2007, 09:41 AM
It's possible I'm a bit biased by the fact that I know one guy who's used Aikido to defend against a knife attack and it was flawlessly effective, know of one other person who defended against a knife attack using Aikido and it worked (unfortunately, I can't call that one flawless) and I've met others over the years who at least claim to have defended against knife attacks using Aikido. That latter group are of mixed credibility, but there's enough of them that I believe that it's hard for me to conclude that Aikido is ineffective against knife attacks.

That being said, Chuck Clark's comments are salient. The two cases where I know what happened the Aikidoist was fairly well trained and the guy with the knife (probably) wasn't. The other cases where I believe them, the Aikidoists were either cops or highly-ranked Aikidoists and the knife wielders were punks with a blade, often under the influence of some mind-altering substance.

I believe Aikido works, but it doesn't make you Superman.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-07-2007, 10:16 AM
It's obvious I was incorrect when I said that there was a consensus that aikido was not very effective against a knife attack. To take it from opinion to empirical evidence, maybe we should get some of those argumentative judo guys together for a knife-taking competition.

Chuck Clark
05-07-2007, 10:56 AM
I'm not interested in any knife-taking competition (organized or spontaneous) on purpose... however, I have three scars on my hands from knife wounds occuring during assaults where I happened to be more skillful than the assailants. Granted these were 40 + years ago but I am still in possession of two of those knives, so I guess I qualify as being successful although I am not a "trophy hunter" and am not anxious to do it again. We do very spirited tanto randori at times in our system though with appropriate training tools.

Kevin Leavitt
05-07-2007, 10:59 AM
I tend to agree with Dave Valadez' comments. It is about training the mind and the body to develop the warrior mentality and toughness. Focusing on the actual attack is irrelevant, because on any given day, and depending on the circumstances you may lose or win.

Losing and winning depend on your perspective of life, how you live it, and the actions that you choose.

After all that, it helps to have technical skills sometimes for sure, but this is secondary to the other stuff and may not matter at all depending upon the situation.

kironin
05-07-2007, 11:19 AM
The only answer to this sort of question is...
It depends on who the attacker is and who the defender is.

Yes, but you can use that to end just about any conversation. I think that is stating the obvious and pretty much should be the place to begin a conversation.

kironin
05-07-2007, 11:40 AM
After all, if you want to improve your odds of coming out of a knife attack, you got to have at least the following:

- control space/distance/time prior to the encounter
- be better armed/equipped through the encounter
- or don't be in the encounter at all (be gone)

None of this has to do with technique.

This goes for any encounter with someone armed with a weapon in general. Your number two however I would say includes technique. Part of being better equipped through an encounter would be having technical proficiency.

of course the real kicker is even the best trained freeze in real situations and you don't know whether you will till you are in it, so the ideal world is your number 3, not to be in it. Not always possible. I am skeptical when people start talking about warrior mindset, to me it smacks of sophistry.

Tony Wagstaffe
05-07-2007, 12:40 PM
Depends how much you actually train against a wooden tanto from attacks coming in at all angles and that on a regular basis with the most awkward uke! ... even then it would phase most people if you were to face a real knife attack.... it will still be scary!!
I for one would put as much distance between an attacker and myself as is possible given circumstance as know one really knows where it would be likely to take place!
I would probably defend myself with anything that came to hand ie clothing, furniture, you name it! and then run like hell! not stand around looking to see how effective I might have been!
I know my limits!... and have no delusions as to what I may be able to do.... All hypothetical until it really happens!!
Tony

senshincenter
05-07-2007, 12:58 PM
This goes for any encounter with someone armed with a weapon in general. Your number two however I would say includes technique. Part of being better equipped through an encounter would be having technical proficiency.

of course the real kicker is even the best trained freeze in real situations and you don't know whether you will till you are in it, so the ideal world is your number 3, not to be in it. Not always possible. I am skeptical when people start talking about warrior mindset, to me it smacks of sophistry.

I would agree - this applies to all weapon-involved scenarios, but in real life, where the presence of a weapon is not only possible but can make all the difference, I would not want to lump this in with "technique." It's more than technique - enough to warrant it's own discussion and even it's own type of training. For example, in our arrest and control training, we look to the three elements I gave, and if we get them all right, we do not even have to apply a technique - certainly nothing out of grappling art. In other words, if we control the space/time properly, we do not need element two; if we didn't control the space/time properly, and we had to employ the second element, if we do that correctly, we look for more lethal instruments at our disposal - not our hands and/or our wrestling skills; etc. Technique, grappling technique, is so far down the scale of what all one should do or can do that one should acknowledge that he/she has been screwing up tactically for a long time before that point, and thus that the odds are slowly (or quickly) falling away from one's favor (no matter what one does or does not do) - where luck and the particulars of relative skill are the sole deciding factors.

I don't get the "sophistry" comment - so I cannot reply to it. Sorry.

dmv

p.s. Yes, of course, I'm assuming one does not freak out - but while that is a most relative skill, and a most difficult thing to learn, I would consider that elementary for anyone that is looking to come out of a fight, or that is likely to encounter weapon-wielding attackers. That's right up there with, you got to learn how to stand, how to breath, how to relax, balance, etc. - all very hard to learn, but all very elementary to such encounters.

senshincenter
05-07-2007, 01:17 PM
A final note: we do not do tanto dori at our dojo. This speaks to how far down I think technique is to dealing with weapon-wielding attackers.

dmv

Chuck Clark
05-07-2007, 01:24 PM
Yes, but you can use that to end just about any conversation. I think that is stating the obvious and pretty much should be the place to begin a conversation.

I guess I'm out of sync with this... there was a question asked and none of the possibilities in the poll were appropriate. I answered the question with the best answer that I know to be true. I think the discussion that has ensued has taken place several times in the past and is pretty obvious to anyone that has any real experience in the subject.

Michael Douglas
05-07-2007, 02:03 PM
...and yet at this moment the poll indicates 41% of voters think aikido is very effective against a knife attack, way out infront as the popular choice.

For some reason my browser won't let me vote, no matter.
I vote NOT very effective.
My reasoning is based on never seeing an aikido demonstration against a knife attack where the knife wasn't the first attempted contact by the attacker.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-07-2007, 02:33 PM
I really feel like everyone who voted "very effective" should spend some time during jiyu-keiko demonstrating as much to themselves. Hand a training partner a tanto, and tell them to earnestly try to "kill" you as though it were a real knife. No need for classical aikido strikes; just swing or thrust the knife however feels most natural.

I feel like that might get some people to change their votes. I dunno. Just my two cents!

L. Camejo
05-07-2007, 02:40 PM
I think Clark Sensei is correct regarding "who" is involved being more important than "what technique or MA" is involved. There are those who would be capable of suriving a real knife attack regardless of how well or badly they are armed and this has to do with some of the things David V. alluded to regarding mindset, will to survive etc. Then there are those who are so good at taking life with a knife you would come out on the bad end even if you had a machine gun. In relation to something Sensei Ledyard said on another thread - a good knife attacker does not fight, they ambush.

"Who" we are dealing with is quite important imho. My vote was based on knowing at least 2 people who trained with me in Aikido for less than a year who were able to get away without injury when attacked with a knife. The reality is that any Aikido skill they had may have a lot less to do with the result than either person's will to survive or the knife attacker's resolve to take them out. No two situations are the same in this regard and it is diffiicult to state categorically what the outcomes can be.

Imho.
LC:ai::ki:

L. Camejo
05-07-2007, 02:53 PM
I really feel like everyone who voted "very effective" should spend some time during jiyu-keiko demonstrating as much to themselves. Hand a training partner a tanto, and tell them to earnestly try to "kill" you as though it were a real knife. No need for classical aikido strikes; just swing or thrust the knife however feels most natural.

I feel like that might get some people to change their votes. I dunno. Just my two cents!I disagree. Not everything done when reality hits can be copied in practice. Without the right psychological training (or being a natural sociopath) your partner will probably not have the mindset to really ambush and "kill" you. Because you are training you will hold back from doing everything necessary to survive the encounter, including taking the other's life if this is what it takes.

This is critical since it defines one major line between Aikido in the dojo and self defence. Aikido training has its stated objectives based on the dojo you attend, self defence training however is to survive by whatever means necessary, it is quite different and cannot be copied in its entirety in a training environment, knife or not. Those folks like RMCAT etc. who do scenario training come close to recreating some of the threat levels that one may experience, but these are also limited in scope. A lot of what differentiates Budo from self defence has to do with mindset and what your ultimate objective is. The same goes for Budo and combat. There is no guarantee that what you do in the dojo can be transferred to a real life situation, good or bad. Each situation is different and when your life is on the line strange things can happen to either help or hinder you.

Just my 5 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Amelia Smith
05-07-2007, 08:29 PM
For other knife attacks, where one is shown the knife as an intimidation tool before an attack, should be easier to deal with since the "ambush" element is gone. However imho these are not so common.
LC:ai::ki:

I disagree. Coming from a female perspective, I would think that knives are used more often as a means of intimidation than to kill, maim, etc. When the knife is used to intimidate, not being intimidated and having some technique/response to get away is very effective, but at that point it's more about psychology than technique.

L. Camejo
05-07-2007, 09:29 PM
I disagree. Coming from a female perspective, I would think that knives are used more often as a means of intimidation than to kill, maim, etc.What is used more often depends on your neck of the woods and the nature of knife violence trends in your area rather than from your perspective as a potential victim (I'm assuming you are not a potential aggressor here). My own reference was based on my own reality in this country and that gained from Police training material and reports on compiled knife attack statistics in the U.S. What is common in countries with a strong knife and blade culture will be different to what is common in a country where a gun culture may be more prevalent in personal attack scenarios. We are seeing an interesting transition in this country right now as more violent crime is being committed with guns than blades. Ten years or so ago crime with a blade was far more popular. So what is a "common real" attack can be affected by many factors imho. When the knife is used to intimidate, not being intimidated and having some technique/response to get away is very effective, but at that point it's more about psychology than technique.Of course it's psychological, the majority of actual self defence training is psychological, not technique oriented. Much of it focuses on introducing an average law abiding citizen to the criminal mindset and having that person develop a mindset that will aid them in survival when faced with a dangerous criminal. Technique is quite secondary with awareness being one of the primary elements of self defence training. This is why I made the point earlier about the differences between martial arts and self defence. The knife options I alluded to earlier were based on principles and mindset elements that one can derive from solid, Budo-oriented Aikido training, not just technique per se.

LC:ai::ki:

DaveO
05-08-2007, 12:59 AM
Hi all.
Not to be a jerk, but I voted "Not very effective" for the reason that I have a) survived street knife assaults, b) committed knife assaults and c) know the difference between Aikido and defence training.

The whole point of tantodori training is not to 'defend against knives'. If it was, it'd be totally useless, simply because the reality of a knife assault is so radically different from what is taught in the dojo. Knife assaults are wild, hairy, frenzied and you barely have a clue to what is happening - on either end of the knife - until it's over and you stop for a moment - assuming you're not the one on the ground making bubbling sounds - and think 'duuuhhhhhh!'.
Surviving a knife assault takes a heck of a lot of blind luck and instinctive reaction in the right direction. Deliberate defense requires specific training far, far above what any aikido dojo teaches and even then, it's 50/50.

The point of tantodori isn't fighting, nor defense. It's (IMO) to provide a focus, a means of directing ki into a very tight, specific course to test and sharpen technique. IOW, the threat posed by the tanto focusses nage's energy - either by intimidation or awareness - on the approaching threat in a far more direct manner than open handed technique.
I'm sorry, I realize this is only my opinion and not at all clear, I always have trouble expressing this concept. All I know is, if one were to face a genuine streetfighter with standard aikido tantodori technique, he'd have you for lunch, simply because unlike in the dojo, he's not playing your game.

raul rodrigo
05-08-2007, 01:52 AM
In my country, a "real knife attack" would mean an attack by someone who has Kali or Pekiti tirsia or similar training. (Not that these skills are all that common, even here in the home of FMA, but a kali attack is as real as real gets around here.) After 11 years of aikido training, I still don't stand much of a chance against one of these guys holding a knife.

Edward
05-08-2007, 02:59 AM
Any armed vs. unarmed encounter is never very favourable to the empty handed party. I would rank it as follows:

aikido with Katana: extremely effective.
aikido with bokken/jo: very effective.
aikido unarmed: RIP

:D

CitoMaramba
05-08-2007, 03:46 AM
Well, I did my Pubmed Search and found one particulary interesting article. Here is the abstract:

1: Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Jun 2;159(2-3):113-8. Epub 2005 Sep 2.

Sharp force injuries in clinical forensic medicine--findings in victims and perpetrators.

Schmidt U, Pollak S.

Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital of Freiburg,

"The injury findings in 58 perpetrators and 158 victims surviving bodily injuries due to sharp force are presented here. Defence injuries were found in 45.9% of the victims without any significant differences between males and females. There was no clear predominance of defence injuries on the left forearm and hand, as
is known from autopsy studies; the right and the left hands were affected with an almost identical frequency. Regarding other parts of the victims' bodies, the topographic distribution of injuries showed a marked concentration on the left side (63.7%). The thorax, head and neck were frequently affected (45.9%, 15.3%
and 15.3%, respectively), and less often the abdomen (11.1%), the lumbar and gluteal region (6.3%) and the lower extremities (6.1%). In surviving victims with only one singular stab apart from the upper limbs, the incidence of additional defence injuries on the hands and/or forearms was significantly higher (28.3%) than in fatalities. When the perpetrators had unintentionally cut their own hands, the frequency of these injuries on the right and left hands was almost equal."

One interesting finding for me was this:
In surviving victims with only one singular stab apart from the upper limbs, the incidence of additional defence injuries on the hands and/or forearms was significantly higher (28.3%) than in fatalities.

In my opinion, this means that actively defending against a knife attack means that YOU WILL GET CUT, but will increase your chances of survival.
Unfortunately no data was collected on whether the victims or attackers had any kind of training in the martial arts.

seank
05-08-2007, 06:40 AM
I voted very effective, but not because of any consideration to technique. I have been attacked with a knife by someone who grabbed the first thing at hand, and had various other encounters with different weapons pre-Aikido.

Whilst I can't really pin any one Aikido movement or technique (I hesitate to use that word) that is singularly effective against a knife, I firmly believe the biggest strength in Aikido comes in facing the attack, the wielder and the weapon (in that order).

I would suggest that most people with experience in fights of any type will agree that in any fight you either get lucky or you get hit; even the best technique can be defeated on a bad day. It follows the same reasoning that with a weapon, a knife or any other type, you can just as easily be hit/cut/etc.

I caveat this by saying that not fearing the weapon or the person wielding it, being prepared to receive an attack and not standing still are all physically effective responses to a knife attack regardless - and these are all things we can learn through Aikido.

SeiserL
05-08-2007, 06:49 AM
Who is doing the Aikido?

Amelia Smith
05-08-2007, 06:04 PM
In my opinion, this means that actively defending against a knife attack means that YOU WILL GET CUT, but will increase your chances of survival.

Yep. That's what I think, too.

Chuck Clark
05-08-2007, 06:40 PM
Quite often the knife weilding assailant comes away with cuts from the weapon. Unless they're really well-trained in knife retention and have practiced cutting material similar to the real thing often (and having a well-designed knife) they cut themselves. I grew up hearing that the rule is: When a knife is involved in an attack everyone is liable to get cut.

Mark Uttech
05-08-2007, 10:28 PM
I really feel like everyone who voted "very effective" should spend some time during jiyu-keiko demonstrating as much to themselves. Hand a training partner a tanto, and tell them to earnestly try to "kill" you as though it were a real knife. No need for classical aikido strikes; just swing or thrust the knife however feels most natural.

I feel like that might get some people to change their votes. I dunno. Just my two cents!

I have had awkward experiences, but it still would not change my vote. I voted 'very effective' and I continue to believe it. Practice is something to practice; practice is not 'something to prove'.

In gassho,

Mark

CitoMaramba
05-09-2007, 01:32 AM
Quite often the knife weilding assailant comes away with cuts from the weapon. Unless they're really well-trained in knife retention and have practiced cutting material similar to the real thing often (and having a well-designed knife) they cut themselves. I grew up hearing that the rule is: When a knife is involved in an attack everyone is liable to get cut.

Yes, the study I found bears this out:

"3.2. Injuries of the perpetrators
Among the 58 perpetrators of knife attacks (50 males and 8 females aged 17–72), there were 21 individuals showing sharp force injuries which were mainly of a superficial nature. Five of the perpetrators had intentionally inflicted injuries on themselves after the offence, either with suicidal intent or to simulate self-defence. Injuries unintentionally inflicted during the attack were found in 16 offenders. Altogether, the perpetrators’ hands showed 50 cut wounds with 24 injuries being localized on the right and 26 on the left hand."

Dieter Haffner
05-09-2007, 02:10 AM
I happen to hear a quote from Sugano, that he made a few years ago, just yesterday.

When he was asked what he would do when someone threatened him with a knife. He responded: "Run away.". He said that anyone with a weapon, even just a pencil, had a huge advantage over an unarmed person.

I felt like sharing this because the overall feeling that I get from the poll and this thread is this: when you are doing aikido you will be OK when someone attacks you with a knife. Because there are lots of anecdotes about aikido people (even beginners) that could defend themselves. And half of the community says that what we train is very effective to perfectly effective.

I hope that noone, who has been training for a couple of years and did some techniques against tanto, will think that they will be OK when affronted by a knife swinger and takes his chance. Because "Hey, i have read on Aikiweb that this stuff is very effective.".

Now I know that noone has said that you should stand and fight, but it is very important to at least say that you need to run, no matter the years of training and previous fights you have come out off.

BTW, I voted not very effective.

L. Camejo
05-09-2007, 05:42 AM
The "just run away" response actually brings up something very important to knife defence imho. I learnt this while doing some training under Rocky Izumi who is also a certified DT instructor.

Just running away does not work always if confronted with a knife attacker. Running away must be done properly. The scenario training we did showed that a knife weilder will actually be able to accelerate and close on you very quickly and stab you in the back if you turn your back and run away from the attacker. This is the case as long as you are within 15 feet of your attacker I believe (those with more DT experience may verify this figure for me). However anyone can test this, try running away from a knife attacker by running in the same direction that he is facing (if he is facing you), even if there is some distance between you. See how quickly he catches up to you. This is because while you are turning around he is accelerating. Of course running away might work if you are both facing the same direction, but then this would likely mean that he is right behind you with the knife ready to go into your back, else he is not really a threat, but this close range leaves not much area for error or acceleration imo.

In the training we did the best running away option involved running past the attacker and exiting behind him, forcing him to turn around and then accelerate. In this case running away worked every time.

Running away also assumes that we detect the knife and threat while it is still possible to escape. With a knife you only realise what is happening most times after you are already in danger or hit. I think Aikido's awareness training helps a lot in avoiding the encounter, but going back to Chuck Clark's first post, it then comes down to who is weilding the knife and who is doing the Aikido. In running past the attacker to escape, basic tai sabaki (hopefully with something protecting your hands) works as well as anything else I'd imagine, so it once again comes down to who is involved imho.

LC:ai::ki:

Demetrio Cereijo
05-09-2007, 05:54 AM
Running away isn't always an option. Are you going to run away leaving your ...... - fill here with wife, sons, old mother, friend, platoon leader :) et c.- facing the knife wielding bad guy?

Edward
05-09-2007, 09:28 AM
An anecdote first: My own grandfather, who was born at the end of the late 1880s, and obviously lived in a radically different era than ours, was severely injured in the belly by a knife that he was himself wielding. It seems he was trying to stab someone but ended up getting cut by his own weapon. For the record, neither my grandfather nor the other guy had ever heard of aikido or DT :D

This is to say that any encounter could go either way, even with a skilled knife fighter.

Also, I agree with Larry about the running away in the correct direction. I have been taught the same thing. Also I believe that if this was truly an option, aikido training should include a lot of short and medium length sprint training :D

CitoMaramba
05-09-2007, 09:32 AM
Ah yes, the Monty Python technique... "Run Away! Run Away!" :D

Mark Uttech
05-09-2007, 11:19 AM
I think I will run away from this thread.

In gassho,

Mark

Rupert Atkinson
05-10-2007, 04:26 AM
Simple: If you train against a real knife attack then your Aikido should be effective. If not, then ...

SeiserL
05-10-2007, 06:51 AM
As always, who is handling the knife and who is executing the Aikido technique?

Since very few people I have trained with in any martial arts have ever really been in a real knife fight (ambush), and few are trained in executing a real knife attack, I would guess that even fewer train against a real knife attack, making their physical effectiveness just about nil.

IMHO, you will fight how you train. So train with honest and genuine intent and intensity.

xuzen
05-12-2007, 12:13 AM
If my aikido move include blowing poison-tipped dart out of a blow-pipe and knife wielding assailant is standing 10-15 meters or so... yeah, I guess I would be effective.

Boon.

wayneth
05-12-2007, 10:20 AM
Whenever we do tanto-dori in class, my instructor always says the same thing and that is you have three options when threatened with someone brandishing a knife.
1. run...it don't make you a coward if you were to run
2. if that fails get a weapon of your own, whether it be a snooker que, a belt or what Sensei Cottier says use a big thick winter coat which adds protection, even if just a little.
3. if all three fail, then you have to refer to empty handed defence but it doesnt have to be techniques like shiho-nage or sankyo etc. just simple tai-sabaki away from the situation and then run.

I don't think its the aikido that is effective, rather the person, especially when defending yourself against a knife attack. When threatened you have to be positive in thinking that when you have to move you move and don't freeze on the spot, which I would imagine does happen quite often.
Wayne

Chuck Clark
05-12-2007, 12:06 PM
I've uploaded three images of wounds sustained by a police officer that thought he could disarm someone with a knife. He decided to not use his duty pistol, stick, etc.

Warning: This images are graphic.

http://www.jiyushinkai.org/wounds.html

Hard to look at but necessary to understand reality.

gregg block
05-12-2007, 03:05 PM
I repeat what someone said earlier. It depends on the attacker and the defender. Someone stated this was more of a starting point than an end point to the person who made this statement earlier. As if such a simple answer does not appropriately answer the question Thats fine if the goal is just conversation and speculation but in the end it still depends on the attacker & defender thats just the way it is.

L. Camejo
05-12-2007, 06:15 PM
Good photos for the reality check Clark Sensei.

Sadly, though we may speculate about this online there are people who do end up in situations where they are unarmed and someone is attacking them with a knife and as Clark Sensei's photos show, the results are often not pretty (if one survives).

As Budoka we would hope that there is something in our training to comprehensively deal with this situation, but there is no guarantee and it is quite easy to end up like the guy in those photos if one is unlucky enough. However, imho to do nothing at all only assists in manifesting this outcome or worse unless the attacker has other plans for you.

This is the nature of reality however, moreso for some, and it has to be dealt with in some fashion if one is faced with it. To all those who are near to this sort of reality - Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

senshincenter
05-12-2007, 06:40 PM
There are two reasons why I would tend to try and move beyond the answer of "depends on the attacker and the defender":

1. This answer does not account for "luck" (i.e. that crazy unknown element that almost always plays things out according to its own will) - which as Barfly said, counts too (especially in life and death encounters).

and,

2. The whole point of martial arts training is to move beyond this kind of dependency. For example, you can have the greatest knife fighter in the world, and though you suck at knife defenses, if you can apply the principles I suggested earlier, you can take his great skill, and your lack of skill, pretty much out of the equation - which is what one should try to do whenever irreversible consequences may be on the horizon. For me, that is basic to real-life martial applications - never fight the guy on his own terms.

I mean I get the answer, but I would hate for some cop I'm training to look at me and give me that reply as a reason for just succumbing to his "inevitable" defeat simply because he knows the guy armed with the knife is very skilled at knife fighting. Where I'm coming from, if you know he's skilled at knife fighting, make it against his odds to enter into that kind of attack, etc. In other words, there are things that one can and should do, things that even make crappy knife defense skills more viable, things that have one move beyond "the guy with the greater skill in knife attacking or defending comes out on top." Learning these things are what full Aikido training must involve.

my opinion,
dmv

gregg block
05-12-2007, 07:00 PM
I get what you are saying, but I never said anything about skill levels. I said it depends on the attacker and the defender. It also depends on the weather, is it dark or light. Are they on grass or asphalt. What are they wearing. IT is prudent to try to train for all possible situations but you will never be able to train for all possible situations. What Im saying is that "it depends" is the only way to attempt to answer the question with any truthfulness as the variables are endless. The two constants are the attacker and the defender. So again it depends on them and how they respond to each within the environmental confines of combat.

senshincenter
05-12-2007, 10:13 PM
I'm afraid I do not understand you then. From what I am gathering from what you are saying, it seems you ARE saying the attacker and the defender are variables - not constants (or no more constant than "the environment", "the time of day", etc. - which are also a matter of "it depends". Perhaps you can explain that part a bit more.

Yet, even if I am to understand your "how they respond" to not be a matter of skill level, when it comes to matters of victory and/or survivability, others in the thread have at least implied that they are not against understanding skill level as the main ingredient for "it depends". Hence my position. Regardless, and however though, the question posed is not asking whether Mr. X with his knife attack or Mr. Y. with his Aikido will gain victory. The question posed is speaking generally and thus looking at things from the point of view of "all things being equal". It makes no sense to say "but all things are not equal" or "in real life," particularly if one does not want to talk about skill levels, right after one wants to speak generally about a topic. The question, in its "generally speaking" already understands that the variables are endless, that it is pointless then to speak about this in any other way than generally, or in terms of all things being equal. Again, this is even more true when one does not want to speak in terms of skill levels. For these reasons, I feel what I wrote is still applicable - that martial arts, and especially martial artists that are concerned with combat survivability, are supposed to look beyond "it depends," to moves that don't just work against this specific person or within that specific environment, during that specific time, but toward what are considered "high percentage tactics and strategies" - moves that function generally, and generally well. Don't get me wrong, it still depends, it will always depend, but at the level of practice that takes place via contemplation and training, where the position of "all things being equal" is always assumed, this is only stating the obvious and thus no reason at all for understanding one's training one way and not another. In other words, "it depends" has everything to do with reality and nothing to do with this question.

dmv

kironin
05-12-2007, 10:58 PM
I've uploaded three images of wounds sustained by a police officer that thought he could disarm someone with a knife. He decided to not use his duty pistol, stick, etc.


What kind of training made him have so much confidence as to ignore his own weapons? Just having the stick would be a godsend.

shields were invented for a reason. it sucks that garbage can lids are all now plastic.

Any one that thinks it's very effective needs to wake up. Even the most effective training is still for the worst case scenario where you have NO other choices and you don't want to be in that situation and you certainly don't want to choose to be in that situation where you have no tool other than your body and escape and evasion is not an option.

Chuck Clark
05-12-2007, 11:58 PM
The short and heartbreaking answer is... he got the training the citizens of his community were willing to pay for... and he obviously made a wrong decision on top of that.

L. Camejo
05-13-2007, 07:22 AM
Looking at the amount of cuts to the back that the officer got it would be interesting to get the details of the encounter.

From my own experience there are not that many members of Law Enforcement that are highly skilled in empty handed tactics to the point where one could handle a serious knife attacker without getting wounded. If he was trained properly he would not have abandoned any other weapon or leverage such as a stick to go empty handed against a knife. The training methods I've encountered make it clear that empty handed is your last resort for engaging the attacker, a weapon to increase range or a shield is always preferable.

I'm not sure the average LEO is as well trained as many martial artists in empty handed ability either, the operational procedures don't often require this skillset to be a necessity imho. So though the photos are great reality checks I'd not hold up a LEO as any standard for skill in empty handed tactics.

I agree with David V.'s comments above. Of the 2 training partners I've had who got into knife altercations both were able to escape uncut, getting posession of the blade while not severely injuring the attacker. One was a low kyu and one was no kyu.

In these things your will to survive is as important as any other factor imho and any tools to assist that survival is a plus for you, so I'd be hard pressed to say that one's tanto dori training, which brings into play things like peripheral vision, awareness, distancing, evasion tactics, dealing with an ambush, applied techniques etc. will be of no help to someone caught in a bad situation. Of course what I refer to as tanto dori may not be the same as others.

Part of Budo training is about analyzing and understanding violence to find ways to avoid it if possible and overcome it where necessary. No one said it would be pretty or easy imho.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

senshincenter
05-13-2007, 09:34 AM
While I do not think the following takes anything away from what can happen when you are facing a knife attack, there are a lot of doubts surrounding these pictures.

For me, they came to me pretty much as they were presented here - with no background. They were passed my way by one of the officers I have trained in ARCON. He too stated they were pictures of a cop - but he had no other "facts" than that.

Please consider the following:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/gruesome/kunsan.asp

THE FOLLOWING VIDEO ARE ALL VERY GRAPHIC!!!

Here's an example of neither controlling time/space, no superior weapons technology, and "luck" determining the end result more than anything:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifRFPwimlts

Here's an example of not controlling time/space, only having superior weapons technology:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bRSu3zABog

Here's an example of controlling time/space and having superior weapon technology on one's disposal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNcasIEsluk

dmv

Chuck Clark
05-13-2007, 02:16 PM
David, thanks for doing some research. I was sent these by an LEO acquaintance that said they were of an officer that had tried to disarm someone with a knife. No names, etc. were involved. I always try to look into things I receive but didn't think it was necessary with this fellow. The pictures are still a good lesson.

Aikibu
05-13-2007, 04:39 PM
I emphatically vote no...Unless you are the type of Aikidoka who has an extensive background in some form of knife fighting and practices it consistantly.

I recommended this article to Sensei Ledyard a brief while back on Martial Arts vs Knife Fighting...In the Volume 15 Number 4 2006 Journal of Asian Martial Arts John McCurry and Eliot Lee Grossman J.D. wrote a great article titled "The Top Ten Errors of Martial Artists Defending Against a Blade."

The Abstract Quote: "There are ten deadly errors which make most empty-handed martial arts techniques against a knife ineffective. The principle error stems from the fact that few present-day martial systems teach the blade. The premise of this article is that to effectively defend against a knife,you need to know how to use one. The purpose of this article is to motivate martial arts instructors to analyze more critically thier unarmed knife defense techniques based on a clear understanding of the use of the knife, and to reawaken interest in the blade arts in the martial arts community."

The Article's Top Ten Errors...

1. Not knowing how to fight with a blade.
2. Improper Mind-set and lack of Blade Awareness
3. Incorrect Structure
4. Blocking
5. Kicking
6. Permitting Gaps Between You and the Attacker
7. Using Techniques Designed for Unarmed Adversaries
8. Ignoring the Adversary's Checking Hand
9. Failing to Follow-up
10. Unrealistic Training.

After careful study of the authors reasons I came to the conclusion that unless we revamped our practice to include serious and consistant study of the tanto that my students would be better off going to someone like Mr. McCurry to learn about knife fighting rather that suffer the perhaps fatal delusion that they are properly trained to handle someone with a knife. I sure hope Mr. McCurry's practice gains wider interest within our community.

William Hazen

senshincenter
05-13-2007, 06:02 PM
I would like to add the fact that it does not take much skill to hurt, seriously injure, or even kill someone with a knife. The weapon is not just a tactical variable. Like all weapons, the knife increases one's defensive and offensive ability - greatly. Thus, for example, one serious kick-ass martial artist, with loads of expertise in loads of knife-disarming/control techniques, even one that trains in knife fighting, has seriously got his/her hands full when facing some idiot with a knife that just starts stabbing and slashing all over the place as fast as they can.

For example, while I do not advocate kicking as THE solution, and while we should note the crazy limiting factor of "being in an elevator," etc., we can see how full one's hands would be by watching the first part of this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXvx8HBMTYA

Yeah, Chuck, that is how those pics came my way, but even then, I was a little suspicious as to the type of the wounds manifested in light of the modern types of body armor that is now worn in most places. So, I wasn't too surprised either after I did some research on the story. Nevertheless, as I said, as you said, the pics still show the issue at hand, whatever their specific scenario.

thanks,
dmv