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Gorgeous George
10-06-2010, 09:55 PM
When I trained at a shodokan aikido dojo, I was told that the correct way to hold a knife during practice was with the blade facing up - i.e., if you held the knife horizontally, the sharp side would face the sky, and the dull side, the floor; the isntructor said that if you see somebody holding a knife this way, then 'they really know what they're doing'.

But i've never seen anybody else do this; so what is the correct way to hold a tanto, and why?

niall
10-07-2010, 04:10 AM
Hi, Graham. I don't know much about knife fighting but if you are interested there are some related threads at the bottom of the page and this is some background on the various grips:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knife_fight.

The normal grip for a tanto is with the blade cutting edge down (from what's called a hammer grip in that article). So you handle it like your right hand grip of a katana. Like a katana you grip a tanto from your little finger and your forefinger should be very loose. I was taught shomen uchi and yokomen uchi suburi for a tanto in Japan many years ago.

Abasan
10-07-2010, 04:11 AM
The probable reasoning is the dull side up might catch into the bones of the rib cage and get stuck there, but if you're poking your knife there in the first place...

A lot of combat fighters have the edge downside when using a foregrip because the knife is both a slashing and a thrusting weapon. Go figure.

JJF
10-07-2010, 04:41 AM
I am by no means an expert, but should I happen to be in a situation where I should use a knife (I hope not) i would always hold the blade horizontal with the edge pointing 'out my fingers' so that I can cut either left or right just by turning my wrist. As it said above.. just like holding a sword.

I think the 'opposite' grib is especially for special ops forces that need to slice your abdomen from below, but if you face one of those guys it dosen't really matter how he holds the knife anyway....

Mark Mueller
10-07-2010, 06:53 AM
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

Rabih Shanshiry
10-07-2010, 07:41 AM
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

+1

This video has been posted before on these forums but at 4:40 he starts talking about the "proper" way to hold a knife. It's pretty much what Mark said.

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

(The whole clip is worth a look. I think it puts aikido tanto training in context).

Nick P.
10-07-2010, 07:50 AM
When I trained at a shodokan aikido dojo, I was told that the correct way to hold a knife during practice was with the blade facing up - i.e., if you held the knife horizontally, the sharp side would face the sky, and the dull side, the floor; the isntructor said that if you see somebody holding a knife this way, then 'they really know what they're doing'.

But i've never seen anybody else do this; so what is the correct way to hold a tanto, and why?

1. Ensure pointy end/slashy edge is towards ennemy. Most important.

2. Sensei Kashimura Yoshinobu of Sukagawa, Japan, has also instructed me in the same manner of holding a knife, so your not alone.

grondahl
10-07-2010, 08:03 AM
I have been taught the following:
for tsuki: edge up.
for yokomen and slashing: edge outwards
for shomen uchi: edge downwards.

Russ Q
10-07-2010, 08:55 AM
I've been told by Suganuma sensei that it is cutting edge up....when you do tsuki to the midsection and the knife penetrates, you can then easily pull up to disembowel your...."partner". If the cutting edge is down then you will hit pelvic bone....I thought I noticed a wry smile during this lesson but that may have just been me. He also didn't spend much time on that..., just a quick explanation (as some of us were holding edge down) and then onto tsuki kotegaeshi.

Cheers,

Russ

ninjaqutie
10-07-2010, 10:22 AM
In our dojo we have the blade up or down and change the type of grip depending on the type of attack.

Aikibu
10-07-2010, 10:31 AM
Single edge knives like the ones you find in the kitchen... should be pointed edge towards bad guy....:)

Most of the combat knives that I like are double edged. If your bad guy is holding one then hopefully you'll have a bigger one. :D

If you don't know how to hold a knife then don't get all ninja viking pirate on us... Just hold it as you would when cutting steak or chopping celery. Slashing and cutting is 90% of what you'll use it for... not thrusting.

William Hazen

PS I HATE when someone says to me "That's how they do it in REAL LIFE" LOL

Dan Hover
10-07-2010, 11:03 AM
+1

This video has been posted before on these forums but at 4:40 he starts talking about the "proper" way to hold a knife. It's pretty much what Mark said.

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

(The whole clip is worth a look. I think it puts aikido tanto training in context).

++1 for you I think it puts not just Aikido tanto training in context but a whole bunch of other arts in context too, i.e. the crescent kick at the forearm knife disarm.

Have integrity in your training and place all your training into proper context.

WilliB
10-07-2010, 11:05 AM
Single edge knives like the ones you find in the kitchen... should be pointed edge towards bad guy....:)

Most of the combat knives that I like are double edged. If your bad guy is holding one then hopefully you'll have a bigger one. :D

If the thing is double-edged, isnīt it called a *dagger*?

Jeremy Hulley
10-07-2010, 12:09 PM
It all depends on what I'm going to do with it.

I was taught edge up in my first dojo.

Now it depends largely on what we are training.

SeiserL
10-07-2010, 12:20 PM
When you slice (not stab or hack) your meat, how do you hold the knife?
There you go.

Aikibu
10-07-2010, 12:33 PM
If the thing is double-edged, isnīt it called a *dagger*?

You may call it anything you like. :)

William Hazen

Amassus
10-07-2010, 12:39 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk-EVLyIpts


What a great clip...thank you for alerting me to it.

Dean.

Gorgeous George
10-07-2010, 12:53 PM
+1

This video has been posted before on these forums but at 4:40 he starts talking about the "proper" way to hold a knife. It's pretty much what Mark said.

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

(The whole clip is worth a look. I think it puts aikido tanto training in context).

HAHAHAHAHA! This guy's fucking brilliant!
Thanks a lot.

Kevin Leavitt
10-07-2010, 01:06 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but I hold the blade down or inward. Think about the mechanics of how your hand works and what else you are concerned with in a hand to hand fight with a knife. The way your arm and hand ,works, cutting across your body...well it makes the most sense IMO to have the blade facing the way you can use it. Cutting back across, you rotate your hand over to cut in that direction.

It makes no sense that I can think of to have the blade facing up on a single edged weapon, it limits the use of that weapon IMO.

MM
10-07-2010, 01:24 PM
This is just a very simple example:

Picture an opponent's right fist tsuki to your solar plexus area. Freeze time for a second while the opponent has stepped forward and his arm is extended forward.

Picture you moving 45 degrees (opponent is 12 o'clock) to the 10 o'clock position. Your right hand holds a knife. Just before you move, think of these scenarios...

1. You hold the knife with the point towards the opponent and the blade down. As you take that step, your right hand goes inside the opponent's right arm. The blade contacts the inner wrist and you peel the flesh from his arm from his wrist all the way to his bicep as you take your step. This is if you have the timing down such that your opponent isn't immediately retracting his arm.

2. You hold the knife point forward and blade up. As you take that step, your right hand goes inside the opponent's right arm. The blade contacts the opponent's bicep and as he retracts his arm, you peel the skin from the bicep down to the inner elbow and possibly all the way down to the inner wrist.

3. You hold the knife point back and blade down (reverse grip with blade away from your flesh/arm/wrist). As you take that step, your right hand with the knife stays outside the opponent's right arm and you flay/peel the opponent's outside arm as you step forward, then follow the progression and cut the neck.

4. You hold the knife point back and blade up (blade towards your flesh). As you step, you use your wrist/knife reverse grip to hook your opponent's arm/wrist. Doesn't much matter where because no matter who moves, the opponent's arm gets cut/peeled/sliced/etc.

There are a myriad ways to hold a knife. There are a lot of ways to cut/slice/dice/core/flay/peel/stab/etc a person. A really good knife fighter will be able to transition or change the blade in mid movement while retaining control of the knife. There is *no* correct way to hold a knife. There are pros and cons of each and it is best to know them *all* well.

You want to learn them? Find a good arnis/kali/escrima/silat school. Find a good knife fighter. Find a quality school that teaches how to use a knife. But, quit thinking inside the box about "correct" or "proper" ways to hold a knife. That can get you killed.

IMO,
Mark

grondahl
10-07-2010, 01:28 PM
I think thatīs there is a big difference between "the correct way" to hold a knife and "the best way".

I don't know about anyone else, but I hold the blade down or inward. Think about the mechanics of how your hand works and what else you are concerned with in a hand to hand fight with a knife. The way your arm and hand ,works, cutting across your body...well it makes the most sense IMO to have the blade facing the way you can use it. Cutting back across, you rotate your hand over to cut in that direction.

It makes no sense that I can think of to have the blade facing up on a single edged weapon, it limits the use of that weapon IMO.

Keith Larman
10-07-2010, 01:30 PM
Different styles do different things. Like Mark said, if you really want to get into it, the Filipino arts have extensive techniques.

All that said, in Japanese arts the "correct" way to hold a knife to attack still depends completely on context of the overall style of "tantojutsu" being employed (to keep it focused in Japanese arts). In forays into koryu stuff I've learned mostly the so-called "hammer grip" (or Saber Grip if you're letting the thumb float more) and the so-called reverse edge out grip.

Another grip you'll sometimes see is the so-called "icepick" or what we only somewhat jokingly call the "crazed, jealous wife" grip. That's a reverse grip, edge in. Think "Psycho" with the knife stabbing down repeatedly.

FWIW some of the "best" knifework I've seen has been those who use the "standard" grip with finesse (Toby Threadgil does some amazing stuff at an incredible speed from this grip) or in the reverse edge out (see Toby again for this stuff).

Anyway, the point is that "correct" is generally contingent on a larger framework. Many arts have "mirrored" empty hand and tanto arts where the same overall movements are used in order to have an efficient means of skills transmission. As such that can affect the answer as to which grip is correct even within different techniques.

Bottom line is that used well any grip can be deadly and very difficult at best to deal with. So it is good to train in a variety of attacks.

As an aside, years ago I went to a seminar in a style of Aikido not my own. The instructor called me up with a tanto. I reflexively grabbed it into reverse edge out grip in my right hand and stepped up, left foot forward. He smiled and said "Ah, you've done knife work before." He told the seminar that if you see someone carrying a knife like that and they move toward you, run... He then had me change to a right hand hammer grip for a standard "Aikido" tsuki.

phitruong
10-07-2010, 01:57 PM
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

you read my mind. of course, unless you want to throw it at the person.

but then, my knife is a meat cleaver. when folks see a knife, they might not be as worry. however, a meat cleaver just touches the primal fear in most folks. being trying to set up an aikido meat cleaver gang, similar to the Axe gang (without the cool music and dancing). :D

Janet Rosen
10-07-2010, 02:44 PM
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

In the right hand, with the fork in the left. :)
or, however Sensei shows you....

Gorgeous George
10-07-2010, 04:39 PM
But, quit thinking inside the box about "correct" or "proper" ways to hold a knife. That can get you killed.

IMO,
Mark

It's cool: I wasn't thinking any such way; I just remembered what this dude had said, and how i've never seen that again (from what I recall, he was referring to having the blade pointing skyward, when attempting a tsuki) - and he was the world champion of aikido, one year.

Aikibu
10-07-2010, 05:38 PM
There are a myriad ways to hold a knife. There are a lot of ways to cut/slice/dice/core/flay/peel/stab/etc a person. A really good knife fighter will be able to transition or change the blade in mid movement while retaining control of the knife. There is *no* correct way to hold a knife. There are pros and cons of each and it is best to know them *all* well.

You want to learn them? Find a good arnis/kali/escrima/silat school. Find a good knife fighter. Find a quality school that teaches how to use a knife. But, quit thinking inside the box about "correct" or "proper" ways to hold a knife. That can get you killed.

IMO,
Mark

Well anything you do can get you "killed" Mark and with all due respect... thats a box too. :)

William Hazen

phitruong
10-07-2010, 09:02 PM
the best way to hold a knife is with your left while your right holding a rapier. in absent of a rapier, you can substitute with a 9mm or a saw-off shotgun. in absent of those things, you can substitute with somebody who espouse peace and harmony or someone you dislike, such as mother-in-law; pet hamster can be use just as well. :)

roninroshi
10-07-2010, 10:31 PM
Holding and attacking w/a knife are quite different...and very cultural.The reverse grip is favored in some locals and culture's...the blade forward thrusting style in others...the attack pattern is another concern...combine that w/the mental state of the attacker and the problem is compounded...dojo knife skills can be beneficial if the attacks are varied and un-rehearsed.Many years ago i spent a good deal of time working w/another Aikidoka (yudansha) in knife defense and we were unable to successfully defend against a reverse grip attack...having been a meat cutter i used a blade in various ways to cut thru carcass and changing from forward to reverse grip while cutting became second nature...holding a knife is one matter skillfully defending against one is another and more serious consideration...good training to you.
This clip is not for the faint hearted but is a great example of what can happen in a serious knife attack...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uWTecKNyg8&feature=player_embedded

Gorgeous George
10-07-2010, 10:36 PM
Is the 'kick to the groin' an effective defence against knife attacks?

roninroshi
10-07-2010, 10:49 PM
Could be if you can get close enough and not get your femoral artery slashed open or have your bladder unzipped!

CitoMaramba
10-08-2010, 04:44 AM
+1

This video has been posted before on these forums but at 4:40 he starts talking about the "proper" way to hold a knife. It's pretty much what Mark said.

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

(The whole clip is worth a look. I think it puts aikido tanto training in context).

Mr Vunak makes a lot of sense and Aikidoka practicing tanto-dori would do well to look at the context of knife combat..

Erick Mead
10-08-2010, 07:55 AM
The correct way to hold a knife:

"Knife? What knife...???"

---------------

"This demonstrates the value of not being seen."

HMG PSF, No. 42,
HOW NOT TO BE SEEN

lbb
10-08-2010, 08:58 AM
Pointy end toward the bad guy.

dps
10-08-2010, 02:10 PM
Does the size of the knife matter?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01NHcTM5IA4

David

WilliB
10-09-2010, 03:33 AM
Does the size of the knife matter?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01NHcTM5IA4

David

I was waiting for this, I was waiting for this, I was waiting for this
:D

RED
10-09-2010, 08:16 PM
Pointy end toward the bad guy.

...or in.
Styles vary. :cool:

Alfonso
10-10-2010, 10:01 AM
I was taught to hold it unseen, and to practice attacking like that. As I was taught, someone waving the knife at you is not the worse case; that one is probably not out to kill. Walk up to nage and shank, real casual.

David Board
10-10-2010, 12:24 PM
I jokingly asked her, "How exactly do you hold a knife when you kill people?"
.
Without flinching or hesitating, she turned the knife over (icepick grip) and said, "I sneak up behind, grab face like this and jerk back. Then I stab in neck two or three times!" (pumping her hand up and down.)
http://www.mokurendojo.com/2010/08/how-i-kill-people-with-knife.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MokurenDojo+%28Mokuren+Dojo%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

L. Camejo
10-10-2010, 12:48 PM
I jokingly asked her, "How exactly do you hold a knife when you kill people?"
.
Without flinching or hesitating, she turned the knife over (icepick grip) and said, "I sneak up behind, grab face like this and jerk back. Then I stab in neck two or three times!" (pumping her hand up and down.)
http://www.mokurendojo.com/2010/08/how-i-kill-people-with-knife.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MokurenDojo+%28Mokuren+Dojo%29&utm_content=Google+Reader
Beautiful story.

Important for folks to realize that generalizations may often turn out false when applied to people who may have actually done what you are teaching, and not in the dojo. :)

Best
LC

amoeba
10-11-2010, 04:20 AM
Well, normally we hold the knife with the sharp side down, like a sword, but I've also seen the sharp side up for chudan tsuki, so you can do an upward swipe afterwards...

mickeygelum
10-11-2010, 08:50 AM
Proper way to hold a knife?

How big or small..folder, fixed blade or barong...M-9, K-Bar or Bowie...butcher, cleaver or paring...WHO CARES!

All are able to be employed as a defensive or offensive tool.

It all depends on what you are attempting to accomplish with the tool.

Your training should encompass all aspects of the employment of that tool.

DonMagee
10-15-2010, 08:15 AM
Not sure if a sharpened toothbrush is a knife, but I hold mine as hidden as possible, waiting for my home boys to distract you long enough to walk up behind you and put a few holes in your kidneys.
:D

ravenest
11-22-2010, 07:24 PM
I was taught to hold with the blade in the same direction as the cut, or the stab and rip eg, a yokoman attack, although starting with a stab in ... to get the thing IN ... is followed by the diagonal cut down and across the body. A thrust in, at a lower target and you cut up, visa versa.

I think the idea is that when someone knows how to use a knife they arent just going to cut you or poke you ... they are REALLY going to do some serious damage, hence the grip, blade orientation and follow through.

I know some systems slice on the surface, but they usually do something like this for example - slice, down on the attacking wrist, blocking or deflecting the attack, slice up further up the arm, slice down further up the arm, slice up the undershoulder muscle, slice down the throat ...... all in about .5 of a second. :uch:

But Aikido mostly seems to attack with the knife in the traditional Japanese way ???

mickeygelum
11-23-2010, 07:29 AM
But Aikido mostly seems to attack with the knife in the traditional Japanese way ???


Because if the methodologies evolved to fit contemporary knife, it would compromise the "skills" of some sensei and shihan mostly those who did not possess or attain those skills in the first place.

There are quite a few here, look around.

The flags are there.....no skilled or experienced martial artists accepted to their training, no proper taisabaki/kuzushi, no unrehearsed attacks, target audience is the gullible non-confrontational newbie, or the "fantasy fighter"....open your eyes they are there.

dps
11-23-2010, 08:08 AM
target audience is the gullible non-confrontational newbie,

http://airabongco.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/newbie.jpg

or the "fantasy fighter"....open your eyes they are there.

http://www.reaper8181.com/images/wallpapers/terminator-560265-615025.jpeg

dps

Cliff Judge
11-23-2010, 08:21 AM
I try to place the tip against the cutting board and raise and lower the middle and rear portion of the blade as I am feeding the scallions through. If you kind of stick your knuckles forward, but never raise the knife above the level of your knuckles, you can keep your fingertips safe. What I still have a lot of trouble with is keeping the blade on one plane while I am doing the chopping. I think I am holding some tension somewhere in my arm.

Cliff Judge
11-23-2010, 08:25 AM
But Aikido mostly seems to attack with the knife in the traditional Japanese way ???

Not really. What we do in Aikido is, we tend to make overly clear, telegraphed attacks, to give nage a chance to learn how to apply a technique. Humble pie is served later.

sakumeikan
11-23-2010, 10:17 AM
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)
Hi Mark,
Well said, [may I also suggest the following?Point the cutting tip of the knife[pointy bit]in the direction of the opponent. If you do indeed get this bit wrong you are in effect a potential candidate for seppuku.
Have a nice day, Joe.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-23-2010, 12:19 PM
But Aikido mostly seems to attack with the knife in the traditional Japanese way ???

Is there a "traditional japanese way" of attacking with a knife?

Cliff Judge
11-23-2010, 01:33 PM
Is there a "traditional japanese way" of attacking with a knife?

You'd have to ask an exponent of something like Takenouchi Ryu, Shindo Yoshin Ryu, or Araki Ryu. If only there were such people around here. :p

I am sure Aikido knifework looks nothing at all like the way those systems teach how to handle a knife. Though you could say that the way we attack is like a desperate, last-ditch kamikaze attempt to punch through armor on a battlefield, its definitely not the savvy, sneaky knifework of a predator.

ravenest
11-25-2010, 05:21 PM
I try to place the tip against the cutting board and raise and lower the middle and rear portion of the blade as I am feeding the scallions through. If you kind of stick your knuckles forward, but never raise the knife above the level of your knuckles, you can keep your fingertips safe. What I still have a lot of trouble with is keeping the blade on one plane while I am doing the chopping. I think I am holding some tension somewhere in my arm.

I reccomend 500 cuts a day. Tell your wife from now on you will do ALL the food preparation because you need the practice. ;)

ravenest
11-25-2010, 05:27 PM
Not really. What we do in Aikido is, we tend to make overly clear, telegraphed attacks, to give nage a chance to learn how to apply a technique. Humble pie is served later.

Of course. But surely there comes a time when we can go beyond beginings? Thats what I'm talking about.

ravenest
11-25-2010, 05:33 PM
Is there a "traditional japanese way" of attacking with a knife?

Well, I'm assuming there is a 'do' in that regard, as opposed to what might happen in a modern day nasty part of Tokyo. From what I have seen it is quiet different from a Silat attack and from a 'traditional' Phillipino method. Of course we all have the same physical body and most knives are similar so there isnt going to be THAT much difference.

I can see clear similarities with what I have learned and observed about 'traditional Japanese' knife attacks and use of various swords.

ravenest
11-25-2010, 05:39 PM
Though you could say that the way we attack is like a desperate, last-ditch kamikaze attempt to punch through armor on a battlefield, its definitely not the savvy, sneaky knifework of a predator.

Yes. Some 'traditional' attacks with weapons (tenbe and rochin come to mind) are specifically targeted to weak spots and joints in armour - traditional Japanese armour that is.

I will attack like a Samuri and if I die, well good (its a good day to die, the cherry blossoms are out) :straightf , but I will never attack like a sneaky Ninja! :disgust:

ravenest
11-25-2010, 05:58 PM
Once our teacher got the attacker to ski (mid-section) with tanto in right hand while holding another in their left and try to disrupt the following kotegaeshi. I chose to go up against the big slow guy that cant seem to get the subtleties of Aikido (because I know he is quiet good with a weapon, I went against him once - we both had shield, (blunt) sword and armour - that Euro medieval weaponry stuff.) He totally disrupted my bad kotegaeshi by basically crashing into me. During the tumble, as I was falling/scrabbling backwards he lunged viciously with the left tanto straight the centre of my throat and touched it with the tip and held it there as we fell. I broke away and rolled out but too late. I'm sure no one actually saw what happened in there. He had excellent control, I was totally unharmed but realised I would have been ****** if he wasnt being nice about it. I stopped and gave him a formal bow and he gave he a gruff nod of acknowledgement. I dont think anyone knew why I was bowing to him.

Anyway, what happened to the rest of the people training I'm not sure. The instructor never did that drill again.

Try it if you want, but ... er, perhaps swap the tanto for a rubbery one?

Tony Wagstaffe
11-27-2010, 12:52 PM
There are only two ways to hold a knife or any blade if you think about it.......;) :rolleyes:
It much depends on whether its a two sided cutter or one sided....
Two sided is better than one.....
Useful for cutting the roast joint on Sunday I suppose, or for sharpening a pencil if you don't have a rotary one. I kind of like whittling with a knife and even carved out my own wooden tanto to while away a few winter hours.....:D ;)

mickeygelum
11-27-2010, 02:42 PM
There are only two ways to hold a knife or any blade if you think about it.......

...Yeah, either in them, or in you!...:D

Tony Wagstaffe
11-27-2010, 03:07 PM
...Yeah, either in them, or in you!...:D

Ha ha!! about right kiddo.....:D