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08-27-2002, 11:16 PM
I am very curious to see how different aikidoists think one should respond in the following situation.

(Also this is not meant to be realistic. Its more of a philosophical or ethical question.)

Suppose you are being attacked by someone armed with a large knife. The attacker is slashing with the blade so fast that it is almost certain that he will get at least one slash or stab in.

Being an Aikido practicioner you know of many different techniques to apply to his attack but you are faced with two general choices, do you try and kill him right away (yes, you know a technique that you could perform that would have a high likelood of killing the attacker) or do you take the inevitable wound, risk possible death, and attempt to subdue him without doing him harm? This 2nd choice of course will put you at risk for further injury or death if you fail to subdue him.

(BTW, you are cornered so you can't run away)

PS: I am also assuming in this scenerio that (unlike me) you have many years experience with Aikido and could perform techniques in real life encounters.

08-27-2002, 11:38 PM
Bit of an unrealistic question, if you don't mind my saying so; I can't imagine a situation so cut-and dried, nor could I imagine any 'instant death' technique that could a) be applied in that situation and b) could not be modified into a non-lethal technique - it's harder to kill someone with bare hands than some people think.

That said, the question is written that there can be only one possible answer; no matter how passive a person, no-one would voluntarily choose suicide by knife.


08-27-2002, 11:43 PM
It wasn't meant to be realistic at all :)

Also, you are not guaranteed to die if you try and subdue him, you just have a higher likelihood of dying than if you killed him outright.

08-28-2002, 02:39 AM
Well, an experienced aikidoka will not put himself in such a situation in the first place ;)

08-28-2002, 03:25 AM
The same thing happened to me several years ago (and sometimes you don't have a choice of being 'put in that situation' - it just happens. It was so fast there was absolutely no time to turn and run without being stabbed in the back (so that option is out the window).

In fact, like any real situation involving high adrenalin levels, you don't make a choice - you respond instinctively. Luckily for me my first instinct was to move off centre line following the first stab (and yes, it was quite a conventional tsuki - since he was trying to get the suprise in immediately and wasn't 'showing' he had a knife). I did an atemi to the face which stunned him for a second (whilst cutting down the knife hand), however I didn't do a 'technique'. After a few more strikes he ran away. Though I didn't realise it at the time I had been slashed on the arm and neck (although quite shallow cuts).

People often think aikido isn't realistic because they apply it to a competitive 'sparring' situation. However, this event made me realise that it is the simple, instinctive training which saves you. We train for the first strike in aikido, and this is why I believe 'sparring' is not as beneficial for self-defence training: the first strike CAN kill, and often you are not aware they are going to strike, nor are they aware of what your response will be.

As far as killing or not - I think you should always allow someone to live to regret their actions. Surely aikido is about influencing people through example, rather than changing them through force? If you truly believe that 'you are the universe' killing them is no more of a win than getting killed yourself.


08-28-2002, 04:08 AM
The Capoeristas have I am told a saying. "There is no such thing as deadly tecchnique there is only the fragile human body".

To which I will add something My sensei said

in another context "just survive"

your first objective is to survive.


Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 05:05 AM
Whether you kill him right away depends on your skill level and your ability to control the situation.

The ethical answer, IMHO, is to use minimum force necessary to resolve the situation.

It is awful hard not to get caught up in your emotions in this kind of situation.

Ideally you would be so well trained that you defend yourself without regard for life or death, calmly and with compassion for your attacker. Once the situation is resolved you would attempt subdue your opponent, or help him, give him first aid or whatever until the authorities get there, you would show him whatever kindness you could.

That aside, you attempt to suppress anger, revenge, or fear. When you become un-aiki is when you pass the point of resolution, and you enter into revenge and "over do".

My goal in life is to refine my skills so that I can perfectly resolve the situation with no harm done whatsoever. Where I am today is probably somewhere in the "he would be hurt very badly, or dead" stage.

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 05:13 AM
Oh, there is always risk involved. Even in personal relationships...you must put a little of yourself outthere and risk being hurt or injured in order to have a relationship.

When you form this "relationship" with your attacker, in order to resolve the situation with no injury to him, would require you to put yourself in harms way slightly, philosophically, if you do not do this,then you cannot form the relationship necessary to not hurt him. Not saying that it is inevitiable that you will get hurt, but there is no way IMHO to resolve this situation without harm to him without incuring risk on your part.

You must decide individually how much risk is worth it, and if your skill set allows you to take that risk to begin with.

This whole philosophical discussion is why I do not drink when I go out to bars or anything in public. I might be a little extreme, but have had several senarios in the past that I had to end up resolving on my behalf or someone elses. Alcohol impairs my ability to make critical decisions which may make the difference if I hurt someone or not, therefore, I choose to not drink.

08-28-2002, 05:45 AM
The problem is: the first strike can kill you, so you try to avoid it, maybe you can manage it, but I'll be wondering "I'm really sure I'll do the same trick if he or she tries it again?".Why don't try to react tough enough to ensure that he or she can't do it again? I'm going to start with Aikido, so I suppose that is better for me if I begin to think about it.

Have a good day


08-28-2002, 05:46 AM
Since it's a do or die situation, i will approach it whole heartedly in trying to end it as soon as possible. After all, someone posted this before... in the spirit of loving protection of myself... i'm just being ultra realistic. better him dead then me.

Jim ashby
08-28-2002, 06:18 AM
I was taught that it's better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

Have fun

08-28-2002, 07:18 AM
I'd agree with what I think Kevin is saying: given this somewhat unrealistic situation, as an Aikidoka that skilled would not be in that cornered do-or-die situation to start with (no offense Ian, but are you at the level of 'touch of death' that Michael described), then the only somewhat skilled might have to choose killing to save himself, the truly skilled would be able to subdue his attacker (perhaps without a punch--recall the drunk on the train story, empathy with the assailant overcame his belligerence) even if if meant being open to his attacker. That fear is what would drive the Aikidoka to kill rather than use a technique that would not kill. Those who are afraid and/or unskilled would choose to kill, because they lack the skill or courage to not kill.

Applies in the modern world as well as the unrealistic situation, as well, Michael. And the 'touch of death' techniques exist only in The Simpsons and Bruce's version of reality.

08-28-2002, 08:02 AM
Doesn't anyone here watch Seagal's movies? If you were that skilled you would kneel on the floor and tell the guy to "come and cut your heart out", then you would disarm him and mess him up real good, I don't remember how it goes exactly, I think then you would ask him if now he feels like a victim and then toss him into a couple of cabinets or through some glass evileyes

seriously though, unrealistic or not, I think the scenario Michael has described has more than two possibities. Why does it have to be either (trying to) kill the attacker or (trying to) "subdue him without harm". I'd take the knife away from him, and then subdue him, with a bit of physical harm, maybe break his wrist, his face, whatever. That'll get the point across. I mean people are talking about giving uncooperative ukes a hard time on the mat... I wouldn't even consider giving an armed (or unarmed for that matter) attacker on the street the benefit of the doubt.

08-28-2002, 08:14 AM
Well, Ian's post certainly showed that there are a variety of endings, but Michael's script allowed for only two. I think he was trying to make a point, which to me is: in a hypothetical situation like that, with only two solutions (yes, even though in real life it is not that black and white) fear and lack of skill can drive even good people to kill, but courage and skill will allow them an alternative.

08-28-2002, 08:59 AM
I am not saying that there is some instant death technique out there, but I can say that a swift powerful thrust to someone's throat is the kind of "killer" technique I am talking about here. What I am saying is that in the scenerio you are skilled enough to use such an attack in a very effective manner.

But if for some reason you can not bring yourself to accept that there is a killer technique, suppose you have a gun and the attacker simply does not aknowledge you have it.

In this scenerio you did not have a choice whether to get in this situation or not. You don't have be acting irresponsibly to get attacked. You could get attacked by a burgler, walking to your car after going to the store, crazed coworker, etc..

Yes Colleen I think you are one step ahead of me here :) but I am not sure that attempting to subdue him is the right choice.

My follow up is what if your Aikido skills were less than competant raising the chance of you getting killed even higher?

Paul Clark
08-28-2002, 09:01 AM
Hi all,

I'd suggest that there's no moral failure if the person attacked responds with what is his/her best guess as to what is required to survive. I'd also suggest that nobody should be faulted for erring on the side of caution. In other words, the response to a sudden, violent, full-power attack which might result in my own death justifies an equally violent, maximum effort response which risks serious injury or death to the attacker. The latter, after all, has chosen his own course with his own assessment of the risks involved. Since I doubt that many of us will ever have the skill to kill with one blow, if you survive, you have controlled uke with some injury, most likely to both of you. If this restores some control to the situation, now is the time for moral choices--ie, a second blow, a coup-de-gras? How you make that choice requires courage and control. Uke may himself play a part in that decision, of course!


08-28-2002, 09:01 AM
IMHO, as a trained knife fighter, I always teach and assume that in a knife fight I will get cut. Then if it happens I'm okay and if I'm not then better.

Ethically and philosophically, to be congruent in the Aikido position, I would choose to subdue the attacker without doing harm to either of us.

Realistically, and knowing myself, I'd take him out.

Until again,


08-28-2002, 10:08 AM
Well, I'm not willing to risk my life in order to preserve the life of someone who is attacking me, that's insane! I also don't believe it would be unethtical to kill an attacker is such a situation either.

08-28-2002, 10:49 AM
how quickly we forget that o sensei was often in battle and i'm sure killed many opponents when faced with the situation described above...This is why i left aikido: People not only take the non-confrontational approach in the martial aspect, but become spineless and weak in all confrontations...The response "I would not be in that situaiton, i don't drink, etc." are the exact thing i am talking about.' Sometimes people just want to hurt you. There is no escape!

While i was taking aikido my sensei said something i still take to heart:

Nice people are neither....

in the example offered, even O sensei would kill his opponent...Killing one's opponent does not mean that you have to jump for joy or be pleased with what has transpired. One could try to help him medically after (supposing he was on the brink of death). The question is whether one would respond with full force in a kill or be killed situation...

my answer....you have to go home safe

08-28-2002, 11:25 AM
I've been taught by someone who knows to

- accept that I'm already cut

- not expose the underside of my arms

- enter decisevely (Marubashi)

This is where this shit hits the fan, rubber meets the road etc. If you can't take center without killing, then it's not the best outcome. Of course If I'm dead it's not the best outcome either, and if we're both dead then it's only marignally even.

I've also been given to understand that a knife shown is a sign of an unskilled knife guy, so probably a small glimmer of hope.

I've also been told repeatedly that if I can kill then I can spare. I can only imagine killing someone out of discontrol and desperation, and if that's so then chances are that I'm dead meat.'

I just think you can't believe this stuff about relaxing and love. You think love is for pussies. You're wrong and if you stick to training you might realize it. That's what practice will show you if you can learn.

08-28-2002, 11:54 AM
if you modify the scenario a little bit and add a second attacker the need for disabling one of the attackers becomes more apparent...perhaps killing goes to far, but that is only the logical extension...

perhaps we should ask "Should we break an arm to stop an attack, or dance around, get cut and hope for reflection and redirection?"

Like someone said above...it comes down to instinct. It would be nice to believe that we could stop and talk to our attackers, offer them some tea and have a chat and go our separate ways. Unfortunatley, in the street the attacker(s) are less concerned with manners and more concerned with hurting you.

08-28-2002, 12:29 PM
Add one more person to the equation and it gets even worse. If you stop to disable , break or kill the first guy you're dead.

08-28-2002, 01:07 PM
Hi !

Love is not a feeling it is doing,

I'm sure the love O'sensei dicovered was

the love that is not attached to sentiment,

the feeling is a byproduct - so to speak !

The feeling will not protecet you and your opponent - the doing will.

yours - Chr.B.

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 01:48 PM
It is unethical to kill someone if you have other options at your disposal.

That said, it is ethical to kill them if you have no options and killing them perserves your life or someone elses.

Everyone must take inventory of their own situation and own skills and decide what they must do.

Even if the court rules that it was self defense. Spiritually and philosophically you still must be true to yourself, since that is the person you must ultimately answer to. (or God if that is your belief).

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 02:08 PM
Another thought to add.

If someone of O'Sensei's skill level were placed in the exact same senario....it may be wrong if he/she killed the assailant.

If it were someone of my skill level...it may not be wrong.

Again, ethically speaking...not legally.

I would submit legally that both would be okay.

08-28-2002, 02:29 PM
sorry if i was not clear...i a gree totally with keith...if you can get away safe without killing (or maiming) that's great, but that just isn't always the situation...my reference to o sensei was regarding his warrior days...reading saotome's "aikido and the harmony of nature" it was clear to me that o sensei was a great warrior amd while he may have changed his mind later on in life. for most of his life he was still a warrior and led a budo lifestyle.

08-28-2002, 02:38 PM
When someone attacks you, they have already made a decision about how much they value your life. Out of an infinite number of possible actions this person could take, they chose violence. This one incident is likely representative of their past and of their future. As someone capable of dealing with such an individual, I have a duty to do so.

I don't speak Japanese. I can only assume that all of the translations of O'Sensei's philophy and beliefs are correct. I often wonder though how much the translators bias affects the end result. One of the more enlightening discussions I've had involved Gichin Funakoshi's (Founder of Shotokan Karate)maxim that there is no first attack in Karate. This has been taken to mean everything from the first move of any kata must be a defensive one to any self-defense situation must begin with a block or an evasion or other non-offensive technique. A number of indviduals I have corresponded with have indicated that the translation is mostly correct, but fails to take into account the context of the original Japanese. The saying itself refers in part to the game of Go. In Go, (in my very limited knowledge), there is a type of move that forces your opponent to make a specific action. I suppose it's something like chess where if you place you opponent in check,the only thing they can do is to get their king out of check. They can't do anything else, even if a move presented itself that would place their opponent in checkmate.

Taking the context of the saying into account, imo, radically changes the philosophy. The saying comes to mean that a karate person won't take any actions that place someone else in a position where their only choice is to respond in a certain way. While this does have the effect of "No first attack" in the sense that the karate person shouldn't wander into a bar and smack someone, it leaves a much wider range of responses open. (By the way, if these ramblings make sense to anyone and you can point me in the right direction for similar discussions regarding Aikido philosophy, please let me know.)

My specific answer would be that if the attack came in such a fashion that it flowed into the lethal response, that is what I would do. The attacker has already instigated a lethal level of attack. If I screw up my initial chance, not only do I possibly die, others are in danger as well. If other circumstances exist, such as my family is nearby or there are more than one attacker, I would definitely use lethal force rather than run the risk of failing.`

08-28-2002, 02:48 PM
One of my Sempai is an old Karate man. He once explained this flowing into the lethal response as to why he's training in Aikido. He knows he can kill unconsciously and has been training to rewire his lethal responses.

In the crunch you respond automatically ; if you have trained lethally that's what will come out. I believe the practice of Aikido waza will lead you to hardwire other responses which will end up with no one dead.

In the crunch you don't have time to think and decide.

08-28-2002, 03:27 PM
it is easy not to kill if you do not know how...again, that is not what the hypothetical situation asks...the question is "Do YOU take a knife in the leg, throat, arm,etc. and subdue your opponent...or do you kill/maim and end it there?"

me?....i'm walking home

Bruce Baker
08-28-2002, 06:42 PM
I am going to ask as nice as I can Ms Colleen Annes, please do not assume you know anything about Bruce Baker. If you need to attend a pressure point seminar to gain education, then do so. I am considering sending you the funds to do so, so that you may attain a broader view of what is happening in the real MA world.

That said ... yes I have attacked by people with knives. I wasn't doing anything other than walking down the street, or through the park, in the middle of the day, and some crazed idiot figures it is easier to stab than to work for a living. So I have been in this situation ... before I studied martial arts.

It can be both frightening, angering, and a place you don't want to be in.

Would I have killed my attacker if they were uncontolable and set on my death ... maybe. It depends on how serious I can injure them to prevent them from killing me.

Rule number one: protect your life.

All martail arts stress rule number one, but then we go into the consequensces of our actions in lesson number two ... don't we?

Hopefully ... our minds will be clear, our reflexes will be adequete, and we will not be too injured by attackers or kill them.

There is the possibility of killing people by accident everyday, but our peaceful lifestyles don't always make room for those who would kill us ... for fun. (yeah, there are people out there who would kill you for laughs, believe it.)

Hell, doctors kill patients by accident every day. How hard can it be to kill someone if you knew what you were doing?

I don't like to think like this, but I do understand the trap that happens when you get caught in the "death loop."

Try not to kill anybody. Don't think about trying to kill anybody. If you do happen to have to seriously injure someone to protect your life, hopefully you will have the skills NOT to kill anyone.

I think practicing Aikido helps.

Maybe even Ms. Collen Annes will attend a few classes to understand why all martial arts are based on human pressure points for their techniques. (Soon, we will be showing more of them in Aikido, too.)

Kevin Leavitt
08-28-2002, 06:52 PM
Not following your pressure point stuff Bruce....are you really implying that all martial arts are based on pressure points?? I hope not.

Ever try to subdue a real maniac on PCP? How about a drunk that is in a huge rage? I have as I am sure there are others out there that have....Brian...care to comment???

Pressure points don't even work well on me. One reason is that I have worked pressure point tech so much that I am somewhat conditioned to them, the other reason is that I am able to endure a fair amount of physical pain.

Pressure points don't work to well on these guys. Your better off controlling their balance and pinning or cuffing.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, please correct me if I am wrong.

08-28-2002, 08:22 PM
To kill someone is realatively easy. To live with it is much harder.

Until again,


08-29-2002, 06:56 AM
I think if you are 'prepared' to kill someone then you have to train to kill someone (i.e. a neck break instead of irimi-nage). Although I know several potentially lethal strikes and techniques, and also mention these possibilities to other students, I do not train to carry out these techniques. Thus I doubt if I would ever kill someone without a real concious effort.

As mentioned, the level of force probably reflects the persons ability to control the situation. This is understandable, however I think fear is the big problem that makes us over-react or fail to help others e.g.
Well, I'm not willing to risk my life in order to preserve the life of someone who is attacking me, that's insane! I also don't believe it would be unethtical to kill an attacker is such a situation either.
I see your point Kathryn, and who knows what one will really do in a situation. However, who are you to say your life is worth more than theirs? I think this is why we should really reflect on the fact that we will die one day; and in my belief there is no heaven, so our actions are more important than our lives. Aikido give us a way to live without fear, yet still to be able to protect our lives.


08-29-2002, 06:58 AM
(saying this I think women often have a stronger survival instinct than men who, biologically speaking, are there to fight, strut around (thereby getting a mate), and die.)

Bruce Baker
08-29-2002, 07:11 AM
Mr. Leavitt.

I understand your conscious thinking about pain, and wondering about pressure points.

I did uke for many of the rougher techniques for my karate teachers because of my ability to endure pain, and recover ... so I know what you are thinking in this arena.

Simple put, do you react to wrist twists, arm bars, other manipulations, and feel some type of pain? Unless you have dead nerve endings, the answer is yes for living human beings.

You feel pain because of nerve endings, or pressure points.

Even if you were drugged up, your body would recieve these signals to the brain until either unconsciousness would occur, or serious injury. If you have never been knocked out, then I guess you don't know the involuntary feeling of body shutdown to protect the living organism. Signals sent through nerve endings signifying pain ... also called, pressure points.

Poke about your arm, gently, until you find the most pain with angle and direction, when you do. that is a pressure point. They abound in Aikido practice, otherwise many techniques would not work.

Have fun finding them, and practicing Aikido.

08-29-2002, 07:31 AM
Bruce said: Even if you were drugged up, your body would recieve these signals to the brain until either unconsciousness would occur, or serious injury. If you have never been knocked out, then I guess you don't know the involuntary feeling of body shutdown to protect the living organism. Signals sent through nerve endings signifying pain ... also called, pressure points.
Bruce, I don't know much about the anatomy of the nervous system, but I do know that you may have made a mistake there. Drugs, whether natural or artificial, do indeed block, cancel or divert pain signals - how does anasthaetic work? I think you're arguing two points: pain and injury. The two don't necessarily correlate. By that I mean, nikkyo works on me (for instance), because to not submit would cause injury to the wrist - the intense pain advertises that. No direct pressure point - the temple, upper lip, jaw, any in the neck, shoulder, ribs, arms, etc. affect me because a) I can accept high levels of pain, and b), if I have an elevated level of adrenaline, I can voluntarily suppress - block completely - pain signals from a pain source. (This does not take any sort of mystical yoga training, or anything like that - just desire and a small amount understanding about what's happening to your body.) To put it bluntly; pressure points not associated with potential joint injury simply do not work on me, and I'm in no way rare in this.

And yes, I've dealt with this in real life.

Anyway, that's enough of pressure points. I'd like to respond to the original question, now that my protests have been logged. ;)

Would I, if required, kill to protect my life? Yes - I know that because I've been faced with that situation. Would I, if possible, do everything in my power to avoid taking the final measure? Yes, for exactly the same reason. :)

mike lee
08-29-2002, 11:10 AM
I've always chosen death -- maybe that's why I'm still alive.

08-29-2002, 06:23 PM
I guess I would say if my Aikido skills were as good as, oh, say the skills/arsenal of the US fighting force and negotiating ability of the US State Dept, and my courage were as great as, oh, I don't know, perhaps, well, let's just say, heck, lets say that of the President of a really good and powerful nation, hey, how about ours? Then what was the question, OH yeah, well, would I try to subdue someone or try to kill them out of fear and a feeling of indequacy. Hmmmm. I still think I would go for courage and skill vs fear and inadequacy. Jeesh people. :rolleyes:

08-29-2002, 10:24 PM
Colleen, I personally have no idea how I would react but I don't think trying to save your own life is acting out of "inadequacy."

I think it is matter of your own ethics how to act as well as your martial ability, If you really thought you would be able to disarm the attacker and disable him with minimal harm that would certainly be great.

Otherwise you would unfortunately have to consider ending it badly.

I am sure that if I ever had to kill someone I would be bothered by it for the rest of my life. I certainly dont take any of this lightly.

Unfortunately, in this scenerio I think I would be killed either way since I am not experienced in Aikido.

Bruce Baker
08-30-2002, 09:55 AM
There are ways to lesson of block pain, and on the surface it would seem to be a logical way to explain that pressure points do not work, but I have three experiences to prove it is not so.

When I was in the service, one guy took some unnamed drugs and went into violent convulsions. Afraid to treat him with any other drugs we tried to restrain him, after a half hour of exhausting restaint, we finally decided to knock him out. For the next hour, each of three restainers knocked him out with a well placed knockout punch .. hoping the drugs were working their way out of his system. Yes, you can knock someone out on drugs.


I experienced a very badly sprained wrist from work, so I went home and took some painkillers with codine. I got a call from work to see their health care doctor. Feeling no pain, I went for a check on my injury. The doctor flexed my wrist to see if there was any pain, and just as he finished, I fell over unconscious. There was no pain, but it was the first time I was fully unconscious, unable to hear or quickly awake from pain.


Clinical examination of how pain works.

I was watching a report on the learning channel about how pain reaches the brain. Test subject allowed themselves to be shocked by low voltage electricity, and monitored for pain. The electrodes that were attached to the body gave a three dimensional picture of the bodys responses and even showed brain activity responses. After being hypnotized to not respond to pain, the graphs and charts showed the exact same transmissions of signals when the test subjects experienced pain as to when they claimed to have no pain.

Yes, pain is recieved by the brain, and even though you don't think you are in pain, you are.

It is just a matter of excedeing the pain tolerance so the body shuts down.

If you have never seen someone knocked out by a single punch, then I guess you have the right to be skeptical.

If you have never seen someone thrown across the room and pinned like a rag doll with Aikido, then you too have the right to be skeptical.

But rather than flailing about in attempt to seriously injure someone to point of death or serious injury, wouldn't it be better to know other ways to avoid such things?

I guess the experiences of learning to keep others from harming you, or learning to hurt others so they don't hurt you or others, can be considered to be the budo of street fighting.

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 06:50 PM

No what you are trying to say...and yes there is some validity to it. Vasovagal reaction is the most common reason for unconsciousness (fainting) simply isn't enough blood going to the brain. A good pop to the carotid can cause it to spasm causing someone to go unconscious.

However, when you get neural blockers, andrenalin, and other stuff going, it may or may not work.

There are nerve centers and pressure points throughout the body, and yes, a strike to them can cause the body to shut down. I am familiar with most of them, and I can tell you that I have not met anyone yet that is even an expert that will rely on them 100%. it is simply not foolproof.

Balance and center is 100% foolproof. That has been demonstrated to me many, many times. I don't care who you are, if you take someone's balance, you take their balance period. don't need to rely on their body chemistry, pressure points, or other factors of internal wiring that may vary from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 06:52 PM
correction first word of my above post should have been "KNOW" not "NO" (need to proof read!) Was having a temporary vasalvagal episode!

08-30-2002, 10:27 PM
I see your point Kathryn, and who knows what one will really do in a situation. However, who are you to say your life is worth more than theirs?
Well, I didn't say that my life is worth more, but really that question should be applied to the attacker not to me as in this situation it is the attacker who has decided that my life is worth nothing, I just wouldn't agree. ;)
I think this is why we should really reflect on the fact that we will die one day; and in my belief there is no heaven, so our actions are more important than our lives. Aikido give us a way to live without fear, yet still to be able to protect our lives.

I believe our actions are important too, and I have a responsibility to my child,my husband, and the rest of my family,(not to mention the love between us all) so dying in order to not harm someone who is trying to kill me is unthinkable. Whether or not I am more important than my attacker is irrelevent, my family is.

Do you really think that if someone chooses to kill someone, the victim should be willing to give his life rather than fight back and risk the attacker's? :freaky:

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 10:56 PM
I believe in the interconnectedness of all beings. In the great scheme of things your enemy is also your brother, and my life is no more or less important than his.

If he truly desires to kill you, then it is apparent that at least one life will be lost.

If you are in a position to defend yourself and you have searched your heart and found your intentions to be such that you are only defending yourself and must kill him in order to survive, then there is only one life lost and it is his. You are morally okay since he made the choice that one person would die.

The attacker has chosen to take a life, not you. Your actions are simply a tool that is used in response to the situation that he has created.

Because of the interconnectedness of life, I would feel sad at the loss of life. Sad for him and the unhappiness that brought him to attack me. Sad for his family that will miss him, and sad for his spirit.

I train to refine my skills in Aikido so that hopefully one day if faced with such as situation that I have the ability to choose to preserve life and not have to kill.

That is the only way we can be if we truly care to be good humans.

No one life is more important than another. It is wrong to kill, ever, unfortunately, "life" does not always care what we think or feel.

Bruce Baker
08-31-2002, 06:32 AM
Options not to kill.

Don't mistake my reference to pressure points as the magical art of touching.

Every technique in any martial art that creates pain, involuntary movement, or numbness of the result of activating a pressure point. Sometimes they are near blood vessels and sometimes they are not.

Aikido's best techniques use them. If you look, they are able to be used in other techniques that do not.

What many people do not see is that each technique of Aikido have variable choices to activate pressure points either in the grasp, rub, or strike as you perform the technique or variation ... thereby giving you the option to disable without killing.

Or at least increase the odds not killing your attacker. A more precise educated technique than the brawl method ... as if you were using a two by four to hit them with?

Think back to your first lessons, and how you have changed from the clumsy, fumbling beginner? Let us continue on that path, and let education temper our practice, and self defense where it really counts ... in a real life threatening situation.

At least we will have done our best should the worst of circumstances occur, and the specter of death come into your life. All of life ends in death, but then we do hope for recycling of our body and our spirit, don't we?

Kevin Leavitt
09-01-2002, 12:18 AM
Agree Bruce.

09-02-2002, 03:01 AM
Well, an experienced aikidoka will not put himself in such a situation in the first place ;)
Heh, good answer. Although sometimes you don't have a choice. I work as a doorman and have to consider the possibility of a knife attack at all times.

I separate weapons into 3 classes. Blunt, sharp and firearms. The two latter are a world apart from the first. Think about it. The blade is sharp and made to cut and stab. The firearm is made to make big holes in you. Killing weapons.

If someone pulls a blade on me, I have to assume this person is trying to kill me. At that moment, I will not pull any punches. If I can control, I control. If I must harm, I will harm. If I can use a weapon, I use a weapon.

Brian H
09-02-2002, 09:56 AM
Well, I didn't say that my life is worth more, but really that question should be applied to the attacker not to me as in this situation it is the attacker who has decided that my life is worth nothing, I just wouldn't agree. ;)


Do you really think that if someone chooses to kill someone, the victim should be willing to give his life rather than fight back and risk the attacker's? :freaky:
Lets say you are like a sister. She has told me that she would rather be raped or die, then kill another person. (She doesn't get to babysit often).

I don't agree and as a policeman, I can carry a gun almost anyplace. It is a very good bet that in the described scenario, I would be armed.

My first point: Even if you are armed (my home state of Virginia issues handgun carry permits to any law-abiding person over 21 - $50 for 5 years) The attack may be so sudden that your only option is to move to avoid injury (irimi!). I like Aikido because of the premise that you must move to a safe place and unbalance uke. In that safe place you have the freedom to do a technique or use atemi (including, if necessary, a knife or a gun) Ian's story is a good example of continuously moving to a safe place. (I would say that the Badguy found out he had brown pants before Ian found his safe place though)

My second point is: Lets say you take the "moral high ground" and give yourself to your attacker rather than use "lethal force" (I say that because I don't presume that I have a "touch of death", having seen people not be killed by multiple gunshot wounds and even a guy crawl out from under a bus and walk away.)

If you fail to stop the attacker, are you partially responsible for the harm suffered by the attackers next victim?

The passengers of Flight 93 made a choice to take on their hijackers. Had they been successful, they might have gotten that plane down safely (there was at least one pilot among the passengers). However, even in failing to save their own lives, they saved the lives of those people at the hijackers target. For that they will always be heroes.

Is my wallet worth a life? NO, but if you are threatening my life, fear any opening you give me.

Brian H
09-02-2002, 10:03 AM
Third point: I choose life every morning when I get out of bed. And again each day when I am the father of my two children. Everyday I effect the lives of people around me in good and bad ways.

I also choose death when I get out of bed, because I may die that day. When I sit down to eat, cross the street or go to work. Nobody lives forever.

09-03-2002, 05:03 AM
Refering to the title

Errrmmm Cake please...

and if your out of cake then i'll have the salad....
Izzard fans beware...

As for the attacker i'd probebly gokyo him remove his elbow from his socket and then beat the living SH*TE out of him for attacking me in the first place (i'm from the largest council estate in europe dont make me angry you wouldnt like me when i'm angry)

that or if absolutly necessary i'd stick him with it in the gut, twist and remove. he's got between 5 and 30 mins depending on shock, drug abuse etc...

in wythenshawe tho you dont mess about if you think someone has a knife you run like your a$$ is on fire until your in safe surroundings and there's ppl nearby you know or just plain crowds help the main princible, stay alive.


09-03-2002, 03:00 PM
Aikido, for me, is more about proper response to a situation. Proper response does not exclude any option...

I can, and reflecting on my experiences, will use whatever I deem proper for any given situation. I believe this to be Aiki.


Jeremy H
09-03-2002, 06:43 PM
I'm new to aikido (having done some judo several years ago) and can truthfully say that at the age of 31 I've never felt threatened in any way even slightly resembling the scenario described. I am a man of peace and I am taking up aikido because it is a way of peace and harmony which allows me to develop physicality. If I wanted to learn to reflexively kill or maim people I'd have taken up jiu-jutsu.

I have observed in the past that a lot of people who have done martial arts seem to unconsciously draw violent situations into their sphere - either out of a need to prove their prowess or to be taught lessons of their own.

If one has done this and a knife-wielding uke presents themselves for education - educate them to the best of your ability. If this means you have to break their arm or dislocate their shoulder to disable the threat they present then *shrugs* they chose the education. However, if you are trained to the point where you don't need these things and could happily weave around the knife without being hurt and manage to turn your opponent so you can simply back out of the alleyway, there is no real threat. With no true threat there is no longer a need to harm uke - no matter how drug-addled they are. The education process is no longer on the risks but on the futility of violence. To teach a lesser lesson when capable of this one is a gross ethical breach and a sign of a lazy mind.

We are all here to learn, and to teach what we know. To teach a lesser lesson out of pettiness ("how dare they pull a knife!") or ego ("I must dispense justice!") is to fail in your responsibilities to yourself and your society.

I hope that makes sense. I'm new to the physical aspect of aikido but the philosophical and spiritual aspects of the art are very much in keeping with how I believe life should be lived and their concepts are old friends.

Harmony to all


09-03-2002, 09:49 PM
However, if you are trained to the point where you don't need these things and could happily weave around the knife without being hurt and manage to turn your opponent so you can simply back out of the alleyway, there is no real threat.
Not sure that is realistic dude.

Jermaine Alley
09-11-2002, 02:30 AM

Great job in your situation..you hit it on the head when you said you reacted instinctively to that situation.

When it comesto an attack with anykind of weapon..if you accept the fact that you might and probably will catch a shot of some tipe.you will do just fine.

I think that if you jam the attacker up, and do a host of atemi if not a technique you might win, by coming out of the situation alive.

As far as killing the attacker..i don't think that would be a good thing to try,unless you know a death touch technique...(lets remember legal ramifications too).

So yeah, i think that i choose to jam the attacker up...play my odds that way instead of backing and dodging and hoping that i won't get cut..