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Bogeyman
09-01-2003, 12:21 PM
Hi all. I have been thinking about knife takeaways lately and it occurred to me that I have been shown three different philosophies on what to do with the knife.

1. Knock the knife out of ukes hand immediately.

2. Take the knife away as soon as possible during the technique.

3. Take the knife away during the pin.

I can see advantages and disadvantages to each method and was looking into input from others. Thanks.

E

mattholmes
09-01-2003, 01:09 PM
I don't think that I like the concept of "knife take-aways." It seems like a good way to get yourself hurt. There are much better things to do (high on the list is not being an idiot and hanging out where someone is likely to do something with a knife that would disagree with you).

Understanding that as my basic premise, then I would say that if you get into that situation, you are still not required to break out with your razor-sharp knocking, taking, or pinning skills. Why would someone attack you with a knife? I would argue that a very common reason for someone to threaten you with a knife if in the context of a robbery: the bad guy wants your wallet (or something else of value) and uses the knife as leverage, implying or stating that if you give up the object, they will not try to harm you.

It makes sense to me that (although I will certainly be in something of an alert state) it is worth it to give them their plunder. That way, you significantly lower the likelyhood that you will have to worry about their knife and your method of disarming or incapacitating them.

This deals with with a threat at a short distance where the bad guy is not directly interested in hurting you. What about when they do want to hurt you? In this instance, you are much more likely to know them, or at least to have had some previous interaction for them to have a beef with you. You can deal with a part of this by being mindful of you actions and how others will interpret them. Also, if you believe that you may have offended someone, you can add them (temporarily or otherwise) to a "watch them" list in your head.

In terms of a direct confrontation, I don't believe that they exist. Think for a second if you really wanted to kill someone with a knife. Would you show them you knife? I wouldn't. I assert that most violent offenses perpetrated with a knife are more "sneak attacks" than face-offs. Your attacker is likely to sneak up behind you and shank you in the back. Unless you have an overdeveloped sense of paranoia/always check behind you, this limits the actions you can take. For instance, you need a considerable amount of warning and space to knock the knife out of uke's hand, as you suggest. I think it is more likely that an effective technique in this situation puts you very close to the attacker's body.

But really, I think that an encounter with a knife is a very dangerous situation, and it does not serve you well to have fantasies of saving the world with masterful aikido running around while dealing with reality.

Mel Barker
09-01-2003, 01:59 PM
Hi Eric,

I like that idea of "knife take-aways". Here are my thoughts.
1. Knock the knife out of ukes hand immediately.This seems problematic. Our sensei often accomplishes this when demonstrating a hard response on a gokyu, but the advanced practitioners can slice him up quite easily.

I guess I'd ask you how often do you practice knocking ukes in your dojo in regular practice to become accomplished at it.
2. Take the knife away as soon as possible during the technique.Sounds good to me! Just don't let the goal of getting the knife deter the goal of unbalancing and securely locking uke.

We do this on shionage's so as to control the knife soon, and prevent uke from landing on it.
3. Take the knife away during the pin. Depends on the the technique. On techniques where you can't maintain control of uke with one hand, i.e. ikkyo, gokyo, iriminage... this becomes a necessity.

Mel Barker

Paul Klembeck
09-01-2003, 02:04 PM
Eric,

From a purely aikido centric point of view, try them all, as they all will give you different perspectives on technique. On the mat its all just about learning anyway. Additionally, if this is a technical interest of yours, you may want to look at techniques outside Aikido, as many of the best aren't part of the art. I recommend Hock Hochheim's books.

If you have the extreme bad luck to really get in such a fight, take whatever opportunities present themselves at the moment, including appeasment or running, rather than planning one technique or another. Fighting is unpredictable. Most of all, ignore any cuts and continue resolutely until you win.

Matt,

I have no idea what started you on this track. Eric didn't say anything about his doing something as stupid as going trawling for a knife fight. He asked a reasonable technical question about techniques within our art.

Since, however, we have arrived at this discussion, I question your facts. You might want to read James LaFond's "The Logic of Steel" containing descriptions and statistical analysis of 250 knife attacks in Baltimore, rather than theorising.

I do, of course, agree that never getting into a knife fight is by far the best thing to do. However, despite being a peaceable old guy, I know a fair number of people who have gotten into one, so, I think it is worth considering in ones training.

P

Cliff Geysels
09-01-2003, 03:05 PM
Several possibilities:

let's assume the attacker goes at you with a chudan tsuki style knife attack:

kotegaeshi (omote preferably I guess),

uchikaitensankyo,

maybe sotokaiten,

Take your pick.

L. Camejo
09-01-2003, 08:26 PM
Haven't been into any knife fights myself. But I have had 2 friends who only saw techniques from chudan tsuki (typical stab thrust) and were able to apply techs like kotegaeshi and tenkai kotehineri (sankyo) successfully during robbery situations (mind you, these were folks who only watched Aikido and played around with it, not folks who ever stepped on a mat). In both cases they ended up unknowingly with the knife in their hand. Of course in these cases it can also be said that the intent to kill may not have been there with the attackers, which may have aided my friends in not being skewered.

To the points noted above - 1. Knocking the knife out of uke's hand (i.e. kick, punch etc.) may not be a good idea in my view. Have trained with some experienced knife fighters in the FMA and military/CQB world and have found it's a good way to lose a limb, or at least get some very deep cuts on major veins/arteries in the arm or leg if the knife wielder knows how to really use a knife.

2. Taking the knife in the midst of technique may be a bit more applicable depending on the situation, but as Mel said, don't be distracted by getting the knife and ignore the need to disrupt the attacker's balance thoroughly and to keep an eye out for other attacks. Immobilisation and control of the weapon arm is key here I think. We practice this a lot in modified tanto randorigeiko where a uke comes slashing and thrusting at you with full intent.

3. Personally I think this is the best option. It is best to negotiate the removal of the weapon on your terms, i.e. when the attacker is fully under control. In the case of techs where an arm is not free to take the weapon, I say cautiously switch pinning techs to allow a hand to be freed. In techs like kotegaeshi I tend to pin uke on his chest with arm across back and then kneel on it, freeing both my hands to do other things.evileyes

Before any technique may be applied though, I think it's important to understand deeply how ma ai, interception/timing and kuzushi work to successfully evade and thwart a knife attack using Aikido.

Luckily, the full force tanto randori we do tends to service this element quite nicely in my book. It's here one gets a feel for how sharp and quick a knife stab just may be, how easily fingers and thumbs may disappear and how hard it is to avoid if the other person fully intends to stab you.

All fun though.:)

Just my 2 cents.

L.C.:ai::ki:

sanosuke
09-01-2003, 09:03 PM
effective knife defense:

run, forrest, ruuuuun....!

PeterR
09-01-2003, 09:04 PM
This is an interesting story concerning Kobyashi H. and Tomiki K. The former had contacted the latter to "discuss" Tomiki's ideas concerning shiai. The two men came to some sort of understanding which eventually resulted in quite a bit of cooperation but things really didn't take off untill after Kobyashi H. tried to pick up the wrong woman in Italy. The man was known for a "hard" lifestyle but he met his match with the woman's boyfriend, several of his buddies and their knives. After six months in hospital he called Tomiki K.

mattholmes
09-01-2003, 09:20 PM
Paul,

Actually, I have read a section of that study (though not all of it). Part of my post was generated specifically from it.

I would be more than happy to submit my sources for my assertions. I'm not really sure what facts I presented, as I tried to keep most of my post to my own experience and theories.

Looking back on my post, I see that I said that most "violent offenses" committed with a knife are sneak attacks. I want to first clarify that I intended "violent" to mean "where the knife ends up in the victim" as opposed "the knife was used to intimidate a victim into giving something up." To justify this statement, I direct you to this page (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/knifelies.html) on the No Nonsense Self Defense website (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/). About a fifth of the way down the page, the author, Marc MacYoung (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/marcmacyoung.html), states that "as far as your attacker is concerned this is not a fight, it is an assassination." In reading further, I interpret that in the author's experience, it is very unlikley that one would have more than one second to respond. I added my own interpretation that the attacker will be behind you, and say that you will not have sufficient warning and space to knock the knife out of uke's hand. If we take Marc MacYoung's opinion as that of an expert (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/marcmacyoung.html#streetfighter), then I believe this to be a well reasoned argument.

(I would welcome you to ask a more specific, line-item question, and I'll see what I can come up with. I think it's also certainly realistic that I may have presented something as a fact that is, in fact >humor<, my assumption or bias.)

Also, in rereading my post, I see alot that appears... how should I say... accusatory. I must appologize for this. I did not mean this to be true. I was trying to add my views on situations dealing with a knife-armed attacker, as I believed was the original post/question. I agree that the question was both appropriate and, as you said, reasonable. Finally, I did not mean to imply that anyone was looking for a fight.

PeterR
09-01-2003, 09:33 PM
effective knife defense:

run, forrest, ruuuuun....!
:p

I'm the first to agree - when facing a knife you don't want to be there.

However, you also don't want your back to a knife and if you do run better make sure you can run faster.

Which reminds me of the old bear joke. Replace bear with knife wielding nutcase.

Two guys are walking in the woods when they round a corner and come face to face with a large hungry bear. They scream turn around and start running. The bear shrugs and figuring, scrawny as they are, a light snack would not be remiss. So the two guys are running as fast as they can and the bear is loping after them. One man turns to the other an says.

Man 1: Gasp Wheeze Christ we'll never outrun the bear.

Man 2: What do you mean, I only have to outrun you.

SeiserL
09-01-2003, 11:39 PM
Having trained in FMA, I would suggest that the best defense of a knife attack is to learn how to handle one. Become blade conscious of where the edge is at all times and keep it way from you. Watch your distance. Attack the hand and limb. Keep a safety factor hand keeping the weapon away.

The 3 Cs of weapon work is clear, control, and counter.

Inosanto, Hock, and MacYoung can't all be wrong.

Mel Barker
09-02-2003, 10:25 AM
Lynn makes an excellent point. I train doing tanto waza occasionally, and it really adds a dimension to ordinary practice. It really promotes honest ukemi as well.

Mel

Ron Tisdale
09-02-2003, 11:06 AM
Peter, :) great story!

I don't do as much tanto dori as I probably should. I'd say one important thing is to remember that your enemy in that situation is the man wielding the knife, not the knife. This is not to say that you ignore the knife and go for broke...just don't get so caught up with the blade that you forget the man behind it (or his friend behind you).

I've seen some of the work done by people who specialize in knife work. I'm not completely convinced that standard aikido techniques done against standard aikido knife attacks are sufficient in preparing to face a knife specialist. Better than nothing though.

Ron

jxa127
09-02-2003, 01:47 PM
Matt, I liked your post. It provides some perspective for what we do in the dojo. I read a study in Black Belt magazine that analyzed knife attacks. It may be the same one mentioned above that studied 250 attacks in Baltimore.

One of the surprising (to me, anyway) observations in the study was that the majority of fatal attacks were "ice pick" attacks to the back of the neck or upper back. This is a lot like a shomen uchi attack.

Back to the question at hand, we do most of our takeaways after the pin, but we sometimes have techniques where the knife comes out during the throw. We almost never knock the knife out of our uke's hand because (1) a flying knife is unpredictable, and (2) it's not really tanto tori if you don't tori the tanto. :D

Regarding the larger issue of knife defense, I'd prefer to have pepper spray or a firearm handy if threatened by a knife. That way I can counter a contact weapon with a distance weapon.

Regards,

-Drew

Mel Barker
09-02-2003, 02:09 PM
An interesting statistic I once heard from a renowned hand gun trainer:

90% of hand gun shooting victims live.

80% of knife stabbing victims live.

Mel

Greg Jennings
09-02-2003, 07:07 PM
Hi all. I have been thinking about knife takeaways lately and it occurred to me that I have been shown three different philosophies on what to do with the knife.

1. Knock the knife out of ukes hand immediately.

2. Take the knife away as soon as possible during the technique.

3. Take the knife away during the pin.

I can see advantages and disadvantages to each method and was looking into input from others. Thanks.
1. Try like everything to avoid the situation. If that fails, refer to #2.

2. If necessary, kick the knife away from the attacker's lifeless fingers after putting two .45 hollow points or a load of #4 buckshot in his chest.

Regards,

adriangan
09-02-2003, 08:56 PM
knife defense? cross-train in kali, i'm currently cross training in pekiti-tirsia kali and you'd be shocked to find out what a well-trained knife fighter can do :eek:

sanosuke
09-02-2003, 09:12 PM
another important thing if you want to disarm a weapon is to learn its mechanism, in nife defense, you need to know the mechanism of the knife, i.e the effective range, how to hold and grip, types of attack using knifes, etc. If you know its mechanism then you might have a better chance to disarm it.

Pretoriano
09-02-2003, 11:44 PM
Lets not talk about "knife specialists" this ones, can kill anyone and virtually any martial arts practicioners in short time, be real, preferable discuss about more "standarized-creative, high spirited dojo responses.

Praetorian

Paul Klembeck
09-03-2003, 01:30 AM
Matt,

Given your latest post, it looks like we don't have much of a disagreement at all. I was thinking along the lines of knife encounter = encounter + knife somehow involved, rather than focusing on assassination type attacks.

Regarding assassination type knife attacks, do you have any actual statistics? I respect Mr. MacYoung, so I don't want to dismiss his claim, but I don't ever seem to hear anything about such attacks on the street. (Prisons are a different story.) If you have any statistics or statistical sources, I would like to know about them.

Paul

Alec Corper
09-03-2003, 03:55 AM
IMHO there is a misunderstanding in tanto dori training which seems to lead some people to believe they are learning to defend against knife attacks. Tantodori, like all weapons training in Aikido, is a broadening of understanding and experience with maai, as well as a sharpening of general awareness about body placing and control of uke. This could, under certain circiumstances, be taken further into self defense technique, but only by stepping away from telegraphed, no-feint, single classic attack style training. To imagine otherwise can be foolhardy and dangerous. I totally agree with other posters that against a trained knife fighter most of us would not survive, and I have some knife training experience. If you want to scare yourself a bit find an old keikogi and arm someone with a a red magic marker and ask them to attack you. Remember that stabs are not always needed, enough cuts and you simply bleed out, get caught on tendons and lose the use of the limb. Not everybody holds a knife the same way, so grabbing from the top can cost your hand. I would also recommend Hochstein, and also Ryan and Janich for study, and absolutely geta look at Kali. When you've done all that revisit basic training and start again. Good luck, and running fast after good distraction is still your best bet.

regards, Alec

Ron Tisdale
09-03-2003, 08:39 AM
I really think that last post sums it up pretty well. Its not that the things we practice in the dojo aren't usefull...its just that the real thing isn't likely to follow that format at all. And the number of "knife specialists" would probably be surprising. SEAsian and Indonesian martial arts have taken off quite a bit lately, and there are a lot of people who have picked up more than enough to be very dangerous with a knife. And that's not even mentioning creative people practicing on their own, or other NA traditions.

My own experience is limited in that area, but even before I was graded in aikido, I could reverse a blade from a thrust grip and slice yudansha instructors pretty much at will. And that with little "official" training in knife work. If this topic is how to deal with real attacks, I don't see how we can avoid this reality.

As to knocking the knife out of their hand...was that supposed to be with a stick? Or barehanded? And please don't tell me someone was thinking of using a kick...:(

RT

L. Camejo
09-03-2003, 09:48 AM
IMHO there is a misunderstanding in tanto dori training which seems to lead some people to believe they are learning to defend against knife attacks. Tantodori, like all weapons training in Aikido, is a broadening of understanding and experience with maai, as well as a sharpening of general awareness about body placing and control of uke. This could, under certain circiumstances, be taken further into self defense technique, but only by stepping away from telegraphed, no-feint, single classic attack style training.
Basic tantodori as practiced in most dojos is exactly as said above. But it must be remembered that there are other Aikido systems that break the mold and go beyond, including feints, distractions, minimising of telegraphing, switching of types of attacks, full resistance and the like. And then there are individual instructors who go even beyond that, while maintaining the foundation of the previous. Not all Aikido is practiced with the simple telegraphed knife attacks alone.
To imagine otherwise can be foolhardy and dangerous.
Totally agreed.

In this I remember a reference made in Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge regarding which was stronger - Karate or Aikido, due to the existence of certain strikes/kicks that may be hard to evade, deceptive etc. It all comes down to the individual and how he/she trains, not the weakness/strength of the specific art or style (or weapon). The fact is, a person may have a knife or gun or phaser cannon:), but it comes down to the degree of skill and confidence the person has (whether conscious or unconscious) in wielding the weapon that makes things effective or not. I agree that certain weapons are more effective at causing injury than others, but it comes down to the ability to use the weapon, the human body being one of the more advanced ones in my book.

Going back to something I read on metsuke -"where the eyes are focussed, so is the mind." It has occurred repeatedly to me in training (and in reality as well) that the more I become absorbed in my attacker's attack/weapon of attack, I steadily decrease my own ability to deal with that attack, because my mind is focussed on the weapon and not what is controlling the weapon, while the aggressor is closing distance and bringing his weapons to bear on my position with increasing effectiveness.

Just a couple thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
09-03-2003, 10:05 AM
It has occurred repeatedly to me in training (and in reality as well) that the more I become absorbed in my attacker's attack/weapon of attack, I steadily decrease my own ability to deal with that attack, because my mind is focussed on the weapon and not what is controlling the weapon, while the aggressor is closing distance and bringing his weapons to bear on my position with increasing effectiveness.
This is exactly what I meant to say, but you said it *much* better!

Ron

PeterR
09-03-2003, 07:14 PM
Hi Larry;

I know you know but although Shodokan tanto randori takes things closer to the edge than most tanto dori some people tend to forget that it is afterall a rubber/cloth knife. When it gets to shiai the rules are geared to the idea that it is a real knife but even so people often take liberties. Most people understand the difference.

I hinted at it in a previous post on this thread but some of Tomiki's tanto dori techniques (kata) are interesting to say the least. Half of the Nidan training is learning how to target with the knife including my favourite "the yakuza belly thrust" which I understand is and always has been quite popular amoung certain wayward individuals. Even here though - I am not sure some of the tanto dori techniques are worth trying in the field exactly as they are (the neck trap one gives me the willies).

Back to the dogma - randori and kata togeather come to give you a fair idea of what is involved in knife fighting. It might not make you a better knife fighter but it sure opens your eyes.

Last time someone threatened to use a knife on me I just stood tall and stared him down. The little yak wanna be backed down.

L. Camejo
09-03-2003, 08:03 PM
I know you know but although Shodokan tanto randori takes things closer to the edge than most tanto dori some people tend to forget that it is afterall a rubber/cloth knife. When it gets to shiai the rules are geared to the idea that it is a real knife but even so people often take liberties. Most people understand the difference.
Totally agreed. This insularity against what the practice knife represents is something I am working on with my students and myself. I am getting things more and more to a point where even though it is known that the thing is a softo, when one is attacked, they'd better treat it like the real thing as much as possible. Of course, I have my particular ways of helping to get this point across :). Doing the same thing with bokken to train folks for machete attacks, which tend to be common in these parts and is a concern with some. Of course the bokken is much longer, which is a good thing I think. Constant work in progress.:)
I hinted at it in a previous post on this thread but some of Tomiki's tanto dori techniques (kata) are interesting to say the least. Half of the Nidan training is learning how to target with the knife including my favourite "the yakuza belly thrust" which I understand is and always has been quite popular amoung certain wayward individuals. Even here though - I am not sure some of the tanto dori techniques are worth trying in the field exactly as they are (the neck trap one gives me the willies).
Lol, I could pay dearly for this one. That exact kata is what I am working on for my next grade. I have a problem with that same neck trap tech. It looks like suicide to me against someone who intends to struggle (and they call this the Goshin no kata?) I would not consider that pin to control an empty hand, much less a blade. Again, here is where we must separate the idealised environment of kata and dojo training from what can exist in the realm of infinite variables.

I love that yakuza belly thrust btw, so sneaky :).
Last time someone threatened to use a knife on me I just stood tall and stared him down. The little yak wanna be backed down.
And this is what I was alluding to in my earlier post. The confidence (sometimes false I'd agree) that one may get when handling knife attacks (even soft ones) in an unpredictable dojo environment may serve one well when faced with a similar situation in reality. When one is accustomed facing a knife being used in a threatening manner their initial response may not be to focus oin the weapon as the person closes to strike, but may maintain their centre and pursue a course of action that may end up in them not becoming sushi.

Just some thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

PeterR
09-03-2003, 09:08 PM
That exact kata is what I am working on for my next grade. I have a problem with that same neck trap tech. It looks like suicide to me against someone who intends to struggle (and they call this the Goshin no kata?) I would not consider that pin to control an empty hand, much less a blade. Again, here is where we must separate the idealised environment of kata and dojo training from what can exist in the realm of infinite variables.
To be fair - the Tomiki katas are not in this situation do that but are designed/chosen to teach a whole range of options. For example the first technique of the junanhon has a shomen-uchi like strike coupled to a taisabaki as part of the initial movement followed by the technique (shomenate) itself. Once you do randori you find that you never use that block - my favourite being a downward circular variation. In actual fact Tomiki wanted to teach a shomen-uchi type block somewhere in his junanahon and this was the best place to put it.

OK - so what does this have to do with the neck trap. Same basic enter, get your palm under the elbow as usual and instead of bringing the hand straight up cut across your chest, trap and twist. It is the same technique just the hold is different.

Michael Hackett
09-03-2003, 09:15 PM
As a California cop for almost thirty years I got to see more than my share of knife attacks and knife victims. Most of the surviving victims reported that they didn't know a knife was involved in the altercation and that they thought they had been punched. None reported being confronted with a knife ala "West Side Story". The same doesn't hold true for the robbery victims I interviewed who were confronted with a knife. Usually the suspect displayed the knife and the victim gave up the property.

I was only directly attacked by a knife once and managed to call for help and keep out of the poor drunk's way. While I was legally and ethically justified in taking his life with my firearm, we eventually chose to mace him and knock the knife away with a baton blow to the forearm. It all worked out well in that case.

A friend, another cop with impressive credentials and common sense was confronted at an ATM as she withdrew $40.00 in cash. She was yondan in TKD, an MP Captain in the National Guard, and a crack shot who was armed at the time. Her assailant threatened her with a screwdriver and she chose to give up the money and get a good description and direction of travel which resulted in his almost immediate arrest. She received some criticism from her peers who suggested that she was a big sissy for not fighting or shooting the suspect. She smiled and reminded them that she was there and they weren't.

Aikido is an excellent tool in the event of a knife attack; almost as good as fleeing, passing out, or shooting your attacker. It is better than nothing, but I honestly don't believe that defending barehanded is generally wise and each individual has to make a choice at that instant - and further, none of us has room to criticize the choice made by the victim. As I said, aikido is an excellent tool, but there is also an excellent chance that some loaded knucklehead will seriously injure you, even if you win the encounter. You certainly will have a better chance than Joe Lunchbox if you choose to fight.

Sort of a case of "Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl". Train hard and avoid the situation if possible.

Michael

L. Camejo
09-04-2003, 06:39 AM
OK - so what does this have to do with the neck trap. Same basic enter, get your palm under the elbow as usual and instead of bringing the hand straight up cut across your chest, trap and twist. It is the same technique just the hold is different.
Yep, this is how I tend to do it 99% of the time, works a lot safer that way:). Of course, kata is kata when it comes to grading, no modifications there, but it's all good in my book.:)

Michael: Very good post. Well said.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Mary Eastland
09-04-2003, 06:57 AM
I loved Michael's story about his friend. That is a totally successful Self-defense story. What she said about being there is true. The only way you know what to do in a SD situation is to stay aware and listen to what your inner self tells you. No one else can judge the situation because they were not there and they are not you, with whatever strengths and weaknessess you bring to the situation.

I really enjoy training with tanto. It seems to heighten everyone's awareness and the excitment in class goes up. My feeling about training with tanto is that by training and teaching what I have been taught, my center and technique will become stronger and I will be able to deal with whatever SD situation comes along.

So my answer about to keep the knife or get rid of it depends on the situation. I trust the answer will be available in the moment.

Way before I started training

a knife was held to my throat. I stayed very still and did what I was told. It worked..... I am here....so it was the perfect thing to do.

Mary Eastland

Berkshire Hills Aikido

justinm
09-04-2003, 11:21 AM
It does worry me that aikido can give people an exaggerated view of their capabilities when it comes to self defence. I think full-on randori is often the best way to break through these sorts of delusions, especially if something like a magic marker is used.

It is something I have been thinking about a lot since starting a dojo, where most new students put 'self-defence' at the top of their list of reasons to start. I think in future I will explain that "I am teaching a martial art, not self-defence. There is a significant difference, although one may contribute to your ability in the other."

Justin

ian
09-05-2003, 11:01 AM
I was attacked by someone with a knife and would support Michaels assessment - I didn't know one was involved initially but moving off centre line saved my life.

Sometimes rough randori with marker pens is useful for understanding, but it is not a good training technique. Real situations CANNOT be represented in the dojo. We practise short, rehersed body responses so when our mind switches off (in a fight) our body can still do these. The training technique in aikido is VERY useful practically and no amount of sparring or other supposed 'realistic' methods would have helped me then.

Aikido should not be used flipantly or to look cool (hey watch this fellas I'm going to disarm this threatening looking bloke). I didn't have any option to avoid my attack (it was very sudden), but I will always owe a debt to Ueshiba and aikido for the simple ability to move when I really had to.

Ian

ian
09-05-2003, 11:09 AM
P.S. the more I learn about aikido the more I feel that philosophising about 'what is best' is useless unless someone with real experience is making the comments. Over-analysing techniques (esp. the well, what if I did that) can be detrimental as we end up with something that has no application to actual situations.

I always say this;- to understand aikido is to understand the aikido training method.

Ian

Eric Joyce
09-05-2003, 01:55 PM
P.S. the more I learn about aikido the more I feel that philosophising about 'what is best' is useless unless someone with real experience is making the comments. Over-analysing techniques (esp. the well, what if I did that) can be detrimental as we end up with something that has no application to actual situations.

I always say this;- to understand aikido is to understand the aikido training method.

Ian
Well said Ian. I agree completely.

Bogeyman
09-05-2003, 06:13 PM
Ian, I agree completely with what you said. Sometimes we tend to philosophize about what ifs and that doesn't necessarily translate into ability. I prefer to study with instructors that have real life experience (like police officers) for that very reason.

E

jester
11-08-2004, 04:09 PM
Cold Steel has some interesting dvd on knife fighting. (http://www.coldsteel.com/vdwep.html)

They have a competition called the Cold Steel Challenge (http://www.coldsteel.com/cschallenge.html).

SeiserL
11-08-2004, 04:37 PM
Get the current November 04 issue of Black Belt Magazine.

thomas_dixon
11-08-2004, 11:04 PM
I take Filipino Martial Arts, that's heavily based on the Sayoc style, which has a crapload of knife fighting.

garry cantrell
11-23-2004, 04:10 PM
i was doing some volunteer work in a soup kitchen some years ago when a fight broke out amongst a couple of the folks beings served. i was hustling one of the combatants through the kitchen and out the back door when my guy picked up a butcher knife and tried to plunge it into my chest. very fluid motion. no feinting, no taunts, just picked it up and went for me. the thing is, my ma-ai was way off - i didn't perceive him as a threat to me and, in fact, we were working in concert to get him away from the other guy - no clue as to why he grabbed the knife. i suspect his personal demon was in the form of mental illness. nonetheless - not much room in a small soup kitchen, and i was standing maybe 1 1/2 feet from him - next thing i knew, his face was against the wall, he was on his tip toes, and i kinda had the beginnings of a shihonage with his right wrist in my right hand and the knife was on the floor - and a half dollar size flap of skin was hanging from my left elbow and my shirt was torn. kinduva terry dobson sensei, no footwork, scenario. so, what's the point of the story? well, this is a martial arts site - so war stories are always fun to recount, but mostly its to say that sometimes you just do what you do because there's no time to consider anything else. it wasn't a fight, it was only a moment.

thomas_dixon
11-23-2004, 09:40 PM
I take Filipino Martial Arts, that's heavily based on the Sayoc style, which has a crapload of knife fighting.

Uh...I think something got magically deleted...Happens all the time but usually I edit and add it back.

Anyway, since I do't remember what I was thinking however long ago that was, I suggest you look into FMAs if you're interested in knife fighting/defense. :)

Daniel Moore
11-24-2004, 02:36 PM
In a Saturday pub scuffle I watched as a friend of my fathers (3rd dan in Aiki-Jutsu) was attacked by a drunken idiot holding a small switch blade. The attacker didn't perform Dojo friendly thrusts and swipes, but did quickly stagger over and wave the blade quite quickly (for someone drunk), and proceeded to cut off my fathers friends index finger and blind his left eye. With all his experience he couldn't defend himself against an attacker who doesn't even know where his own hands are, let alone act in a logical manner. This kind of attack is undefendible as you cannot predict where that blade is going to be next, in your ribs or in the attackers own leg. There is no defense other than running away.

L. Camejo
11-24-2004, 03:39 PM
Hi Daniel,

Couldn't help but read you above post after the one on diminishing teaching standards.

Imho black belt only means someone was able to pass the requirements of a particular testing curriculum. It should be no indicator of a person's real life combat ability imho (though in some cases it may be applicable). As one may see in many of the proven civilian self defence programs, situational training and conditioning of reflex and flinch reactions do more to set up successful responses than learning a bunch of techniques in a static or cooperative manner (enter the Aikido and it's effectiveness question:)).

I'm sorry to hear about the individual who got injured, but there are ways to defend against these things if escape is not an option. The key in training is to deal with the particular scenario or train one's instinctive reactions to operate in a manner conducive to defending oneself from a variety of knife attack scenarios, focussing on principles of application and reaching the opponent safely. The ending techniques are very secondary imo.

I've had a 4th kyu student who got attacked by a mugger with a knife. Due to the ridiculous amounts of resistance tanto randori we do with someone trying to stab you, he was able to "just react" and got the mugger into sankyo. The guy took off leaving him with the knife in his hand and very shocked I might add as reality slowly set back in.

It's not what we train so much, but how we train that makes us effective imho.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Michael Hackett
11-24-2004, 04:25 PM
Dear Daniel,

Sorry to hear of your friend's terrible injuries. Obviously none of us will really understand what happened that evening. Maybe the yondan couldn't believe he was really being attacked and failed to react. Maybe he simply froze. Maybe he had been drinking himself and wasn't at his best. Maybe the physical environment (tables, stoves, etc.) kept his movement limited. Maybe he just made a mistake. And maybe he did the very best he could under the circumstances and prevented himself from suffering even more serious injuries. I personally believe that NO art will guarentee absolute success in every encounter, including the use of firearms. Training, good hard training, will increase chances of surviving without injuries. I often think of the analogy of seat belt use; they won't guarentee you will survive an auto crash, but they sure improve the chances.

I hope your friend recovers soon.

Dazzler
11-25-2004, 10:12 AM
In a Saturday pub scuffle I watched as a friend of my fathers (3rd dan in Aiki-Jutsu) was attacked by a drunken idiot holding a small switch blade. The attacker didn't perform Dojo friendly thrusts and swipes, but did quickly stagger over and wave the blade quite quickly (for someone drunk), and proceeded to cut off my fathers friends index finger and blind his left eye. With all his experience he couldn't defend himself against an attacker who doesn't even know where his own hands are, let alone act in a logical manner. This kind of attack is undefendible as you cannot predict where that blade is going to be next, in your ribs or in the attackers own leg. There is no defense other than running away.

Very sad and an all too common occurence in todays society.

I think we have to accept that much of dojo practice and dealing with extreme street violence are not strictly compatable. That doesnt invalidate the practice but clearly there are no guarantees that what you practice will easily translate into something applicable to this scenario.

If you look at the work of the British Combat Association and similar organisations the first thing they tell you about dealing with knife weilding maniacs is that you will get cut. adrenaline will explode through your body and dojo practice goes out of the window. For this reason they attempt to inject similar pressure into their training with abuse, swearing, dialogue and threats along with the attacks themselves.

Perfect dojo techniques even from the most skilled aren't possible when all the other factors come into play - darkness, strange clothes, slippery floors, loud music or whatever.

all you can do is minimise the risk and take the damage where its not going to kill you while dealing with the problem in the simplest way possible. eg back of the hands and forearms.

If the option of running away is there take it. If pride presents a problem then think of achieving a personal best. Do a sub-four minute mile.

If its not an option then the simplest techniques are what you have left to rely on. Anything elaborate will increase the risk factor. Learn to hit hard.

If this isn't what you want to do try to avoid such confrontations in the first place. Be aware of the ever increasing danger.

You don't elaborate on how this started Daniel ...were there any warning signs? did the guy come from no-where?

Anyway...not trying to lecture, I'm sure that there are others with greater experience than me around. Just offering up some general thoughts.

I also hope your friend recovers as much and as soon as possible.

D

Daniel Moore
11-25-2004, 02:23 PM
Thanks for your messages, and reminding me of a few things. Especially that the grade isn't a picture of combat ability, but the friend is a licensed doorman (though he has been a chef for the last 5 years, and no doubt a little rusty) and at the time thought that he could defend himself, and that it was the attackers drunken movement and lack of co-ordination that meant he couldn't take the knife off him as he was too unpredictable. Then again it was a very busy and crowded area and the friend did have a drink or too before the fight, affecting his judgement and balance.
Any comments very welcome,
Daniel Moore

Dazzler
11-26-2004, 04:34 AM
Not much more to say except how frustrating it is when the person trying to excercise some control and consideration for the assailant gets hurt, yet if they meet the assailant with the same disregard for humanity that these weapon brandishing fools display, they risk running foul of the law.

Taliesin
11-26-2004, 09:24 AM
Even with Tanto Jiyu Wasa with a real knife - you are only trained to deal with the sort of attacks a unskilled attacker would use, committed stabs, slashes, etc.

If your attacked is skilled with a knife, I very much doubt you would see it at all.

Dazzler
11-26-2004, 09:50 AM
Even with Tanto Jiyu Wasa with a real knife - you are only trained to deal with the sort of attacks a unskilled attacker would use, committed stabs, slashes, etc.

If your attacked is skilled with a knife, I very much doubt you would see it at all.

I agree. If they show you it then normally thats to intimidate you. Maybe as a persuader to give up your wallet or to back you down.

If its a serious attempt to harm you theres no mileage in waving it around to let you know that its on its way.

D

mr_crystal
11-30-2004, 10:47 PM
Some of the most dangerous "knife fighters", if we can call them that, are the ones which never achieved any education in a dojo/school of any MA and prowl the streets. With a knife, you can get cut anywhere and at any time...you can even cut yourself in the kitchen.They are dangerous and I think that's the bottom line. I agree with most of comments in this forum, avoidance is your best bet.

Diarmuid66
12-17-2004, 01:17 PM
this thread has some very sage posts..it leads to some interesting ideas...of course one of the challenges of a martial art is to control oneself. the ego and adrenaline will tell you to fight often when you DO have an escape route...I cannot be the only one who has performed bokuto dori (taking sword) and thought in "real life" this has only a one in a million chance of working!!!
I suppose you have to take the view that with the "no escape " scenario you have two choices...take the one in a million chance or kneel down and beg the other guy to make it quick!!!

SMART2o
01-17-2005, 06:01 PM
When threatened with a knife, the best bet would probably be to escape without turning your back, if at all possible. Tanto drills are good, but I won't let them give me a false sense of invincibility. I don't care what rank you are, a knife, even in the hands of a complete moron can easily be an early ticket to the cemetery. Although if someone plans to kill you with a knife, most likely you won't even see it.

thomas_dixon
01-17-2005, 07:40 PM
When threatened with a knife, the best bet would probably be to escape without turning your back, if at all possible. Tanto drills are good, but I won't let them give me a false sense of invincibility. I don't care what rank you are, a knife, even in the hands of a complete moron can easily be an early ticket to the cemetery. Although if someone plans to kill you with a knife, most likely you won't even see it.

Which is why edged weapons defense is not only fun, but it's educational :cool:

SeiserL
01-18-2005, 10:03 AM
Nice points, compliments and appreciation.

IMHO, please remember that training is not sparring, sparring is not fighting, fighting is not combat. Each has its own rules of engagement based on intent and intensity. Proficiency in one does not mean you are proficient in another.

Tim Gerrard
01-31-2005, 05:32 PM
I once heard one of the lads I used to train with tell me this story ( It's one of those sister's dog's cousin etc...ones)

*Apparently* his instructors sensei in Jujitsu said there's one key thing in knife work.
"First put hand on knife, then you know where the knife is, all of the time"

...Psycho...
:confused: :confused: :confused:

rob_liberti
02-02-2005, 01:05 PM
I liked the advice about the three Cs of dealing with a knife (Clear, Control, and Counter). I would like to add that the number one thing we should be working on is maintaining a safe distance (angle, etc.) so that you could possibly clear, control, and/or counter. Maybe that's obvious, but I see so many people in terrible position trying to force techniques that it's become a pet-peeve. I generally cannot lift a person if I'm at arms length from them - and every technique basically works the same way. That's just aikido in general.

When we specicially work with taking a knife, I'd say that if you do have to offer them something you want it to be the back of your arms rather than the other side. When you do find yourself trying to control that blade, you want to grab and maintain control of their opposing digit. If you control the thumb, you can strip that knife. I see a lot of tanto dori where the nage grabs the wrist. That is a poor choice if you could have gotten their thumb. It takes a bit of re-training but it's well worth it. I'm curious what the folks who do tanto kata think about this.

Rob

L. Camejo
02-03-2005, 12:10 AM
I think the reason why getting the wrist may be so popular is simply because it is close enough to the weapon to allow one to control the arm effectively as well as execute a possible technique in the event all goes well.

If it does not go well then you at least have a hand on the weapon arm and this acts as a guide to know where the weapon is in relation to your body and helps decide your next option for technique.

Going for the thumb however, especially how we use a knife with the blade upwards if stabbing / thrusting (a method also taught at a DT knife course I've been to) is a dangerous proposition if the knife fighter is moderately quick. You will probably lose some fingers if not have a serious gash in the hand or wrist when he tries to recoil the weapon after he detects you trying to take it away.

Getting the thumb also requires a good deal of accurate fine motor skills imo. I instruct students to never try to "catch" a weapon hand (using the fine motor skills in the fingers) but to use tegatana (blade edge of hand) as a guide that leads to a quick and strong following grasp. It's a 2-stage movement that one can easily master with practice. Those who try to catch the hand, which may be necessary in the event of the thumb due to its protected position on the inside of the handle, often end up with either a slit palm or wrist when the blade is quickly recoiled. The idea may work in cooperative kata practice but has failed so far against a tsuki under even medium resistance in our training methods.

The only workable option I see is if one is able to control the wrist or forearm first and then go for the thumb after having limited the mobility of the forearm, wrist or hand, which is usually the fastest moving thing in a knife attack and difficult to judge without some other control over its movement.

Just my thoughts.

Of course I can be wrong.:)
LC:ai::ki:

rob_liberti
02-03-2005, 07:58 AM
I agree with mostly all of that. I like the blade up too. I like the explaination of the quick 2-stage movement. I normally have to use the other hand to deflect/redirect/clear whatever and then get to that thumb. I suppose it's more the base of the thumb - no so muchthe part that sticks out. I have no problem with getting the wrist first and then moving on to the base of the thumb, But I don't think many people could possibly strip a knife away from me if they are not holding my thumb becuase my grip is fairly strong and my wrist is fairly flexible - unless I'm unconscious - or in shock.

Good response, thanks! - Rob

L. Camejo
02-03-2005, 09:40 AM
Good point on the strong grip part Rob. I totally agree.

This is why any "stripping" is done after the attacker is pinned and secured on the ground and unable to go anywhere. Then one can utilise a few things like locks that isolate and weaken the muscles of the hand forcing the grip to loosen like Nikkyo (Kote Mawashi), Sankyo (Tenkai Kotehineri) or Kotegaeshi or something we do where the meaty part at the base of the thumb is placed on the inside of the attacker's four fingers and a pressing/rolling action is used to roll the knife out of the attacker's hand - sort of like rolling his fingers like dough, ending up with the knife in your hands instead - kinda hard to explain. This also serves to isolate the fingers and get the knife out.

Good question and comments btw.:)
LC:ai::ki:

samurai_kenshin
02-13-2005, 01:29 AM
instead of using aikido you should do the following in correct order:

1. Go buy a black belt and hakama

2. call yourself 200th dan

3. Name your style "Fleeandrunkido"

4. If anyone asks to see a demonstration run away very quickly