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-   -   The Correct Way to Hold a Knife (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18780)

Gorgeous George 10-06-2010 10:55 PM

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

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

niall 10-07-2010 05:10 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Hi, Graham. I don't know much about knife fighting but if you are interested there are some related threads at the bottom of the page and this is some background on the various grips:

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

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

Abasan 10-07-2010 05:11 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
The probable reasoning is the dull side up might catch into the bones of the rib cage and get stuck there, but if you're poking your knife there in the first place...

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

JJF 10-07-2010 05:41 AM

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

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

Mark Mueller 10-07-2010 07:53 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

Rabih Shanshiry 10-07-2010 08:41 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Mark Mueller wrote: (Post 265835)
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

+1

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

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

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

Nick P. 10-07-2010 08:50 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Graham Jenkins wrote: (Post 265814)
When I trained at a shodokan aikido dojo, I was told that the correct way to hold a knife during practice was with the blade facing up - i.e., if you held the knife horizontally, the sharp side would face the sky, and the dull side, the floor; the isntructor said that if you see somebody holding a knife this way, then 'they really know what they're doing'.

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

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

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

grondahl 10-07-2010 09:03 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
I have been taught the following:
for tsuki: edge up.
for yokomen and slashing: edge outwards
for shomen uchi: edge downwards.

Russ Q 10-07-2010 09:55 AM

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

Cheers,

Russ

ninjaqutie 10-07-2010 11:22 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
In our dojo we have the blade up or down and change the type of grip depending on the type of attack.

Aikibu 10-07-2010 11:31 AM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Single edge knives like the ones you find in the kitchen... should be pointed edge towards bad guy....:)

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

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

William Hazen

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

Dan Hover 10-07-2010 12:03 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Rabih Shanshiry wrote: (Post 265838)
+1

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

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

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

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

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

WilliB 10-07-2010 12:05 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

William Hazen wrote: (Post 265854)
Single edge knives like the ones you find in the kitchen... should be pointed edge towards bad guy....:)

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

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

Jeremy Hulley 10-07-2010 01:09 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
It all depends on what I'm going to do with it.

I was taught edge up in my first dojo.

Now it depends largely on what we are training.

SeiserL 10-07-2010 01:20 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
When you slice (not stab or hack) your meat, how do you hold the knife?
There you go.

Aikibu 10-07-2010 01:33 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Willi Brix wrote: (Post 265860)
If the thing is double-edged, isnīt it called a *dagger*?

You may call it anything you like. :)

William Hazen

Amassus 10-07-2010 01:39 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
What a great clip...thank you for alerting me to it.

Dean.

Gorgeous George 10-07-2010 01:53 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Rabih Shanshiry wrote: (Post 265838)
+1

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

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

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

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

Kevin Leavitt 10-07-2010 02:06 PM

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

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

MM 10-07-2010 02:24 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
This is just a very simple example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMO,
Mark

grondahl 10-07-2010 02:28 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
I think thatīs there is a big difference between "the correct way" to hold a knife and "the best way".

Quote:

Kevin Leavitt wrote: (Post 265868)
I don't know about anyone else, but I hold the blade down or inward. Think about the mechanics of how your hand works and what else you are concerned with in a hand to hand fight with a knife. The way your arm and hand ,works, cutting across your body...well it makes the most sense IMO to have the blade facing the way you can use it. Cutting back across, you rotate your hand over to cut in that direction.

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


Keith Larman 10-07-2010 02:30 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Different styles do different things. Like Mark said, if you really want to get into it, the Filipino arts have extensive techniques.

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

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

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

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

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

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

phitruong 10-07-2010 02:57 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Mark Mueller wrote: (Post 265835)
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

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

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

Janet Rosen 10-07-2010 03:44 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Mark Mueller wrote: (Post 265835)
The correct way is to hold it by the handle ;-)

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

Gorgeous George 10-07-2010 05:39 PM

Re: The Correct Way to Hold a Knife
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 265870)
But, quit thinking inside the box about "correct" or "proper" ways to hold a knife. That can get you killed.

IMO,
Mark

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


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