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Old 05-24-2005, 04:28 PM   #106
Dojo: Zanshin Kai
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 865
United Kingdom
Re: Tantodori no different

Matt Molloy wrote:
Nobody on this thread has been saying that if you face a knife you're done for. Several people who do know what they are talking about have been saying respect the knife. Appreciate that it does change things.

Several people have said that you can deal with a knife as if it were an empty hand and that it wouldn't make any difference but psychological.

This is rubbish. The empty hand can't cut with a touch as light as a caress. The empty hand can't stab and leave a deep wound.

Anybody who is skilled with a knife can not only tell you why it would make a difference but show you too. To use empty hand technique against a knife is a last resort. (I believe that Mike has already made this point.)

It's all reminiscient of times that I've heard Aikidoka confidently say that they could deal with a skilled swordsman by taking their blade away etc. and not understand why anybody with a modicum of skill in that area listening starts to wet themselves laughing.

FMA practitioners practice a knife based art.

FMA practitioners tend towards the opinion that a knife changes things in an encounter in a very real sense.

Perhaps they know something that you don't.

Read very carefully. At no point has anyone said that when you see a knife, all is lost.

Respect the knife. If you don't it could be the last thing you don't do.

You say that Aikido can deal with "...sword, knife and stuff in between..."

In that case, when the art that was the base for Aikido was developed, why did people continue to make use of weapons if the only difference to any encounter was "psychological?"

Go to a FMA seminar. See what can be done with a knife.

See if you still think that a knife is just a psychological advantage.

Go to a Kendo dojo.

State confidently that your Aikido could deal with a sword and that you could have a shinai off them before being hit.

Try not to feel too silly as they start laughing at you.


Right. *breathes* First you need to be briefed on my opinion of Aikido.
Aikido = pants, utter pants. Appart from two things it teaches.
1) Get out of the way.
2) Zanshin.
Which is why I do it.

For a start a shinai is far lighter and far faster than a sword and are used in a different way. I know this because my mate does Kendo and because I have a shinai, occasionally I go to his class when I feel like having some fun. So if you've been trying to defend against a shinai you now know why you can't. Shinai are used with the wrist, to get the speed, bokken and sword are arm and body because of the weight difference. Really they're fundermentally different weapons used in fundermentally different ways.
Swap it for an Iwama ryu bokken and tachidori becomes possible, because the weight difference means they have to use it like a sword and not like a shinai. This I know because I have both done it and seen it done.

I'm shocked at you. I really am. I would have thought that the fundermental differences between a bokken and a shinai were fairly well known in Aiki circles.

Right, psychology and weapons. This is going to take a while. Right, ok. Martial arts, fundermentally, are more about the mind than they are about the body or any weapon. Martial arts are basically physical methods designed to lead the student to attaining a martial mind, thing is a martial mind is very much like an enlightened mind, hence where all your spiritual stuff comes from.

Weapons exist for 3 reasons:

Firstly the best way of taking someones mental balance is to wave a large bit of sharp metal in their face, guns are good but knifes, swords anything which resembles a tooth is better, it's an evolutionary thing. Once their mental balance is gone defeating them is much easier.

The second reason is that once the mental balance is broken, although it's easier to defeat them, it's still quite possible to be defeated so you need to take advantage of their mental state and kill them quickly, best way of killing someone is with a weapon.

The third reason is kinda like the first. If you have a weapon you feel more confident than if you don't. It's harder for them to freak you out and also it has a deterrent effect.

This is why the Samurai were encouraged to embrace death and welcome it. It's the only real way to psychologically harden someone to the point where they don't care what you've got and are soley focused on killing their opponent and it was taken as a matter of course in feudal Japan that a really nutty Samurai who was crazy to get himself killed in combat could often bring down a Samurai of much greater skill, who was better armed and walk away. Hagakure is repleat with such stories.

So yes as I've stated a knife is deadly but the thing that makes it deadly is the psychological impact it has on the opponent which enables it's user to take their opponents mental balance and thus effect a physical victory, at which point a knife will kill you pretty damn quick.

If you're facing a loony or someone on drugs or even a confident martial artist it could be a whole different ball game.
Take the Israeli experience. Their manual basically tells their troops not to attempt to draw a weapon if they're being confronted by someone less than 30ft away because they'll be dead before they draw it. Instead it says to use their unarmed skills.

Close the situation down to something more usual. You're in a bar minding your own business, you get into an argument. At what point do you pull the knife? Are you sure you'll be given the chance or have the time? Or more likely will you end up on the floor as most fights end up, rolling about with a knife on the loose making a dangerous situation even more dangerous. I mean the simple fact that reaching for something means dropping your guard makes the whole idea dangerous.

Growing up where I did (a fairly rough pub) taught me a lot, for example that if someone's paying attention to your body movements they see everything and a punch 9/10 is faster than a knife draw because there's movement to make in the same time and you only need to prevent the draw. He's already fighting with one hand tied behind his back, you're weapons are out, his are still to be drawn.

Anyway, it's always down to individuals (martial arts should change your thinking), tactics and stratagy, which ultimately is psychology.
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