Re: Tanto Practice - Is true Aikido effective for disarming?
I am entering the thread late but this and similar questions come up constantly as new students enter our dojo. Earlier someone noted the unavoidable fact that the fitness and ability of each combatant is key. Mike Tyson without a tanto is more dangerous than Al Sharpton with a switchblade. The basic question of Aikido's efficacy we feel misses the essence of training. We repeat a prescribed movement ten thousand times to sensitize ourselves to a response. This is the process of kata. In michi waza(street situations) most of what will remain is just the rhythm, timing, poise and movement from the dojo. Kotegaeshi may become "parry punch" but the success is because of the responses encoded in muscle memory. Henry Smith Shihan teaches that if I am trapped in a position where I must practice tanto tori then my Aikido has already failed. I should have left the bar, or parked near the guard post or been already talking on the phone to the 911 dispatcher before the knife was drawn. This mindset, free of testosterone blindness, is the highest practice of O'Sensei's art.