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Old 04-11-2011, 04:53 PM   #58
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Tanto Practice - Is true Aikido effective for disarming?

I have been following this thread interested in where it would lead to.

This is because, as most of you will have experienced some time or other, that when some people find you do a martial art there's always someone with a 'what if I did this or what if I did that.'

The thing that use to bug me was things like someone with a knife or metal bar etc. especially when they would say 'how would you harmonize with this then?'

I finally found out what bugged me when I realized it was the unfairness of the question. Implicit in those type of questions is the scene that you have to do a nice flowing move without harming or hurting them whilst their rules can be different.

I say this because when talking about imaginary knife attacks the first thing to realize is you need a specific attitude of mind to handle them, one that can only be gained in Aikido by sword practice. From that viewpoint I would say that Aikido is very well equipped for that, depending on the level of practitioner and not forgetting the level of competance of the knife wielder.

Once again from my view I emphasize certain principles and states of being over any thought of technique.

When practicing, or rather teaching the sword I do not emphasize the cutting through etc. for the student. I emphasize only that they learn to cut through where they are meant to, be it slow or med or fast. However more important than that is I train them to face a bokken.

Now I will show them what I am going to do and proceed to do it, slowly at first, whether they have a bokken in hand or empty handed. Now here's the thing: If their mind is taken by the weapon-they get hit. If they move too early- they get hit. If they move too late- they get hit. If they try to attack the weapon- they get hit. If they move out or jump away they get followed and hit.

This discipline extant in Aikido is to develope a certain state of mind for use in similar cicumstances in life. The reality being two basic things really. To learn how to in those circumstances enter and take out. One, two. Even though this is quite a stage of competance to reach it is only by being eventually comfortable with that that the practitioner can afford to be more lenient with the aggressor, thus stages on the way to harmony.

So putting a situation of someone not very comfortable or even experienced at that level of Aikido versus a knife is not very wise. So the question is more to do with level of practitioner of Aikido rather than can Aikido do this or that.

Just some of the things to develope first include:

1) To be able to focus on the source, the person holding the blade, unfazed by the movement of the weapon.

2) To at the same time have zanshin which is totally aware of every movement of the weapon yet still with calmness and clear mind.

3) To be thoroughly aware of maai at all times, nothing to do with the eyes.

4) To know that as soon as maai is breached you must already be entering without hesitation.

5) To know your destination which is straight through the opponent.

These are just some things which need developing first before you can 'see' the center line which makes the knife look like a pendulum of a clock so to speak. Some will know what I mean by that.

A lot involved, even more than I have stated yet there is a lot involved in Aikido. Thus the demonstrations seen should be looked upon in the correct light as a phase of learning rather than representing real battle.

Add on to that this is only my take on the subject so it doesn't come across as a lecture.

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