Alec Corper wrote:
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.
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.