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Old 02-01-2005, 11:19 AM   #26
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Knife Work

David Valadez wrote:

If today knife fighting is finding more fertile training ground in other arts, it is not because Aikido cannot support it, but rather because institutionally Aikido has come to support other things over other things (unfortunately).

Richard Heckler and I were talking about how we were doing some paired knife work and our students (not all of them) had some resistance to it. To us it seemed fairly ridiculous to decide that paired sword was Aikido but paired knife wasn't.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:49 AM   #27
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Re: Knife Work

George S. Ledyard wrote:
To us it seemed fairly ridiculous to decide that paired sword was Aikido but paired knife wasn't.
I quite agree.

I've often had a feeling that as nage, techniques esp. use of atemi seem to be designed to be used with a knife in the hand; the atemi that people question, saying, "why would I react so strongly to avoid that?", raises no eyebrows if you imagine the atemi with a small knife in hand, or even just the possibility in uke's mind of a knife.


Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:54 PM   #28
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,474
Re: Knife Work


You might find this interesting... Somewhere in my earlier education I came across a study of how racism, stereotypes, and profiles were all built into laws and/or worked to support laws. One example, I remember seeing a study that dealt with the felony/misdemeanor inconsistency between carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a concealed knife. The logic, when it was first posited, had to do with the fact that edged weapons were thought to be the weapon of choice of the poor (knives, razor blades, switchblades, etc.) and more specifically of the minority poor (black/latin/asian, etc.). It seemed after urbanization really took off there was always a deep cultural distaste for the knife in "American" culture. Which is one reason, for example, that "good guys" in pop culture always use their fists, their sword, or their firearm. Knives are for "bad guys." So I think folks who investigate knife work and its relation to Aiki (and vice versa) might have to sometimes come up against the echoes of this earlier cultural trend. It's crazy, but deep cultural impulses are always crazy - if you ask me.

My knife instructor used to point out that dead is dead - can't be deader - and to the dead man, well, he'll never say, "Hey, thanks for using a sword and not a knife." It's only an attempt at humor, but I always thought it was quite pointed as well. For me, its very much akin to the idea that its better or more moral to kill or hurt a man with a throw than it is with a blow. Somehow, it just doesn't seem all that right.


David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-01-2005, 03:10 PM   #29
Dojo: Kim's Hapkido
Location: California
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 86
Re: Knife Work

I think that knife techniques, both offensive and defensive, are useful and relevant to modern life and should be taught. Knives are still used by the criminal element today. Even if you cannot conceive of a situation where you would use a knife offensively, the knowledge of how to use one would certainly aid in your defense against a knife attack.

As far as resistance to learning knife, I agree with David. It's not just a modern cultural phenomena. In the "good old days," swords were much more expensive than knives (and still are today). Any village blacksmith can make knives, and they did, but sword making is a highly specialized skill. I know from my own experiments in forging, even I can make knives but a sword is far beyond my ability. Only nobility could afford swords, so swords became the weapon of nobility, or a noble weapon. The poor could only afford knives, clubs, and such, so these became low weapons; the weapons of thieves and thugs.
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