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Old 09-28-2006, 06:41 PM   #1
Al Williams
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Realistic Tanto Training

It came to my attention after a tanto session that what we where doing in the dojo did not truly reflect real life situations.
I was concerned the techniques we had learned were not enabling us to deal with a real knife. I understand that to first learn a technique it must be slowed down and pulled apart. However, it appeared that even when the techniques were well practiced they still did not allow for dynamic change.

One way we overcame this was to replace the tanto with a thick marker pen and step up the attacker's intention and aggression. This resulted in a lot of frustration on everyone's part.
The attacker was not trying to trick or out fox Nage, but there was a constant effort on uke's part to "kill" Nage even when they were being thrown and pinned.

By the end of our experiment I believe we have two conclusions. Firstly, if you are confronted with a live blade on the street you are more then likely going to get cut to some degree. That's not to say you will by seriously hurt or your technique will be ineffective but to expect to walk away unscathed is unrealistic.

Secondly, to be able to deal with a live blade on the street your dojo training must reflect possible situations that you are confronted with. Granted you can very fully recreate street situations in the dojo, but as close a possible in always best. Having committed honest attacks and resistance go a long way to achieve this.

I am interested in how other people have overcome the problem of recreating the street in the dojo and ways that our training can be improved.

Cheers. (",)
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:51 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

I don't think the street can be recreated in the dojo; it is a common martial art fantasy. In aikido, we have the kihon waza, which are a strong introduction to the art of aikido. Even a master of chess, or Go, studies basic strategies and defenses. But the real battle field is not created. There are basic lessons; they give you a sort of map. The street is always 'another story'. In my own case, I always remember the story of a 3rd dan who was stabbed to death with a butcher knife by a 13 yr old. He was pursuing the kid for reasons I cannot remember. the kid ran to the cab of a truck; and when the 3rd dan opened the door to the truck cab, in a moment of sheer violent surprise,he was stabbed and fell bleeding to death in the street. No, it is best not to fool ourselves and give ourselves confidence that is futile; we need to simply make a regularity of our practice and our serious intent to practice.

In gassho,
Mark
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:41 PM   #3
Al Williams
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

I agree that you can never create the street in the dojo. That however does not mean that we should not make an effort to recreate the environment.
I want my training to prepare me for all situations, within reason. It would be foolish not to have at least experienced a simulated "street" encounter. The more tools you have the more likely you are to be able to call on the best response.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:50 PM   #4
Fred Little
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

In accepting that you will be cut lies your only hope of survival.

or if you prefer a more canonical text::

"He who would save his life will lose it, and he that would lose it will be saved."

FL
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Old 09-28-2006, 10:11 PM   #5
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

You really have to learn how to use the knife first before you can defend against it.
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Old 09-29-2006, 02:04 AM   #6
Charles Hill
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

The research seems to show that most people do not realize a knife is involved until they have been cut several times or even more likely, not until the altercation is over. So to train "realistically" against a knife you would have to incorporate that. And I have no idea how one could do that. I have to agree with Mark on this.

Charles
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Old 09-29-2006, 03:06 AM   #7
Abasan
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

All i can say is from experience is, there's a big difference between thugs with knives and and knife fighters. Thugs, would seldom lunge at you unless they're dumb. like our typical ukes. :P

Those that don't go for the sneak attack (those will hurt you before you know you're being assaulted much less have time for self defence), they will threaten you. After that they'll wave it around your face. Angry ones will attack with both hands (1 free and 1 armed) and oft times the knife will be thrusted to the body. Others will just bugger off if you walk away.

Knife fighters are lovely, cause they go for every expose part of your body. So expect to bleed to death if you attempt to do unarmed disarming. :P

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:58 AM   #8
Kyudos
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

If your attacker shows you the knife, the likelihood is they don't really want to use it. So its the knife you don't see that you have to be wary about.

Anyone who really wants to kill you will probably knife you from behind, or with no preamble whatsoever. So you'd have to be incredibly fortuitous to perform any kind of technique.
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:16 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

I came to Aikido after years of FMA.

I would agree that the knife techniques of Aikido tend to be more traditional as if fighting someone with armor on.

I would also agree that in a real situations an attack is usually an ambush and you will get cut.

Several years ago we did an article for Black Belt Magazine on Aikido against the 5 angles of a knife (FMA) and used a live (sharp) blade. The techniques used were very effective.

IMHO, practice slowly (at first) against different grips and slash angles and you will find that Aikido can be very effective.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:34 AM   #10
Aristeia
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

seems to be an odd theme in this thread. "worst case scenario you can't defend against, so don't even bother making the training realistic". C'mon - we set up a certain scenario with our training - guy in front of you about to attack with a knife you are aware of - whether or not there are other scenarios that may arise, and whether or not they are even more likely, can't we at least practice the one scenario we *do* train in a realistic manner? That's all the OP is saying imo.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:34 AM   #11
philippe willaume
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Hello

I am practicing both aikido and medieval fencing which involve long knife (the Messer, about the size of a katana) and smaller one dagger (between a Tanto and a Wakisahi), I have just practiced both for a little over 5 years so I am pretty much a beginner.


I would say that the same could be said about the way we defend against any attack.
It does not mean that it does not work; it just means that it is presented in a way we can train and understand. I would not see what we do in dojo as a "if he does then that we do that" but more as principles and to that respect every bit of our training, tai-jutsu, ken jo and tanto.
This is true for every marshal arts, the deference being the easy with which you can transfer what you have learned in fighting situation. They all have the same difficulty to deal with surprise attack or "prison yard rush" (rush and grab and repeatedly stab, no really caring what your victim is hitting you with, after all you have the knife and he does not). Though I would say that provided that there not so much a surprise element, aikido is relatively well equipped to deal with a "prison yard rush", as it really based on not being there anymore.

That being said, from the 13the century to nowadays, if we believe court report the vast majority of fatilites from knife died of multiple stab/cut (as in plenty not 2 or 3). So we can expect to get cut but we can except to survive a few cut and thrust.

What is the most striking, when knife are involved, is our propensity to forget what we usually do when we practice open hand or weapons. Hence because we are in a disadvantageous situation, the opponent has a longer weapon than ours. We do stuff that doe not really make sense when we have a weapon of the same length.

That a guy with knife has the possibility to cut you when you try to grab his weapon hand is really nothing new.
That is exactly what we do in the first ken awase: starting from crossed blade, the bady cuts at use and we side step and counter cut at the wrist.
Or may be sometimes when we are attacked with shomen or yokomen we tenchin as we control/counter is attacking hands with our own.
Clealy attacking so exposes our forarms/hands, Why the hell should we think it is going to work if our oppoent has a longer weapon than us, when we can not make it work when we all have a weapon of the same length?

There is no technique with a knife that you are not going to find in fencing (with a sword being able to cut and to thrust) or open hand fighting.
A thrust and punch are the same thing, a cut is either shomen or yokomen.
And with a knife you can thrust as if you were punching or as if you were thrusting with a sword.

When we do open hand technique, we use atemi before and after we grabbed, those atemi can be replaced by a strike with a knife. If we can create a situation where we can do it so can our opponent.

I am not saying that defending against a knife is easy because it is not, but I think aikido shows us what does not make that much sense for use to do to as well a teach us to move to what a 16th century English fencing master called the "true place".

I am not sure that we need a more realistic Tanto training but may we need help in identifying how every thing kind of link together.

phil
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:01 AM   #12
DonMagee
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

The closest I've seen is the dog brother's knife defense videos. They do a lot of full contact sparing where on of the attackers pulls a knife out of the back of his pants in the middle of the fight. Most of them fail to defend as well.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:20 AM   #13
Dazzler
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

The problem with this thread is that everyone is focussed on the knife and techniques to deal with it.

For me of greater interest is the dialogue that accompanies the knife attack. Do people just run up and randomly attack strangers (yes of course...but how often), are people exposed to trained assassins (if yes then by the time you pluck a technique the knife is already in you) or are knife attacks predictable in any way?

eg. crimes of passion...your spurned lover in a frenzy, or some desperate addict after a quick fix.

In these cases there is usually some dialogue between the knife wielder and intended victim. Here you need to be a student of human behaviour and conflict management.

If you can recognise the warning signs, physical and verbal and spot the approach of the point where verbal turns physical then you may have opportunity to pre-empt an attack. Or better still disappear.

Geoff Thompson in the UK has writen at length on this subject - may be worth a bit of search engine time.

Personally I found scenario training useful and in real life has watched situations unravel exactly as they have when role playing in the dojo.

I dont think you can ever cover all situations but at least an insight can improve ones chances.

FWIW

D
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:28 AM   #14
Dazzler
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

This might also be of interest...

http://www.4-site.co.uk/goshin/weap1.htm
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:38 AM   #15
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Quote:
By the end of our experiment I believe we have two conclusions. Firstly, if you are confronted with a live blade on the street you are more then likely going to get cut to some degree. That's not to say you will by seriously hurt or your technique will be ineffective but to expect to walk away unscathed is unrealistic.
True.

Quote:
Secondly, to be able to deal with a live blade on the street your dojo training must reflect possible situations that you are confronted with. Granted you can very fully recreate street situations in the dojo, but as close a possible in always best. Having committed honest attacks and resistance go a long way to achieve this.
Not so true. The main thing, in my opinion, is to have some idea of what one might do. The attack/technique is never going to be exactly the same "on the street" as in the dojo, but the same fundamental principles should apply. I don't think I would like the magic marker exercise -- too much laundry to be done afterwards, and it really doesn't work like a knife, at all. It just makes a mark. If you get nicked with a knife, no big deal. If you get stabbed hard in a vital spot, it's a real issue... though you might not be dead, or even fully incapacitated.

I agree with the basic idea that a few people have mentioned above -- a sneak attack by a trained person intent on killing you is pretty darn hard to defend against. However, a lot of "knife attacks" are not really attacks, per se, but techniques of intimidation.

"Hey lady, gimme your purse."
"Oh, you have a knife! May I see it?" (benign-looking little old lady steps in closer).
At this point the theif may attempt an actual attack, but is more likely to think. "This is one crazy grandma... I'm getting out of here!" The initial strategy has failed, and the theif may not be cool-headed enough to change tactics.

Then again, maybe it's just safer to hand over the purse (and not carry something that's so easily snatched!).

Now, you wouldn't want to rely on that kind of thing too often, but the point is that an effective defense has to deal as much, or more, with the attacker's intent than with the immediate physical positions.

I also agree that:
Quote:
... there is usually some dialogue between the knife wielder and intended victim. Here you need to be a student of human behaviour and conflict management.

If you can recognise the warning signs, physical and verbal and spot the approach of the point where verbal turns physical then you may have opportunity to pre-empt an attack. Or better still disappear.
Training can never cover all possible scenarios, but it's still useful!
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:43 AM   #16
Dazzler
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Quote:
Amelia Smith wrote:

Then again, maybe it's just safer to hand over the purse (and not carry something that's so easily snatched!).
Agree.

If its something thats likely to happen and you can't move then invest in a 2nd purse and drop it and disappear quickly!

An exploding one would be nice.
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Old 09-29-2006, 02:42 PM   #17
Lan Powers
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

as kids we (several friends and I ) would agree on a day and make sure to wear old white t shirts to school as well as that one pair of ratty pants that Mom wouldn't get too worked up over...and grab markers. It becomes clear that you don't get away clean with attacks or defense but *usually* get marked/cut as well.
That sort of playing around is very illuminating. But then, we were a weird little group.
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 09-29-2006, 03:22 PM   #18
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

The problem as I see it is that the distance used to train aiki in (grabbing wrists),
is too close to be out a slashs` range, or you have to be extremely quick !!
I once heard the phrase "to be like a cat when it comes to knifes" and it does make a lot of sense.
I guess if you really want to study knife fighting,you should also do some Kali/Escrima/Phillipino
type training,we simply don't do enough tanto-training,at least in my dojo,to know anything about
knife fighting.
But then again ,the type of training we do is for the surprise attack and not for fighting with knifes per se,so if we want to know more about fighting we should look elsewhere !?!
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:56 PM   #19
Charles Hill
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Hi,

Just to expand on my previous post, the reason I feel that purely scenario type training fails is that the psychological element is not the same as the scenario trying to be imitated. The reason that most people do not realize a knife is involved is that they are in a heightened state that is on the way to total panic. To train realistically to handle a knife attack you must work on your ability to stay calm under a variety of stress situations. There are a million ways to do this all based on putting yourself in a slight stress situation and watching how your body and psyche react. Once your reaction normalizes, you then find a slightly more stressful situation.

For ex. Many years ago I walked by a junkyard on the way to work. There was one place where a huge dog would throw itself at the fence going after passerbys. It was extremely educational to watch myself as I approached the area, when the dog would go nuts, and then how I reacted when I was walking away. What I learned there was far more helpful in terms of combat than any work I have done with a wooden "tanto."

2 more points
-some people have mentioned filipino work. I read somewhere that the old filipino knife masters were all extremely religious and fervently believed that whatever happened to them was fate. I believe that that was the base of their ability to successfully deal with the knife, much more than any drill.
-it is my understanding that knife assaults are much more common in the uk than the us where guns are more freely available

Charles
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Old 09-29-2006, 07:27 PM   #20
eyrie
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote:
If its something thats likely to happen and you can't move then invest in a 2nd purse and drop it and disappear quickly!
Indeed. Always carry a 2nd purse or wallet with $10-$20, with some expired cards, but nothing that would give away your current personal information (like addresses/drivers license), that you could hand over to an armed bandit - i.e. be prepared to lose this wallet/purse.

Replacing stolen cards, and such like is a real hassle - not to mention the possibility of identity theft, or the bandit knowing where you live!

Ignatius
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:11 PM   #21
dps
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
Indeed. Always carry a 2nd purse or wallet with $10-$20, with some expired cards, but nothing that would give away your current personal information (like addresses/drivers license), that you could hand over to an armed bandit - i.e. be prepared to lose this wallet/purse.
Don't hand your purse or wallet to the bandit, toss it to and behind him. When he goes to get the wallet or purse this will give you an opening to run away.
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:24 PM   #22
eyrie
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

OK, run if you must... but I don't feel I need to... I don't like running, and I'm too old and creaky to run anywhere fast. He wants my wallet, he can have it (the fake one that is). Most bandits will take the money and run. They ain't gunna hang around waiting for something to happen - unless you give em a reason to. Never show fear and never do anything to escalate the situation. Run if you must/can/want/need.

Ignatius
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Old 09-30-2006, 12:25 AM   #23
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

A lot of people are of the opinion that Filipino Martial Arts are the bees knees when it comes to knife fighting. Well, being Filipino myself and having trained in some styles of FMA, I can say that the knife techniques are pretty sneaky. Edgar Sulite (God rest his soul) used to teach that if the defender attempted a "classical" juji-uke (x-block) against a knife thrust, the attacker would trap both blocking hands and proceed to do exploratory surgery.
Also about the fatalistic attitude of the knife masters: In the Philippines we call that "Bahala na" (come what may). And its not limited to the eskrimadors. One could write a whole socio-anthropological dissertation on "Bahala na".
As a final note, I must add that the percentage of Filipinos who have trained in FMA is actually very small, similar to the percentage of Japanese who train in Aikido. During my medical training, I rotated in the emergency department of the largest hospital in Manila, and saw a lot of victims of knife and stab wounds. None of these were caused by FMA "knife masters". Just thugs, petty goons , and other lowlifes who got drunk enough to pull out their balisong and stick it into their drinking partner.
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Old 09-30-2006, 12:33 AM   #24
xuzen
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

Realistic is when your training partner is holding a live blade slashing at you wildly, and you attempt to do a technique. Can you do that routinely in an dojo without getting wounded? I can't...

In dojo practice, I see very often my dojo mates "Forget" to employ atemi when executing a response. I see a very dramatic change in uke's response when he was hit/surprised with an atemi vis-a-vis without. It is so much easier to execute an aikido technique when uke is inconvenient with an atemi. I know, I was uke for both the scenarios.

Go on try it, atemi first.

Back to being realistic: Should one is confronted with a knife wielding assailant(s), and assuming you have tried
i) Escaping
ii) Shouting for help
iii) To Look for a weapon to even the odds
iv) You are not LEO or in security work
and failed, then try your very best and pray that said assailants are not Kali/Sayoc experts.

Boon.

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Old 09-30-2006, 08:37 AM   #25
SeiserL
 
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Re: Realistic Tanto Training

I would agree that all dojo training is by definition unrealistic, yet it is far better than not training at all.

I would also agree that the majority of people don't train in any art, as attacker or defender.

We are making a good case for cross-training, or at least cross-awareness, so we can be more conscious of what is possible.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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