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Old 04-04-2008, 02:21 PM   #226
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Cough...NONE of what we (all of us) do in a dojo is realistic. Not Tanto shiai, not Chris's vids, not anything I've ever done in a sport or MA context is"real" as far as dealing with someone attacking you with a knife. If that was my only observation (it's not real) I wouldn't have bothered to post.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 04-04-2008 at 02:36 PM.

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Old 04-04-2008, 02:26 PM   #227
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Well I, for one, do not think and did not suggest that you are not getting anywhere. It's obvious to me that this type of practice has some value. However, I do see several problems in these knife randori videos, and the reason I suggested training in an art with an established full-resistance grappling component is that these are not experimental practices in those systems. They've been doing them for decades and have already worked out many of the kinks and developed training methods that lead to success against full resistance. If you've done BJJ and enjoyed it then maybe you should also look into one of the other arts with more of a stand-up component.

That said, if you think these videos do not properly represent the entirety of your practice then why don't you post videos and descriptions documenting the other elements of your training? I'd be interested in seeing what else you are doing besides this.
Hey there was not one personal attack in that pose, those are pretty rare, hahaha.

Nice post. I might do some regular class video's pretty soon here. I've been thinking about doing a shihonage video just for kicks.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

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Old 04-04-2008, 02:35 PM   #228
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I would love to see the shiho vid, shiho is one of my faves!
Best,
Ron

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Old 04-04-2008, 03:34 PM   #229
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
So we can see the rules of Tomiki Tanto competition specifically forbid almost ALL of the activity from Chris' videos.
There can be no comparison of the activities we see since the RULES are chalk and cheese.

Suddenly Chris' vids start to look more realistic if the alternative is so incredibly rule-bound.
sigh...

Like Ron said, but also going back to my own point. The rules are there to keep the shape of the practice as close to the goals and ideals of non-randori Aikido as possible. In my sword line we do a kind of freestyle shiai with fukuro shinai. While it is possible to hit someone using footwork and strikes from outside of our ryu-ha's paradigm, it is considered a failure on the part of the practitioner to do so. Our shiai serves to *reinforce* what we do in our solo kata. It's the same with our tameshigiri and paired waza. The struggle becomes creating a cohesive whole rather than looking for new answers. Certainly there is an experimental quality with any freestyle training exercise but those experiments should serve to shed light on why what we do is done that way, not to find new solutions.

Look at the whole MMA thing. Early UFC was fascinating because you had these very different fighters coming together and seeing how X art worked against Y art. Really interesting to see different fighter's paradigm blow up in their faces. Now, everyone fights about the same (or at least you'lll admit it's much more similar). You could argue that the arts have grown through the experience, but it's really taken on its own flavor and that flavor has been shaped by the rules. I'm not passing any value judgement on that by the way. It's not good, it's not bad, but MMA today is its own thing. If you want to do Aikido, it's important to be experienced enough within that paradigm to make intelligent decisions about how one trains.

Chris Moses
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:21 PM   #230
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Cough...NONE of what we (all of us) do in a dojo is realistic. Not Tanto shiai, not Chris's vids, not anything I've ever done in a sport or MA context is"real" as far as dealing with someone attacking you with a knife. If that was my only observation (it's not real) I wouldn't have bothered to post.
Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
sigh...

Like Ron said, but also going back to my own point. The rules are there to keep the shape of the practice as close to the goals and ideals of non-randori Aikido as possible. In my sword line we do a kind of freestyle shiai with fukuro shinai. While it is possible to hit someone using footwork and strikes from outside of our ryu-ha's paradigm, it is considered a failure on the part of the practitioner to do so. Our shiai serves to *reinforce* what we do in our solo kata. It's the same with our tameshigiri and paired waza. The struggle becomes creating a cohesive whole rather than looking for new answers. Certainly there is an experimental quality with any freestyle training exercise but those experiments should serve to shed light on why what we do is done that way, not to find new solutions.

Look at the whole MMA thing. Early UFC was fascinating because you had these very different fighters coming together and seeing how X art worked against Y art. Really interesting to see different fighter's paradigm blow up in their faces. Now, everyone fights about the same (or at least you'lll admit it's much more similar). You could argue that the arts have grown through the experience, but it's really taken on its own flavor and that flavor has been shaped by the rules. I'm not passing any value judgement on that by the way. It's not good, it's not bad, but MMA today is its own thing. If you want to do Aikido, it's important to be experienced enough within that paradigm to make intelligent decisions about how one trains.
Really nice posts there.
I think we all need to get away from the fantasy that anything we do in the Dojo is going to be the same as an actual confrontation. In a "fight" there are no rules at all, and all parties hate one another. In a Dojo, we all like each other, and we have all kinds of safety precautions.

As David was saying earlier, things we can learn from these various drills and practices can teach us things that will carry over into all aspects of our lives. Like physical confrontation or life in general. Developing the calm or unfettered mind (the ability to be present now, and not attached to past or future), mental toughness, and physical conditioning, will go a very long way in a "fight".

Development of self is the real goal (in my opinion) of all martial arts. If you get into lots of fights, you will eventually become a good fighter without ever training in the martial arts. Training in the martial arts teaches you to become a good person. For me I don't get in fights on a regular basis these days, and it's a direct result of becoming a better person.

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Old 04-04-2008, 08:41 PM   #231
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Segment 9 - the last one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonabeYz3LE

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:42 PM   #232
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Here is how I have come to understand things. There are two wheels to the cart that is Budo training. 1) There is the type of training that helps you to gain the form that distinguishes your set of tactical applications. This has to do with artistic parameters, stylistic preferences, given technical architectures, etc. This type of training is by default best marked by theory, cooperative training, etc., and takes advantage of idealized training environments, slow training, diagrams, repetition, etc. 2) There is the type of training that works to bring the former training off of the chalkboard and out of the laboratory and into environments where it can remain viable as a living art or state of being – places where it is expected to interact and respond with the natural/living world and at the speed of life.

In my experience, most martial arts training as it is practiced today focuses on only the first type of training. Why? Here are a few possible reasons: It is marketable – i.e. one can sell it; it requires little personal investment (relative to the second type of training); and it can adopt a pedagogical approach that remains akin to the dominant pedagogy we see everywhere in the modern world today. That is to say, it is and remains familiar.

As for the second type of training – why so rare? Here are a few reasons: It remains non-marketable because as it aims to move the practitioner beyond the packaging of this art or that art, it itself cannot be packaged, labeled, etc. If anything, it is antithetical to packaging of any kind. Additionally, as the first type of training has more of itself leaning on things physical (i.e. body movements, stances, etc.), the second type of training mostly pertains to the way the mind/spirit relates to the body’s capacity to move and/or be. This means the practitioner is going to have to have more of him/herself participate, revealed, observed, and transformed. In a world plagued by delusion, denial, self-anxiety, self-alienation, and intimacy issues, this is a huge burden to bear. Often it is too huge a burden for the average person wanting to train in the martial arts today – my opinion. Finally, the second type of training remains rare in today’s world because the instruction in it is as much an art form as that which it seeks to cultivate. This is because instruction here pertains more to a mind-to-mind transmission than it does to anything else. That is to say, training and instruction at this level is highly particular – in terms of being, space, and time.

That said, and this is why I posted the videos, while the two type of training are related, even inter-related, it’s quite out of place to judge the second type of training by the standards of the first. Why? Because, in many ways, the second type of training has to undo what was done in the first type of training.

Now, if you are having to do this on your own, which most of us will have to do if we look to chase (FOR REAL) this illusive aiki-spontaneity, and you will be default have to look to undoing what was done in the first type of training, well… You are going to look like a mess, but only when folks are judging you, WRONGLY, from the first type of training.

So, I would like to propose this another way… Here’s the problem before you (the practitioner):

You are learning an art form (e.g. Aikido). You practice the forms over and over, develop the particulars, generate the right power sources, etc. And, then, you realize, all that information, all those accomplishments, don’t directly translate into the living world, and definitely not at the speed of life. Now, what are you going to do? Do you just give up and stay in the green house – the realm of controlled environments? Do you go looking for another art that is supposed to “work”? Do you deny that the problem is really you?

If you answer all these questions the right way, what then? What does a training that bridges the gap between form and spontaneity look like if not this? And, if you got it on film, please show it so we can talk better about it.

thanks,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:20 PM   #233
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

David, I really enjoy reading your posts and find them very thought provoking. Thanks for spending the time. It spurs my training on, down here on the other side of the world! Guy.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:04 PM   #234
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Really nice post David.

Funny because for me, I couldn't help but take my training down the path it's gone. Training this way seemed the most natural progression. When the training started to bare fruit, I was shocked that no one else could see the "fruit".

The first time I got a shiho nage against a noncooperative person was like magic for me. I had never seen another Aikidoka do one, and often had doubts that they even could be done. When my students started doing them I just about fell over, because they were doing things much faster then I was able too.

However it took me until this last month to realize that when I show these things to people they are not looking at the same parts I am. I now look at the brief moments of success, because I'm used to seeing failure. When you look at the practice from the eyes of theory however, you can only see millions of mistakes.

Both ways of looking at the scenario are correct, and most of the comments people make are valid, it’s just not what I'm looking at right now. And it’s taken me an awfully long time to understand it...

Last edited by ChrisHein : 04-07-2008 at 11:10 PM.

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Old 04-08-2008, 01:44 AM   #235
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Thanks for the replies.

Please let me share the following – it just happened. Our dojo has an email list. We use this list to send out various writings, videos, articles, etc., the stuff you see on our website (eventually – as our website is about two years behind in publication). All this stuff is meant to supplement mat time. Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to send out the same videos I posted here, so folks in our dojo could see how “lame” they were five years ago, how much they’ve grown as martial artists, etc., since then.

This list is open to anyone that wants to be on it – not just dojo members. Folks are on the list from all over. One person on the list is a senpai of mine – under Iseri Shihan. When we trained with Iseri Shihan, Sensei used to do a drill not that different from what we are doing in the video. If I had to describe the drill Sensei did, it was a bit more simple in design. There was only one move that each person did back and forth. There was no three-count pattern, and folks could not tweak the pattern however they wanted, and it was never opened up to include other types of attacks, etc. However, and nonetheless, it was in essence the same drill in that there was an exchange of energy that one did over and over again and that one thereby responded to. I did this drill with Sensei, and my senpai did this drill with Sensei. Anyways, this senpai of mine, he sees the videos you all have just seen, and he tells me the following:

“Today I was asked if I would ever teach again, and I said, ‘If I did, it would not do Aikido, I would do my own thing. When I saw your videos, it made me want to get on the mat again as an instructor. I was glad to see you are doing what I wanted to do, your own thing.’”

I thought, “Wow, what a strange reply to the videos.” Why? Because from my point of view, what we are doing in the videos is Aikido – it’s the part you do when you want to take that first type of training in into the living world, where it functions at the speed of life.

When I heard what I senpai said, I knew where he was coming from. He was coming from identifying that first type of training, described in my previous post, with the whole of Aikido. For me, that is a mistake. Why? Because Aikido is supposed to be a living art, it’s supposed to function in real environments, etc., and that first type of training is by default not supposed to. For me, this means, that first type of training can never be, should not be, mistaken for the whole of Aikido. It’s just the doorway. It’s not the path, and it’s certainly not the destination.

Chris, when I see your video, I focused in on the moments of success as well. Here is what I saw – and let me say I never really heard from you what you are doing, so I may be totally off:

I saw a practitioner saying, “Let me see if I can do Aikido in less idealized environments than in kihon waza. Now, I’m not going to open this training environment up completely, because, first, that is very hard to do, second, it may make it unnecessary to do Aikido waza, and third, opening things up completely is not necessary to raise the issue of the chasm between form and the spontaneity that lies beyond form – that which I want to reconcile/bridge. So, I’m going to stick this knife in the drill, and I’m gong to assign the “attacker” a task, one that does not lend itself to the cooperation mandated by kihon waza, but one that contributes to the energy prints that support the basic techniques of the art. This will keep me from simply “fighting” or “surviving,” and it will force me to face the logic of Aikido waza but, now, under more impermanent, less predictable, conditions. It is important I have less predictable, more impermanent conditions, because this is the birthing hut out of which spontaneity is both cultivated and necessitated. What I’m going to do with this training is analyze my performance not by the totality of the interaction, but, rather, I’m going to look at moments, or instances, in the interaction where energy prints appear or manifest themselves and I respond accordingly – spontaneously – with Aikido waza. As for what happens in between, those durations in the training are either moments where I did not recognize the energy print, or they are moments where I keep the training going for the sake of not having the inconvenience of starting over, over, and over again.”

Well, this is what I saw, and when seeing things this way, I saw the following in your video:

27 seconds - Rokkyo
45 seconds - Kokyu Nage
1:32 seconds - Nikyo
3:28 seconds - Kote Gaeshi
5:54 seconds – Rokkyo

For me, this was impressive. Why? Because this is not just Rokkyo from Kihon Waza, for example. This is not just the Rokkyo of Shu training. This is the Rokkyo of Ha. This is the Aikido of Ri. As for what came before, and for what came after in the drill, all that, well, it’s like the birthing process. A lot of junk comes out before, and a lot of junk comes out after. Even so, no one should be going, “Wow! Look at all that junk.” Instead, you say, “Wow! Congratulations! It’s a brand new, living, baby boy!” I mean, why would one say, “Look at all that junk?” Here’s why? Because the nice, clear, beginning of Kihon Waza, that part that just figures all the spontaneous issues out for you, for the sake of you learning a form, is not being recognized for what it is: that which prevents you from being spontaneous with the art. People are trying to judge a spontaneous birthing of the art by the very thing (i.e. the characteristics of Kihon Waza) that inhibits that birthing. For me, that just makes no sense.

Now, some have suggested that what is in my video is not in Chris’ and vice versa. I’ve said it is the same training. I get that they don’t look the same, but this doesn’t make it different at its core. I don’t want to put Chris’ training down, as I’ve said, I think he is very skilled. But, I do want to be able to say that my training, and my drills, looked just like Chris did – twenty years ago. What one is seeing my videos now is folks following the foot steps of someone that has gone before. But, when I went, when there was not “someone that went before” for me, I looked just like what you see in Chris’ videos. Actually, mine were probably worse, as I was not wise enough to set up some parameters. Rather, the school I used to belong to used to do a thing called “street sparring.” It would have been called MMA now. And, we had three such sparring sessions per week – with one of those sessions open to everyone from every dojo in town. After I got tired of trying to develop a game, after I started seeking true spontaneity, I just threw myself into the mix. Oh boy, did I get my ass handed to me. However, I would not allow myself to just do whatever. I struggled and struggled until I did the art I was practicing. Until I could, I looked like a mess, and even the folks that I used to hand their ass to, used to look at me like I had gone crazy, as I let them break my nose and bruise my ribs, etc., until I could respond with more than just a set game – until I became spontaneous.

I would ask that folks think of it like this – this forging a path and this following a path. When Bodhidharma searched for his own spontaneity, he cut off his eyelids and sat staring at a wall for years – forcing Awakening upon him. That is what it is like for all forgers of the path. When Lin Chi brought his students to awakening, he would hit them with a stick. That is what it’s like for followers that have had a path set before them. Both methods are meant to have the practitioner move beyond the confines of paradigms and habitual patterns of thinking, to move beyond logic, traditional teachings, and reason, to not lean on any model, but to instead open up to the direct experience of being. They look different, but they are really the same.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:17 AM   #236
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I don't know that I agree with all of the statements, but Man, David, what an awesome post! One day I will make it to your school.

Best,
Ron

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Old 04-08-2008, 08:13 AM   #237
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I'll reiterate what I've said before. Remove the knife and replace it with a stick and I think your training paradigm works better. By "your", I mean Chris' and David's. I watched the first three and half of the fourth vid posted by David. I won't offer any comments on the training itself, but I do have some major complaints on the "tool" used for your training.

And I really can't say I agree with what you're doing by using a knife. It brings back things I've been told like, you fight like you train, what you train a 1000 times is burned into your body, ichi go ichi e, it isn't a bokken but rather a 3 foot razor, etc. And I watch the vids and I see people lazily moving around with a knife like it's some blunt tool designed to add just a bit of stress.

You are training to be negligent around a razor blade. A knife cuts and it does so easily and permanently. How you train around that "tanto" *will* reflect how you do so outside the training environment. And all it takes is 1/2 of a second for that knife edge to slip inside your wrist for you to bleed out. Anyone with an utter lack of skill can flail away with a knife blade -- it doesn't take a skilled knife fighter.

Review those posted vids and look at each time the knife comes close to your body. How easy would it have been for uke to flick the wrist and cut something vital? I don't know how to get the seriousness of this across.

Someone I know says this to me, (paraphrasing) your training is in your hands.

All IMO,
Mark
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:24 AM   #238
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I understand your concerns Mark, and share them...but after watching David's vids, I just don't have as strong a concern there. Do me a favor...pic one of the vids, and a timeframe within it. Doesn't have to be more than 30 secs. Break down what you would do differently, with your background in FMA. At least that way I could learn more about your objection to David's material.

Thanks and Best,
Ron

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Old 04-08-2008, 09:20 AM   #239
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Ron,

I'll take a stab...wink.

David's videos show a give and take. They develop a rhythm to and fro which allows for striking between the beats.

His method has incorporated into the structure of his aikido this "give and take" so that there seems to be a greater emphasis on a actual fighting. Instead of uke...now either in the dance can become uke.

I agree with David as to his posting and his distinctions between the "accepted and marketable" vs. what he refers to as being special, unique and perhaps more deadly. It is a bold step on his part. But, one in which many aikido stylists feel comfortable. He is still staying within the style, the etiquette, dress etc.

The moves are good...but, the change in "long notes and short notes, stacato and syncopation are lacking.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

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Old 04-08-2008, 09:32 AM   #240
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Thanks Joseph...if I may distill your statement a bit...

You feel that positionally and tactically the movements are sound...but the weakness is that changes in timing and irregular beats would be the next level of sophistication to master?

Thanks,
Ron (always trying to learn new things)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:50 AM   #241
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Ron,

Video 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIecOIJENds

0:46-1:03 At this point, the two seem more focused on moving and flowing than on using the knife as a knife. Mostly, you have shomen and munetsuki attacks, which, IMO, weren't really focused on using the knife but rather giving tori an attack to "blend" with. Substitute a knife for a stick and the drill actually would flow better. Otherwise, you could modify the attacks with just a simple flick of the wrist and either of them are going to be cutting arteries. Which means, no nice flowy movements, but bleeding out and dying. What's the point of letting a knife get that close to you just so you can create some flowing drill?

IMO, you have one of two options.
1. Change to a stick.
2. Use the knife as it should be used and don't just shomen or munetsuki, but target the cuts for lethality. But, if you do that, the drill changes to something different.

1:07-1:42. Take the knife away and all they're doing is push hands. Why add the knife? It serves no purpose there -- purpose being defined by what a knife is supposed to do: kill. Take away the knife and the drill works. But, as it is, the knife really isn't doing much except being an extension of the hand. IMO, use a stick if you want extension without a sharp cutting instrument.

3:04-3:09 There are a few cuts to the outside of the elbow. If you train this way in a flowing drill and get used to the "tanto" doing this, but both uke and tori, then when faced with a real knife, you are probably going to think it's okay to do something like this because you'll flow into some lock or pin or throw or something. That'll get you killed. Not because of the cut to the outside of the elbow, but because of how easy it is for the knife to go *inside* the arm rather than outside. Look at those elbow cuts and you'll notice uke has time for target placement, even in this drill. Once that knife is inside the arm, you're in trouble. That's where all the soft, killing spots are located.

That's just a sample. Most everything I saw used the knife, more as a training "stress" inducer and less as an implement of lethality. And if you move/react as you train ... you're training to be complacent about how deadly the knife really is.

All IMO,
Mark
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:59 AM   #242
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Hi Joseph,
I agree on that aspect, too. But, I think before you get to adding that kind of training, you have to have an understanding of the knife's capabilities and how lethal it really is. There's a lack of that showing through in these videos. I see more "flowing" drills which, to me, can be better accomplished through unarmed or stick.

A stick in the right hands can be devastating, but in "normal" hands, it's more like a club. But, a knife ... even in "normal" hands, all it takes is a fraction of a second for one small cut to end a life.

If the attacker has a stick and you're reaching in, yeah, you can get fingers or hand or wrist broken. You can walk away from that. With a knife, you're going to expose the inside of the wrist. You might not walk away from that.

IMO,
Mark
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:01 AM   #243
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I agree that how you train, is how you fight. If you train with a cooperative attacker, then your body expects a cooperative attacker in a fight. However if your attacker is noncooperative in a fight (which is a given), then your body will not know how to access your training, and revert back to it’s natural reactionary state. Which includes things like trying to block and cover from knife attacks, and turning your back.

I know this is a fact, because I’ve seen several black belts do this when faced with aggressive noncooperative weapon attacks. So for me, all the idealized knife techniques in the world are useless if you can’t train them noncooperatively. The reason being, you won’t be able to access them in a noncooperative situation (a fight).

Eventually in our practice, you might see clean interactions and you’ll see idealized knife handling, when an experienced person goes against a non experienced person. Time will tell. I do know that cooperative training has not done this in any of the black belts I’ve trained with.

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Old 04-08-2008, 10:08 AM   #244
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Thanks Joseph...if I may distill your statement a bit...

You feel that positionally and tactically the movements are sound...but the weakness is that changes in timing and irregular beats would be the next level of sophistication to master?

Thanks,
Ron (always trying to learn new things)
Ron,

Yes...there is always a greater level to master. Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in the "limitations" of the style, the form, the concept and the teacher.

For instance, a kata is only one series of movements. It is only a dot on the spiral of a spectrum. (I say spiral because a straight line presumes a right way and wrong way of doing things. I say spiral because there is a beginning and an end, a new beginning and a probable new ending.)

In David's movements if you used a clock to time them, they would be the same in terms of the beat and monotone. They are predictable in terms of the clock.

If you analyze his hand techniques they are the same in terms of their large circles. In other words, he should spiral from large to smaller, to miniscule and back to larger and than to expansive. When he does this he will be able to blend to fast or slow or medium punches. He thus has a mechanism to adjust.

His next step then should be to go from large muscles to twitch muscles. In this way, the timing can be further managed, controlled and manipulated.

Nonetheless, he is definitely on the right track. He is going from prescribed form to "blending, grasping and manipulating" any variable as it changes. And you are correct in seeing it.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:11 AM   #245
MM
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I agree that how you train, is how you fight. If you train with a cooperative attacker, then your body expects a cooperative attacker in a fight. However if your attacker is noncooperative in a fight (which is a given), then your body will not know how to access your training, and revert back to it's natural reactionary state. Which includes things like trying to block and cover from knife attacks, and turning your back.

I know this is a fact, because I've seen several black belts do this when faced with aggressive noncooperative weapon attacks. So for me, all the idealized knife techniques in the world are useless if you can't train them noncooperatively. The reason being, you won't be able to access them in a noncooperative situation (a fight).

Eventually in our practice, you might see clean interactions and you'll see idealized knife handling, when an experienced person goes against a non experienced person. Time will tell. I do know that cooperative training has not done this in any of the black belts I've trained with.
Hi Chris,
I haven't touched on any of this in my posts. So, please don't take my opinions as pertaining to how you're training. My only comments to the posted vids are in regards to how the knife is being utilized. Unarmed or a stick would work better, IMO. But, that's just me.

Mark
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:41 AM   #246
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Thanks Joseph and Mark,

Very informative comments.

Mark, I see this (at least in David's vids) as a progression, and I think I can excuse the use of the knife in this drill, even though, from a holistic view, stick would be better. After all, you have to start somewhere, and I think David has found a pretty good medium.

Next time we get together, please have a short stick on hand...I pretty much know already, I wouldn't do as well as David is...but it would be good to see again just **how much** I suck...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:09 AM   #247
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Thanks Joseph and Mark,

Very informative comments.

Mark, I see this (at least in David's vids) as a progression, and I think I can excuse the use of the knife in this drill, even though, from a holistic view, stick would be better. After all, you have to start somewhere, and I think David has found a pretty good medium.

Next time we get together, please have a short stick on hand...I pretty much know already, I wouldn't do as well as David is...but it would be good to see again just **how much** I suck...

Best,
Ron
Ron,
I was replying to Budd in another forum trying to nail down a weekend to get together. But, when we do, I'll bring a stick and the practice knife (not tanto). Cold steel against flesh does wonders for ingraining some respect. LOL!

Heck, watching David, I don't know if I'd be as good. I never said they were doing badly at what they are doing. Just that I don't agree with using the knife that way.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #248
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

I think there are a few things to consider in light of what Mark is saying. I’ll start with the less subtle and work my way down. I also think it might be wise to at least take a look at the segment 9 video – if you had to just see one.

I’d like to address the point of why a knife – which I am basically understanding as “Why not a knife?”

First, let me say that my own training and life, at least in my own attempts, have fused into a warrior lifestyle. In short, I seek to apply decades of personal training, with a history of centuries regarding martial tradition, to my career as a law enforcement officer – vice versa, back and forth, in and out, right and left, etc. As such, for example, as a weapon of old defined the warrior that carried it, I am always armed – with many weapons, and of different type. It’s my duty, it’s my station, it’s my choice, it’s my Way. All of this has it’s practical individual end, but this is ultimately about a way of being for me.

When one comes to me from this point of view, and poses the question of knife fighting, I will admit here that – FOR ME -nothing in the Filipino, or even anything I learned from my knife fighting instructor, Mr. Michael Robert Pick, regarding the drills they do/did, satisfies the practicality of surviving a knife encounter. Additionally, these drills also do not satisfy the way of using a knife as a weapon when your intent is to kill with it. Why?

For me, those drills are just that – drills. Drills cannot satisfy life-questions/live questions. As drills, they teach and cultivate only a part of the equation. As such, they leave out the rest of the equation to other drills. By doing this, like wherever else this is done, the practitioner is again faced with the same problem I am attempting to discuss here – bridging the gap between form and spontaneity. Only this bridge can satisfy the question of practicality.

However, there is also this: Because I would never look to fight with or survive a knife encounter via the drills I see in Filipino martial arts or what I did with Mr. Pick, I can tell you, it is true, I’m not interested in that “realism” of knife fighting when doing our own drills. This is undoubtedly why it is so easy for me to do what we are doing, as I am choosing not to do something that I do not feel is of such great value.

In short, those more common knife-fighting drills do not represent REALITY for me. For me, anytime you have to face off with a knife, or any time you let yourself be “stand off-ed” with a knife, as you often do in those drills, you have moved away from the reality of that weapon and/or you have seriously messed up in its proper application. This is one reason why we do not, at our dojo, practice tanto dori techniques. It’s all fake – as all drills are and even as a tactical application. This, I’m suggesting here, is also the reason why we aren’t so bothered by what’s “real” and “not real” by the usual knife fighting standards when we are doing our drill. For us, we are clearly not doing knife fighting, and we are clearly not doing knife defense training. We are not confused into believing we are doing these things just because we are holding a knife. As I said, knife defense training for us looks (in principle) like what can be seen on this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeqjlN24Hns

As for knife attack training – it’s an ambush weapon for us. As such, the main point is to avoid stand-off situations, find your target(s), leave, and let nature do the rest. To put it simple.

Second, the train as you fight/fight as your train point… This is exactly what we are trying to get away from. Why? What is “this”? This is attachment to habitual/patterned behavior. This is the absence of true spontaneity. This is the inability to adapt, decide, and respond. This is being out of communion with the here and now. This is being stuck.

I will not suggest that one cannot achieve a great many things via this training model. However, I attribute any tactical successes to the matching of games, such that success or its absence is determined more by the match-up than by the skill of a given person.

My student, now himself a state-certified arrest and control instructor, has this saying when it comes to trying to get the most out of habitual reactions (i.e. what is not true spontaneous capability): “It is all training for the lowest common denominator.” What does he mean? He means that when you are faced with county budgets, etc., and you are looking to train folks (e.g. law enforcement officers) that do not want to or cannot afford to take the time to invest personally in the path to true martial practicality (which ends with spontaneity), you try and develop things that they can do even when they may not want to or are able to know they are doing it. You try to build an instinct.

We are, in these drills, not trying to train for the lowest common denominator. We expect not to react out of habit one and only one way around a knife. We expect ourselves not to have the high point of our training be the development of an instinct that is below us as human beings – that is more akin to animal instincts. The expectation we hold for ourselves is to have the capacity to do what is appropriate as what is appropriate is determined by the situation. We are not train as you fight, fight as you train. We are train as prescribed, fight as appropriate.

I will give you a story to relate this better. We are training someone for appropriate response. We are also looking to cultivate a stress inoculation. So, the situation is pretty intense. We have a trainee before. Because we know, due to his lack of training, this type of training, he cannot be trusted with his weapons. We have him unload his firearm and remove all ammunition from his duty belt. We take away his pepper spray and we remove the cartridge from his taser. He allowed to keep his baton and his de-cartridged taser. The situation only requires him to move. To get off the line, to not get corners, to remain mobile and to thereby keep his tactical options open. My student, a senior deputy, is the stressor. He confronts him, like a seasoned parolee might/would. The trainee cannot get off the line – and that was all that was asked of him. He’s caught wondering what to do next, always behind the moment. The stress is releasing hormones that are making it hard for him to remain present. You can see his breath shallow up, his eyes widening but seeing less and less, etc. He’s being backed into a corner. What’s he do? He’s stuck in the corning! He’s freaking out! He pulls out his taser in habitual reaction to fear and tases his senior deputy with a drive stun.

Some people there, those that are used to or only know the “least common denominator” training said, “Good, that’s what you do when you get pushed into a corner.” Others, us that don’t train for the lowest common denominator said, “Wow, that was an out-of-control tasing. He had no idea he was about to tase his supervisor. That is not good, as an expert law enforcement officer never does anything out of control – never out of habit.”

If you want to understand why or how this is so important for us, simply ask yourself this: What kind of officer do you want coming to your house late one night when you have called to report an intruder – one that is still in your house – and the situation has your children and your spouse in different locations from you and from each other. Do you want the instinct-based habit-driven officer searching your home for the invader armed with his/her carbine/shotgun and his/her game/trained reaction, or do you want the spontaneous-capable officer armed with the same weapon but not burdened by habit and pattern? I know which one I want, and so that is the person I train to become.

Third, while I and others at our dojo train toward martial applications, most of our dojo members have no such intention. These other members are not after being able to enter a home to find an intruder. Rather, they are after the body/mind capable of doing so in the manner I just described. They are after a capacity to not be plagued by attachment, habit, pattern, etc. They are after spontaneity, but they are after it for its greater reasons.

As I said earlier, mistakes made within spontaneous training are all mistakes of the heart/mind/spirit. In form’s training, if we do not enter enough, we say, “You need to take a bigger step.” In spontaneous training, if we do not enter enough, we say, “You must face your fears,” as it does you no good to there say, “You need to take a bigger step.” The step is being sized by fear. Address, reconcile, the fear, and the step will be the appropriate size.

In form’s training, when one is pushing back too much on Uke, we say, “You have to blend by stepping back here and at this time.” In spontaneous training, when one is pushing back too much on Uke, we say, “You must be humble, not filled with pride,” as it does you no good there to say, “You have to blend by stepping back here and at this time.” The resistance is being powered by pride. Address, reconcile, the pride, and the blend will manifest itself appropriately.

In form’s training, when one is holding too tightly and not remaining fluid with their footwork, we say, “Bend your knees, breathe, and move.” In spontaneous training, when one is holding too tightly and not remaining fluid with their footwork, we say, “Accept the world is impermanent, you cannot control it, accept your own death,” as it does no good to there say, “Bend your knees, breathe, and move.” The attachment and the lack of fluidity is being powered by ignorance. Address, reconcile, the ignorance, and mobility and fluidity will manifest appropriately.

Most of the folks that train under me are looking for these reconciliations: the reconciliation of fear, the reconciliation of pride, and the reconciliation of ignorance. They are looking to cultivate themselves according to these three reconciliations not to remain injury-free during combat. Rather, they are looking to cultivate themselves according to these three reconciliations to face the trials of life and of being. They are not looking to reduce the physical suffering that may be theirs via a fight. They are looking to reduce the amount of self-created suffering that we put on ourselves and those around us whenever we are set to live a habitual existence that is based upon fear, pride, and ignorance. They have chosen Budo to cultivate these reconciliations not because of what it can do for them in a fight, but rather for how their attachment to fear, pride, and ignorance is so clearly revealed to them via the universal phobia of human-on-human violence.

It’s true, we could have used a stick and not a knife, but for these people it matters not which one we used, as issues of fear, pride, and ignorance are always present because we are present – so we used a knife.

This is where we are coming from - why we do what we do, why we don't do what we don't do. I'm not out to refute anyone or anything, only here to explain what one is seeing. It is my hope that more folks venture out in this direction, that more folks cut their eyelids off, etc., and not be intimidated by the status quo.

many thanks,
d

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:39 AM   #249
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

[quote=David Valadez;203322]I think there are a few things to consider in light of what Mark is saying. I'll start with the less subtle and work my way down. I also think it might be wise to at least take a look at the segment 9 video -- if you had to just see one.

David,

Well written and well thought out. Excellent post.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

PS I'm originally from Guadalupe, CA in Santa Barbara County.

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:49 AM   #250
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Re: Knife Randori Videos

Nice posts everyone - thanks.

While I answered why not a knife in the my last post, it seems some folks missed my answer to why a knife in an earlier post. There were two main reasons - one Mark noted already:

1. The knife provides stress - a stick will not. As we are interested in reconciling fear, but we are working on a beginner drill here, we need to have fear present but in a way that it is not going to stop the practitioner from moving at all. So, what do you do? You get a fake knife and you keep the energy low.

2. The knife, in my experience, lends itself to fluid continuous movement, which is something we are after. Folks can almost instinctually connect the dots, round the corners, and extend the circles whenever they are moving the knife. This, I believe, happens because they are looking to "cut" in their imagination. Cutting is a moving move. If one watches the videos, to the point where we remove the knife, one will see that the movements of folks remains fluid. I have tried these drills by just going straight to the empty-hand stuff. Believe me, and please do this for yourself, since it is quite easy to duplicate, when you don't use the knife, and go straight to hands, movement remains staccato in beginners. The knife is used here to capitalize upon the newbies imagination of what cutting is like - a continuously moving act. A stick does not do this for the beginner.

As for there being greater movements to master, please remember this is a beginner drill. There are folks in the video with only about three months of training - in any art at all. It should be obvious that the drill is not meant to capture all there is to Aikido application - especially when it, like any other drill, is problematic regarding spontaneity. Before we move on to all that is not in the video, let us at least more acknowledge what is - as we are not all yet on the same page. My humble request.

please,
dmv

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